21 Fun Things to Do In Gairloch

If you are looking for a new place to visit, a place that will not amaze you, but will make your holiday or vacation enjoyable and entertaining, then look no further than Gairloch.

Even though it is not as famous as other cities in the United Kingdom, it is still worth visiting as it offers beautiful attraction sites for its visitors.

You only need to visit the hidden city of Gairloch to be shocked by several of the unique things to do and places to discover. You can spend a few hours at Fort William or the Isle of Skye or visit one of the most attractive sights, the North Coast 500.

Have you visited RedPoint and Big Sand Beach? They will both offer you a fun-filled holiday in Gairloch. For a fantastic adventure in Gairloch, consider visiting Longa Island or exploring the Marine Life Center & Cruises.

There are many fun things to do in Gairloch for adults, families, kids, couples, and for the weekend, which we’ll discuss here today!

Where is Gairloch?

Gairloch is a small straggling city along the west coast of Ross and Cromarty within the Scottish Highlands.

It is a hilly community; hence farming is not very productive. However, the locals thrive on creel fishing for shellfish, which is the traditional occupation of the residents.

You can spend a few hours touring the most renowned villages on the North Coast 500 route. The village’s name is derived from the term “Short Loch” in Gaelic because it is situated right on the shores of Loch Gairloch in Wester Ross.

Game of Thrones enthusiasts will be marveled and tempted into thinking there’s a connection between the place and the show’s Westeros area.

Some people also believe there is a connection because of the resemblance between the Westeros map and the Scottish coastline and the area’s gorgeous natural setting.

See Also: Things to Do In Ullapool (Scotland)

Fun Things to Do In Gairloch

On your visit to Gairloch, you will have difficulty planning things to do in the city, as there are so many things and fun places to choose from. During the summer, you will be shocked that it is a haven for outdoor activities.

Several exhibitions to ensure you don’t lack fun in the city like canoeing, kayaking, and boating (all from the sea aspects).

You can also explore the numerous beaches and mountains nearby on foot to enjoy a picnic or several of its activities.

The city features a golf course, a museum, resorts, and eateries, thus making it an excellent base for your adventure. Read down to see our list of the best fun things to do in Gairloch:

1. North Coast 500 

The North Coast is a globally renowned 500-mile Scottish driving route, a gem yet to be discovered by many. It offers a place that tourists from far and near can explore on their visits to this part of the country to complete their drive. 

Visitors can explore some of the city’s top beaches and the most amazing castles the UK ever had, thanks to the North Coast. You will also see distilleries, smokehouses, farm stores, and incredible views during this drive.

Whichever model of transportation you choose, you’re assured of enjoying a memorable journey in the city through the North Coast.

Address: 516-mile scenic route around the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending at Inverness Castle

2. Big Sand Beach

You won’t be prosecuted or even blamed if you decide to call Gairloch ‘the Bay of Beaches”.

You may be correct due to its popularity as a home for many of the best beaches in and around the United kingdom. One of such beaches is Big Sand Beach.

This beach does precisely what its name says. As we said earlier, it offers one of the most famous tourist attractions in Gairloch, providing guests with glorious sceneries of the Skye and Torridon mountains.

All year round, the beach is frequented by visitors and locals who come to enjoy spectacular sunsets over the Hebrides.

Again, thanks to the Big Sand Beach, you can get to Longa Island, which is unsurprisingly among the most celebrated Islands of Wester Ross.

Here, several residents offer kayak trips around Longa. Undoubtedly, this is great fun and shouldn’t be missing from your list of top things to do in Gairloch.

Address: Gairloch IV21 2DJ, United Kingdom

3. Longa Island

You won’t lack any fun things or places to visit in Gairloch, as your only trouble will have to be picking the many enjoyable adventures, one of which is Longa Island. It is one of the minor Islands yet among the most famous landmarks in Wester Ross.

“Longa” signifies Ship Island in ancient Norse and lies in just 0.49-square miles of land space. Longa Island was a former little residence of a fishing community during the early 19th century.

However, it has become the only home to a wide variety of rare birds nesting on the Island.

The Island features Druim am Eilean, the highest point on the Island. The Druim am Eilean reaches up to 70 meters over sea level.

There are many activities to enjoy on Longa Island, including fantastic sceneries and stunning tours around the area to feed your eyes with so many amazing sea and air creatures sights.

Address:  the northern side of the entrance to Loch Gairloch, United Kingdom

4. Gairloch Water Sports

You will be interested in this one if you are a sports enthusiast. It is another unique, fun activity you can’t afford to miss in Gairloch.

As of 2020, Scotland hosted its Year of Coasts and Waters, where Gairloch Canoe and Kayak held different kayak and canoe trips.

Ask those that were present or participated, and you will know that it was an enjoyable event.

Rumors have it that the same will be repeated any time soon. So, you have to get ready to witness or partake in the next fun event that will be held, as it will feature exhilarating moments.

Scottish waters can be icy. However, for the courageous who would like to have a go, you will find local providers on the ground that can rent you some of their equipment.

Address: Burnside Terrace – Gairloch – United Kingdom

5. Gairloch Marine Life Center & Cruises

Gairloch is one of the cities in the United Kingdom that is widely renowned for its wide range of marine life.

In this city, you will find Whales, dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks, and seals, all swimming in the waters. You can also explore the different species of seabirds swimming above them.

Gairloch Marine Life Center & Cruises offers opportunities to those ready to learn more about these animals and provides scenic and wildlife survey cruises around the area’s shores.

Established in 1989 in Gairloch city, this center is among the oldest-running marines ever.

From this city, you can start the Hebridean “Whale Trail,” invariably an over 30-site initiative aiming to promote sustainable, low-impact marine wildlife views from land.

This initiative provides opportunities for wild swimming, while wildlife enthusiasts will be thrilled by the snorkel trails around the city and the opportunities to explore sea life up close.

Address: Pier Rd, Gairloch IV21 2BQ, United Kingdom

6. Redpoint Beach

You will not lack any enjoyable thing to do in Gairloch, as it features some of the best attractions and exhibition centers in the whole of the United Kingdom.

One of such amazing centers is Redpoint Beach. Hitting this beach to take part in its fun moments is worth your time.

We decided to make it the first beach on our list for some reasons. Even though it is remote, it is worth the trip as it has remained untouched.

It is known for its red-hued sand and picturesque dunes. On a very bright day, you will witness the Raasay views, Skye, and the Western Isles.

Address: IV21, Red Point, beach, Gairloch IV21 2AX, United Kingdom

7. Gairloch Museum

Photo by Macfack via Wikimedia

Enough of the beaches and sea adventures for now, as we will digress a little into another beautiful adventure in Gairloch, in the form of the Gairloch Museum.

This museum is undoubtedly one of the city’s most popular places to visit and is worth your time.

The Gairloch museum wasn’t rated four stars by the renowned Scottish Tourist Board for nothing, making it a must-visit center for those visiting Wester Ross.

The museum is situated in a converted nuclear bunker and was relocated to this place in 2019. 

It is a famous tourist center in the city that reveals the history, past, culture, and natural heritage of this region of Scotland.

Its vision is to ensure visitors encounter 7,000 years of local history, evident from the ancient Gairloch’s residents to the 20th-century engineering marvels of the Rubh Re lighthouse lens.

Address: Achtercairn House, Gairloch IV21 2BH, United Kingdom

8. Badachro Distillery Experience

This particular one will interest gin lovers. If you love Scottish gin, you mustn’t miss a visit to Badachro Distillery to partake in its tasting experience. We have gathered that booking starts from an affordable price of £15 only.

This unique and lovely experience allows you to go closer to the still and learn more about how it all began. After expanding your knowledge of gins and botanicals, you can end your day with a Badachro G&T or take home a 5cl bottle.

The place is open for visitors from May to October. Toward the conclusion of your experience, you’ll be offered a 10% discount for on-site purchases. Only a maximum of eight visitors per session are allowed for each session. 

Address: Aird Hill, Badachro, Gairloch IV21 2AB, United Kingdom

9. Shieldaig Falconry

Situated within the grounds of Shieldaig Lodge, Shieldaig Falconry will offer you a fantastic adventure. You are sure to get an unforgettable memory after touring this falconry.

You should make sure you make the Sheildaig Falconry among your favorite things to do in Gairloch.

As long as this falconry is concerned, visitors both far and near are offered the chance to fly owls, buzzards, hawks, falcons, and eagles. If you are coming with kids, the center has archery for children aged 12 and above.

Address: Shieldaig lodge hotel, Badachro, Gairloch IV21 2AN, United Kingdom

10. Glamping in Sands Wigwams

Another enjoyable adventure in the form of Glamping will give you an unforgettable memory in Gairloch.

You can have fun in the wilderness with a time out at Sands Wigwams. Glamping in Wester Ross is a memorable adventure and a favorite Scottish getaway for several couples, friends, and families.

It is not a surprise, especially when considering the numerous beaches and lochs within, around, and close to Gairloch. Sands Wigwam features a concrete slipway where the boat can be launched on site.

This makes the wigwam an excellent prospect for settlement, especially if you want to enjoy fishing or water sports in Wester Ross. There is an adjoining farm on site, which is an excellent opportunity to meet and greet with Gairloch’s Highland cattle.

Address: Gairloch IV21 2DL, United Kingdom

11. Wester Ross

Located within the northwest Highlands, Wester Ross is full of dramatic geological past. It is shaped by glaciers, with its magnificent mountains rising from an ever-changing coastline surrounded by wave-battered cliffs and fjords stretching inland for miles. 

You will get to witness the wild, rough landscape through any of the recommended itineraries. To discover more about the area’s geology, you can visit Knockan Crag.

It will reveal the events that shaped the landscape at the visitor center and show you the resultant dramatic effects of two continents colliding at the Moine Thrust.

If you don’t get a fantastic view of the mountain in Scotland, you can go to the Torridon area. Enter the Deer Museum to discover some traits of wild red deer, and walk around Loch Torridon for an opportunity to witness the local birdlife and an otter.

There are extended stretches of sandy beach, salt marsh estuaries, and tranquil lochs puncturing the Wester Ross.

The scenic road is a lovely route from Achnahaird Bay to Achiltibuje, invariably a little community popularly known for its local art scene. Then, over windswept moorland.

If you want a great adventure in Gairloch, the Wester Ross is worth visiting.

Address: Lochalsh House Balmacara Kyle of Lochalsh IV40 8DN Scotland

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12. The Isle of Skye & Eilean Donan Castle

Numerous adventures are worth your spare time in Gairloch, SC. You will have an unforgettable experience on any of your day tours through some of the legendary sceneries of Scotland by reaching the iconic and spectacular Isle of Skye.

Here, you’ll discover the wonders of the Eilean Donan Castle and take a quick tour of Loch Ness before returning to Inverness.

Leaving the Inverness, you will take in the spectacular views over the Moray Firth as you are driving over the Bridge, invariably the first multi-cable-stayed Bridge in the United Kingdom and the largest of its kind in Europe.

This adventure will take you through incredible sceneries as you continue past Contin towards the Black Water area and via the fantastic Highland Landscape.

Then, pause at the amazing Kyle of Lochalsh and relax over a cup of tea, alongside great views of the Skye Bridge. 

Eilean Donan Castle is among Scotland’s most spectacular castles and a perfect area for hosting film and TV events.

It has such a beautiful landscape and scenery that you can’t afford to leave the area without taking some nice shots as something to remember. 

Address: Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh IV40 8DX, United Kingdom

13. Gruinard Bay

Are you looking to explore the many wonders in the small city of Gairloch? Have you ever considered touring around Gruinard Bay and its surrounding beaches of rocky coves and pink sands?

These features are just a few among the numerous fantastic features you will see in this bay.

With its three incredible pink sand beaches from the Torridon rocks, you will find Gruinard Bay a very enticing prospect to give you value for your time. You will see fantastic views over Island studded waters up to the Coigach Hills.

Another exciting feature of this place is its geological viewpoint and many strange stones, which you will find close to the rocks and shoreline.

With the beach, you will be assured of catching clear sceneries of An Teallach and the northern Highlands.

Address: Gruinard Bay, Ross-Shire, IV22 2NQ, United Kingdom

14. Solas Gallery

Solas Gallery is not a profit-driven gallery but an artist-led gallery center. Located in Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim, the Gallery initiative initially started between Leitrim County Council Arts Office and the Ballinamore Community Arts Group (BCAG).

Officially established on 20th July 2007, the Solas Gallery is financed by Leitrim County Council Arts Office and is wholly operated on a voluntary unpaid basis. The gallery looks to promote art genres to the general local areas. 

It is open to educating the public on art and creating an ideal exhibition room for both new and experienced artists, whether part-time or full-time.

Solas Gallery features a space of two huge adjoining rooms alongside white-washed walls and wooden floors and an additional two rooms up another stair.

There is also enough space for more significant events, extra installations, and artists’ workshops.

This gallery hosts about three group exhibitions yearly, including junior events and solo and joint solo events. It has a long event schedule, similar to twelve official openings.

You will also enjoy other of its memorable annual exhibitions like invited national or international artists to display their work, innovative art endeavors for National Drawing Day, and a host of exciting performance arts for Culture Night.

Ask those the frequent visitors of the Solas Gallery, and you will be shocked at how interesting it is.

Address: Flowerdale Bay, Gairloch IV21 2BD, United Kingdom

15. Loch Maree

If you are looking for a fun place to spend a memorable weekend in Gairloch, we recommend you try Loch Maree.

Here, you will get hosts of about forty or over islands carrying the closest thing to natural woodland you will find in Britain, invariably a part of the principal Caledonian Pine Forest.

This area is known for its wet climate, which has significantly led to the blanket bog occupying the damp hollows, where stunted pines seldom occur.

You will find black-throated divers that utilize the calmness of one of Britain’s least polluted freshwater lochs to breed here.

Address: Ten Miles Northwest of Kinlochewe, off the A832

16. Victoria Falls

Lying on the southern area of Loch Maree in Wester Ross within the northwest area of Scotland, Victoria Falls is one of Gairloch and Scotland’s most spectacular attraction points.

This fall is named in honor of Queen Victoria, who visited in 1877.

It is worth your time and vacation, as you will witness this fantastic fall seated on a short river flowing from Loch Garbhaig to Loch Maree, otherwise known as Abhainn Garbhaig.

The falls are located inside Slattadale Forest, which the Forestry Commission owns. 

You will have to pass through the car park to get a clearer and closer view. Meanwhile, you will be surprised to discover that the water that rushes down the falls comes from Benin Eighe, impressive mountains to the south area of the loch.

Through the short, broad, vital surfaced route, you can explore and discover veiled sceneries of the waterfall from the viewing area.

The path continues towards a steeper way upstream, featuring more views of the falls and above Loch Maree, then loop back to the vehicle park.

Address: Achnasheen IV22 2HW, United Kingdom

17. Flowerdale Waterfall

Few falls in the United Kingdom can rival the spectacular views that the Flowerdale waterfalls offer, even though it is a range of low-volume cascades close to Charlestown/Gairloch within the northwest of Scotland (United Kingdom).

When you drive towards the A832 on the west coast of Scotland, you will find a little community called Gairloch, which is home to Charlestown, wherein the Flowerdale houses are situated.

You can begin your tour of the Flowerdale waterfalls from this flower house to explore its wonders.

Meanwhile, the tour will not take you past 30 minutes. In other words, the fall lies just 2 kilometers away.

Eas Dubh and Easan Bana Waterfalls are two of the various incredible Flowerdale falls. Climb up to the peak and view some of the fantastic views of the city.

Address: Charlestown/Gairloch, Highland, Scotland, United Kingdom

18. Climb Ride Explore

You must have heard about Climb Ride Explore and wondered why it is called that.

Well, it is worth the name, as it is a small independent outlet that primarily focuses on giving its visitors the entertainment they seek. It features a uniquely broad range of activities for all ages.

Its entertaining features include outdoor activities along the NC500, such as Coasteering, Canyoning, Paddleboarding, Hill Walking, and Mountain Biking.

If you are not a fan of any of the above, the Climb Ride Explore has made provisions for other unique activities that will have you book another holiday in Gairloch.

There are exhibitions ideal for families, couples, and groups and based much of its activities around Gairloch and nearby Torridon and Dundonnell.

You’ll also find relaxed SUP within the Gairloch coastline and exhilarating Coasteering moments or Canyoning experiences.

Address: Pier Road, Gairloch IV21 2BY, United Kingdom

19. Latitude 57

Apart from incredible attraction centers and spectacular exhibitions and tours, if you are a shopping enthusiast, you wouldn’t want to miss out on Latitude 57.

It is a perfect place for you to get many kinds of items. On your visit to Gairloch, you can stop by this unique gift shop to get a present or souvenir for your loved ones.

Established in 2015, Latitude 57 is a nautically-focused gift store that features gift collections, décor, and several locally-made art and crafts with a nautical flair.

This shop is located in the center of Badachro, a seaside community on the Northwest coast of Scotland, only 3 miles from the North Coast 500.

The shop initially began with the direct purpose of providing the best of all nautical in one place.

It moved on towards putting together extensive collections of items with a common theme: the sea. Meanwhile, the CEO and manager of the Latitude 57 is Meredith Adam, born in America.

She was an ex-sailor and passionate about the sea. Married to a local, she has resided in Scotland for over 25 years. She and her family lived and worked in the picturesque community of Badachro on the Northwest coast of Scotland.

To cut everything short, only a day’s visit to this fantastic gift shop will reveal all you need to know about Gairloch and its wonders.

Address: Badachro House, Badachro, Gairloch IV21 2AA, United Kingdom

20. Gairloch Sitooterie

About seven years ago, the local populates chose to raise funds to solve a hopelessly overgrown wasteland in the locality.

And since then, it has developed into an unbelievable area. Situated on Pier Road, Gairloch Sitooterie is a picnic center in Scotland near Gairloch Post Office.

As we mentioned, the establishment has gone on from the initial litter-strewn gorse edifice at about two meters high to incredible panoramic scenery from the roadside.

It is an impossible garden, lacking shade and the sea often lashing its very edge.

However, it was initially not supposed to be a garden but rather a Sit-oot center for residents and guests worldwide to enjoy.

Thanks to the village’s extraordinary efforts, the Gairloch Sitooterie has been transformed into an attractive, colorful, spectacular garden that blooms beautiful flowers throughout the year.

Address: Pier Road, 2BQ, Gairloch, United Kingdom

21. Glenelg, Plockton & Applecross

Glenelg, Plockton & Applecross is a little locally owned tour business that has shown interest and invested in a potential revealed by its driver, Billy Mackenzie.

He has proven to be a welcoming and kind personality who truly cares about his customers and will do all it takes to ensure they have fun and unforgettable memories on their trips.

Located within the stunning Inverness City, the Glenelg, Plockton, & Applecross allow you to partake in any of its pre-scheduled trips to explore some of the wonders and encounters that the city of Gairloch offers.

The trip now offers A Day trip revealing several stunning views and incredible landscapes of the Highlands. There is an 8-seater car that will take you to experience everything the institution promises to offer its customers.

The Glenelg, Plockton & Applecross are just a call away if you want to go on a Private Tour. You will find it all fun as long as this place is concerned.

Address: Highland House of Fraser, 4 to 9 Huntly Street, Inverness IV3 5PR, United Kingdom