Explore Scotland on the North Coast 500

Those who stay with us are often eager to explore Scotland and enjoy some of the beautiful towns and villages near Wick. This is a great thing to do as there are so many opportunities to get out and experience the real Scotland. 

As we are on the North Coast 500 route, we thought it would be useful to highlight some of the places that you shouldn’t miss on your trip. All of these places are within driving distance and will let you enjoy a full day out whilst still having time to return to Mackays for dinner and a cosy night in bed

Lybster Harbour


Looking for a quiet Scottish village to visit that has plenty of local history? Lybster has it. Just a few miles south of us in Wick, Lybster is an old herring fishing village with a beautiful harbour. 

The harbour has lovely green hills flanking it, and boats still use it today. Although it’s not as busy as it once was, when over 350 boats were moored here, it is a lovely place to walk around. You can even see what the catch of the day is. 

The village itself is also lovely to walk through. Keep an eye out for the huge amount of space that Main Street takes up. This is an exceptionally wide road for an old village!

Lybster is only 20 miles south from Mackays, and you can find directions here

Lybster Harbour with waves crashing near the lighthouse


If you are looking for a busier, working harbour then a drive to Scrabster should be on the books. Situated on the north coast, it is considered a gateway to the north sea. The history of the area can be traced hundreds of years back to the time of the vikings.

Other than the magnificent harbour area, one of the highlights of a visit to Scrabster is Wolfburn Distillery. This is Scotland’s most northerly whisky distillery on the mainland. It’s a great place for a distillery tour as you are taken around the distillery’s inner workings and get a detailed look at how their wonderful whisky is made. 

Scrabster is about 25 miles north-west of Mackays, and you can find directions to get there here

John O’Groats

You don’t have to travel far from Mackays in order to experience beautiful wildlife. Flowing through our town is the W

It would be a shame to travel all the way up to Wick without then taking a day trip to the most northerly village in the UK – John O’Groats. Here you can stand at the famous signpost which tells you how far away you are from New York. 

There’s plenty to do here, including visits to a brewery and an art gallery. And if you want to visit the actual most northerly point of the UK, it’s called Dunnet Head and is just a 15-minute drive west from here. And here you will find home to Rock Rose Gin, Dunnet Bay Distillery.

Here’s how to get to John O’Groats from Mackays Hotel.

The signpost at John O'Groats

Camster Cairns

If you are looking to get a sense of Scotland’s ancient past, then a trip to the 5,000-year-old Camster Cairns is in order. These are two of the oldest stone monuments in Scotland, and offer an insight into Neolithic times in the country. 

Also known as the Grey Cairns of Camster, they have been rebuilt to give you an idea of how they would have looked all those years ago. Sat on windswept land, if you want to visit the wilds of Scotland then the cairns, only half an hour away from the hotel, will make for a memorable visit on your driving days out.

Find out how to get to Camster Cairns from Mackays here

The Camster Cairns

Discover Caithness from Mackays Hotel

Explore Scotland via the North Coast 500 when you visit Mackays Hotel and make the most of your stay. A road trip in the Scottish Highlands is a wonderful way to spend your time. There are so many stunning villages and towns as well as gorgeous wildlife that you are sure to come back again for more! Book your stay with us today.

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