The North Coast 500 (N500)


The North Coast 500 (or N500) is the UK’s ultimate road trip – an incredible journey covering 516 miles (taking around five to seven days by car) that takes you through the Scottish Highlands. It’s a breathtakingly scenic route, starting and ending in Inverness, heading in a loop north to John O’Groats and then back down.

The Aultguish Inn is privileged to be positioned on this famous route, near the start in Inverness, which makes us the perfect hostelry for travellers to base themselves in when they kick off their exploration of the N500 in a clockwise direction. If you travel the N500 in an anti-clockwise direction, starting up the east coast, then we’ll be there with a warm welcome when you head back to Inverness.

We’re near the village of Garve, just off the A835, 24 miles northwest of Inverness, about half way between that highland capital city and Ullapool 32 miles further on.

Experiences on the N500

Being an historic, homely, traditional Scottish inn beautifully set at the foot of Loch Glascarnoch we believe we offer the perfect introduction to exploring the N500 where tourists can get a taste of the delights to come when they traverse the N500 route. 

Our hearty cooked Scottish breakfasts and home-cooked evening meals are just the ticket for sampling local fare (like haggis, salmon and venison), and you can chat about your travel plans over a drink in the cosy bar while you look out for a visit from our indigenous Red Deer. 

If you can tear yourself away from the Aultguish Inn and hit the road – by car, bicycle or on foot – here is a rundown (in no particular order) of some of the experiences that await on the N500 route:

  • Driving – or better still cycling – the notorious Bealach na Ba through the mountains of the Applecross peninsula in Wester Ross, with its steep ascents and hairpin bends and stunning views. 
  • Ullapool – a pretty seaside town with some great eateries and galleries, is the base for several wildlife cruises for spotting seals and dolphins. It’s also the departure point for ferries to the offshore islands if you fancy a diversion.
  • Golfers will enjoy Durness which has one of the most dramatic courses in Scotland among its attractions on its craggy coast. There’s a thrilling zip line company operating there too, and a super surprise for chocoholics in the form of the famous Cocoa Mountain chocolatiers.
  • Naturally you will want to call at the renowned John O’Groats, the most northerly tip of mainland Britain, and the spectacular scenery makes it well worth the trip.

The highlights of the N500 route just go on and on … whisky distilleries, castles, lochs, lighthouses, fishing villages, heritage sites, wildlife. There are photo opps galore, so don’t forget to bring your camera along with your spirit of adventure.

The Aultguish Inn looks forward to welcoming you when you come to explore our wonderful Highland world, so give us a call when you plan your expedition so we can be prepared to host you in true Scottish style. Fàilte!


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