Helmsdale Lodge Hostel

About About this hostel

Helmsdale Lodge Hostel is located in the scenic coastal village of Helmsdale in north east Sutherland. Sitting in a prominent position at the north end of the village on the main NC500 and LEJOG routes it offers comfortable accommodation for anyone travelling to Scotland's far north coast. There are six en-suite bedrooms - each bedroom sleeping up to four people. There is a fully equipped self-catering kitchen with complimentary tea, coffee, sugar and milk. A spacious open plan dining and lounge area, log burning stove, central heating, drying rooms, laundry facilities and free wifi. A large garden to relax outdoors and a secure cycle shed. Car-parking is free on the roadside next to the property on Old Caithness Road.

The building is the former village school gymnasium built in 1931.  It is an extremely individual structure and refurbishments since ownership in 2006, have been sympathetic in efforts to retain its originality. The high ceilings and general layout of the building creates a spacious light and airy atmosphere.

The accommodation is popular with families, walkers, cyclists, motor cyclists, independent and group travellers, sports enthusiasts and is a traditional stopping point for the Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle/walking and NC500 routes.  It also attracts traffic to and from Orkney since it is midway between Inverness and the Caithness ferry terminals.

A fully equipped self-catering kitchen allows guests to prepare their own meals and the spacious lounge / dining area with a log burning stove promotes a friendly, tranquil atmosphere.  The hostel has six en-suite bedrooms, each sleeping up to four people. A mixture of double beds with a set of bunks and bunk bedded rooms allows a combination of single, double, twin, family or private occupancies.

The large garden has a drying green to facilitate outdoor drying of clothes as well as a seating. There is a drying room free of charge with attached chargeable laundry facilities.

Check availability and make a booking

Group bookings are welcome throughout the year and the hostel can also be booked as a RentaHostel exclusive private hire - please contact the hostel directly to enquire.

For more information, please call +44 (0) 7971 922 356 or email the hostel direct at: stay@helmsdalehostel.co.uk 

Private Hire Enquiry

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Arriving by bus (CityLink bus service):
The property is located 200m from the bus stop.

Arriving by train (ScotRail Timetables):
Cross over the old bridge, turn right along Dunrobin Street, then left up up Stafford Street. The property is at the top of the slope on the left (half a mile). The railway line runs from Inverness up through Golspie, Brora, Helmsdale and then on to Wick and Thurso).

Helmsdale Lodge Hostel Youth Hostel

Helmsdale, Sutherland KW8 6JR Get Directions

Facilities & Services


March-Oct, Nov-Feb (advanced bookings only), Group Bookings (all year)

Reception Hours

From 07:00 to 11:00 and 14:00 to 22:00

Check in

From 16:00 to 21:00


Free Wifi

Laundry Room

Suitable for Wheelchair Users

Shopping Nearby

Private Rooms

En Suite Rooms

Drying Room

Free Parking (nearby or onsite)

Family Rooms

Guest Kitchen

Bike Store

Pet Dogs Welcome

Suitable for Groups

Reasons to visit

The village of Helmsdale

Helmsdale is a small harbour village with an array of shops, restaurants, bars with good public transport links. 'The Emigrants' statue in the village’s Couper Park, commemorates the Highland Clearances and is the venue for the Helmsdale Highland Games every August. There is a Heritage Trail starting at the Timespan Museum & Arts Centre which provides a fascinating history of the village and surrounding area. There is a picturesque harbour and beach in Helmsdale which are well known for its rock pools, Jurassic fossils have been discovered here.

Nine miles inland from the village of Helmsdale is Kildonan Burn, the site of the Great Sutherland Gold Rush of 1869. Today you have more chance of finding fossils and gemstones on the shoreline than gold in the hills - but you can always try your luck!

The property is also is an excellent base for fishing on the river Helmsdale a world renowned salmon river, with appropriate permits and equipment available locally.

Helmsdale and the surrounding area

Helmsdale Lodge Hostel is an excellent base for a longer stay to discover the delights of this part of Caithness and Sutherland, both on the coast and exploring inland into the remote and dramatic landscapes. The property is on the NC500 route and is an ideal base to explore the East and North Coast’s of this magnificent route. It is within range of some of the most challenging far north Graham and Marilyn Hills such as Morven, Scaraben and Beinn Dhorain. Popular with walking groups, the location offers excellent winter walking opportunities.

Day trips from the property include Dunrobin Castle and falconry display, Clynelish Distillery and Baile an Or gold panning site, John O’Groats, Duncansby Stacks to mention a few. Spectacular beaches in Helmsdale, Brora and Golspie offer frequent sightings of local marine life including seals and dolphins. Helmsdale is also excellently placed for exploring the fascinating archaeological sites and historic monuments of northern Sutherland and Caithness where the remains of over 5000 years of human activity are still scattered around the landscape.

Touring the north of Scotland

Helmsdale Lodge Hostel is a well-established overnight stop on the classic Land’s End to John O’Groats walking and cycle routes.  It is also a midway point on the new 147 mile John O'Groats Trail from Inverness to John O' Groats and a popular base with walkers utilising public transport between each  daily stretch. It is also an ideal base for exploring the North Coast 500 road route,  which brings together just over 500 miles of a circular route of stunning coastal and mountain scenery in the far north of Scotland. It is also a convenient and popular overnight stop for travellers heading to and from Orkney, via ferries from Scrabster, Gills Bay and John O’Groats. There are also opportunities to link in with organised day trips to Orkney with tour companies stopping in Helmsdale to pick-up/drop-off (by prior arrangement).

Some useful links:
Helmsdale Circular walk
Fossil hunting
Gold panning
Nature Centre RSPB Forsinard
Dunrobin Castle
Clynelish Distillery
Mountain Bike Trails at Golspie
Dunbeath Heritage Centre
Waterlines Exhibition Centre at Lybster harbour
John O'Groats Trail
Castle Sinclair Girnigoe near Wick
Timespan museum


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