Tourist Information, Strathpeffer
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Tourist Information, Strathpeffer

Located 4 miles (6 km) west of Dingwall, along the valley of Strath Peffer, is the spa village of the same name. Several local springs supply water rich in sulphur and iron. In 1777, the local minister wrote that these waters had curative properties and by 1819 facilities had been built to service an increasing number of visitors. In 1885 the railway arrived in Strathpeffer, and between then and the First World War, the town became a popular resort for the wealthy in need of 'treatments', which included both drinking and bathing in the water. Grand hotels and houses were built in distinctive grey metamorphic stone, giving the town grandeur beyond its size. After taking the waters, visitors would enjoy popular tea dances. In 1880, the author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) stayed in the Ben Wyvis Hotel with his American wife Fanny, the couple having married in San Francisco just three months previously.

Today, Strathpeffer is again a significant tourist centre, making use of its legacy of large Victorian hotels primarily for coach parties touring the Highlands. Attractions include the Museum of Childhood and craft centre located in the old railway station, the Strathpeffer Spa Pavilion and the Upper Pump Room, which gives an appreciation of the spa facilities in their heyday. The village also benefits from a Belgian chocolate factory. Nearby is Castle Leod, a Mackenzie stronghold and now a seat of the Earls of Cromartie.

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