As featured in Lonely Planet's Best of Travel 2024, Far North Scotland. Read more
Staying in Brora means placing yourself at the heart of what a Highland holiday is all about! Explore the local village and surroundings, seek out its many activities and attractions and enjoy relaxing in the warmth of Highland hospitality that leaves you with nothing to worry about.
Our Heritage Map will help you discover sites to visit in and around Brora and is available to download as an app so you can take your pocket-ready guide with you along the way.
As you look to plan your trip to the Scottish Highlands, or if you are already here, we would encourage you to be a responsible visitor and respect our locals, landscape, history and wildlife for the benefit of all.
The name Brora is derived from ancient Norse meaning ‘river with a bridge' and the Brora River is still a key feature of the village today. Walks along its banks will show a wealth of wildlife, including otters, flora and fauna, and the famous salmon fishing which hooks visitors back year after year.
The clock tower of Brora is one of its most memorable features and it was unveiled on December 25th 1922 as a memorial to fallen soldiers lost in the Great War. Alongside the clock tower is the bridge crossing the River Brora which makes an excellent spot to admire both the clock tower and the river.
Just down from the bridge is Brora Harbour which is home to many of the local fishing boats and a healthy population of wild ducks. Be sure to enjoy a stroll by this traditional harbour and even enjoy a fish supper or ice cream while watching the waves crash in.
Brora is lucky to have two excellent beaches with very different characteristics. The beach north of the harbour is a long wide stretch of open sand, ready for swimming, sandcastles and kite flying. The beach south of the harbour has long rocky stretches of pools perfect for rock-pooling, exploring and seal watching.
Dolphins and other sea life such as harbour porpoises are often spotted in the bay and the beaches themselves play host to a wide variety of birdlife including gulls, cormorants, waders and the Arctic Tern, also known as Sea Swallow, which visits each summer.
There is excellent surfing at the harbour mouth when conditions are right and, although this stops the local fishermen from being able to exit the harbour, surfers can enjoy waves of up to 10ft in the bracing North Sea.
To the north of the harbour, and right next to the beach, lies the famous Brora Golf Course established in 1891. The current eighteen-hole course was designed by James Braid and is a favourite of locals, UK visitors and international visitors alike. Unique to Brora Golf Course is its crofters grazing rights which means you may get to enjoy playing alongside some local Highland Cows as you line up that perfect shot.
Another favourite world over is the newly renovated Clynelish Distillery and Visitor Centre which offers tasting tours of world-famous malts and insight into this distillery’s unique and fascinating history. Truly an iconic part of the Brora experience.
Brora Heritage Centre is the perfect place to learn more about both the history and heritage of the village and area with friendly volunteers and excellent exhibits. Discover why Brora was known as ‘the Electric City’, how the Highland Clearances affected life in the area, the importance of coal-mining and quarrying and much more.
The Brora Village Trail is a historic trail suitable for all ages which takes you through the village, showcasing the local buildings and sites and explaining more about their history. You can collect a leaflet of the trail from the Brora Heritage Centre or download the leaflet online.
Brora Y Station is a set of small unobtrusive buildings just south of the harbour along the coastal path. This Y station was in operation from 1940 until 1986; collecting information for analysts at Bletchley Park during the Second World War and then functioning as a Cold War monitoring station until its closure.
The Brora Coalfield was the only Jurassic coal mine in Scotland during its operation from 1811 until 1977. It is not possible to view or visit the coal pits but the coal reserves remaining are safeguarded so the site will remain for many years to come.
The John O’Groats Coastal Trail passes right through the village, taking in the beaches, golf course, bridge and harbour as it winds its way along the east coast of Sutherland and Caithness. The full trail is 147 miles and it can be walked in stages or all in one go.
Blue Highlands Raptor Rescue Centre is dedicated to the rescue and recovery of all bird species and it may be possible to visit the centre if you contact them. The team also sometimes provides local talks to educate residents and visitors about bird protection.
Fishing is a popular sport in Brora with sea angling available along with loch fishing and salmon and trout fishing in the river. For a loch permit you should contact Old Cunningham’s Newsagents in Brora, and for enquiries about Salmon and Trout permits you should contact Sutherland Estates.
Horse riding is available through local stables both within Brora and further afield and is the perfect way to take in the scenery and wildlife at a slower, or faster, pace. Suitable for all ages and abilities, you will be in safe hands with the knowledge of our local experts.
Watersports such as stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing are popular in Brora due to its great range of locations with the sea, the loch and the river. There are several local companies, both within Brora and the local area which offer rental services, lessons or guided trips for a variety of watercraft and locations.
Wild swimming is popular both at Brora beach and the nearby Loch Brora. Enjoy the unspoilt peace and scenery as you relax or challenge yourself to keep up with the local wildlife, such as dolphins or seals, who may pop up for a visit.
Cinn Trolla Broch is the remains of an Iron Age dwelling site also known as Kintradwell Broch. These round towers would have housed communities and kept them safe from the elements as well as enemies. Finds from excavations of the broch are available to view at Dunrobin Museum.
The Wolf Stone, alongside the A9 as you head towards Lothbeg, marks the place where supposedly the last wolf in Sutherland was killed.
Crakaig Beach is a stunning beach just off the A9 by the same-named campsite. The southern end of the beach, behind the rocks, is Scotland’s only designated naturist beach, and the north end of the beach sprawls in a wide sandy bay perfect for walking and swimming.
The remains of a Chain Home Radar Station can be seen at Loth. These early warning radar stations were built before and during World War II as part of North Sea military operations.
Glen Loth is a beautifully scenic glen perfect for a slow adventure to Helmsdale whether by cycling or by car, but please note this route is not suitable for large vehicles. You’ll pass several sites of archaeological interest along the way such as standing stones and ancient dwellings.
The River Brora ford is situated at the Doll and consists of a footbridge crossing the river and a rough stone bed for cars through the river. Please take extreme care if using a vehicle to cross the ford and only attempt this in very low water.
Sputie Burn is a picturesque waterfall and pool just south of Brora which can be viewed on the walking route from Brora to Golspie. A low cave known as the Hermit’s Cave is very near the burn.
Carn Liath Broch is a well-preserved Iron Age broch sited just next to the A9 as you are travelling to Golspie. Interpretation boards at the site provide information on how these ancient dwellings may have been inhabited and used.
Dunrobin Castle and Gardens is a stunning stately home belonging to the Sutherland family and open for visitors from April till October each year. As well as beautifully appointed rooms and gardens there is a falconry show twice daily and a family museum containing rare and interesting artefacts.
Highland Wildcat Trails are a set of mountain bike trails on the hill of Ben Bhraggie containing the longest descent in the UK, from 1300ft to sea level. Local bike hire is available for those wishing to try out the trails or other local cycling.
Strath Brora takes you on a quiet picturesque journey Brora to Golspie avoiding the main A9 route and with beautiful scenery along the way. Look out for deer dotted among the hills and enjoy the local flora and fauna. Continue on through Dunrobin Glen to reach Golspie village.
Loch Brora sits in Strath Brora and is the hidden gem of the area, perfect for fishing, watersports and wildlife spotting. In winter it may even be possible to see golden eagles near the loch although this is rare.
Gordonbush Estate manages fishing and field sports on their land, including the Upper Brora and Blackwater rivers.
Balnacoil Falls are a set of falls on the land of Gordonbush Estate but accessible on foot for walkers alongside the river. Take care to observe the Scottish Outdoor Access Code when walking in Scotland.
Annual events in or around Brora:
North of Brora is the area of Helmsdale
South of Brora is the area of Golspie
East of Brora is the area of Rogart
The village of Brora is situated directly on the A9 route from Inverness to the north as is a perfect place to stay for your trip to Caithness and Sutherland with excellent road and transport links around the area.
There is plenty of parking available in the centre of Brora making it a great choice to stop and explore on foot. Discover the many excellent local shops, cafes and restaurants and enjoy strolling along the beautiful harbour and beach areas.
Brora has a wide variety of local cafes, restaurants and takeaways all within easy walking distance of a nearby car park, if not directly beside them. It is best to book in advance for lunches and evening meals to avoid disappointment but no need to book at the excellent local ice cream shop to enjoy a tasty dessert. View our Restaurants and Bars listings for more ideas.
Whether you are looking to stay in a luxurious hotel, a friendly B&B or a delightful self-catering option there is plenty available in Brora to suit all tastes and budgets. Consider booking for several nights to make the most of your stay and enjoy exploring the local area thoroughly. Search our Accommodation listings for ideas.
Brora is well-known for its excellent local shopping which boasts a huge variety of local crafters, artists, makers and specialists. If you are looking for something unique to remind you of your trip to the Highlands you will find it in Brora. Check out our Local Shopping listings for some ideas of what you will find in the area.
Brora has a variety of local facilities in addition to its visitor sites and attractions. These include: a bowling green, tennis facilities, a football stadium, health centre, public toilets, fuel stations and vehicle repairs.
Brora is well-connected to local transport links and is situated directly on the A9 single carriageway which is the main road and trunk route for the North of Scotland.
Brora has its own railway station located next to the town centre and within easy walking distance of most local accommodation and food establishments. The station is no longer staffed but travel advice and tickets for the Far North Line are available via the ScotRail website.
Brora is served by several public bus routes which offer travel to various areas of Caithness, Sutherland and further south. Timetables for these are available online or in paper copy at the bus stops in the village.
> Route X99 Inverness - Scrabster
> Route X25 Tain - Brora
> Route 62 Tain - Helmsdale
Follow the main A9 route north of Inverness for approximately 65 minutes and you will arrive in the village of Brora. Brora has fuel stations available in the village, one of which is open 24 hours by card payment. There are several electric vehicle charging points in the main village carpark and a lorry carpark next to the village centre suitable for large vehicles.
It is possible to travel from Brora to the North Coast by taking the A897 junction at Helmsdale. And it is possible to reach the West Coast by travelling south from Brora and taking the A839 junction just south of Golspie.
It couldn't be easier to get around Brora as the village is well-suited to arrival by public transport or parking your vehicle and exploring on cycle or foot. Take it slow and enjoy meeting the locals as you browse in local shops and eat out at one of the many great establishments.
If you are travelling by public transport there is the option to explore a variety of different areas outwith Brora by rail or bus, and there are local taxis available for closer excursions. If you choose to rent a car for the duration of your stay please consider choosing an electric vehicle to minimise your impact on the environment.
WalkHighlands is an excellent site listing walks around Brora for you to explore.
Huli will create unique cycle routes tailored to you for Brora.
If you are looking to learn more about Brora then these are some of the local groups in the area: