Romantics expecting to find a magical meeting of land and water at JOHN O’GROATS are invariably disenchanted – sadly it remains an uninspiring tourist trap. The views north to Orkney are fine enough, but the village offers little more than a string of souvenir shops and cafés thronged with coach parties. A number of boat trips set off from here, with some operators offering whitewater rafting and others heading out to Duncansby head and local seal colonies. The village gets its name from the Dutchman Jan de Groot, who obtained the ferry contract for the hazardous crossing to Orkney in 1496. The eight-sided house he built for his eight quarrelling sons (so that each one could enter by his own door) is echoed in the octagonal tower of the much-photographed but now vacant John O’Groats Hotel.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Scotland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

6 of the best road trips in the UK

6 of the best road trips in the UK

There is something about a road trip that creates an endless state of heightened excitement. It comes with a heart-in-mouth, funfair-like thrill. And no matter …

11 Apr 2017 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
7 must-visit places in Scotland you've probably never heard of

7 must-visit places in Scotland you've probably never heard of

Scotland sports such a strong selection of tourist attractions – from castles and cabers to kilts and whisky – it’s easy to forget that there is much mor…

01 Mar 2017 • Robin McKelvie insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month