Once a very popular Victorian spa, Strathpeffer still has many of the beautiful old hotels, villas and pavilions which have been restored bringing real character to the town. The wealthy Victorians visited Strathpeffer to ‘take the waters’ which were prized for their healing qualities and were thought to be particularly good for rheumatism.
You can taste the sulphur water for yourself in the ornate pump room in the town square.
Another recent restoration is the Upper Pump Room with a modern interactive visitor centre telling the story of Strathpeffer’s days as an important health spa. Life size models recreate the past in a most authentic way. The dispensing room has five water pumps where you can taste the ‘strongest sulphur waters in Europe’. Strathpeffer Pavilion stands at the heart of the village square.
After being neglected and allowed to fall into disrepair for almost a quarter of a century, the Pavilion was acquired in 1995 by the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT), which put together a plan for its restoration, rallied local and other support, raised the necessary funds and masterminded the reconstruction process. It is now once again a superior event venue complete with restaurant.
The old restored Victorian railway station is home to the Highland Museum of Childhood which tells the story of childhood in the Highlands covering birth and baptism, folklore, home life, education and toys and games from every era, and a range of items from cradles to school slates and old, well-loved toys. Along the platform there are shops and a café. In summer enjoy afternoon tea on the old railway platform.
Strathpeffer Golf Course is well-respected. It features hardly any sand bunkers - but plenty of natural hazards. The first hole is a modest 301 yards but is considered to be the most challenging. The drive from the clubhouse features the longest drop on any course in Scotland. Near Strathpeffer is Castle Leod where the local Highland Games are held every year. Highland dancing, stalls full of goodies, the obligatory caber toss and of course the pipe bands are a wonderful way to spend a sunny summer day. Walking was part of treatment prescribed at Strathpeffer in its Victorian heyday and there are lots of gentle, easy walks in the area. Make the most of the fresh air and scenery and enjoy a stroll through the woodlands around the town.
A waymarked walk leads you to the carved Pictish monument The Eagle Stone. The Brahan Seer warned that if the stone fell three times, ships would be able to sail to Strathpeffer and moor onto the stone. It’s fallen twice already. It’s been concreted in place to be be on the safe side!
Falls of Rogie is just one of the scenic spots nearby worth seeking out and a good place for unpacking the picnic hamper.