Brora is a small village on the east coast of Scotland, sitting between Dornoch and Wick. It is also a place that is overlooked on a NC500 road trip, however, with an award winning white sandy beach, we would say it’s definitely worth a stop off!

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Things to do in Brora - NC500 East Coast Stop

Brora is the perfect little stop off in between Dornoch and Wick and is a great place to base yourself for touring around Sutherland and Caithness. In this guide, we will discuss the following places 

  • SUP on Loch Brora
  • Stroll along Brora Beach
  • Marvel at the beauty of Dunrobin Castle
  • Enjoy a Walk to Big Burn Falls
  • Have Waffles at Cocoa Skye
  • Play a game of Golf at Brora Golf Course
  • Preparing for your trip to the NC500
brora sunrise

Where to Stay in Brora

LuxuryNorth Coast 500 Pods – Brora is a beautiful place to stay only 2.5 miles from the village of Brora. Each individual pod is fitted with it’s own kitchen, a comfortable double bed and a TV with Netflix. There is also a sauna onsite with a glass window overlooking the fields. An excellent place to stay in Brora.
 
 
 
Mid-rangeThe Royal Marine Hotel is situated near Brora Beach and is within close walking distance of the town centre. Each room has an en-suite bathroom and the hotel has 3 dining experiences for you to choose from, as well as a bar and a gym. Breakfast is included with the price of your stay. 
 
 
BudgetBurnside Cabin is located just over half a mile from Brora village. The cabin offers a garden and sea views.
 
 
nc500 pods outside

SUP on Loch Brora

Loch Brora is a beautiful setting that sits only 10 minutes outside of the village of Brora. Nestled under the mountains, Loch Brora is an idyllic spot to get out on a Stand up paddle board or go for a swim. There is a small, free parking area at the side of the Loch as well as walking trails along the Loch side. Keep in mind that if it has been raining, the car park can become very boggy.

This is also a beautiful spot for wild camping on the NC500 however if you do so it is important to remember to wild camp responsibly. 

Loch Brora SUP

Stroll along Brora Beach

Brora Beach is an award winning beach on the north east coast of Scotland. The white sandy beach is pristine and stretches along a number of miles in front of the Brora golf course. Brora beach is perfect for a morning or evening stroll, having a picnic or going into the sea for a wild swim.

Brora Beach can be accessed through Brora campsite or you can park in the golf car park to access the beach. Parking is free. Brora beach is dog friendly and there are bins to get rid of your waste when you leave the beach.

brora beach

Marvel at the Beauty of Dunrobin Castle

The beautiful Dunrobin Castle sits about 5 miles south of Brora and will cost you £12.50 to go inside the castle to have a look around. Dunrobin Castle is known as one of Scotland’s great northerly castles, dating all the back to the 13th century.

Resembling a beautiful French Chateau, with is conical spires and quaint details in its architecture, this castle has been kept in pristine condition throughout the years. It is one of Britains oldest continually inhabited houses and has been host to a wide range of roles over the years, from a First World War Naval Hospital to a boarding school for boys.

The castle is open for tours between 1st April and 31st October annually.

Read more about the castles of the North Coast 500 in our full guide. 

girl walking from dunrobin castle
dunrobin castle

Enjoy a walk to Big Burn Falls

Big Burn walk is a great woodland walk in Golspie, just outside of Brora. You can either choose to complete the Big Burn Walk, which is 3km or if you just want to walk to the waterfall it is 1.5km. The walk is flat however the terrain underfoot is not paved.
 
Follow the river through the woods and over the zig zag bridges. The scenery surrounding the trails is beautiful and if you are feeling brave, you might even want to dip in at the lower end of the river for a dip on a warm day.
big burn falls

Indulge in Waffles at Cocoa Skye

Cocoa Skye is a highlight for many people who visit Brora, especially to indulge in their breakfast waffle menu. Cocoa Skye are open from 10-3 daily serving a variety of sweet and savoury waffles that are available in gluten free and vegan and a lunch menu in the afternoon. The waffles are also available in a half portion.

Cocoa Skye also serve a variety of hot drinks including a luxury hot chocolate. Well worth a visit if you are visiting Brora.

waffles

Play a Game of Golf at Brora Golf Course

If you enjoy a game of golf then there is no better place for a game on the NC500. Brora Golf Course is an 18 hole champion links golf course and it sits overlooking the award winning Brora Beach. There is a restaurant and bar in the clubhouse and a shop onsite for all of your golfing needs.

brora golf course

Before You Leave on the North Coast 500

Before you head off on your trip around the NC500, there are certain things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth trip. These include how to get around the route, including being aware of single track roads, etc., what to pack for Scotland, where to stay along the route and what travel insurance to book.

Read more planning tips for the North Coast 500 in our full guide.

 

How Do I Get Around the NC500?

Given the remote location of the NC500 and the majority of the sights along the route, the best way to get around this road trip is by driving. There are of course other methods that are still popular, such as cycling and hiking, however, if you have a short amount of time on the route, neither of these are very suitable.

As for public transport, the use around the NC500 is understandably difficult due to how remote each location is, however, with the increasing problem of congestion along the route, this is a good option to research if you have time. If it is something that interests you, you can read a public formed itinerary of how to get around the NC500 by public transport over here.

If you are looking to rent a cosy, reliable and luxurious campervan for your trip along the NC500, we highly recommend hiring through Bunk Campers. We toured with these guys around the up-and-coming Heart 200 road trip in Scotland’s central highlands and could not believe the comfort and customer service we experienced with their vans.

Browse the full range of vehicles on offer at Bunk Campers over here.

Passing Place by the Bealach na Ba Pass.

What Should I Pack for the NC500?

When it comes to packing for a trip along the NC500 there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Scotland on average 250 days a year, meaning that during your 7-day NC500 road trip you will probably experience at least a drizzle of rain. Due to this, the number one item on any Scotland packing list is a good waterproof jacket.

 

As for the rest of the year, the temperature in Scotland and the central heartlands is reasonably mild for most of the year. During the winter months, you will most likely experience snow, however, temperatures usually sit around freezing, so it is not too cold. For your reference, the average temperatures in Scotland are listed below during each season.

Spring (March, April, May) – 5-10 degrees C

Summer (June, July, August) – 15 degrees C

Autumn (September, October, November) – 5-10 degrees C

Winter (December, January, February) – 0-5 degrees C

 

As you can see, the weather never really gets above the teens, with anything over 25 degrees C considered a heatwave. The best way to pack for your trip to the highlands is with layers that can be added and removed as you need them. You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the colder months and will most likely need sunscreen to protect you on the long days in the open.

For our full list of items that we pack no matter where we go in the world, check out our full packing guides over here.

 

Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around Scotland, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.

You can read what else we keep in our camera bag over here.

 

Photography Equipment

Main Photography Camera – Sony A7iii Mirrorless Camera

Main Lens – Sony FE 16-35 mm f/2.8 GM 

Zoom Lens – Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8

Camera Stand – Neewer Portable 177cm

Vlogging Camera – Sony HX90v

Action Camera – GoPro Hero 8 Black

Drone Camera – DJI Mavic Pro 2

Camera Bag – Lowepro Flipside 300 AW

 

Where Should I Stay on the NC500?

The remoteness in the highlands of Scotland will leave you with little choice of accommodation in each location along the NC500, however, there are still enough options to choose from to ensure a comfortable trip. These are mostly in the shape of B&Bs, Airbnbs, converted cottages and other quirky accommodations.

Depending on how adventurous you are, there may be more accommodation choices than just the above, often with an even better view. Caravan and camping sites are abundant along the NC500, drawing camping enthusiasts from all over the world. For some of the most spectacular bedside scenery along the North Coast 500, we recommend packing a tent and getting in touch with nature for the week.

As we travelled along the North Coast 500, camped in our trusty Vango tent on a mixture of campsites and wild sites. Wild camping is a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty of the highlands, however, it must be done respectfully. Read our full guide to Wild Camping if you wish to give it a go so you know everything you need to for a comfortable and sustainable trip.

camping in scotland

What is the Best Travel Insurance?

No matter what type of adventure you are heading on, whether it is a mountain adventure or a relaxing beach destination, one thing we all need to be aware of is that accidents can happen. The last thing you want is for an unexpected medical emergency to ruin your trip of a lifetime. Luckily, that is what travel insurance is for.

Whenever we travel abroad, we get covered with World Nomad’s Travel Insurance, a reliable, friendly and extremely affordable method of covering yourself on any adventure. With years of experience working for backpackers around the globe, the service they provide is perfect for whatever type of trip you have planned.

Get covered for your next trip and get a quote from World Nomad’s right here.

So there you have it, all of the best things to do in Brora, including castles, waterfalls, and beaches. If you have visited the NC500 recently, let us know what you thought of the sights listed above, or if you have any suggestions let us know in the comments below.

As always, sharing is caring so make sure to share this photo guide with your family and friends and inspire them to head off on their own North Coast 500 adventure. If you are planning the trip for yourself, make sure you have a look at the rest of our Scotland content for more inspiration to our beautiful home country.

When you set off on your own adventure, be sure to tag us in your photos on Instagram and we will share them with the rest of our community. In the meantime, why not follow us over there to see what we are currently up to and keep up with us on our Instagram Stories.

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