Yellow globe flowers with a beach and the sea in the background, at Balmacara in the highlands.
The Highlands

Balmacara Estate

About this place

With Skye on the horizon, explore the rich natural and cultural heritage of Highland crofting amid memorable landscapes and stunning wildlife.

  • Experience traditional crofting in action on this Highland crofting estate.
  • Discover 17 miles of walking trails including excellent circular routes, from short easy paths to full-day hikes.
  • Take a ride on one of the most scenic train lines in the world, and stop off at Duirinish to walk the excellent coastal path to Port an Eorna.
  • See a huge variety of Scottish wildlife including red squirrels, dragonflies, pine martens, otters and the resident (not so wild) Highland cattle!

Just a short detour off the NC500 and 3 miles from the Isle of Skye, Balmacara Estate is an outstanding example of a Highland crofting estate. Crofting is a small-scale and low-intensity form of agriculture that has great environmental benefits, as well as being the defining social system of Highland communities.

The estate’s rocky, moorland-covered hills are interspersed with lochs, woodlands and crofting settlements, with a long and intricate coastline scattered with offshore islands. This diversity means the estate supports a wide variety of wildlife and plants native to the Scottish Highlands, including the ancient oak woodland of the Coille Mhòr. The Coille Mhòr is part of Scotland’s temperate rainforest and a wonderful mix of Atlantic oakwood and birch woods, with a wide array of lower plants like lichens, bryophytes and ferns. It is a truly magical experience to explore these ancient woodlands. Balmacara is a core area in the Wester Ross Biosphere, which spans from Glenelg in the south to Ullapool in the north.

The landscape of Balmacara Estate has been worked by people for thousands of years, and numerous archaeological sites and historically significant buildings give an insight into the development from early settlers to the crofting estate seen today.

With so many things to do, make a day of your visit at Balmacara by calling into the local shops, café and Steadings Gallery at Balmacara Square, the traditional heart of the estate, or by exploring one of the many circular walking routes from the Square.

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Today's Opening Hours

All year, daily
Plockton visitor centre
Steadings Gallery
variable – see our Facebook page for details
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Entry prices

One adult family
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At all Trust places, admission is free for members.

Join from £5.20 / month

Accreditations and awards

  • A navy oval badge from the Scottish Tourist Board, showing 4 stars for a Visitor Attraction. There is an illustrated green and purple thistle at the top of the badge.
  • A green oval badge from the Green Tourism Business Scheme showing a Gold award. There is a blue roundel at the top with an illustration of a teal and purple thistle in it.

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Stay for longer

To really make the most of the area, stay in one of our beautiful holiday cottages by the shore of Loch Alsh.

Holiday accommodation

School visits

We welcome school visits at Balmacara Estate.

School visits

Shop online

Take a look at our collection of great gift ideas. 100% of our profits go towards protecting Scotland’s heritage.

Online shop

Did you know?

There are 13 species of orchid found at various locations across Balmacara Estate, the majority in and around the species-rich croftland of Drumbuie, Duirinish and Plockton. These wonderful flowers are in full bloom between April and September, with June being the best time to see most species.