Brora is a village situated on the east coast of Sutherland in the Highland region of Scotland. Although quite small, with a population of just over 1,200 people, it is a fantastic place to visit in Scotland if you’re looking for a quaint, peaceful destination with many things to do in Brora.
The village is widely known for being the home of the Highland League football team, but it’s also known for its small sandy beach, wildlife viewing, and beautiful hiking.
Where is Brora?
Brora is a village in the east of Sutherland, in the Highland area of Scotland. It’s just over an hour from Inverness, and it is a fantastic stop on the famous east coast of the North Coast 500.
Brora is well known for being home to a beautiful golf course, and has golfers from around the world coming to tee off at it. It’s easy to see why people travel so far to get here. It’s not every day you get to play golf next to a golden sandy beach with sheep at every corner.
There are more reasons to travel here beyond golf as Brora provides an outdoor playground for adventure enthusiasts. From biking along the highlands to having a dram of whisky you can easily relax and spend a few days here before traveling the rest of the NC500!
The Best Things to do in Brora
1. Learn about Scottish Whisky at the Clynelish Distillery
Anyone traveling to Scotland should check out one distillery while visiting! Since the early 1800s, Clynelish Distillery has produced historic whiskies known for their sweet floral aroma and distinct flavor. The renowned Scotch whisky Johnnie Walker is also distilled here.
Two informative tours of this distillery are available, and both include the opportunity to taste whisky made right on site. During The Clynelish Flavour Journey tour, which lasts about an hour and 45 minutes, you’ll learn about the area’s history and the whisky-making process from start to finish.
During the Clynelish Express Tasting Tour, which lasts about 45 minutes, you’ll sample three local scotch whiskies and learn about the history of the famed whisky produced on site.
A tour here is one of the best things to do in Brora especially if you are a whisky lover. The distillery has been recently renovated, and is beautiful inside and out, with some fun interactive experiences on the tour.
- Tip: You can skip the tour and head to the on-site bar on a beautiful day where you’ll find a wide selection of cocktails, specialty coffees and platters.
- Price: The Clynelish Flavour Journey tour costs £19 per person and the Clynelish Express Tasting tour costs £15 per person.
2. Go Paddleboarding on Lake Brora with Sutherland Adventure Company
Lake Brora is a beautiful lake surrounded by hills and rural landscapes, and one of the best ways to enjoy it is with a paddleboarding adventure with Sutherland Adventure Company.
If you are already an old pro with a paddleboard, you can rent one through this company and head out on your own or you can join a guided lesson and tour. Instructors, Scott and Rhionna, are certified and eager to share their knowledge of this sport with those who want to learn. During a 90-minute lesson, you’ll learn how to paddle, how to get back on the board and how to stay safe. Wetsuits are available, which is exceptionally helpful on a cool day in Brora.
- Tip: If you’re traveling as a group, you can rent a Mega SUP eight-person board and embark on an adventure with your entire party!
- Price: Beginner lessons range between £25- £72 per adult.
3. Go on a Cycling Tour with Sutherland Adventure Company
Sutherland Adventure Company also offers an amazing cycle tour, a great way to see many of the area’s top sights. During this two-hour tour, you’ll bike along beautiful coastal areas, down rural back roads and through pretty areas of the village.
Along the way, you’ll stop at various points to take pictures and learn more about the area and what you’re seeing. We particularly loved picking berries along the stream. No worries if you didn’t come equipped with your own bike and equipment because everything is included with the tour.
- Tip: Check out the other services that are available through this company including guided walks and body board hire.
- Price: The Cycle Tour costs £30 per adult
4. Learn How to Ride a Horse at Achavandra Riding Stables
Beaches, hills and remote countryside are just some of the natural features that make up Dornoch’s stunning landscape, which is located about 25 minutes from Brora. Located within this little town is Achavandra Riding Stables and the opportunity to learn how to ride a horse and see the area differently.
You can start your adventure with a lesson if you’ve never been on a horse. Once you have the basics, you’re ready to head out on one of the offered trail rides. Woodland rides, hill rides and beach rides are available, and some excursions are for a few hours while others are full-day treks. The Trek to Loch Fleet and the Beaches, and the Trek to Lock Laoigh and Loch Lannsaidh are just a couple of the excursions they offer.
- Tip: Opt for a holiday package that includes horse riding with a stay at the nearby Woodlands Bed and Breakfast.
5. Have Lunch at Cocoa Skye Cafe
If handcrafted chocolate, Belgian waffles, soup, toasties, scones, salads, ice cream and cupcakes sound delicious, wait until you see the full menu because this is just a small sample of the items that are available on the menu at Cocoa Skye Cafe.
When you sit down to lunch at this cozy cafe, you’ll get amazing service and a laid-back ambiance. The menu offers a mix of savory options with sweet treats to satisfy your sweet tooth.
If you’re due for your caffeine fix, don’t forget to check out the drink menu where you’ll find an assortment of specialty coffees, including cappuccino and lattes, luxury hot chocolate and coffee from the Inverness Roasting Co. This was the best place in Brora for us to grab coffee and lunch every day!
- Tip: The cafe is dog-friendly and there is free Wi-Fi on site.
6. Spend the Night at the all-New Royal Marine Hotel
Upon arrival at the Royal Marine Hotel, you’ll be treated to classic Highland hospitality before being led to your lovely and comfortable home away from home. Unwind in your well-equipped guest room or venture outside to explore the grounds or the beautiful beach that is only a few minutes away.
Enjoy dinner at the on-site Curing Yard Restaurant, where you’ll find an extensive menu featuring local seafood, Highland lamb and vegetarian dishes. We loved having a couple fresh oysters before dinner every night!
End your evenings with some fine Scottish whisky, wine, gin or ale in the Megan Boyd Bar or the Braid Lounge before taking a sunset stroll on Brora Beach just a few minutes walk away!
- Tip: Join one of the guided bike rides that are available through the hotel. Full or half-day rides are available and some of the locations you’ll see on one of these rides include Loch Brora, Shin Falls and Loch Fleet.
7. Step into a Fairytale at Dunrobin Castle & Gardens
No trip to Scotland is complete without visiting at least one castle, and when in Brora, you only have to drive for ten minutes before reaching the area’s most famous castle, Dunrobin Castle.
This gorgeous chateau-style estate on Dornoch Firth was built in the 14th century and is the largest in the Northern Highlands region. The castle and its eye-catching spires will remind you of something you’ve read about in a fantasy novel.
After you tour the castle, you can head to the on-site museum which showcases a variety of exhibits featuring historic artifacts and various items collected from around the world. However our favorite thing to do here is wander the beautiful grounds and catch a Falconry show.
- Tip: Make sure to stop at the Tea Room, enjoy some homemade food and local ice cream, and check out the Scottish crafts and souvenirs at the on-site gift shop.
- Price: Entry to the castle is £13.50 per adult and includes the museum, Falconry and gardens.
8. Take a Stroll Along Brora Beach
Brora Beach is a beautiful stretch of sandy coastline where you won’t find any crowds, but you’ll find plenty of seabirds, otters, seals and perhaps the odd dolphin or whale frolicking in the waters just offshore if you are lucky.
This unspoiled beach is the perfect place to take a morning stroll, relax in the afternoon sun, enjoy the views of the Moray Firth or watch the sun go down.
Low tide is the best time to do some beachcombing for pretty stones and seashells and if you’re lucky, you may find some fossils! Although the water here is so clear, be aware that it’s often quite cold if you feel inclined to take a dip!
- Tip: Parking is located near the golf club, and this is where you’ll also find washrooms and a cafe. A picnic area is also on site. If you are staying at the Royal Marine Hotel you can easily walk from the hotel.
9. Visit the Ruins at Cairn Liath
Situated only six miles away from Brora in the little town of Golspie, Cairn Liath is the ruins of an ancient Iron Age village. This site, which is also known as a broch, showcases the architecture and resourcefulness of the farmers who built it in those long ago times.
It doesn’t cost anything to visit this site and as you explore it, you’ll see stone structures and foundations that once housed the intriguing artifacts that were uncovered here throughout the years including pottery and stone tools.
- Tip: Go on a quick hike in Scotland up nearby Ben Bhraggie and enjoy the view of the village below. The hike is seven miles return and along the way, you’ll see a variety of bird species.
10. Learn about Local History and Culture at the Brora Heritage Centre
The best way to learn about the history, culture and people of Brora is to visit the museum that houses all this information under one roof! At the Brora Heritage Centre, knowledgeable staff members are only happy to show you the exhibits and explain everything to you. You’ll see exhibits on Scottish whisky and the coal and woolen industries as you explore the center.
You’ll also see hand-painted maps, historic artifacts and artworks. If you’re interested in genealogy or archaeology, you’ll find plenty of intriguing things here! It’s free to browse this museum, but donations are welcome.
- Tip: There’s plenty of room on the outside grounds to enjoy a picnic or just take a break from exploring for while.
11. Have an Ice Cream at Capaldis
Enjoy luxury award-winning dairy ice cream right in Downtown Brora. You literally can’t miss Capaldi’s, the bright pink shop walkable from most locations in town. This ice cream is made in Brora and absolutely worth the stop.
12. Tee Off
Regarded as one of the most beautiful golf courses in Scotland, you must golf here if you are a golfer. Brora Golf Club is an original James Braid designed course established in 1891.
The clubhouse is open 7.30-11.00 daily from April-October and tee times can be booked online.
How to Get to Brora
The best way to get to Brora, explore the North Coast 500, and Scotland in general is with a rental car. Renting a car in Scotland is easy, as long as you feel comfortable driving on narrow roads on the left side of the road.
We recommend renting a car with Arnold Clark. We’ve found them to be the most reliable car rental company in Scotland, providing excellent service. We rented our car in Edinburgh, but you can also rent a car in Glasgow and Inverness.
There is also a train station in Brora, and ScotRail will easily connect you to many other destinations around Scotland via public transport!
Other Nearby Towns on the North Coast 500 to Check Out
If you are driving the famous North Coast 500, many trips start in Inverness. From Inverness the route runs for more than 500 miles to and from Inverness, the capital of the highlands. Grom here, you can either travel up the east coast or head to the west and travel up.
Many travelers rush through the east coast to get to the dramatic west coast of Scotland, but we highly recommend taking time on the east coast and delving into the beauty without the crowds.
Some charming towns near Brora are:
What to Pack When You Travel Scotland
Wondering what to wear when you travel to Scotland? The country’s weather is pretty notorious, so it’s only natural that the question of what to pack for Scotland comes up a lot.
With that in mind, you should be prepared as you’ll spend much of your time in Scotland outside, enjoying its beautiful cities and breathtaking landscapes.
READ MORE SCOTLAND TRAVEL TIPS
I hope you enjoyed this guide on the best things to do in Brora. Here are a few relevant articles for more travel around Scotland.
- 25 Things to Know Before You Travel to Scotland
- How Much Does a Trip to Scotland Cost?
- 34 Fun Scotland Facts You Can Impress Friends With
- When is the Best Time to Visit Scotland?
- Driving in Scotland? Here are 13 HELPFUL Tips
- Hiking in Scotland: 15 BEST Hikes in Scotland
- 45 BEST Things to do in Edinburgh
Plan For Your Trip
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