Photo of Ross-shire

About Ross-shire

Ross-Shire is an historic county, with a spectacular landscape from the long coastline with its deep-sea lochs, to the mysterious peat bogs, and the mountains — especially the Torridon Hills, with the peaks of Beinn Eighe and Liathach. The best places to stay in Ross-shire are a wide ranging selection with everything from boutique hotels, pubs-with-rooms and converted country houses that suit not only hikers, hill-walkers, and outdoors-folks. Many are family friendly too and all are ideal if you're looking for a proper escape.

Some of the best places to stay in Ross-shire have truly incredible views. We have discovered a number of country house properties right on the shores of long, narrow lochs, and a couple of hotels with views of the coastline. Most are also united by the high quality of their restaurants. Not all of them are exceptional, but there are a lot of very excellent picks, along with some seriously impressive whisky bars.

Ullapool, Applecross, Dingwall and Gairloch are some of the old Ross-shire centres, if you’re looking for museums, or historic architecture, and the hills are littered with ruins and old country estates. Ullapool is the ferry gateway to the islands, but also a harbour town with some great pubs, surrounded by nature reserves known for their bird-watching potential. Gairloch is the place to head towards for fisher-folk, or dramatic ocean scenery, and Applecross is an ancient charmer with a rich, individual culture.

The area is also known for the NC 500 road trip. It's a stunning 500 mile circular route from Inverness that takes in large swathes of Ross-shire. So if you find that the roads are a bit busy, be patient there's plenty of stunning scenery to admire!

However don't forget that this part of Scotland is incredibly busy during the peak summer season. If you want to guarantee a room in one of the best places to stay in Ross-shire during July or August, get organised and book well ahead.

The Best Places to Stay in Ross-Shire

For a Rural Escape

  • Shieldaig Lodge is a beautifully resorted, Victorian built hunting lodge, positioned right on the shore of Loch Gairloch. Its 12 charming rooms offer either spectacular views of the water, or lush woodland scenes. During the conversion much of the building’s original Highland charm has been kept — think cosy wood panelling, sash windows, and open fires. The bar and lounge are similarly decorated, but on a grander scale. The restaurant serves a daily changing menu of locally sourced produce — much of it grown on the estate. This is an ideal pick for walkers and outdoors-folk, and while it’s extremely romantic, they also have three rooms suitable for families.
  • Glenmorangie House is your classic country house hotel, complete with the outstanding location, collection of antiques, open fires around which pre-dinner drinks are served, and sumptuous three course meals served in a proper dining room. There are just nine rooms, all individually decorated and offering a range of grandeur, from simple luxury, to all-out-opulence. You’re not far from the coast, or dramatic Highland views, and the area is ripe for exploration. Come back to open fires, a house party feel, and an excellent whisky selection.
  • A country escape surrounded by 58 acres of park and woodlands, at the foot of Ben Damph, and on the shores of Upper Loch Torridon, The Torridon is your total Highland country escape. There’s dozens of outdoor activities you can start right from the hotel’s doorstep, and inside there’s a 3 AA Rosette restaurant specialising in Scottish cuisine, an impressive whisky bar with a list 300 strong, and 18 luxuriously contemporary rooms and suites. The views are really something too.

For the Sea

  • The Summer Isles Hotel is a charmingly small, and slightly old fashioned hotel, with incredible views over Badentarbet Bay, and on to the Hebrides. The 12 large rooms, and one separate cottage, are all light and airy, and decorated in classic, but cosy, hotel style. Our favourite rooms have large windows with views of the gardens and the water beyond. The location is superb too, it’s perfect for walking and watersports.

For Families

  • Newhall Mains is a collection of nine self-catering cottages and suites, on a 900 acre estate on the Black Isle. The suites and cottages were originally farm buildings, but have been cleverly converted to offer traditional country style, but with contemporary features — meaning beautiful wood burners, and kitchens with all the latest technology. There’s no restaurant, but they do offer the delivery of oven-ready meals to your cottage on request. Remote yet totally kitted out.
  • The Ceilidh Place is an historic pick in Ullapool, close to the ferry port, and the perfect jumping off point for both the Highland and Islands. From the outside this long, low building looks like a country inn of sorts, with whitewashed facade and black details, and inside there’s a homey welcome, of open fires, and plenty of wood. Many of the 13 rooms, which come in all shapes and sizes, have exposed beams. Families have a number of options, but we recommend the Clubhouse, with back-to-back bunkbeds. The bar and restaurant are cosy too, and there’s a charming little library.

Best Pubs-with-Rooms

  • The Applecross Inn is a charming pub with rooms, right on the waterfront in pretty Applecross. The atmosphere is homely and family friendly, and the family who own and run the property give a warm welcome to all their guests, whether they’re coming for the good beer, or food in the organic restaurant, or to stay in one of the seven generously proportioned rooms. Some of the rooms are large enough to accommodate a family of four.

Best B&Bs

  • The Westlea House guesthouse is peacefully positioned on a tree-lined road in central Ullapool, close to beautiful Loch Broom and the ferry terminal. The Westlea’s five rooms are all spacious, with contemporary bathrooms. They vary in decor, from some really fun designed twin rooms — perfect for kids, a mountain themed room with a stand-alone tub, and a simpler ocean themed triple. The communal spaces are decorated with the same welcoming charm and whimsy, and there’s an open fireplace in the lounge, and a record player in the conservatory.
  • The Old Schoohouse B&B is a charming, owner-managed guesthouse on the banks of Strath Bay in Gairloch. There are just two rooms, both beautifully arranged, one double and one twin, so it’s an ideal choice for families or small groups. The house itself is historic, the location perfect for exploring, and the breakfast is hearty and homemade.

Prefer a Private Apartment or Cottage?

  • If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Inverness Airport is probably your closest airport for Ross-shire. It has good connections to London, but also Ireland and Amsterdam. Inverness Railway Station is probably the best station to head for. Aberdeen International Airport might also be useful to consider.
  • If you want to hire a car we recommend you visit our online partner, Rentalcars.
  • The busiest time of year to visit Ross-shire is summer, which is also the most popular time for midges. But Ross-shire can be magical in the summer months, when the light seems to last and last, from late June to early July it doesn’t get dark until about 11pm! It’s still not warm, but it’s certainly pleasant out. The region’s maritime climate is known for summers that are warm, rather than hot, and cool, rather than cold winters, so there’s certainly an argument to say that you can visit this region any time of year. What visitors to Ross-shire need to be savvy about is the rain, and it’s not that there’s a lot of it, just that it can come about quite suddenly, so pack your waterproofs.

Still not sure?


Monthly Weather in Ross-shire

Best Hotels in Ross-shire

  • Westlea House Ullapool 5 rooms from CA$143

    Local exploring  -  With a prime location in the centre of the village, this hotel is perfectly placed for local exploring in and around Ullapool
    Country Escape  -  Set in the quaint village of Ullapool on the coast of the Scottish Highlands, this B&B makes a charming escape to the country
    Romantic Break  -  Couples love the cosy rooms at this Highlands B&B; book a premium suite for a Victorian freestanding bathtub
    Great walks  -  Go on a long walk and explore the iron-age fort ruins of Dun Lagaidh, built around 700-500BC
    GardenParkingNo pets

    A cherry blossom tree-lined road leads to this stylish B&B in central Ullapool. The themed guestrooms have feature wallpaper, quirky soft furnishings and cosy carpets; while luxury suites have Victorian soaking tubs. Warm up after a long walk by the sitting room fireplace; an inviting seaside B&B. See More

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  • The Old Schoolhouse B&B Gairloch 2 rooms from CA$177

    Local exploring  -  A fantastc base from which to explore the villages along the shores of Strath Bay, or the rugged hillwalking country in-land
    Country Escape  -  Situated in the remote and beautiful community of Gairloch, surrounded on all sides by astounding natural beauty
    Sights nearby  -  A short drive from the Inverewe Botanical Gardens and Victoria Falls on the southern side of nearby Loch Maree
    Birdwatching  -  Gairloch is a fantastic birding site for seabirds, gulls and sea duck
    ViewsNo pets

    A charming and cosy B&B in the remote and enchanting Gairloch, on the shores of Strath Bay. The two rooms are equipped with modern amenities and comforts, period features and stunning sea views. The perfect base for couples exploring the rugged natural beauty of the region. See More

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  • The Ceilidh Place Ullapool (Scotland) 13 rooms from CA$211

    Local exploring  -  Located a few minutes' walk from the ferry terminal, this hotel is perfectly placed for local exploring in the Highlands
    Families  -  There are good family accommodation options available here; book the clubhouse for back-to-basics bunkbeds
    Country Escape  -  Set in the charming village of Ullapool, this hotel is the perfect base for a Scottish Highlands retreat
    Great walks  -  Explore the dramatic landscape of the Highlands on a long walk; book a cosy dinner at the hotel for when you get back
    RestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    This classic guesthouse is nestled in Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands. Guestrooms are homely and inviting with wooden furniture, cosy carpets and feature wallpaper; book the Clubhouse for a group stay. Unwind with a glass of wine on the balcony after browsing the art gallery; a charming retreat. See More

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  • The Applecross Inn Ross-shire 7 rooms from CA$219

    Local exploring  -  Great launchpad for exploring Applecross and the surrounding west coast.
    Great walks  -  The surrounding area is full of beautiful walking routes and there are a host of Munros close by waiting to be conquered!
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the local Heritage Centre and also the Applecross Estate Walled Garden.
    Fishing  -  Sea fishing trips can be organised from the hotel.
    RestaurantPet friendlyViews

    Situated in Applecross, one of the West Coast's most charming villages, The Applecross Inn is a delightful family-run property. Specialising in good food and good beer, the inn offers traditional, comfortable rooms that provide a great base for exploring the area. See More

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  • Summer Isles Hotel Achiltibuie, Ross-shire 12 rooms from CA$287

    Great walks  -  The area is great for walking with stunning routes for all abilities.
    Fishing  -  The hotel has its own boats for sea fishing. Loch fishing available.
    Outstanding location  -  Situated in the most glorious position in North West Scotland
    Views  -  Stunning views out to sea and over the Hebrides
    RestaurantPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking

    A charming hotel, situated in beautiful scenery with stunning sea views over Badentarbet Bay and the Hebrides, and restaurant specialising in local seafood. Bright, white, airy rooms with sea or garden views. Separate cottage sleeps six. Breathtaking landscape & lots of outdoor activities on offer. See More

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  • Shieldaig Lodge Gairloch, Ross-shire 12 rooms from CA$320

    Active Holiday  -  Set within a huge country estate, this lodge is a popular starting point for activities like hill walking and deer stalking.
    Country Escape  -  With a spectacular location on the banks of Loch Gairloch, this heritage hotel offers an authentic Scottish country retreat
    Romantic Break  -  Couples rate this cosy former hunting lodge highly for a romantic break; book a suite with loch views
    Fishing  -  Enjoy acess to 26,000 acres of first-class fly fishing, with salmon and sea trout fishing available on the nearby loch and river
    RestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    A restored Victorian hunting lodge is the setting for this Highland hotel, nestled on Loch Gairloch. Guestrooms boast loch views from original wood-panelled windows, while luxury tartan upholstering adds a refined finish. Unwind with a whisky by the hotel's wood-burning fire; a sophisticated lodge. See More

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  • Glenmorangie House Ross-shire 9 rooms from CA$329

    Country Escape  -  A luxury country house complete with excellent whisky list, superb food, log fires and stunning surrounds.
    Sights nearby  -  Make a trip to the majestic Cawdor Castle dating back to the late 14th century.
    Great walks  -  The Scottish Highlands offer some of the UK's best walking routes.
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    RestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    A luxury rural property located in an outstanding location near the coast in the Scottish Highlands. Opulent rooms feature plush fabrics, sink into beds and antique furniture. Evenings are equally indulgent with pre-dinner drinks held besides the fire and sumptuous three course meals. Glorious. See More

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  • The Torridon Ross-shire 18 rooms from CA$371

    Bar  -  Over 300 Malt Whiskies available in the Whisky Bar not forgetting their very own Arcturus Gin and Cushie Doos Tonic.
    Restaurant  -  3 AA Rosettes
    Sailing  -  Sailing tours on S/Y a 13 m sailing yacht both within the loch and to the Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides.
    Sights nearby  -  Boat cruises available off the west coast for dolphins and if you're lucky whale watching.
    RestaurantGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViews
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays

    Country escape on the shores of Upper Loch Torridon. 53 acres of park and woodland provide many outdoor activities. Scottish country house opulence twinned with contemporary designs. Seriously good restaurant and whisky bar. See More

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  • Newhall Mains BY DINGWALL, Ross-shire 9 rooms from CA$465

    Families  -  Two & three-bed cottages are the dream for any kind of group; fully kitted out & incredibly cosy, they offer plenty of privacy
    Back to Nature  -  Spend days exploring the stunning - and seemingly endless - great outdoors by plane, boat, foot or car
    Weddings  -  Take over the entire estate for a one-of-a-kind celebration
    Sights nearby  -  See the sites by private plane. Take off from the property & visit Loch Ness, the Cairngorms, Skye & Islay
    GardenPet friendlyParking

    Collection of self-catered suites & cottages on a 900-acre estate in the Black Isle. Converted from a stunning 18th century farm building, elegant decor with fun splashes of colour is a masterful take on British tradition meets refined classic contemporary. Fab for friends, families & weddings. See More

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