Encircled by the rugged magnificence of the Highlands in Scotland, Ross-shire is an area famous for its dramatic landscapes, vast lakes, and rich wildlife.

In this area guide, we delve into the heart of this historic county, an area that embodies the spirit of the Scottish Highlands. With a wide array of towns such as Dingwall, Tain, and the popular city of Inverness on its borders, there is something here for everyone. We’ll provide essential information for living in Ross-shire, including insights on history, landmarks, schools, transport links, and property prices.

History of Ross-shire

Ross-shire, known for its compelling narrative, is steeped in history. Historically, it was a county and it held great significance during the middle ages, with many of the area's castles and fortifications erected during this time. The powerful clans Ross and Munro had their seat in Ross-shire, influencing its development. From prehistoric settlements to standing as a pivotal player in the Scottish wars of independence, Ross-shire encapsulates centuries of stories. This historical significance is reflected in its heritage sites and surrounding architecture which adds rich depth to its character.


When it comes to landmarks, Ross-shire is home to several that narrate the tales of its past. One of the most renowned spots is the Ferry Cromarty, a charming village with impressive Georgian architecture. In contrast, the Falls of Shin is a natural landmark showcasing Scotland's wild beauty where visitors may spot leaping salmon. Another must-visit is Glenmorangie Distillery in Tain, one of Scotland's oldest distilleries; whisky enthusiasts consider it the holy grail of single malt whisky.

Landmarks we love

  • Dunrobin Castle, Golspie: This is one of the most northern castles in Scotland, boasting a grand façade reminiscent of a French château.
  • Struie Viewpoint, Dornoch: This offers an expansive view of the Dornoch Firth that is simply breathtaking, especially at sunset.
  • Rogie Falls, Contin: A picturesque waterfall and forest, a perfect spot for nature lovers and a favourite for salmon-spotting.
  • Pictish Stones, Rosemarkie: An impressive collection of ancient, decorated Pictish stones found within the Groam House Museum.
  • Tollie Red Kites, Conon Bridge: This RSPB reserve offers the chance to view these magnificent birds of prey from a comfortable viewing hide.

Top 10 things to do in Ross-shire

  • Loch Carron: This sea loch, known for its stunning views and clear waters, offers activities like fishing, boating and snorkelling.
  • Balnagown Castle: Visit this restored castle, experience its rich history and explore its beautiful gardens.
  • Strathpeffer Spa: Take a dip in the healing waters of this Victorian spa town, and enjoy a blissful retreat.
  • Fyrish Monument: Hike up to this unique monument for panoramic views across the Cromarty Firth.
  • 1678 Battle of Glenshiel Site: Experience history at the site of a significant Jacobite battle.
  • North Coast 500 Route: Known as Scotland's Route 66, this scenic drive captures the very best of the Highland landscapes.
  • Inverewe Garden: Visit this exotic garden boasting plants from around the world, thanks to the warmth of the Gulf stream.
  • Applecross Peninsula: Enjoy the breathtaking beauty of this remote area, renowned for its wild landscapes.
  • Glen Ord Distillery: Discover the magic of whisky-making at this historic distillery, complete with tastings.
  • Bealach na Ba: Cycle or drive this challenging but spectacular road that winds through the Applecross Peninsula.

Our recommended areas to live in Ross-shire

  • Strathpeffer: Known for its healing spa waters, this village offers a serene environment, historic sites and impressive architecture.
  • Tain: This ancient burgh with its famous Glenmorangie Distillery, charming architecture and good schools makes it a great place to settle.
  • Dingwall: Known for its bustling community, good facilities, and as the gateway to the Northern Highlands, Dingwall is a great family location.
  • Alness: This award-winning town is known for its flower displays, scenic walking trails, and excellent local amenities.
  • Invergordon: This town has a vibrant community, famous murals, a deep water port and close proximity to Inverness.

Best schools in Ross-shire

Education in Ross-shire is held to a high standard, with numerous excellent schools dispersed across the area. The Alness Academy and Dingwall Academy stand out for their impressive facilities and the variety of courses they offer. Primary schools, like Fearn Primary School in Tain and Park Primary in Invergordon, have fantastic reputations for fostering supportive, learning environments. Additionally, the close proximity to Inverness provides access to its two universities: University of the Highlands and Islands and Inverness College.

Transport links in Ross-shire

Like the rest of the Highlands, Ross-shire is best explored by car, where you can navigate the romantic, winding routes at your leisure. However, the area is also well-connected to the rest of Scotland by rail with stations in Alness, Dingwall, and Tain. Inverness Airport, offering both domestic and international flights, is just a short drive away. Local buses are another convenient mode of transport, serving even the remote parts of the region.

In conclusion, Ross-shire is a beautiful, historic county offering an idyllic Highlands lifestyle. With its stunning landscape, rich history, and friendly communities, Ross-shire offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you're looking for outdoor activities, keen on history or seeking a tranquil place to settle down, Ross-shire is a delightful location filled with charm and character. With top-notch educational facilities, practical transport links, and a range of leisure activities, Ross-shire is much more than just a picturesque landscape; it's a fantastic place to live.

Buy A Home

With thousands of homes for sale, find your RealMove today.

Buy A Home in Ross-shire

Rent A Home

With thousands of homes for Rent, find your RealMove today.

Rent A Home in Ross-shire

Create alerts and save properties & searches

We've created a new tool to help you easily find the areas that match your budget and needs.

Creat an Account


Whether you're looking to buy your dream home, rent your very first apartment or want home design inspiration, we have everything you’re looking for just one click away.

Latest property news

Everything you need to know about the housing market, explained by our experts.

Subscribe for Newsletter

We've created a new tool to help you easily find the areas that match your budget and needs.