Things to Do in Wick, UK

Located in Caithness, in the north of the Scottish Highlands, Wick has so many wonderful attractions. It is just over a 20-minute drive south of John O’Groats and over a 2-hour drive north of Inverness.

There are several things to do and sites of interest in Wick that you will love to explore.

Wick’s surroundings present a wide selection of wildlife, historic ruins, and beautiful white scenic beaches.

No matter how long you stay in Wick, it is easy to find plenty of things to do. Wick is renowned for the remains of the Castle of Old Wick, the Wick Heritage Museum, and Castle Sinclair Girnigore, to name a few.

Let’s explore all the must-see places and things to do in Wick.

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe

It is undoubtedly one of Wick’s most amazing attractions, with a wild and windswept coastline. Castle Sinclair Girnigoe is a complex of ruined stone structures offering a fascinating historic site.

The magnificently imposing castle is an enjoyable half-mile walk from the parking area.

As you approach the castle, look at the inlets that cut into the cliffs to catch the glorious haven for seabirds.

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe in Wick as seen from above

Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archives

Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archive is an astonishing visitor centre. It is based at Wick Airport and home to the county of Caithness historical archives and the UK civil nuclear industry archives.

The archives date back over seventy years. They include documents, photographs, maps, film, charters, drawings, and plans.

If you are interested in tracing your Caithness ancestors or discovering the history of your house, then this would be a place to start!

You can learn about the Cold War, atomic bombs, and Wick’s role in assembling intelligence on atomic sites.

There is a reading room for Caithness archives and an exhibition space at the front of the building.

Nucleus, the Nuclear and Caithness Archives, owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA)

Nucleus, the Nuclear and Caithness Archives, owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). This file is licensed under the United Kingdom Open Government Licence v3.0.

Castle of Old Wick

Nicknamed by some as ‘The Old Man of Wick,’ the remains of the Castle of Old Wick are still the centre of Wick’s oldest history. Plan your visit to this Scotland’s oldest castles to experience spectacular scenery and coastlines.

It is a gentle uphill stroll from the south side of Wick towards the coastal parking area near South Head. The castle is in view, but you realize just how spectacular its location is once you get past the gate and guard post.

The dramatic ruins sit about half a mile south of Wick Bay and the River Wick, atop the edge of the cliffs. See the ruins project into the North Sea, between twin narrow, deep gullies.

Aside from the scenery, you can still get a wonderful view of wildlife and feel what the castle was like in its heyday.

Old man of Wick, Scotland

Castle and Gardens of Mey

The Castle and Gardens of Mey create a sense of wonder as you explore the site. Enjoy your visit to this magnificent royal retreat.

See the attractive interior rooms of the late Queen Mother’s Scottish residence.

The castle is fascinatingly decorated and built. It has historical markers and informative guides to lead the way. Walk around and notice the domestic, homey atmosphere of the castle’s interior.

Look at the portraits of historic owners of the castle in the front hall and the Wellington boots the Queen Mother wore. Continue your adventure to the impressive gardens, which feature incredible plants and flowers.

There is also an interactive animal centre for the whole family to enjoy. Visitors can have safe and supervised contact with some farm animals.

Castle and Gardens of Mey

The Wick Heritage Centre

One for history lovers, the Wick Heritage Centre is a fantastic place worth visiting. It’s an ideal place to learn about the story of Wick town.

Stop by the Wick Heritage Centre near Wick harbour, then explore the local history museum. This place looks rather small outside, but you’ll notice how big it is once you are inside.

See exhibits of the town’s fishing heritage, traditional housing recreations, Caithness glass displays, and more. See some traditional ‘Caithness Chair,’ known for its incomplete seat.

Explore further and notice some extraordinarily beautiful Johnston Photographic Collection of 115 years. They are made from glass plates. Some say they have undoubtedly high value since they had to be painstakingly created in a dark room.

The Wick Heritage Centre

Nybster Broch

Add Nybster Broch to your list of things to do in Wick. This is one of the most breathtaking Iron Age settlements in North Scotland. It is also situated along the coastline, making it a magical place to explore.

Walk along the cliffs on the seaward side and enjoy the view of seabirds and dolphins bounding through the Scottish waters. As you get closer to Nybster Broch, observe the complex interlinked stone buildings.

You notice the round, thick walls of Nybster Broch and the passages connecting the buildings. Be amazed at the clear outline of the construction and layout. The broch has a wall thickness of roughly 14 feet, with an internal diameter of 23 feet.

Nybster Broch in Wick

Pulteney Distillery Visitor Centre

When you visit Wick, you should stop by the Pulteney Distillery visitor centre. It is far north of Scotland and a short walk from Wick Harbour.

Whisky is the very essence of this remarkable location. You can relish some of the best Single Malt Scotch Whisky made using traditional methods. Capture the unique character of this stunning landscape with the hand-selected oak casks.

Take a tour to discover the craftsmanship firsthand of Old Pulteney whisky production. You get the opportunity to enjoy a wee tasting and discover the taste of the award-winning whisky. Head to the visitor centre for a full range of souvenirs and a bottle to take home.

Pulteney Distillery - drinking whisky from a glass

Whaligoe Steps

If you love a thrilling walk, take the 365 Whaligoe Steps and descend to a naturally formed harbour. The steps are surrounded on three sides by sheer cliffs about 250 feet.

The descent into Whaligoe is a beautiful one. There is a low stone wall on the seaward side of the steps.

Enjoy the view of the seabird nests on the cliff sides and the thick wildflower coating of the surroundings. You can also see the ocean crashing against the sea stacks.

Down the steps is a building ruin once used to store salt, and when you go further down, there is a rocky cave known as the Neist.

A trip down the steps and the slog back up is an experience worth having!

Whaligoe Steps in Wick Scotland

Lyth Arts Centre

Plan your visit to the Lyth Arts Centre (LAC) if you like arts, exhibitions, or performances. It is housed in an attractive old building surrounded by ancient stone walls and trees.

Have a beautiful surprise in a stunning setting with wonderful music facilities. The interior has been imaginatively laid out into a dynamic multipurpose arts centre.

You get to watch their program of live performances, including comedy, circus, theatre, world music, dance, and much more.

The Arts Centre also features a cafe area and an accommodation annexe for performers and artists.

Duncansby Head

Do not miss out on Duncansby Head, located on the northeastern tip of the Scottish mainland. You’ll love seeing the untouched nature at its finest.

Enjoy superb coastal walks and admire the views from the headland to Skirza village. See huge colonies of seabirds and take beautiful photos. Experience more inspiring seascape views on the cliffs. Then further explore Duncansby Stacks, rock clefts, and caves.

Notice the pyramid shapes of the stacks, with heights of up to 197 feet. Real delight lies at the edge of the head is Duncansby Head Lighthouse, which offers a superb view.

Gaze in the far north across the ocean and spot the Pentland Skerries islands’ Orkney archipelago and lighthouse.

This is a fantastic site to carry your snacks and enjoy a picnic during warmer months. It is also best to put on comfortable clothes and walking shoes.

Duncansby Head Wick in Scotland

Caithness Seacoast Ltd

Have a wonderful sea tour to the East Caithness coastline starting from Wick Harbour. See beautiful castles, fascinating natural caves and stacks as you move along.

Be marvelled by the natural arches, harbours, and lighthouses visible among the cliffs.

Do not forget your camera as you witness close-up views of marine wildlife and seasonal birds. Occasionally spot seals, puffins, dolphins, and whales from the deep waters.

You will need warmer clothes and suitable footwear. Life jackets are provided and must be worn throughout.

Gorgeous Wick with dramatic scenery

Ebenezer Place

Ebenezer Place is an attraction you don’t want to miss when visiting the former Viking settlement of Wick, Scotland. See the world’s shortest street, positioned between Union Street and River Street.

It has a building that measures just 6 feet 9 inches long, the MacKays Hotel.

This award-winning hotel in the Wick town centre is a wonderful oddity, perfect for a fun stay. Slip down one of the East End’s, and you’ll soon discover superb quality dinner with local produce.

Don’t miss the indie boutiques to purchase some of the greatest Scottish souvenirs.

Ebenezer Place in Wick Scotland

Ebenezer Place, the world’s shortest street in Wick, Scotland, CC Noudbijvoet. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Sinclair’s Bay

Sinclair’s Bay is a must-see for people who like dramatic and natural sceneries. It is a stunning white sanded paradise with castles from the 6th century at both bays’ ends. This fascinating tourist site is locally known as Reiss Beach.

The long stretch of the white sands to the North Sea alongside the azure waters is breathtaking. Observe the southern beachside, which is protected from the wind, with high cliffs and dunes.

Enjoy activities such as windsurfing and sand-yachting on Sinclair Bay. Explore the beautiful, scenic beach and encounter wildlife along the way, including seabirds.

Spot marine life, including seals, puffins, and occasionally orcas. And during summer, experience the wonderful light of the sun that does not set until almost midnight.

If you have a dog, there are no restrictions on dog walking at any time of year.

Sinclair's Bay Wick Scotland

John O’ Groats Ferries

John O’Groats Ferries is one of the top things to do in Wick. It is a good way to experience the beautiful Orkney Islands in just a day.

With about 40 minutes of ferry sailing across the famous Pentland Firth, you’ll soon enjoy these spectacular islands.

See the Kirkwall with its magnificent cathedral of St Magnus, Church hill Barriers, Italian Chapel, Scapa Flow, Skara Brae (Stone Age village), Ring of Brodgar, standing stones, and Stromness.

Try a day tour and enjoy seeing various marine mammals and seabirds. Use a passenger ferry to visit Orkney on foot or by bicycle.

John O' Groats Ferries

North Coast 500 Alpacas

If you love animals, then you will want to enjoy the alpaca experience in Wick. Visit alpacas, which is only 5 miles from the North Coast 500 route.

Start your adventure with a brief history of Alpacas to learn a little about these calm and unusual animals. Move to the corral area and get a unique experience by meeting, petting, and interacting with them.

Many also come from nearby towns to enjoy a walk along the nearby beautiful coastline. Do not forget your camera for a great photo opportunity with the gentle animals.

Cute baby alpacas

Grey Cairns of Camster

The cairns are quite unusual and are built in a low area, hollow land near the River Wick source. It is an open tourist attraction, standing among two of the oldest stone monuments in Scotland.

See the pair of cairns, originally built more than 5,000 years ago. They are entirely unique in appearance, one being round and the other long.

Follow a wooden boarded trail from the roadside parking to the round cairn. Tread the marshy ground to an entrance protected by an iron gate.

You will love the superb location. On a grey, overcast day, it feels like you’ve stepped back in time to the evocative history. From the round cairn, walk further to the long cairn and then back to the road.

Notice that the round cairn has a single chamber with three compartments, and the long cairn has two internal chambers.

Grey Cairns of Camster

Where to stay in Wick

Mackays Hotel

In Wick, in the beautiful area of Caithness in the Northern Highlands, Mackays offers award-winning service and fine food in No1 Bistro, as well as free Wi-Fi and parking. Built in 1883, Hotel is regularly updated, combining attractive period features with simple, stylish touches for a relaxed atmosphere. Book Mackays Hotel.

Harbour View Apartment Wick

Harbour View Apartment Wick provides accommodation set in Wick, just 350 yards from Wick. The property, housed in a building dating from 19th century, is 6.8 miles from Sinclair’s Bay and 19.9 miles from The Castle Gardens of Mey. Book Harbour View Apartment Wick

Wick Caithness Holiday Home

Wick Caithness Holiday Home features accommodation in Wick with free WiFi and garden views. The holiday home has 4 bedrooms and a fully equipped kitchen. Book Wick Caithness Holiday Home

Beautiful lighthouse in Wick Scotland

With so many lovely things to do in Wick, you can see why visitors from the NC500 take time to stop here to enjoy how naturally diverse it is. With dramatic scenery, ancient ruins, great walks along the Wick river and superb castles to be admired, Wick is a great place to visit in Scotland.

Love Scotland? Why not check out our guide to Edinburgh, where to stay in Edinburgh and things to do in Ullapool.

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory Varga is a licensed travel agent and published travel writer. Her main expertise is writing about Japan, where she happily lives with her husband.
Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan and wants to share more about the local customs with the rest of the world.
While Cory has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries, Japan remains her favorite place to live and write about. Cory is multilingual.


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