Famous for being the place you start or finish, to cover the length of Britain, the John O’Groats signpost is in the far north of Scotland. Here is a complete guide.
How To Get To John O’Groats Signpost
Located in the Scottish Highlands, this famous signpost is in the village of John O’Groats. Moreover, this is just 11 miles from Dunnet Head, the mostly northerly point of mainland Britain.
There are daily buses from the city of Inverness to the towns of Wick and Thurso. From either of these nearby towns you will be able to get a local bus to John O’Groats.
There is a direct train service from Inverness to the towns of Wick and Thurso 3 times a day. This service runs Monday to Saturday all year and from there you can get a local bus on to John O’Groats
Travelling by car from Inverness, it is approximately 120 miles and will take roughly 21/2 hours. Follow the A9 to Latheron in Caithness, then follow the A99 to Wick.
After driving through Wick, turn right at the village of Reiss to John O’Groats. From here carry straight on to the ‘End of the road’.
There is a large car park where the charge is £2 for 24 hours.
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
John O’Groats Entrance Fee
It is free to visit John O’Groats.
Parking is £2 per vehicle.
John O’Groats Opening Times
John O’Groats is open all day, every day.
The sign post is accessible 24/7.
However of course the shops are only open during the day time.
Best Time To Visit The John O’Groats Signpost
Early or later in the day are the best times to visit. This way you might avoid the queues of tourists waiting to have their iconic photo taken with the famous signpost.
Even if you do have to queue, it is very orderly and the people are friendly. Some will even offer to take your photo for you!
There are public toilets on the site which have a small admission charge.
What To Pack
John O’Groats Signpost History
The landmark ‘Journey’s End’ signpost at John O’Groats was installed in 1964. However, the signpost was originally sited on private land and operated as a visitor attraction.
Visitors paid a fee to have a photograph with the signpost and either a message or the date and distance, to a location of their choice.
However, in 2013 the site was bought up as part of a hotel redevelopment, and the signpost moved some 200 yd (180 m).
When the hotel reopened, a new signpost was erected at the original site for members of the public to visit.
Subsequently, there was no longer a charge to have your photo taken next to the signpost and personalised messages were no longer available.
The village of John O’Groats takes its name from a 15th century Dutchman called Jan de Groot. Groot ran a ferry from the Scottish mainland to Orkney.
O’Groat derives from the Dutch ‘de groot’ meaning ‘the large’. Interestingly, people from John O’Groats are known affectionately as ‘Groaters’.
This has to be up there on your North Coast 500 bucket list.
What To Expect At The John O’Groats Signpost
Located in the small coastal village of John O’Groats, some people may be disappointed when they visit the famous signpost, that there is not more on offer.
However, this fantastic, unspoilt location has dramatically stunning scenery, a massive array of birdlife as well as seals, dolphins and whales in the surrounding waters.
If you are really interested in the wildlife the 90 minute Wildlife Cruise from John O’Groats is a great option.
The iconic signpost is most famous for being used as a start or end point for cycle rides and walks, as well as charitable events, to and from Land’s End. Hence from one end of the country to the other!
Also famous, Land’s End is is some 876 miles away, at the extreme south-western tip of the Cornish peninsula in England.
Along with the large car park you will also find some gift shops, for that piece of memorabilia, and some cafes if looking for refreshments.
Although you may feel that there’s not really a great deal to be found in this area, you just have to stop and get the obligatory photograph with the mileage signs on this legendary signpost!
Where To Stay In Scotland
Offering free WiFi and free private parking, exploreNESS Apartment is located in Inverness, just 0.8 miles from Inverness Castle.
The property is less than 0.6 miles from Inverness Museum and Art Gallery and 1.6 miles from Caledonian Thistle.
The apartment features 1 bedroom, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, an equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave, a washing machine, and 1 bathroom with a shower. Towels and bed linen are provided.
A buffet breakfast is available daily at the apartment.
Located 1.7 miles from Inverness Castle, Loch Earn provides accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking.
There is also a kitchen in some of the units with a dishwasher, a fridge, and an oven.
A continental breakfast is available daily at the bed and breakfast.
Guests can relax in the garden at the property.
Just 10 minutes’ walk from Inverness Rail Station, Inverness Youth Hostel offers free private parking and bicycle storage.
Eastgate shopping centre is a 10-minute walk from this hostel. Hootananny, a popular music venue, is just 15 minutes’ walk away.
Culloden Battlefield and its visitor centre is just a 10-minute drive away. The banks of Loch Ness and the country village of Dores are both a 20-minute drive away.
All rooms have a shared bathroom. Packed lunch and luggage storage is available on request.
For more places to stay in Scotland, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.