The Castle of Mey, a big crowd-puller for its Queen Mother connections, is 6 miles west of John O’Groats. The exterior is grand but inside it feels domestic and everything is imbued with the Queen Mum's character. The highlight is the genteel guided tour, with various anecdotes recounted by staff who once worked for her. In the grounds there’s a farm zoo, an unusual walled garden that’s worth a stroll and lovely views over the Pentland Firth.
The castle normally closes for a couple of weeks at the end of July for royal visits; Prince Charles often comes here in summer. There may also be limited April openings; check the website.