Strathpeffer is a village in Easter Ross in the Scottish Highlands, about 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Inverness. It has sulphurous springs and grew up in the 19th century as a spa resort, served by a branch railway line. Fashions changed and the railway closed in 1951, but the attractive Victorian village centre and railway station have been preserved.
The nearest railway stations are at Inverness (with mainline trains from the south, including the sleeper from London Euston) and Dingwall (ten mins away by bus) with trains roughly hourly from Inverness.
Stagecoach Highlands Bus 28 runs M-Sa hourly to Strathpeffer from Inverness via Kessock Bridge and Dingwall, taking 80 min.
The castle is a short walk from the village.
- 1 Spa Pavillion, The Square, Strathpeffer IV14 9DL, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Historic venue, refurbished in 2004, hosts a variety of live music and other events.
- Pump Room (Next to the pavilion). Apr-Oct. Small museum of Strathpeffer's spa history, but it's nowadays basically a sweetie & gift shop plus TIC. The spa springs have been closed off so you can't sample the waters.
- 2 Highland Museum of Childhood, Old Railway Station, Strathpeffer IV14 9DH (North end of village). Apr-Oct: M-Sa 10:00-17:00. Explores the history of highland childhood through audio-visual displays, childhood treasures, and a fascinating doll and toy collection. Cafe next door. Adult £3, child £1.75.
- 3 Castle Leod, Strathpeffer IV14 9AA (A mile north of village). 2019 open days May 23-26, June 20-23, July 25-28, Aug 1-5 & 22-25, Sept 5-8, all 14:00-18:00. The original Leod was an 11th-century Norse Earl but the tower house probably dates from the 15th century. It's now the home of the Earl of Cromartie, Chief of Clan Mackenzie. It is the inspiration for Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series of books. Impressive trees in the castle grounds include Giant Sequoia and an ancient Spanish Chestnut. Adult £10, child £5.
- Mountain biking. Plenty of trails in the surrounding countryside of forests, hills and mountains, including a race route nearby at Contin. Bikes can be bought, hired and repaired at Square Wheels in Strathpeffer Square (+44 1997 421000).
- Hiking. The area around Strathpeffer has some great forest and river walks.
- The 1 Golf Course is half a mile north of the village. Open daily, visitors' Green Fee £30.
- Strathpeffer Highland Gathering is held in mid-August at Castle Leod. The 2020 event was cancelled so the next is probably on Sat 14 Aug 2021, tbc
In the Square, there are gift shops, a pharmacy, and an "open all hours" supermarket. At the Old Station are a fair trade shop as well as the Highland Museum of Childhood's own gift shop.
- Small Planet Trading, The Old Station, Strathpeffer, ☏ . Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 12:00-16:00. A friendly local shop selling environmental, ethical, organic and fair-trade products and gifts.
- The Coffee Shop, Cromartie Building, The Square. Daily 10:00-17:00. Friendly place offers tea, coffee, snacks, acoustic music sessions and silent movies.
- Museum Cafe is within the old railway station next to the Highland Museum of Childhood. Freshly-prepared Scottish lunches and snacks, home-baking, ice cream, tea and coffee. Eat in or outside on the station platform. It's open Apr-Oct: M-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 12:00-17:00; Nov-Mar: Th-Su 10:00-17:00.
- Red Poppy Restaurant, Main Street (opposite Pump Room), ☏ . Tu-Sa 11:30-20:30, Su 12:30-15:00. Light lunch, high tea and dinner.
- Wee Swally Tearoom is in White Lodge, on the Square (see "Sleep"); use the side entrance in Church Brae. It's open Tu-Sa 11:00-16:00.
- Pavilion Café Bar (Inside the pavilion), ☏ . Tu-Sa 11:00–21:00, Su 12:00–16:00. Lunches and suppers.
There isn't a pub, but some of the hotels have public bars, see "Sleep".
- Ben Wyvis Hotel, Strathpeffer IV14 4DN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A Victorian hotel offering restaurant and leisure facilities. B&B double £42.
- Craigvar, The Square Strathpeffer IV14 9DL, ☏ , fax: , ✉ Craigvar@talk21.com. Early Victorian house with two rooms en suite, open all year. B&B double £105.
- Garden House, Garden House Brae, Strathpeffer IV14 9BW, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Guest house with 5 rooms all en suite, open Apr-Oct. B&B double from £70.
- Inver Lodge, Strathpeffer IV14 9DL (near Pavilion), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Small B&B in Victorian house near village centre. Family, double and twin room share bathroom. B&B double £52.
- Crystal House (formerly Richmond Hotel), Church Brae, Strathpeffer IV4 9AW (near Pavilion), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 11:00. 8 guestrooms all en suite, in charming late-Victorian house. Restaurant & bar open to non-residents F-Sun evenings, Sat nights are Mauritius cuisine. B&B double from £95.
- 1 White Lodge, The Square Strathpeffer IV14 9AL, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Pleasant B&B, open all year, in the village's oldest building, from 1770. It offers en suite facilities, central heating, lounge and car parking. B&B double £90.
- 2 Fodderty Lodge, Fodderty, Nr Dingwall, IV15 9UE (A834 midway between Dingwall and Strathpeffer), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A former mansion built in 1730. 3 self-catering holiday cottages: Honeysuckle sleeps 6, Lodge Barn sleeps 4, East Wing sleeps 2.
- 3 Coul House, Contin IV14 9ES, ☏ . Charming hotel in 1821 mansion, great welcome, comfort and dining. Dogs welcome. B&B double from £210.
Strathpeffer is in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, and thus an excellent base from which to tour this area.