town and royal burgh in Caithness, Scotland

Wick is a town in Caithness in the far northeast of the Scottish Highlands. The name comes from Norse vik, meaning a bay. The town first grew up north of the river: in the 19th C the fishing port of Pulteney was established to the south, when herring shoals moved away from the Hebrides to the seas around here, and initially only a rickety footbridge connected the two settlements. Caithness Glass originated in Wick, though production has now all moved to Perth. Wick (along with Thurso) is a good base for exploring the rugged northern coast around John O'Groats, or as a stopover for the Orkney ferries.

The Bridge of Wick

Get inEdit

By plane: 1 Wick John O'Groats Airport has a flight (not Tu or Sat) from Edinburgh by Loganair. The airport is 1.5 miles north of town off A99 to Thurso: Bus 82 stops on that road, or take a taxi, or walk. There's a small cafe in the terminal.

By train: Four trains a day M-Sat (one on Sunday) run north from Inverness via Dingwall, Tain, Golspie (for Dunrobin Castle), Brora, Helmsdale and Georgemas Junction to Thurso, taking four hours. The train then returns south through Georgemas Junction and branches off to reach Wick, another 30 mins.

By bus: Stagecoach Highlands X98 / X99 runs four times M-Sat, twice Sunday, from Inverness via Tain, Dornoch, Brora and Helmsdale to Wick, 3 hr 30 min. These buses continue to Thurso and Scrabster.

By road: the A9 from Inverness crosses Kessock Bridge and Black Isle, running north via Tain, Dornoch, Brora, Helmsdale and Latheron. Turn off onto A99 for Wick: in total about 100 miles (160 km) of undivided highway, reckon three hours. A99 used to be the historic A9 via Wick to John O'Groats, but the A9 now runs to Thurso and Scrabster.

By ferry: see Thurso for the Scrabster-Stromness route, and John O'Groats for the Gills Land - St Margaret's Hope and John o'Groats - Burwick ferries.

Get aroundEdit

Map of Wick (Scotland)

Bus 82 runs between Thurso and Wick, hourly M-Sat and every two hours Sunday, taking an hour. You can also take the Stagecoach Bus X98 / X99 or the trains for Inverness.

Bus 77 runs between Wick and John o'Groats, M-F three times a day, taking 30 mins. In summer it continues to Gills Land for the ferry sailings.


  • 1 Wick Heritage Museum, 18-27 Bank Row, Wick KW1 5EH ("Pulteneytown" neighbourhood by marina). Apr-Oct M-Sa 10:00-15:45. Main collection shows life and times of bygone Wick. Also includes Johnston photography collection, Wick Voices oral history and "Isabella Fortune" fishing vessel.
  • 2 World's Shortest Street, Ebenezer Place (near he bridge at the corner of River Street and Union Street). A street that is 6ft 9in (2m) long.    
  • 3 Castle of Old Wick (1 mile south of Wick), +44 1667 460232. Unstaffed, always open. Ruins of castle dating from 1100, in a stunning location on a narrow promontory.
  • 4 Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, KW1 4QT (3 miles north of Wick). Unstaffed, always open. Castle Girnigoe was built late 15th C, then Castle Sinclair on top of it from 1606. In 1680 rival members of the Sinclair family fought so keenly to own it that it was left a shattered stump. Free.    
  • 5 Cairn o'Get (6 miles south of Wick, near Whaligoe.). Unstaffed - always open. 5000 year old burial tomb


Whaligoe Steps
  • 1 Climb the Whaligoe Steps (6 miles south of Wick, near the village of Ulbster). Descend 365 steps to a harbour created in the early nineteenth century    


There's a Tesco north edge of town by the airport.


  • The main collection of eating places is along High St, north bank of the river.
  • 1 Bord De L'Eau, 2 Market St, +44 1955 604400. Tu-Sa 12:00-14:00, 18:00-21:30; Su 18:00-21:30. French restaurant serving quality food.
  • Queens Hotel at 16 Francis St south of the river has rooms but you mostly come for the food.


  • Alexander Bain is a JD Wetherspoon on High St. Crown Bar is next door.
  • 1 Old Pulteney, Huddart St KW1 5BA (SE edge of town). May-Sept M-F 10:00-17:00, Sa 10:00-16:00; Oct-Apr M-F 10:00-16:00. Whisky distillery, tours at 11:00 & 14:00. Tour £10.    


  • 1 Wick Caravan & Camping Site, Riverside Drive, KW1 5SP, +44 1955 605420. Open mid-April thru Sept, this is a friendly well-run site by the river, 5 minutes walk from town centre. Two-person tent £16, caravan pitch £22.
  • 2 Nethercliffe Hotel, Louisburgh St, +44 1955 602044. Good family-run hotel with bar food. B&B double £90.
  • Lots more small B&Bs in town.


Decent mobile coverage in town and along the main roads.

Go nextEdit

  • North to John O'Groats and the rugged north coast past Castle of Mey and Dunnet Head to Thurso.
  • To the Orkney Islands: choice of routes, Scrabster-Stromness is best for onward transport.
  • South to Dunrobin Castle at Golspie, see dolphins in Moray Firth, explore the scenic Black Isle, and over the bridge to Inverness.
Routes through Wick
John O'Groats  N   S  HelmsdaleInverness

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