Laidhay Croft Museum
Learn what life was like for crofting families in Caithness at Laidhay Croft Museum near Dunbeath. Just a 30-minute drive from us here at Mackays Hotel.

Explore history at Laidhay Croft Museum

Visit Laidhay Croft Museum in Dunbeath

Laidhay Croft Museum is a historic thatched long house, which was home to the Bethune family from 1842 to 1968. Since 1974 it has been a public museum, which shows what life and work was like for a traditional crofter family in Caithness. Here, you can explore the house, stable, byre and detached buildings, all frozen in time. There is also a modern shed which displays the museum’s large collection of farming equipment.

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Frozen in time

Laidhay Croft is located near Dunbeath on the North Sea coast, around a 30-minute drive from Mackays Hotel in Wick. It is a fascinating place to visit during your stay with us, especially for those interested in local history. Please note, the museum is only open in the summer season – check the website for dates.


We had a much needed break for 4 nights last week at Mackays in Wick The decent sized apartment was perfect for us and our two dogs and it was warm, safe and an excellent base for exploring Caithness. The Hotel is very well organised with regard to Covid restrictions, but this does not spoil the warm and friendly atmosphere and the owners are superb hosts. Breakfast is really tasty and served efficiently and the food in the restaurant is impressive, best polished off with a local dram from the bar

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Local history...
Serving a cup of coffee in a cafe
An open sign in a shop window

Discover local Caithness history

The croft is laid out over 16 acres of arable land. The single-storey long house is typical of a 19th-century crofter’s dwelling. The main house is in the centre of the building, with the byre on the right and the stables on the left. There is a detached barn with an original cruck roof and a cart shed on the croft. A visit to Laidhay Croft Museum is like stepping back in time. The building remains as it was in the 1800s and 1900s, filled with old family furnishings and possessions.

Visiting the museum

How to get there

Laidhay Croft is just off the A9, about a mile northeast of Dunbeath village. Get directions. There is a small admission charge to visit the museum, and there is also a welcoming tea room on the croft.

Dunbeath village, Caithness

While visiting the Dunbeath area, you may also wish to stop at historical attractions such as Dunbeath Castle Gardens, Dunbeath Heritage Museum and the Clann Gunn Heritage Centre. Dunbeath has a rich history, stretching back to the Iron Age, and it is the birthplace of the influential novelist and writer, Neil M. Gunn.

Caithness history and heritage

Explore more local history with Mackays

Mackays Hotel is located in a historic area, with so much to discover during your stay with us. So, find more history and heritage sites in the far north of Scotland, and check out lots of other great things to do near Wick in our See and Do Guide.

Dunbeath Castle in the coast of Caithness

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