Dornoch Castle Hotel

This past week, we had an amazing few days in Dornoch, Scotland to meet the team at Royal Dornoch Golf Links and to get reference photos for the next few paintings. The course is absolutely incredible. You can read more about our experience at the course here. And while we knew the course would be fantastic, we were pleasantly surprised on how charming the town is, specifically the Dornoch Castle Hotel, where we stayed.

The castle most likely dates back to the early 13th century, as the site of the original Bishop’s Palace of St. Gilbert. The earliest surviving evidence dates it to 1557 as the castle was appointed to the Earl of Sutherland. The building became a hotel in 1947. While the building has been modernized, one of the reasons we loved our stay so much was the historical character and charm that was kept.

Once you walk through the first floor, grab a pint and head to the Beer Garden outside. This was our first chance to relax on the trip, and the surrounding views of the castle are relaxing. We could have spent a few hours here but decided to walk the town before dinner.

The first night we ate at their restaurant “Grant MacNicol at the Castle” which is located on the first floor next to the beer garden. For a starter, we chose the chicken terrine. For the main meal, I chose the venison (forgot to grab a photo, but would recommend) and my husband the fish of the day. Would HIGHLY recommend ending the meal with the sticky toffee pudding. Best I’ve had yet.

Each morning, we had the restaurant’s breakfast that included coffee, juices, cereals and muffins. We opted for the full Scottish breakfast and started each day full and happy.

We explored the village for snacks and dinner the second night. The entire village is walkable, and most places to stay in Dornoch are walking distance to the Royal Dornoch Golf Course. The cathedral in town is also available for touring, but we didn’t manage to fit it in this trip. You can also find a small museum to go further into the history of the town. We found a charming bookstore and grabbed a dragon book for our 3 year old.

While the highlight of our trip to Dornoch was visiting Royal Dornoch Golf Links, the village was a nice surprise and would be a great destination for family members that wouldn’t necessarily enjoy the golfing aspect.

Read more here to learn about Royal Dornoch Golf Links. We managed to capture a phenomenal sunrise for the next few Royal Dornoch paintings. I can’t wait to get back into the studio to start painting, but we are already planning our next visit to Dornoch!

Follow the studios on Instagram to see the painting progress.

And thanks for following along!