48 hours in the Highlands with Links House, Dornoch

In the heart of the Highlands, there’s a house that’s been proudly perching on the Scottish coastline for the best part of the last two hundred years.

Throughout its different purposes over the years, Links House has always remained first and foremost, a home. It was fully refurbished in 2013 to its current grandeur as a deluxe 15-room hotel, surrounded by the magic of the Scottish countryside, and run by people who were born with whisky in their veins. 

It’s around 45 minutes north from Inverness, perfectly positioned right in the thick of the Highlands, which makes good for the amount of extra activities the hotel staff can arrange for you during your stay.

Before all of that, we need to talk about the rooms. There are three categories, with every one more indulgent than the last. Deluxe Rooms are enough to blow any 5-star country house hotel out of the water – with beds that come by royal warrant to the Queen, and Penhaligon’s toiletries in the bathrooms. As a nod to the local countryside, each room is named after iconic Highland salmon rivers. There are also two private apartments – Mallart and Laxford – which are known as the finest accommodation in the Highlands. The Mallart comes with its own private breakfast porch to enjoy the best views in Dornoch, and even has its own private library – something you didn’t know you needed until now.

With the Highlands literally on the doorstep, menus are geared around local seasonal delicacies like Dornoch mussels, lobster and langoustines from nearby Portmahomack or game from Bonar Bridge. Dinner service is done well, with the choice between A la Carte or a 7 Course Tasting Menu. Not ones to get FOMO about anything, we went for both (on separate nights obviously, we’re not animals). Next year, with 2020 Scotland’s year of Coast & Waters, the Restaurant will lean heavily towards the bountiful array of seafood which is on its doorstep whilst continually respecting the plentiful highland larder of game, beef, lamb and wild foraged goods.

A lady who works at the hotel is actually the granddaughter of one of the owners of the main house, and delights with stories from the past about growing up at Links House. The house, the grounds and the food are all stunning, but what strikes above everything else here is the sense of home, and family.

Things to do nearby

Links House is proud to have on board their very own Head of Highland Experiences, Alastair, who is happy to arrange nearby attractions and adventures.

Highland Shooting Centre

The family run Highland Shooting Centre is a great way to blow off some steam. Hand-eye coordination may not be a strong point at first, but the guys will teach you how to actually shoot clay pigeons (successfully) which works out as a good party trick, should you ever need to use it. 

Falls of Shin

The Falls of Shin are famous in the Highlands for being one of the best places to check out Scotland’s infamous leaping salmon. ‘Fish watching’ on first thought, sounds like something that might be a little dull, but it’s actually mesmerising, and the surroundings are beautiful too. 

Clynelish Distillery Tour

Checking out the Scottish Highlands without dipping your head in whisky, or at least, touring around one of the many distillery, is sacrilege. Using the water from the Clynemilton river, Clynelish distillery produces a fruity, waxy, slightly smoky, sea-spicy single malt.

Aspen Spa Dornoch

Understandable that the excitement of the Highlands gets too much, so it’s important to balance outdoor pursuits with the serenity of a spa. The Aspen Spa at Carnegie Courthouse (a family run business), has everything for this – face treatments, massage, nail and grooming. 

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