John O Groats is a small Village 120 miles
north of Inverness, on the north coast,
furthest north Settlement in the UK. Dunnet Head
with a Nature Reserve, 14 miles west of John O
Groats, is the most northerly point in the
John O Groats is popular for its Sign giving
information on how far it is to other areas in
the UK, Ferry / Bus Trips around the Orkney
Isles, Fast Boat Trips along this Rugged Coast,
Touring & Camping Park, Duncansby Head with
a Lighthouse and Sea Stacks 2 miles east,
Coastal Walk, Canisbay Kirk with the Grave of
John O Groat 3 miles west, and Castle of Mey 6
Click on Map for Area Attractions
Camping & Touring Parks in
The top image is of the Sign stating it is 8
miles to Orkney, Shetland 152, Lands End 874,
and New York 3,230 miles. The furthest south
point in Scotland is the Mull of
Galloway, 393 miles southwest of John O
The Inn at John O
Groats is by the small Harbour with views
over the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Isles.
The Inn was built in 1887 as the John O Groats
Hotel. The Building was restored with colourful
extensions added in 2013.
2015 - a large Art Work with Boulders and
curved Steel Planks was erected by the Visitor
Ferry Trips leave from
John O Groats to the Orkney Islands every day
from 1 May to 30 Sept. This Passenger Only
Ferry takes 40 minutes to cross to Orkney with
a Tour Bus waiting on the Island to take you
around the top attractions such as Skara Brae
(Stoneage Village), Scapa Flow
(World War I Battleships), Kirkwall
Barriers, Ring of Brodgar
(Stone Circle), Standing Stones of Stenness, and
times offer Fast Boat Tours from John O Groats
along the rugged coast from 1 hour to 2 and a
Car Ferries to Orkney depart from Gills Bay 4 miles west
of John O Groats, and Scrabster 21 miles
The Touring and Camping
Park is close to the Harbour with views
across to Orkney.
The Holiday Lodges
are situated by the Inn with great sea
The Seaview Hotel is
situated half of a mile south of John O Groats
with a Lighthouse and Sea Stacks is 2 miles
east via a single lane road to one of
Scotland's remotest areas. There is also a
from John O Groats, about 5 miles out and
with the Grave of John O Groat is 3 miles
Castle of Mey
is 6 miles west of John O Groats, former
holiday home of the Queen Mother. The Castle is
normally open from 1st May to 30th September.
Best check the Website before visiting. HM
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, bought the
Castle in 1952.
The Queen Mother died in 2002, leading to
the Castle and Gardens being opened to the
Dunnet Head is 14 miles west of John
O Groats with a Lighthouse and Wildlife
Reserve. This is the most northerly point in
Scotland with great views along the Cliffs.
John O Groats History
500s - a Chapel of St Drostan is said to
have been built at Gills Bay, 4 miles west of
John O Groats.
1496 - King James IV gave permission for a
Dutchman named Jan de Groot to run a Ferry
between the Harbour here and the Orkney
The Village would no doubt have grew around
the Harbour with Fishing and Farming, with the
Village taking its name from the Dutchman.
1560s - the Castle of Mey was built for
1600s? - Canisbay Kirk /
Church was built where the Chapel of St Drostan
once stood. Jan de Groot's Grave Stone can be
viewed in the Kirk.
1874 - the Highland Railway reached Thurso,
20 miles west of John O Groats.
1887 - the John O Groats Hotel was
1952 - HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother,
bought the run down Castle of Mey to have it
restored to serve as her summer home.
1987 - the passenger only ferry MV Pentland
Venture entered service on the Crossing between
John O Groats and the remote small Village of
Orkney, with a crossing of about 40 minutes.
Burwick is 20 miles south of Kirwall with tour
coaches picking up at Burwick.
1995? - the John O Groats Hotel closed,
leading to the area being described as the most
dismal place in Scotland.
2002 - The Queen Mother Died, leading to the
Castle of Mey being opened to the public in
2013 - the John O Groats Hotel was
refurbished and extensions added before
re-opening as the Inn at John O Groats.
A new Visitor Centre, Cafe / Restaurant, and
Holiday Lodges have also been added, leading to
the area becomming a top rated visitor
Today - the 90 mile A836 Road along the
north coast of Scotland between John O Groats
in the east and Durness in the west is one of
the top driving roads in Scotland, with a
number of Stunning Beaches, and Rugged
Many Camper Vans of all sizes can be seen
along this road with a large Touring park at
John O Groats and another at Durness, both
sitting right next to the sea.