Scotland’s Hidden Gems: Travel to Dornoch, Scotland With Cynthia Dale

by | Mar 13, 2024

The mound Dornoch, Scotland
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Featured image: Cynthia Dale shares her tips on visiting her hometown of Dornoch, Scotland |  Image by Nick from Pixabay

Where women can stay, eat and play from a local

by Kathy Buckworth

Continuing with our new series profiling notable Canadian women age 50+ as they share their hometown travel tips and experiences while traveling, both in their self-described hometowns and further afield. We hope it inspires you to visit less-travelled places they love and learn from their solo and/or multigenerational travel experiences. In this article, we profile the irrepressible Cynthia Dale.

If you’ve watched Canadian television or been to the theatre in the past 40 years, you’ve had the chance to see Cynthia Dale, one of Canada’s pre-eminent actors on both screen and stage. Eight years on the acclaimed CBC drama Street Legal, and 12 years with the Stratford Festival are just two of the highlights of a career which started when she was just five. 

With three albums of well-loved show tunes under her belt, “…To dream”, “More…”, and “Enchanted” she is also a recording artist. Cynthia has done concerts across the country with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Orchestra. She has a star on the Stratford Bronze Star Walk of Fame, an Honourary Degree from Fanshaw College, and an Honourary Doctorate of Laws from McMaster University.

Cynthia split her time between Toronto (Ontario),  Stratford (Ontario) and Dornoch, Scotland, which she has chosen as her hometown for this series. I was lucky to catch this busy dynamo while she was in town to hear all about it.

Hidden gems in Dornoch, Scotland

Kathy: Thanks for sharing Dornoch with us, Cynthia. Tell me about it.

Cynthia: Dornoch is a small town in the Highlands, on the north east coast of Scotland, about an hour’s drive north of Inverness. I am lucky enough to spend almost half my year there. To me it is a little piece of heaven.

Cynthia Dale sits on a rock on a beach in Dornoch, Scotland
Cynthia on one of the many beaches around Dornoch / Photo by Cynthia Dale
Kathy: What unique experience should women seek out in Dornoch? 

Cynthia: Most people would say Dornoch is famous for The Royal Dornoch Golf Course, but I say its wonders are the historic Cathedral, the phenomenal beaches, the great food, the fantastic shopping, the lovely book store (Dornoch Bookshop) and the surrounding area of trails and walks and hiking and exploring.

Kathy: Where’s a safe place for women to stay?

Cynthia:  There are some absolutely wonderful options for places to stay in our small town. An exquisite small boutique hotel called Links House at Royal Dornoch is within walking distance of everything. The Dornoch Castle Hotel (yes it is an old castle!) is right downtown, smaller and is across the street from the amazing Dornoch Cathedral.

But just a five-minute drive out of town is a wonderful self-catering historic home called Embo House. You can rent the entire home for a family vacation or girlfriend getaway or anything else you can conjure up, and it has amazing views over the North Sea. They also have a smaller home in town called The Meadows, that is cozy and warm and a beautiful place to stay as well.

Kathy: Where are your favourite places to eat?

Cynthia: My favourite place to eat a great meal is “Greens” at the old Courthouse. Also “The Castle” has a cozy bistro and whiskey bar where you can get great food in front of an amazing old fireplace and also a great outdoor patio/beer garden area. 

“Surf and Turf” has the best lobster rolls in town and the incredible “Mara“ at Links House is great for high-end fine dining.

Kathy: And what about a sunset cocktail?

Cynthia: Sit outside on the main street and enjoy people-watching at The Eagle Pub at the Eagle Hotel or the bar at The Dornoch Station Hotel which overlooks the world-famous Royal Dornoch Golf Course and is a wonderful place for a great cocktail.

Kathy: Do you have any special co-working spot suggestions?

Cynthia: Being a self-employed actor I work mainly in Canada. But I also love to paint and now I paint, and sometimes sell, my paintings. I have a painting studio, our little bothy (a wee hut) that I use when I am in Scotland.

Kathy: Where do you go for “Play”?

Cynthia: I love to walk ( and yes even swim!) the beaches in Scotland and the beaches around Dornoch are spectacular. It is where I guess you would say ‘I play’. But I also walk and learn music or learn lines if I am working on a project. Embo Beach ( a five-minute drive from Dornoch) is an award-winning expense of magnificent white sand. But walking any and all of the beaches around here is amazing because of the views of the Highlands, the waves and the incredible skies. 

Cynthia Dale in front of the cathedral in Dornoch, Scotland
Cynthia in front of the cathedral in Dornoch / Photo provided by Cynthia Dale
Cynthia Dale on a beach in Dornoch, Scotland
Enjoying one of the beaches around Dornoch / Photo provided by Cynthia Dale

Upcoming travel plans

Kathy: What future travel plans do you have coming up?

Cynthia: I will be travelling back to my home in Dornoch in a few months; I cannot wait!

Kathy: Do you have experience with multigenerational travel (kids, grandkids) and if so, why is that special to you?

Cynthia: My son was travelling to Scotland and had been in Dornoch many times before I ever went there (he is a golfer) and now he loves to come and stay in a place we call “home”. It is all the more special because he is there and he loves Scotland as much as I do.

Kathy:  What’s your travel style – solo, with family or multi-generational? 

Cynthia: When we first built our home a few years ago I travelled there solo and lived alone there for the first month while I was setting it all up. And I have done this a couple of times since.

When I was younger I travelled solo a bit but now I think I am happy to just be in Scotland in our wonderful home that we named  “Breagha”, which means beautiful in Gaelic.

How to get to Dornoch, Scotland

The closest airport: Inverness Airport (INV). Check Skyscanner for great rates on airfare.

Rent a car or take a taxi – just over an hour’s drive from Inverness. Check out for car rentals.

Connect with Cynthia Dale

Follow Cynthia on Instagram: @cynthiamdale_

Visit her website here.

Trusted Housesitters Banner

More to Discover From the United Kingdom

Kathy Buckworth is an award-winning writer, spokesperson, content creator and media personality. She is the author of six non-fiction books. Kathy is the creator, host, writer and researcher for the Zoomer Radio show and podcast, Go-To Grandma, which launched in 2021. She has interviewed hundreds of guests, and the show is in the top three sponsored shows on Zoomer. She is also the co-host of the Elder Wisdom Podcast, which has just reached 100,000 downloads.


We always strive to use real photos from our own adventures, provided by the guest writer or from our personal travels. However, in some cases, due to photo quality, we must use stock photography. If you have any questions about the photography please let us know.

Disclaimer: We are so happy that you are checking out this page right now! We only recommend things that are suggested by our community, or through our own experience, that we believe will be helpful and practical for you. Some of our pages contain links, which means we’re part of an affiliate program for the product being mentioned. Should you decide to purchase a product using a link from on our site, JourneyWoman may earn a small commission from the retailer, which helps us maintain our beautiful website. JourneyWoman is an Amazon Associate and earns from qualifying purchases. Thank you!

We want to hear what you think about this article, and we welcome any updates or changes to improve it. You can comment below, or send an email to us at [email protected].

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *