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Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland – A Complete Guide

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse, with its stunning views, is located at the end of the Tarbat Peninsula on the east coast of Scotland. Here is a complete guide.

How To Get To Tarbat Ness Lighthouse

This lighthouse is located at the north west tip of the Tarbat Ness peninsula, near the small fishing village of Portmahomack on the east coast of Scotland.


It’s about an hours drive from Inverness and a couple of miles from the village of Portmahomack in Easter Ross Scotland.

Portmahomack village is 6 miles from the main A9 road, part of the NC500 route, north of Inverness.

To find the car park, turn off to the left, opposite the lighthouse itself, following the sign to the car park. (There is no charge to park here.)

The Lighthouse is a short walk down a lane from the car park.

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.

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse Entrance Fee

It is free to visit Tarbat Ness Lighthouse.

Although you will not be allowed entry inside the lighthouse as it is privately owned.

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse Opening Times

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse is accessible all day, every day of the year.

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland
Arriving at Tarbat Ness Lighthouse.
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland
Cruising the coastline.

Best Time To Visit Tarbat Ness Lighthouse

The summer months would be the best time to visit the lighthouse when the weather is calmer and you can see the stunning views.

However, can be very windy at the lighthouse, even in the summer.

During the winter it is very stormy and cold here.

The nearest facilities are in the village of Portmahomack.

It doesn’t seem to get overly busy at any time of the day.

If the weather allows, take a picnic and watch a stunning sunset from here.

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse was our second stop of the NC500 itinerary after Rogie Falls and the perfect spot to camp for the night.

In the morning we got up and headed to Dornoch Beach followed by Big Burn Falls.

What To Pack

Photography Camera


Day Bag

Power Bank

Reusable Water Bottle


Lightweight Rain Jack

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland
Dusk is a great time to visit.
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland
Some moody skies and a silhouette.
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse at sunset.
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland
Filming some content for Youtube.

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse History

In November 1826 there was a storm in the Moray Firth that saw the terrible loss of 16 ships. Following this tragedy, many requests were put forward for a lighthouse to be built at Tarbat Ness.

Subsequently, in 1830 this spectacular lighthouse was built by Scottish civil engineer, Robert Stevenson, grandfather of the famous Scottish novelist, Robert Louis Stevenson.

(Robert Louis Stevenson’s most famous book being Treasure Island.)

Rising to an elevation of 53 metres (174 ft) and with 203 steps to the top of the tower, this is the third tallest lighthouse in Scotland.

Local tradition has it that the lighthouse was built on the site of a Roman fort. As well as this, it is said that this area was later used for witches covens.

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland
Exploring Tarbat Ness Lighthouse the next morning.
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland
The lighthouse up close.
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland
Taking in the info.

What To Expect At Tarbat Ness Lighthouse

This stunning, traditional red and white striped lighthouse stands proudly on the coast of this remote but beautiful part of Scotland.

However, the lighthouse is now privately owned and you cannot view inside.

Nevertheless, you can get quite close and it is definitely worth the visit for the scenic views and some great photo opportunities.

We arrived quite late in the evening and visited the Lighthouse both at dusk, and the following morning.

From its position on the peninsula, it offers spectacular 360 degree views across northern Scotland as well as Aberdeenshire.

There are also some beautiful walks around the light house with interesting cliffs and rock formations to catch your eye.

Furthermore, the Tarbat Ness area is also known as a place of special interest for bird watchers to see the many migratory birds and, if you are very lucky, you may well get to see some dolphins!

A great spot on the North Coast 500 if you’re looking for somewhere to camp in your van too.

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland
This is as close as you can get to the lighthouse.
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland
The boys heading down to the coast.
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland
There is so much coastland to explore.
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland
Views out directly to the North Sea.

Where To Stay In Scotland


exploreNESS Apartment

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.


Loch Earn

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.


Inverness Youth Hostel

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

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile.

Book Your Rental Car

Use to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

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Tarbat Ness Lighthouse In Scotland