Thurso is a delightful small town in the far north of the Scottish Highlands.
There are lots of shops and nice places to eat in the area. There aren't many places this far north where you can stop off for provisions so Thurso really is ideal for that. The beach is a major attraction, soft sand and beautiful views with a walk that can be followed around Victoria Walk. Look out for the heritage walk signs around town, which takes around 1.5 hours. Plenty of places to eat/drink and places to pick up presents/souvenirs. Surfers and kayaks descend on the area in the summer months.
Scottish Citylink offers a relatively frequent service to Thurso from Inverness and stopping at most of the small towns and villages along the A9. If you book ahead on-line at the website instead of buying directly from the driver, you can save about £15.00 from your ticket!
Thurso is at the northern end of the Far North mainline which runs from Inverness and splits into two branches, one going to Thurso and the other going to Wick. The train station is located a very short walk west of the town centre.
You can explore the town on foot; quite small.
Follow Saint George's St south to where it turns into the A9. Not many good spots to stop along the road and drivers are mostly wealthy, elderly couples or caravan tourists who don't like picking up hitchhikers. Still though, quite a few great locals and it's worth a shot, just be prepared for a long wait and bad weather.
- Caithness Horizons (Thurso Heritage Centre), Old Town Hall, . Mo-Sa 10:00-18:00, Su 11:00-16:00. A lovely little museum with lots of information and displays focussed on Thurso and its surroundings. Viking remains, details of the nuclear plant in Dounreay, wildlife, culture, town history and many other topics are all covered. The museum has now closed as of 2019, however tourist information is still available through the shop next door, Eye Candy. Free. edit
Hike to Holburn Head
Holburn Head, Thurso, Scotland
: There's a lovely hike to get a good sense of the North Coast with views of the Orkney Islands and Dunnet Head in the distance. There's no real trail head, all you must do is start at the esplanade / beach in Thurso and follow the coastline west to the harbour and then walk along the tarmac road to the gate by the Scrabster Lighthouse. Then, just follow the marked path from the gate. The entire hike cuts across some rocky shale formations, headlands, pebble beaches, the Scrabster Harbour, and a few pastures. For some more dramatic cliffs, sea stacks, and geological formations, keep heading west from Holburn Head
GO SURFING. Surfers descend on the area in the summer months
- go surfing. Surfers descend on the area in the summer months edit
Thurso has a variety of major supermarkets, in addition to various newsagents.
- Lidl- Castlegreen Rd, Thurso KW14 7LS. Across from the Thurso Bay Camping and Caravan site. Good for= Fresh Veg, going in for milk and leaving with a trombone.
- Tesco- Millbank Rd, Thurso KW14 8PS. On the main road in and out of Thurso. Careful at the lights, they seem to have a mind of their own and so the junction is bedlam at around 4:20pm in the afternoon. Otherwise you are ok. Good for= being able to find what you actually wanted.
- Co-op- Meadow Ln, Thurso KW14 8ER. Beside the Y-Not. Good for= self-serve checkouts, having a good selection of alcohol on offer.
- Y Not Bar & Grill, Meadow Ln, Thurso KW14 8ER. 8am-1am. Bar and restaurant in the middle of town, food is served between 8am to 9pm. Typical pub fare, slightly more upmarket than it used to be. There is live music played on the weekends. mains £8-14. edit
- Skinandi's, Sir George's Street, KW14 7AW, . 22:30-late. Thurso's only nightclub and it's a nice enough place. Two dance floors, not unreasonable prices for drinks, hot food snack bar, free cloakroom. Music's standard UK nightclub fare. It's also used for live music. £8 entry. edit
- Top Joe's, 16 Traill St, Thurso KW14 8EJ. 11:00-00:00. A catch all watering hole good for groups, watching sports, playing pool and general craic. Pool table, smoking area, variety of TV screens, jukebox and usual selection of drinks. edit
- Commercial Bar, 1 Princes Street (0.32 km) KW14 7B Thurso, Highland. 11:00-00:00. Known locally as 'the Comm'. A cosy, wood panelled, open fire establishment. Pool Table, smoking area/'beer garden'. Popular on Wednesday Nights due to a Free Local Folk Band playing. Well recommended. For those inclined, is also a Pokemon stop. edit
- The Grove Lounge, Meadow Ln, Thurso KW14 8ER. 11:00-00:00. Lounge attached to the Y-No restaurant/inn. A long, thin and oddly cosy hideout. Pool table, jukebox, one TV and usual selection of drinks. edit
- Mr C's Bar, Mr C's Bar, Traill St, Thurso KW14 8EG. 11:00-00:00. Is it a night club? Is it a cocktail bar? Why are there blinds? Go for the cocktail, stay to wonder at the decor and blinds. Pool Table, occasional live gigs/DJ nights, blinds and usual selection of drinks. edit
- Sandra's Backpackers Hostel, 24/26 Princes St, ☎ +44 1847 894575, . One of two backpackers places in town. Beds from £16 per night, rooms from £34. Prices include breakfast. Hot showers, free internet. Reception is the chip shop underneath! edit
- Thurso Hostel, Ormlie Rd, KW14 7DP (Directly opposite train station), ☎ +44 1847 896888. edit
- Thurso Bay Caravan & Camping Park, Scrabster Rd, Thurso, ☎ +44 1847 892244. editThe camp ground has an excellent, if potentially windy, location overlooking the Bay to the Islands of Orkney. Facilities include a cafe/restaurant, lounge, TV, hot showers and a laundry, with a clothesline.
If you are staying at the Thurso Bay Caravan & Camping Park, Wi-Fi is available in the Park's cafe and lounge.
Thurso has a suffered a reputation of high unemployment rates and problems with drugs, but incidents are few and far between. Tourist areas are well lit at night and often busy so no need to worry about wandering at night. Much like any town, take the same precautions as you would anywhere else; lock your car if you aren't in it. Common sense should prevail.
Thurso is only a couple of miles from Scrabster, which is the ferry terminal for a route to Stromness on one of the Orkney Islands. The trip takes about an hour and a half and passes by the Old Man of Hoy.