13 Best Things to do in Dornoch, Scotland (2023)

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Wondering what the best things to do in Dornoch are? You’re in luck.

Dornoch is a charming small town on the east coast of Scotland. From golfing to walking along the stunning beaches, there are endless possibilities of outdoor activities that one can enjoy in this beautiful location.

I first visited Dornoch in the spring of 2023 and absolutely loved this quaint town. From the little bookshop to the lovely cafes (which genuinely have some of the best food I’ve had in Scotland), I can honestly say that Dornoch is one of the best places I’ve visited in the UK.

So come and experience all that Dornoch has to offer! Here are all the best things to do in Dornoch.

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Best Things to do in Dornoch

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Cocoa Mountain

Cups of hot chocolate on a table.

Hot chocolate at Cocoa Mountain is a must-have when visiting Dornoch. Not only will it warm you up on chilly days, but the flavors are out of this world. Enjoy classic hot cocoa or try their mocha, which is incredibly sweet.

The staff is friendly and knowledgeable about their creations and can help you find the perfect cup to enjoy. Spending time with friends over hot chocolate at Cocoa Mountain is one of the best experiences that Dornoch offers, so make sure you don’t miss out!

Having a drink (and some chocolate here) is easily one of the best things to do in Dornoch.

Enjoy coffee at Milk and Honey

If you want a quick bite to eat during the day along with a fix of caffeine, look no further than Milk and Honey. This quaint cafe packs a punch with its tasty food, and it’s all at quite an affordable price. I personally loved their bagel sandwiches!

Plus, they have every type of coffee and tea you can imagine. The staff is incredibly kind and even made an iced chai for me, despite only hot chai being on the menu. It was also the best iced chai I’ve ever had.

Keep in mind that this lively joint does get pretty busy around meal times. Go in mid-afternoon to avoid the crowds.

Go inside Dornoch Cathedral

Interior of a cathedral with a big organ.

Dornoch Cathedral is near impossible to miss when visiting this small town. The doors are usually open to the public, and going inside will leave you in awe. The stained glass windows are incredible, and there’s quite a bit of history inside the church.

Madonna (yes, that Madonna) also christened her son Rocco John Ritchie with Guy Ritchie in this cathedral. She later went to Skibo Castle to get married!

Mountain bike on a trail

There are quite a few different mountain biking trails near Dornoch where you can go and cycle with a view.

Mountain biking in Dornoch is an incredible experience! With its rolling hills and lush greenery, the landscape provides a stunning backdrop for exploration. The terrain is perfect for biking, as it’s not too difficult or technical but still offers plenty of challenges.

You can take your time and explore the area at your own pace — be it leisurely or intense. With its abundance of trails and stunning scenery, mountain biking in Dornoch is definitely one of the best things to do in the area.

Walk around the quaint streets

A cobblestone path next to old brick buildings.

Walking around the town of Dornoch is one of the best things to do, as it has so much to offer. From its historic architecture and bustling streets to its gorgeous nature trails and unique local shops, you can find something fascinating no matter which way you turn.

There’s a certain charm that comes with meandering through the streets – it allows you to discover all the hidden gems that make Dornoch so special. Plus, there are many interesting stories about local folklore, culture, and people that are only revealed during an intimate stroll around town – something you won’t get if you just drive.

This is easily one of the best things to do in Dornoch, and I wish I had more time to explore the quaint streets!


Where should you travel next?

Learn at the Historylinks Museum

If you want to learn all about Dornoch, then you have to head to the Historylinks Museum. It’s a small museum, but the staff is very friendly, and you can learn a lot about Dornoch and the surrounding area. They do have pretty limited hours between 10:30 and 4 p.m.

Go golfing

People golfing on a golf course.

Golfing in Dornoch is an experience like no other. It’s home to some of the most beautiful scenic courses in Scotland and all of Europe, including Royal Dornoch Golf Club. The spectacular views and challenging fairways make it a perfect destination for golfers of any skill level.

Not only can you enjoy a round of golf but you can also appreciate the picturesque landscape that surrounds you. Whether you’re a serious golfer or just out for a leisurely day on the links, Dornoch is sure to provide one of the best golf experiences available.

Grab a book at Dornoch Bookshop

The Dornoch Bookshop is a local bookstore in the heart of Dornoch. It has a vibrant selection of books from both local and international authors, spanning genres from classic fiction to travel.

The atmosphere at the Dornoch Bookshop is also unique – it’s cozy, warm, and filled with curiosities that you won’t find anywhere else. With its quaint charm and unique selection, it’s no wonder why shopping at the Dornoch Bookshop is one of the best things to do in Dornoch!

So if you ever find yourself in this beautiful town, make sure to swing by and check out what this special store has to offer – you won’t regret it!

Have dinner at Coach House Bar & Restaurant

Two dishes of food with pasta, chicken, and steak.

Looking for a bite to eat in Dornoch? Look no further than the Coach House Bar & Restaurant. We found this little gem and stopped in for dinner and absolutely loved it. The fried halloumi was a favorite, and the pesto chicken was incredible. Try to get a spot near the window to look down on the town while eating.

Grab a drink at The Carnegie Whisky Cellars

The Carnegie Whisky Cellars is an award-winning liquor store right in Dornoch. Pop in and grab a drink to take home! It’s located right near Dornoch Castle, so it’s easy to get to when visiting other landmarks on this list.

Visit Dornoch Castle

Dornoch Castle is impossible to miss when visiting the town. It’s more than 500 years old and has since been converted into the Dornoch Castle Hotel. It’s a lovely spot to take a photo, and if you want to stay in the area, be sure to book a night right at this hotel.

Walk down to the water

People walking along the beach under a blue sky.

Walking down to the water in Dornoch is a magical experience. The fresh sea air fills your lungs as you take the gentle stroll along the beach, listening to the waves gently lap against the shoreline. You can feel how special this place truly is, and will never forget it.

Enjoying the views of the distant mountains and vast sea can be incredibly relaxing and calming. You’ll see why people come from far and wide to visit this incredible coastal location. There is no shortage of things to marvel at down by the water’s edge.

It’s easy to walk down to the water even from downtown. Just park your car and meander towards the waves. You’ll find the coastal path easily enough!

See Dunrobin Castle

Though technically 20 minutes north of Dornoch, I still had to include Dunrobin Castle & Gardens on this list. It’s situated in Golspie and is breathtaking. It was built hundreds of years ago and is truly a charming castle.

The castle dates back to the 1300s and is French in style, so if you’ve been to France, you might think the architecture looks familiar. It even served as a boarding school for boys and a hospital for a while. It’s open between April and October.

🚗 Don’t forget to book your Scotland rental car! Click here to check rates. 🚗

Final Thoughts: Best Things to do in Dornoch

Overall, the quaint town of Dornoch has much to offer. Whether you are looking for a relaxing walk along sandy beaches or a breathtaking round of golf on one of the oldest courses in Scotland, this charming seaside resort is sure to provide something for everyone.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, Dornoch is the perfect place to explore!

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