Strathpeffer (Gaelic Srath Pheofhair) is a village in Easter Ross in the Scottish Highlands, with a population of 1040 in 2020. 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.
Strathpeffer is 20 miles northwest of Inverness. By road follow A9 over Kessock Bridge (toll free) to Tore then take A835, which goes to Ullapool.
Dingwall, ten minutes away by bus, is the nearest railway station. Trains run here every hour or two from Inverness and branch either north to Thurso and Wick or west to Kyle of Lochalsh, for Skye. Inverness has trains from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, a daytime direct train from London Kings Cross, and the sleeper from London Euston.
Stagecoach Highlands Bus 27 runs M-Sa hourly from Inverness via Dingwall, taking an hour and continuing to Contin (for the hiking trail to Rogie Falls). Bus 28 nowadays only runs as far as Dingwall.
The bus will get you to Contin, for the Falls of Rogie trailhead.
- 1 Spa Pavillion, The Square, Strathpeffer IV14 9DL, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 Clach an Tiompain ("Sounding Stone" or "Eagle Stone") is 32 in / 81 cm tall. It has Pictish inscriptions from circa 600 AD and was originally further down the hill. It was moved here in 1411, perhaps to mark the clan battle of that year. Or perhaps they were taking seriously the prophecy that if the stone fell over 3 times, the valley would be inundated. It's fallen over twice so the prudent Council have set it in concrete
- 4 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.
- 5 Knockfarrell is a vitrified Pictish fort - it has burned so furiously that some of its stone has melted to glass. This is a common finding in Britain, and such forts were once thought to be volcanic or meteor impact craters. The conflict that led to so many torchings is unknown.
- 6 Rogie falls. The small waterfall is a short walk away from the carpark. The carpark has toilets. free.
- 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). Strathpuffer is a 24-hour endurance mountain bike race held in January, when it's dark for 17 of those hours. The next is probably 13-14 Jan 2024, tbc.
- Hiking: see Walk Highlands for local hiking trails.
- 1 Strathpeffer Golf Course is half a mile north of the village. Open daily, visitors' Green Fee £30.
- Strathpeffer and District Pipe Band parade here and in nearby villages in summer. Ask around, they're often here on Tuesday evenings.
- Shinty: Caberfeidh play in the MOWI Premiership, the top tier. The playing season is April-Oct.
- Strathpeffer Highland Gathering is held in August at Castle Leod, with the next probably on Saturday 3 Aug 2024, tbc.
- McColls is a convenience store in the Square, open M-Sa 07:00-22:00, Su 08:00-22:00.
- Small Planet Trading, The Old Station, Strathpeffer IV14 9DH (next to Museum of Childhood), ☏ . W-Sa 10:30-16:30. Gift shop with 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".
- Singleton Distillery is at Muir of Ord, see Dingwall#Drink.
- Ben Wyvis Hotel, Strathpeffer IV14 4DN, ☏ , email@example.com. 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, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Guest house with 5 rooms all en suite, open Apr-Oct. B&B double from £70.
- Inver Lodge, Strathpeffer IV14 9DL (near Pavilion), ☏ , email@example.com. 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), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, ☏ , email@example.com. 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), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
As of Aug 2022, Strathpeffer has a patchy 4G service from O2, but no other signal. Finish up any important calls before you get past Dingwall.
- Dingwall five miles east has accommodation and public transport.
- Inverness is the region's transport hub, a pleasant Victorian city. Four miles further east, Culloden saw the Jacobites crushed in 1746.
- Ullapool is the only large settlement on the northwest coast and has ferries to Stornoway on Lewis.
- Tain to the northeast has the Glenmorangie whisky distillery.
- North Coast 500 is a motoring itinerary looping through Strathpeffer.