The town of Thurso has an excellent selection of bars, cafes, shops and restaurants. Originally built by the Vikings and added to over the centuries it now offers visitors a fascinating mix of ancient and modern. The new Caithness Horizons visitor centre is well worth a visit. Local amenities include a swimming pool, leisure centre, cinema, boating lake, quad biking, horse riding and sailing. Thurso is also renowned for its surfing and the nearby beach attracts surfers from around the world ( the world championship surfing competition is held here annually). There is a wealth of historic and ancient monuments throughout this region. The fairy tale Castle of Mey, beautifully restored by the late Queen Mother is a must. This most northerly castle in the British Isles has a fascinating history and the gardens are simply stunning. The local archaeological trail provides an interesting glimpse into the history of times past and brochs, cairns and ancient sites abound. Take a day trip to the Orkney Isles and explore Neolithic villages, standing stones, Scapa Flow and the amazing Italian chapel built by prisoners during the Second World War. The coastline that runs from Thurso to Durness along the far north of Scotland is arguably one of the most dramatic and awe inspiring in the British Isles. Miles of white, sandy beaches with massive sand dunes are interspersed with small harbours and rocky coves. Wild life abounds in the area. Great Skua, otters, seals, dolphins and whales are all seem in and around this shoreline. At Melvich just along the coast there is also a colony of puffins and at Forsinard, Strath Halladale, there is an RSPB nature reserve, where local rangers will take visitors to explore the bird life, flora and funa of the area. A superb boat trip runs from John O’ Groats to encounter the sealife close to hand and to explore this fascinating coastline from a different perspective. Nearby Dunnet forest also has miles of horse riding and off road mountain bike trails for all ages and abilities. Corry Cottage provides an ideal base from which to explore this beautiful region of the far north.