Dornoch Cathedral was built by Gilbert de Moravia, a relation of the Earls of Moray and the first Earl of Sutherland. The first service was held in 1239, six years before the death of Gilbert who was later recognised as "one of the noblest and wisest ecclesiastics the mediaeval church produced" and was the last Scotsman to whom a place was given in the Calendar of Saints. Originally Roman Catholic rites were observed but, since the Reformation, the Cathedral has been part of the Church of Scotland and continues to this day as a parish church. (The name "Cathedral", which means seat of a bishop, has been retained as a reminder of the church's history).
The Cathedral has many interesting features, especially the gargoyles on the exterior and the stained glass windows on the north side of the chancel. These windows were donated in memory of Andrew Carnegie, who was born in Dumfermline and often summered at his Skibo estate, located four miles from Dornoch. The three windows represent music, peace and literacy, three of Carnegie's concerns.
In the heart of Dornoch is the county of Sutherland’s 19th century jail. In 2000 it was completely transformed into a unique shop selling clothing, accessories, arts and gifts. With 5000 square feet of retail space, The Jail Dornoch manages to sympathetically combine the historical internal structure of the old cells with new contemporary design, creating the perfect backdrop for its new, and more pleasurable use.
Dornoch beach is a beautiful expanse of golden sand located on the tranquil Dornoch Firth. Its Blue Flag status and gentle shallows make it safe for bathing and ideal for families.
Offering fantastic scenic views, the beach stretches for miles - from Dornoch Point, past Embo to the mouth of Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve- making it perfect for walkers and nature lovers, too!
One of the very few 5 star museums in Scotland, HistoryLinks is a local history museum dedicated to the history of Dornoch parish. The permanent exhibition features the cathedral, feuding clans, the shameful burning of Scotland’s last condemned witch and the impact on the area of the Picts and Vikings.
Don't miss the Historylinks Trail. Starting from the museum the trail leads through 16 sites of particular historical interest.