Exploring Scotland: Dornoch

I am very well aware that Scotland is my home country and exploring it may seem a bit odd however, there are so many hidden gems that I am yet to see and what better way to share them than in a blog post.

I thought I would start a mini series on the blog that is purely focussed on showcasing lovely spots around Scotland. Not that I am made of money or will be travelling a lot (however if anyone wants to fund that sorta thing feel free to get in contact (I am sort of joking, secretly sorta not). Instead I’ll be posting about spots I find on a basis of spontaneity, so enjoy!

Dornoch is a town situated an hour from Inverness. It is especially quaint and picturesque with their town centre being immaculately looked after. Filled with cute little restaurants and quirky shops, a day in Dornoch is a day well spent.

Shops

Each time I go to Dornoch something new has opened and with the current situation there is never a better time to support small independent businesses.

Charity Shops – The Highland Hospice

Dornoch’s charity shop game is not one to be scoffed at. As of my knowledge they have two (who stock clothes, accessories, home goods etc.) and they are both worth a look. Unfortunately the cute one that is in a church is shut at the moment because of Coronavirus but when it reopens I highly recommend giving it a try; I found a second hand mens Ralph Lauren polo shirt for £10 once.

The next one (and the charity shop that features in the above photo and the two below) is the Highland Hospice. I am not sure who curates the items for the shop but the layout and vintage charm of the place makes it an extra special experience.

I bought a red thick knit for only £12 and I swear there is probably an item in there for everyone. Their Covid measures were great (hand sanitiser on the door plus only two people in at a time) and the women at the till was lovely. Overall a great experience and a shop that is both helping you add pieces to your wardrobe sustainably while providing you with a warm and eclectic atmosphere.

Dornoch Bookshop

A great place for kids and adults alike, the bookshop is bright on the outside and charmingly small on the inside.

I have to say it might be difficult to navigate when busy but if you are able to get in when its quiet you could easily spend 30 mins admiring the lovely selection of books.

They have a variety of kids, history, science fiction and Scottish books on show (plus many more) so if you’re looking for anything in particular its a great place to seek out the newest release while finding some great pieces of older fiction as well.

As you can see from the first photo they also have some random bits and pieces to keep the kids entertained. It’s a win win.

Becca Mac – Ladies and Gents Fashion Store

If you are looking for a bit of ‘high street’ fashion but independently bought then this is the place to go. Newly opened in September 2019, this shop has brought upmarket mainstream fashion to the highlands. Ranging in price the shop is beautifully decorated and immaculately looked after. Plus the ladies in the store are extremely helpful and kind. I bought a chunky knit cardigan (can you tell I’m getting prepared for autumn), which is both fantastically made and will last *hopefully* for years to come. Stocking both men and women’s clothes I’d highly recommend checking it out.

Dornoch Stores

@birkwood on instagram

Now if you are a huge foodie like me and like to try new and interesting things then this is the place to go. I will never go to Dornoch and not visit this place. They offer a multitude of fresh ingredients, baking, coffees, teas, local produce and a variety of different sauces/foods you’ve never heard of. The layout is great and they offer things I’ve honestly never seen anywhere else (especially outwith the city). If you are a local or are staying in Dornoch they also offer a freezer section full of homemade meals, croissants, chips and a load of other foods to satisfy your appetite.

I recommend picking up some of the strawberries or raspberries they have sitting out on the counter alongside a Mango dressing which honestly is one of the best I’ve ever tried.

I only wish they’d open in my hometown.

Eating

I must admit I have not tried every restaurant in Dornoch but I have tried two. I’ll leave all other restaurants at the bottom of this section.

Milk & Honey

Milk & Honey is another relatively new addition to Dornoch. It’s a cafe that specialises in coffee, tea, spiced milk & honey (which is seriously something you need to try) and food; brunch, lunch and cakes. Its a cute little spot that definitely leans more on the modern/clean side of things.

Kirsty, Mara and Katie (all of whom I visited Dornoch with – don’t worry we were extremely safe) had the Asian Pulled Pork toasted sourdough sandwich with either salad or lentil soup. All of whom gave the dish rave reviews. I had the Chicken Cesar Wrap with a side of chips. I wouldn’t say it was anything special but likewise there was nothing wrong with it. To drink however I had the spiced milk and honey. Which is what I would describe as Christmas in a cup, it was delicious and extremely warming. I couldn’t finish it purely because the spices are a lot to take but all the same it was delicious.

spiced milk and honey
Chicken Cesar Wrap and Katie’s Pulled Pork sandwich and soup

To add to this we shared a chocolate cake and a mars bar slice. The mars bar slice was probably on its last legs and definitely tasted like something I could have made at home. However, the chocolate cake was a solid 10/10. Moist and filled with the right amount of chocolate I would definitely go back for more. Plus it was a huge slice of cake.

Luigi’s

Fishcakes, Grilled Peach and Parma Ham salad and a Duck and Cashew salad.

I’m gonna keep this review short and sweet. Luigi’s is a popular restaurant in Dornoch, often very busy. They serve great food in a lovely space. However, when I visited recently (about a month ago) their covid measures were disappointing and made me feel uncomfortable. Yes they did have hand sanitiser and masks but the masks were rarely where they should have been and more often than not staff members were a lot closer than they should have been. If you want more information I did a review on my instagram (@sophieseditblog). The food don’t get me wrong is delicious I just wish they were more attentive when it came to social distancing measures and wearing their masks.

Other restaurants to try in Dornoch;

  • Dornoch Castle Restaurant
  • The Courtroom Dornoch
  • Royal Golf Hotel
  • Cocoa Mountain

Explore

I always say the best way to explore somewhere new is going a wonder. Being a big lover of architecture and interior design, one of my favourite things to do is explore and admire my surroundings. You never know where you might stumble upon.

We decided once we had walked around the idyllic centre of town (which apart from the photo at the very start of this post, I didn’t really get many photos of *a complete fail on my part*) we decided to go find the beach, which I did get some photos of.

Being lovers of the sea air, Dornoch beach was a great size. However, it was sitting in between/behind the caravan camp site and the golf course so it is good to be wary of that during the current pandemic. It would be great to sit at if the sun was shining either with a fish supper or a picnic. Guess I’ll have to go back?


Even then I say we probably didn’t see all of what Dornoch had to offer but this is a good start. Let me know if you end up going a visit or if you have any other recommendations.

Also if you have any suggestions of where I should feature next then let me know in the comments.

Lots of love,

Sophie x


Print shop is available here.

12 thoughts on “Exploring Scotland: Dornoch

  1. Sheila Kennard says:

    Thank you for the kind review, so glad you liked our Highland Hospice charity shop & enjoyed your visit to Dornoch . We are very lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country .

    Liked by 1 person

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