AboutBritain.com Logo

Things to do in John O' Groats, Highland

Hotel and Famous Mileage Post used for Photographs © James E Craig

If you thought John o'Groats was the northernmost point of Scotland, you are in for a shock. It isn't!

However, it is the furthest distance between two points on the British mainland, the other point being Land's End in Cornwall, 876 miles away.

It is this unique fact that brings many curious visitors to John o'Groats; the end of the road for many, and the start of an adventure for others.

Located in the Highlands area of Caithness it was named after Jan de Groot who arrived in the area in 1496 with his two brothers.

He was commissioned by King James IV to establish a ferry between Scotland's mainland and the isle of Orkney.

Although de Groot charged his passengers a groat (coin) as the fare, the coin has no connection with his name. It was in circulation long before de Groot arrived and set up in business. However, he was responsible for the founding of John o'Groats by building himself an octagonal house and developing the harbour.

De Groot continues to live on, not just in the town's name. His gravestone is on display in the Canisbay Kirk, a small church two miles west of the village.

Present Day John o'Groats

Despite its claim to fame, John o'Groats is a relatively small highland village surrounded by rural farmland which runs down to the coast. Although the main economic activity is farming and crofting, there is a small harbour which is used by fishermen for lobster and crab fishing.

It remains relatively unspoilt and uncommercialized and is the ideal place to spend time if you are looking for a remote location surrounded by wildlife. The small community has a Post Office, ferry office, museum, grocery store, the Journey's End Café and Bar, a church, woollen mill and a modern Tourist Information Centre.

There is also a craft village selling genuine handcrafted items which make great souvenirs of your visit. Purchases all help support the local craft industries which produce hand-knitted sweaters and clothing, candles, pottery and artworks.

Things to Do in John o'Groats

Take the passenger ferry which runs from John o'Groats to Orkney, in the wake of the original ferryman, Jan de Groot! It makes a great day out and you can include a guided wildlife tour.

Those wanting to travel 21st century-style can book an exhilarating ride aboard a high speed jet boat which visits Stoma and the Stacks of Duncansby.

Walk the coastal path to the Ness of Duncansdy and look for pretty corrie shells, known as Groatie Buckies which are a token of good luck.

Nature lovers will not have to go far to find an array of bird life on the cliffs. If you are lucky you may also see seals, dolphins, minke and killer whales.

The Last House contains a small museum of the area within the low whitewashed building.

You might also want to visit Dunnet Head, ten miles away, which is actually the most northerly point of mainland Britain.

Share this page

Images of John O' Groats

Seaward view over shops at John O' Groats © James E Craig
One view of John O' Groats Hotel © James E Craig
Seaward looking West © James E Craig
Shops and Caravan Park © James E Craig
Harbour for John O' Groats ferry to Orkney © James E Craig

Interactive Map of John O' Groats

 Attractions        Bed and Breakfasts        Holiday Cottages

* Distances shown are in a direct line. Distances by road will be longer.

Days Out in John O' Groats

Places to Visit near John O' Groats

Also near John O' Groats

Bed and Breakfast:
Self Catering:
 <1 Mile
 7 Miles
 10 Miles
 19 Miles
 22 Miles
 29 Miles

Copyright © 1999-2019 Excelsior Information Systems Ltd. All rights reserved.
About Us  Press Room  Terms of Use  Privacy  Link to Us  Index  Site Map  Contact Us

Made with Responsive Grid System by Graham Miller