Cromarty is located on the north easterly tip of the Black Isle, about 40 minutes drive from Inverness. The little fishing village is almost completely surrounded by sea and boasts a lovely sandy beach as well as a small harbour, now mostly used for leisure boating.
Where to stay in Cromarty
Cromarty makes for an easy day trip from Inverness and you can certainly visit the charming town in a day but it can also be such a lovely place to base yourself if you’re planning to explore the Black Isle (check out this guide to the Black Isle). Here are a few suggestions of places to stay in Cromarty:
🌊 Great for families + views of the sea: The Seaview Apartment (9.4 stars)
🍳 Best breakfast: The Factor’s House (9.7 stars)
🏚️ Period property next to Hugh Miller’s cottage, sleeps 6: Paye House (9.5 stars)
Is Cromarty worth visiting?
Considering its size, Cromarty has a great deal to offer visitors and is most definitely worth visiting! There is a real buzz about the place during peak season and the summer months, with lots going on and plenty of tourists exploring the quaint streets. It’s also a lovely place to visit during the quieter season although it’s worth noting that many attractions do close their doors for the winter season and we therefore recommend checking opening hours ahead of your visit, especially if you’re planning to visit something specific. For example, some shops and restaurants are only open on certain days of the week in the off season and some of the tourist attractions only open April to October.
Best things to do in Cromarty
Hugh Miller’s Birthplace Cottage and Museum [open April – Dec]
This little museum is managed by the National Trust for Scotland and is located in the centre of Cromarty. Hugh Miller was a famous geologist, who was born in this little thatched cottage back in 1802. He is remembered for his fossil hunting, his writing and campaigning for social justice.
Inside the museum, you will find an interesting collection of artefacts associated with Hugh himself, including fossils, manuscripts and the tools he once used. There is also a pretty little garden to the rear complete with a stone sundial carved by Hugh’s hands.
For information about opening times click here.
Old Courthouse Museum [seasonal opening]
This lovely little museum is situated next door to Hugh Miller’s cottage and is an interesting visit for both kids and adults. Built in 1773, the external architecture is impressive with a central clock tower and large Georgian style windows. Inside, it’s like a trip back in time, the well preserved interior and use of historical props really brings the experience to life. The grim prison cell, complete with a prisoner, is particularly interesting for children. In addition there is a museum shop, exhibitions and an attractive walled garden.
For information about opening times click here.
Exploring the Streets of Cromarty
The historic town is ideal for a stroll, with a network of quaint streets and pretty fishermen’s cottages, painted in a multitude of colours. The area around Hugh Miller’s cottage is particularly lovely as the rows of cottages go right down to the sea while the sandy beach is just a stone’s throw away too.
Wherever you go, there is a surprising selection of independent shops and cafes/restaurants. Gallery 48 is well worth a visit if you are hoping to pick up some local arts and crafts. The harbour area with its sailing club is fun in the busy summer months. Why not watch the Nigg ferry shuttle backwards and forwards while enjoying a coffee from the Slaughterhouse cafe.
EcoVentures Wildlife Boat trips
Located close to the harbour, EcoVentures specialises in boat trips that allow you to explore the best of the local wildlife. The boat is a fast custom built RIB and skipper Sarah uses her 20 years’ experience to showcase the local marine life, the highlight being the bottlenose dolphin. It’s also sometimes possible to see pilot whales and basking sharks but more commonly grey seals and minke whales.
The adrenalin fueled trip around the Moray Firth lasts about 2 hours, wet weather gear and lifejackets are provided. The boat departs from Cromarty harbour.
For more information and up to date prices please click here.
The Cheese House
This fabulous award-winning cheese shop was created by Emmy, who originates from the Netherlands, so expect to discover a great selection of authentic Dutch cheeses. The shop used to be the town’s police station, but now it’s been transformed into a cosy boutique/cafe where you can enjoy a coffee and a slice of dutch apple pie whilst picking up some tasty Dutch kaas (cheese)!
The Cromarty Bakery
It’s a joy to visit this little family owned bakery situated right in the heart of Cromarty. The bakery is known locally for creating a great range of tasty, freshly baked bread, cakes, pies and pasties, all made with quality ingredients. You can also pick up a takeaway coffee as we often do. To ensure freshness, most items are baked on site daily.
The Emigration Stone is located in an attractive grassy park directly adjacent to Cromarty beach. The carved stone pays tribute to the town’s past, as a reminder of the many people who emigrated from Scotland during the 18th and 19th centuries. The port of Cromarty was an important exit point for Scots in search of a better life in the new world.
Cinema by the Sea
Cromarty has its very own 35 seat modern cinema, which is one of the smallest cinemas in Scotland. The cinema opened in 2020 and was the brainchild of the Cromarty Film Society. Two years of fundraising paid off and it’s now a fabulous place to enjoy a movie, next to the sea.
Eden court theatre in Inverness is partnered with the tiny Cromarty Cinema which shows excellent arthouse movies during the Highland film festival. There is also a varied program of popular contemporary films to experience throughout the year in this intimate setting. And of course, it’s a great option for a rainy day.
To check out the most up to date screenings click here.
The Nigg ferry shuttles backwards and forwards between Nigg and Cromarty every 30 minutes in the summer months (June to September). The ferry is a small boat capable of carrying only 2 or 3 cars and around 12 foot passengers. If you have time while waiting to board, we recommend grabbing a delicious coffee from the Slaughterhouse cafe.
It’s a popular ferry route for drivers and cyclists looking for a shortcut, as it would normally take around 50 minutes by car, using the B9163 and the A9. If you do find yourself passing through Nigg village, then we recommend calling into Nigg church to view the impressive Pictish stone housed within.
For prices and up to date ferry information click here.
Cromarty Brewing Co
This fantastic microbrewery was first started in 2011 by Craig Middleton and family. It has continued to expand its range and is now a very popular choice for locals looking for a quality pint. The beer is handcrafted in small batches using the finest ingredients for best possible flavour which is why it’s no surprise that the end product is multi award winning.
The brewery offers a variety of around 12 beers, from classic styles such as pale ales and lagers, to more unique creations like the “Awakening”. A coffee infused stout that features beans ground locally by the Inverness Coffee Roasting Co. My favourite however is “Happy Chappy”, a deliciously crisp and citrussy pale ale, that uses hops from the USA and NZ.
Cromarty Brewing Co is a must-visit for beer lovers and anyone looking for a taste of Scotland’s vibrant craft beer scene. The onsite shop sells the full range of beers along with some fun brewery related merchandise.
To find out more about the beer and opening hours click here.
Where to eat in Cromarty
For its relatively small size, Cromarty has a good variety of great places to eat that cater to different tastes and budgets. From relaxed family friendly cafes to classy gastro style pubs, Cromarty has it all.
This sweet little restaurant close to Cromarty harbour is lovingly run by a husband and wife team and has been a firm favourite with locals since it opened back in 2010. The eatery is famous for its ridiculously tasty hand-made wood fired pizza, the special dough is made freshly inhouse daily.
The delicious seafood on the menu is sourced locally along with the venison and beef. Personally, I love the fish and chips! Inside, it’s cosy and relaxed, there is a good wine list and the craft beer comes from the Cromarty Brewery Co.
To take a look at the latest menu click here.
The Fishertown Inn
Since changing hands in 2022, this traditional pub has gone from strength to strength. The Inn is located opposite the Old Courthouse and is blessed with an attractive beer garden, perfect for a summer visit. Likewise, if you are visiting on a cold winter’s day then find a seat by the fire in a cosy nook.
The menu offers a limited choice, but it’s all fresh and delicious, with a focus on quality ingredients. We loved the tasty cullen skink and the Sunday roast. There is also a super range of wine and craft beers on offer to wash it all down with.
Check out the menu along with opening times here.
If you are looking for a cafe then the Cromarty Cafe is a great option and it’s perfectly located in the town centre. The menu features some seriously tasty homemade soups, wholesome paninis and sweet bakery treats.
There is also a wide range of coffees available with the option of oat and soya milk for vegans. Our kids loved the milkshakes.
The Royal Hotel
This hotel is owned by a local farming family, so as you might expect, ingredients are very important. In fact, the menu features some of the best Highland produce – haddock from Buckie, mussels from the West coast, lamb from Ross-Shire and beef from the owners’ farm.
The exceptional menu is priced accordingly, although if you are looking for fine dining the restaurant still represents good value for money. The dining room is bright, modern and airy, while the conservatory has a lovely sea view. Highly recommended.
Find the latest menu here.
The Slaughterhouse Coffee
This very cool coffee shop is located down by the water next to the cinema. From the outside it’s a wooden shack, but on the inside there is a sleek modern vibe with some of the best coffee I have tasted. The delicious coffee is supplied by the Vandyke Brothers and is roasted in Cromarty.
Happiness is sitting by the wood burner on a cold day with a sweet treat from Black Isle Baking or if you are lucky grab a seat on the terrace for a spot of sunbathing.
For further information click here.
The quaint cafe is located in the centre of Cromarty on the corner of Church Street. It serves a delicious range of soups, sandwiches and tasty home baking. It’s famous for the best meringues in the Highlands and is a great place to enjoy a coffee surrounded by local artwork.
The cafe is open daily during the summer months, for further information click here.
Where to park in Cromarty
On a busy weekend during the summer, finding a parking space can be a bit of a challenge. But there is usually space down by the cinema and the ferry terminal. Failing this, try the area around Victoria Park. It is also possible to park on the narrow streets in the centre, but this can cause quite a lot of traffic issues and is discouraged by the local council.
How to get to Cromarty by car
Getting to Cromarty by car is relatively easy, as the town is well-connected to the Scottish road network. Here are the steps to get to Cromarty by car:
- From Inverness, take the A9 north over the Kessock Bridge towards Tore roundabout.
- At the roundabout, take the third exit to stay on the A9.
- After 5 miles just before the Cromarty Bridge turn right onto the B9163.
- Follow the road for about 12 miles until you reach the outskirts of Cromarty.
- To enter the town centre, take a left turn onto High Street A832, which leads to the heart of the town.
It’s worth noting that the roads in the Scottish Highlands can be narrow and winding, so drivers should exercise caution and be prepared for some challenging driving conditions, especially if visiting in winter.
How to get to Cromarty by bus
Getting to Cromarty by bus is a good option if you are hoping to use public transport. Here are the steps to get to Cromarty by bus:
- From Inverness bus station you either take the Stagecoach Bus 26 or 26A, both buses leave from stance 4.
- Get off at Victoria Hall (town centre) or The Links (the beach) depending on where you want to go. The 26A has a slightly shorter journey time of 50 minutes versus an hour if you choose the n° 26.
It’s important to note that the bus service to Cromarty is infrequent, with only a few buses running each day. Therefore, it’s advisable to check the bus timetable in advance and plan accordingly.
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