Local Area


The village of John O’ Groats has a general store which incorporates a petrol station, grocers and Post Office. A Hotel which is open to non-residents for meals and a public bar. There is also a craft village, souvenir shop and 2 cafes all of which are within a short walk of the site.


There is a car/passenger ferry which departs Gills Bay which is 4 miles along the A836 run by Pentland Ferries. www.pentlandferries.co.uk. Maynes Coaches offer Orkney bus tours  on various dates from May-September including ferry travel from Gills Bay.  For more details and to view dates available search online  www.maynesholidays.co.uk


A sightseeing trip to Duncansby Head is a must and is accessible by either car or a pleasant walk along the coastline past the shell beaches where the famous Groatie Buckie, the European Cowrie (Cypus Europea) is cast upon the shore by the tides along with large quantities of other beautiful shells. Thereafter you will reach Duncansby Head Lighthouse where you cannot fail to be impressed by the breathtaking views of the Pentland Firth and the Islands of Orkney. A short walk along the cliff top is the Long Goe which is one of the best visual positions to see Puffins, Guilliemots and Skuas and other seabirds, then on to the famous Duncansby Stacks and other magnificent cliff scenery.


Canisbay is a five minute car journey away and this is where Jan De Groot, our namesake, is buried and his tombstone is inside the Church. It is also where the Queen Mother attended when on holiday at her northernmost home the Castle of Mey.


The Castle of Mey and its gardens are open to the public and are well worth a visit.


The town of Wick is just 17 miles south on the A99. It hosts a variety of supermarkets and retail shops. The Heritage Centre is where you can take a journey back in time and see how Caithness people lived and worked. They have a particularly impressive collection of artefacts from the boom time in Wick during the herring fishing, also Pulteney Distillery is open to visitors. On traveling west along the A836 you can visit Mary Anne’s Cottage. Further on is the town of Thurso which again has a supermarket, cinema and Caithness Horizons Museum.


The official John O’Groats website

All about Caithness

The official site for the Castle of Mey, the Caithness residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother,
only six miles from John O’Groats.

Gills Bay all year car and
passenger ferry to Orkney

The ultimate online guide to the
Highlands and Islands.

For unique paintings, prints, cards by John O’Groats artist David Body and a wide selection of toys, books and gifts.

Video of visit – ‘FeelFreeOnTour’

Professionally shot in documentary style with German Commentary, English Music & a sunny day!

Caithness & The NC500

In addition to being an ideal base for tours around the NC500, Caithness has a lot to offer the visitor, all within easy travelling distance of our site in John O’ Groats. If your interest lies in the past, we have a large number of archaeological sites ranging from Neolithic right through to Viking and later civilisations. The Camster Cairns are well worth a visit, you can enter these cairns and experience early civilisation burial chambers. Also spread all over Caithness are various pictish dwellings and standing stones, some still standing after thousands of years. Caithness is also very rich in wildlife, whether you visit the numerous cliffs and watch a multitude of sea birds, or go inland and visit the various nature sites, the Forsinard nature reserve is a must for all bird watchers. There are also opportunities for the sporty visitors with three golf clubs, all open to nonmembers. River, loch and sea fishing all close at hand and all at reasonable prices, you should find plenty to occupy the time during your stay in Caithness. Further details about all the above can be supplied from the reception at the entrance to the site. Having enjoyed your stay in John O’ Groats and been fascinated by our unique scenery, we hope you have a safe journey home and have future plans to “Haste Ye Back”.

North Coast 500 - NC500