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Sandra Thain

Advertiser since: 2008
Speaks English
Bedrooms 3
Property type apartment
Minimum Stay 3 nights

Sandra Thain

Advertiser since: 2008
Speaks English
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
1 March, 2015
Book with confidence
Book with confidence
Guaranteed, secure, with no booking fees
Trust & Security
Free protection up to £700 for all bookings.
£10,000 fraud protection when you pay using the secure HomeAway Payments system. 
Low cost, tailor-made insurance exclusively for holiday rentals from Europ Assistance. Get a quote


Bedrooms 3
Property type apartment
Minimum Stay 3 nights


Photos and Description of this 3 bedroom holiday apartment in Lybster - The Old Free Church, Lybster

Luxury self catering accommodation for families, couples and groups of friends

This luxurious church conversion offers an unrivalled self-catering holiday in the coastal village of Lybster. Ideally situated on the far north-east coast of the Scottish Highlands, Caithness is known for it's remarkable light, extraordinary skies and spectacular coastline.

Designed for practicality and comfort, which is well-appointed and homely, offering a well-equipped kitchen, family-friendly layout, spacious and luxurious bedrooms with their own stylish en-suites and fabulous gallery lounge, offering the ultimate in luxury, warmth and charm.

Appointed with quality fixtures and fittings, every effort has been taken to preserve the church walls, the deep window recesses, cathedral style windows and the retention of the original church beams.

With an abundance of spectacular countryside to explore, a variety of local attractions and a high standard of self-catering accommodation, this magnificent holiday rental will attract families, couples and groups of friends.

Family Friendly: Simple pleasures are often the most memorable and come from those hassle-free holidays where the whole party is relaxed. We aim to ensure just that - occupied children, relaxed and happy young people and chilled-out adults. Indeed, the layout of the church apartment really lends itself to chilling out, and our guests enjoyment of the accommodation is important to us. We know there are days that you won't want to leave! With this in mind, we always ensure there are lots of DVD's & X Box Games for all ages and books and magazines for those squishy sofa days. Our Scottish Monopoly is a hit with families! We've got most of the traditional board games (Scrabble, Cluedo, Pictionary) alongside cards, dominos, trivia, 1000 piece jigsaws, etc. The environment is designed to be child friendly and little ones can play with our toddler toys in complete safety with space to run around and enjoy their play. Fast and effective WiFi is guaranteed and provided completely free of charge

Heritage - Unique Quality: The church itself was built in 1840 - the Free Church of Scotland serving the village of Lybster. It shut its doors as a church in 1989, becoming a labour of love to a local villager, who spent the years gradually renovating its interior to splendid excellence. The Church Apartment at Lybster is the third and final phase of the renovation and it is a pleasure to offer such a unique self-catering holiday experience.

It is important, in offering such high standard accommodation, that nothing has been left to chance, and attention has been made to even the smallest details.

A variety of local prints allow you to enjoy Caithness at its best and appreciate the many coastal scenes, spectacular skies and extraordinary light and colour. Local Malt, luxurious toiletries from Scottish Fine Soaps and quality linen ensure you know you're on holiday and for the ultimate indulgence, there's even a country spa (females only) just over a mile away!

A bit more about the area's attractions: Lybster is a perfect base to explore the many attractions of Caithness. Famous John O’Groats with its breathtaking scenery and unrivaled coastline, is a 40 minute drive. Here there are daily ferries along the coast (including a sealife tour - be lucky enough to see the Orcas that visit this part of Scotland regularly) & daily sailings to Orkney (including and organised Day Tour). See the world famous Duncansby Stacks from the top of John O'Groats. Visit John O'Groats' wonderful addition - Flavours, our luxury Ice Cream & Confectionery Shop. A fabulous selection of cones and flavoured ice creams. Amazing sundaes. Hot Chocolates and Lavazza coffee to take away. Stockists of wonderful Cocoa Mountain Chocolate (the ultimate Highland Indulgence). Perfect to take home as a gift (if you can manage not to scoff it before you get home!) Why not try the Explorer rib at John O'Groats? A fantastic speed boat that takes you around the intriguing island of Stroma and around the stacks - a breathtaking and memorable experience. Visit the Castle of Mey, just along the coast, lovingly restored by the late Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother. The Dunbeath Heritage Centre & Pulteney Distillery in Wick are among many of the visitor attractions.

Wick has a large Tesco Superstore, butchers and fishmongers and the usual selection of takeaways, restaurants, shops, parks & swimming pool. Thurso offers a variety of supermarkets, deli, shops, cafes, bars & restaurants as well as a swimming pool. In Caithness there are a huge variety of restaurants to suit all budgets & tastes, from award winning seafood restaurants to bars and bistros.

FLYBE & EASTERN AIRWAYS - Flying from Edinburgh & Aberdeen to Wick Airport (Sunday to Friday flights)

More Details
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only
  • pets considered
  • not suitable for elderly or infirm
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Sandra Thain (Owner)
Advertiser since: 2008
Speaks English
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
1 March, 2015

About Sandra Thain

I have always loved property and design so coming across the Church Apartment was just wonderful and I knew it would make the perfect holiday home.

Sandra Thain purchased this apartment in 2007

Why Sandra Thain chose Lybster

The Church Apartment offers everything you could possibly want in a holiday home. We are seasoned self caterers and know exactly what we ourselves expect when on holiday. You will therefore find the Church Apartment very well-equipped and designed so you'll know you're on holiday but with the reassurance that it will be a home from home experience too.

What makes this apartment unique

The Church Apartment is wonderfully unique and it does not fit the mould of standard self-catering. It is spacious and oozes charm. Luxurious and indulgent, but comfy and homely at the same time.

Guestbook comments from the owner

We have had another fantastic stay at the Church. What wonderful accommodation - every need catered for and, as always, very well-equipped. Lovely additional touches - thank you. The new shower room is wonderful and looking forward to all the changes you have planned Sandra. We will definitely be back!
Dec 2014
  • 1 of 6
Bedrooms 3
Property type apartment
Minimum Stay 3 nights
Book with confidence
Book with confidence
Guaranteed, secure, with no booking fees
Trust & Security
Free protection up to £700 for all bookings.
£10,000 fraud protection when you pay using the secure HomeAway Payments system. 
Low cost, tailor-made insurance exclusively for holiday rentals from Europ Assistance. Get a quote


based on 26 holidaymaker reviews

Write a Review
Luxury spacious apartment in a church conversion, Caithness,Scottish Highland
average rating of 5.0 based on 32 reviews
Berkshire, England

Characterful gem in quiet location

  • 5 of 5

I've always hankered after owning a converted church, so it was a delight to holiday in one, and it's a high quality conversion. Luxuriously equipped, clean and generously prestocked with essentionals. Huge relaxing upstairs living room with 2 large separate sofa areas, and a nice view of the neighbouring cows in the evening. The free wifi let me keep my emails up to date and check the ferry sailings. Lybster is a quiet village with its own picturesque little harbour (20 mins walk or 2 mins drive) and within easy striking distance of John O'Groats and the ferries to the Orkneys.

We found a super beach about 20 mins north at Reiss Sands (by the Golf Clubhouse) and had a beautiful sunny day on 3 miles of deserted sand. Had previously just spent a few days on a crowded Cornish beach - what a contrast. I even had a swim in the North Sea - yes, it really was warm enough. (I didn't bother with the wetsuit I'd taken to the beach.) Fantastic family beach. If you like hilly moorlands in which to walk and picnic, they are 5 mins drive away.

We also used the very impressive Catemeran ferry from Gills Bay to take our own car over to Orkneys and had a lovely relaxing day driving around there, returning on the other ferry to Scrabster, which gave us a wonderful view of the Old Man of Hoy. Sipping wine on the deck of the very smart car ferry as we passed within 300yds of the 1000ft cliffs of Hoy - it was like being on a cruise. The day trip via ferries to the Orkneys is easy, informal and well worthwhile.

As an English tourist from the home counties, I've previously been deterred from visiting northern Scotland by the seemingly vast distance, and the "unimproved" nature of the road network beyond Glasgow (where we stopped overnight). Well, driving north from Fort William was a revelation. Quiet 'A' roads with huge vistas and beautiful scenery - the miles flew by, and we easily outpaced the SatNav's timetable because the roads feel so quiet (compared with the South-East!) It was really easy driving.

We were very impressed by all our host's generous touches - the welcoming bottle and chocolates, and all the helpful stuff in the fridge and also in the well equipped utility room. Thank you so much. We will definitely return.

  • Review Submitted: Aug 31, 2009
  • Date of Stay: Aug 2009
  • Source: HomeAway

amazing find

  • 5 of 5

Myself, my husband and our dog, were welcomed by Jennifer (housekeeper) who showed us around and was lovely. 1st impressions of this apartment was....WOW.....The apartment was massive and beautifully decorated and very luxurious. The short bread and whisky was a lovely touch. The main loving area was the largest I have stayed in and was such a gorgeous room I didn't want to leave. The views of the sunset from the massive arched windows was so relaxing. The main 4 poster bedroom with newly decorated en suite bathroom was the nicest room I have stayed in as was the whole property. There were loads of tourist attractions nearby which we visited, but it was so nice to come back to the apartment again and enjoy the place. I will definitely be back again and I have already recommended it to my family and friends

  • Review Submitted: Feb 19, 2015
  • Date of Stay: Feb 2015
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you so much! What a lovely review to receive. I am delighted you felt so relaxed and comfortable at the Church Apartment and hope to welcome you back.

First Class

  • 5 of 5

I have been coming to the Church Apartment since 2009. It is like a home from home for us; with all the lovely touches that we are so used to now – the Old Pultney Malt Whisky, the lovely furniture & comfortable beds. We have stayed in spring, summer & winter & our favourite time was for Christmas. Not venturing out (except to get shopping…& wine!) we really did make the most of the wonderful apartment & the Christmas Tree (which we still talk about) was stunning – all lit & decorated. It was truly beautiful & we wished we had booked New Year too (we will one day). We love the peace & tranquility of the place, the space & the fact that is always so welcoming & comfortable. Sandra is a thoughtful host with great communication back & forth & she makes sure everything is just right before we arrive. She is never intrusive (& we are never disturbed during our stay) but always available should we need anything, with a recently appointed housekeeper who is friendly living very close.

The apartment itself is very spacious, scrupulously clean & very well-equipped. There are plenty of towels, cleaning supplies (detergents, kitchen roll, etc) that you don’t have to bring. The linen & towels are of a superior quality as is the furniture & furnishings.

We LOVE the recent changes. The new bathrooms in particular. A very stylish black & gold en-suite in the twin bedroom & the new shower enclosures are a delight. The bedrooms have been freshly decorated. I understand the 3rd bathroom is getting refitted at the end of February & the addition of a shower bath will be welcome I am sure (although admittedly we prefer showers, but good to have the choice for those that may like a bath or for bathing young children). The underfloor heating in the upstairs bathroom is gorgeous & we loved the new dual entrance to this– making it easier for us to access from the lounge (without having to go through the bedroom).

Sandra takes pride in offering a first class holiday home where nothing is too much trouble. I read somewhere (on her website I think) that she describes it as not your ordinary holiday home. I would certainly agree with that. It isn’t. It is maybe even a contrast to the traditional Caithness Holiday Cottage that you might book, but I know what I would prefer - the space here & the seclusion.& the special feel. The lounge is enormous – with 3 large sofas! It reminds me of a boutique hotel lounge, which of course is shared with strangers – this is not.

  • Review Submitted: Feb 13, 2015
  • Date of Stay: Feb 2015
  • Source: HomeAway
Central Scotland

Outstanding Luxury Apartment

  • 5 of 5

We stayed at the Old Free Church in Lybster in January this year and I cannot recommend this luxury self catering holiday property highly enough. The owner was extremely welcoming and friendly and went out of her way to make us feel totally relaxed as soon as we arrived. The accommodation is outstanding and has a totally luxurious feel about it. It's been well designed and has everything you could possibly ask for with it's well equipped kitchen and elegant furniture throughout. All the extra touches made it even more welcoming from the complimentary malt to the lovely bed linen. The bed is one of the most comfortable I have ever slept in. I could go on and on. Fantastic walks in the area and only a short drive to Wick or Thurso. Totally peaceful and tranquil, I didn't want to leave and will definitely be returning very soon. Thankyou for a fantastic stay.

  • Review Submitted: Mar 15, 2014
  • Date of Stay: Jan 2014
  • Source: HomeAway

a cosy relaxing break

  • 5 of 5

The property was very well presented, clean and well equipped, with the fabulous living room especially comfortable.

The harbours locally were all attractive, and we had our first experience of cooking lobster bought on the pier, after researching the method on-line.A great success- chill in the freezer for 1/2 hour, then cook in boiling water for 20 mins. Then raid the car for a hammer to crack the claws!

Day trip to Orkney was also a highlight.

  • Review Submitted: Oct 11, 2011
  • Date of Stay: Sep 2011
  • Source: HomeAway


  • 5 of 5

I can't recommend this property, the hospitality, the location or the warmth and helpfulness of Anne the owner and Lyndsay who welcomes you and makes sure everything is ready for your arrival, highly enough. First of all the apartment has everything you could possibly want from a relaxing, luxury, highland getaway and as every other review states - the pictures really don't do it justice. Anne has really thought of everything you could possibly want including providing a wealth of information on things to do and see in the area. the thoughtfulness and attention to detail would put 5 star hotels to shame. You can literally turn up with your toothbrush and an overnight bag because the apartment has everything in it that you will need. This was one of the best breaks i've had home or abroad and a lot of that was down to the ambience of the property and the uniqueness of the area. Can't wait to return.

  • Review Submitted: Jun 14, 2011
  • Date of Stay: Jun 2011
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you so much. I am delighted you enjoyed your stay and look forward to welcoming you back.


Nearest Airport
13 Miles
Nearest Barpub
Nearest Ferry
13 Miles
Nearest Golf
Nearest Train
13 Miles
Nearest Motorway
Nearest Restaurant
Nearest Beach
0.5 Miles
Car: recommended

Lybster is the perfect base for exploring wonderful Caithness. It offers golf (its very own 9 hole heathland course), heritage, coastal scenery & small cove pebble beach and harbour, museum, shop and post office. Lybster’s Waterlines Visitor Center gives a fascinating insight into its unique role in the once vibrant fishing industry. There's an abundance of wildlife and countryside to explore, with coastal and forest walking opportunities. A local Country Spa offers a range of pamper packages and treatments (females only).

Usual town amenities in nearby Wick and Thurso. Caithness has a variety of restaurants, from award winning seafood to bars and bistros. Excellent tourist attractions and breathtaking scenery

Golf: Just 500 yards from the church, you will find Lybster's very own 9 hole golf course, offering fantastic views on this heathland course.

A 40 minute drive takes you to the famous John O'Groats. Take an organised day trip to Orkney or an afternoon Wildlife Cruise - dolphins, puffins and even Orcas can be seen from this ferry which offers daily sailings from John O'Groats. Or stay on the mainland and take in the delights of John O'Groats - see the famous Stacks of Duncansby - and arguably the best view in the UK; see the northern coast of Scotland and across the water to the Orkney Islands. Breathtaking. Walk on the idyllic Sannick beach and see the inquisitive seals that dot along the shoreline and the quirky rock pools at the end of the beach. Or just sit and take in the view and our wonderful clear air. Afterwards visit our wonderful John O'Groats Flavours Ice Cream Shop - over 30 flavours of Scottish Ice Cream; Speciality Waffle Cones; Sundaes; Freshly blended Milk Shakes and Hot Chocolates. Lovely confectionery gifts to take home including the Highland Chocolatiers' fabulous Cocoa Mountain.


Prices & Availability

From £159 Nightly

Prices for this holiday apartment Lybster, Northern Scottish Highlands

Rental Basis:
Prices quoted in:
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Rental Period Minimum Price Additional Nights Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event Price
Prices from £695 to £995
3 Mar 2015 - 29 Aug 2016
3 night minimum stay
for 3 nights

Additional pricing information

Pet Fee £25
Notes UNDER-OCCUPANCY discounts. Deduct £50 per room per week from listed prices if you require only 1 or 2 bedrooms (not applicable to short breaks). [The other bedrooms will be locked & cannot be accessed during your stay, so for full occupancy or use of all the bedrooms, please see listed prices]. Use of 1 room (COUPLE) is £100 off per week and 2 rooms (up to 4 guests) is £50 off per week. Please advise if you would be interested in these reduced rates when you enquire. For use of all 3 bedrooms for smaller groups, the listed rate applies.

BUDGET WINTER SHORT BREAKS. New for 2015. In quieter months, we can reduce rates to only £20 PER PERSON PER NIGHT for 3 night weekend breaks and 4 night weekday breaks. These options have limited availability and require guests to pay as they go for electricity costs (heating and hot water) which is £10 to £18 per day based on full occupancy.

These breaks can be offered during November to March (excluding the Festive Season) and are subject to availability:
Friday weekend (3 night) break - £120 (based on 2 guests sharing 1 room); £240 (based on up to 4 guests using 2 bedrooms); £360 (based on 6 guests or use of all 3 bedrooms)
Monday weekday (4 night) break - £160 (based on 2 sharing 1 bedroom); £320 (based on up to 4 guests using 2 bedrooms); £480 (based on 6 guests or use of all 3 bedrooms)

BUDGET WINTER SHORT BREAKS require payment in full at time of reservation, are non transferable and non refundable and only apply to Friday or Monday check-in. Please quote BUDGET WINTER BREAK on booking.

Cancellation Policy

Cancelled bookings will not receive a refund.
Enter dates to see total


Accommodation and facilities for this holiday apartment Lybster Northern Scottish Highlands

Property Type:
  • apartment
  • floor 1
  • Self-catering
Floor Area:
  • 185 m²
Location Type:
  • near the sea
  • village
  • Away From It All
  • Luxury
  • Activities Guide
  • Alarm Clock
  • Baby Gate
  • Basic Soaps
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Laundry Soap
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Local Activities Guide
  • Local Maps
  • Local Restaurant Guide
  • Paper Towels
  • Parking
  • Shampoo
  • Telephone
  • Thermos Flask
  • Toilet Paper
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wireless Internet
  • 4 Ring Stove
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Freezer ...
  • Grill
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator
  • Hob
  • Toaster
  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 6 people
  • 3 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 2 - Toilet , Bath with Shower , New bathroom from March 2015. Shower bath. Multi-jet shower
    Bathroom 1 - Toilet , Shower Enclosure , Beautifully refurbished with underfloor heating for 2015
    Bathroom 3 - Toilet , Shower Enclosure , Newly refurbished. Large shower enclosure. Multi-jet shower
  • There are en-suites for each of the 3 bedrooms, all of which have undergone beautiful make-overs. For our 2015 guests, we have restyled our Master En-suite - with underfloor heating, gorgeous spacious shower enclosure and luxury furniture. (You can now access this shower room from both the lounge and master bedroom). Our Brodie Room en-suite has been stylishly decorated in black and gold with a stunning larger shower enclosure and multi-jet shower. Our Église Room has a new en-suite (from March 2015), now incorporating a shower bath. Elegantly presented in fabulous empredor marble. A generous selection of towels are provided - Hand towel, Bath towels and Bath sheets (and Bath Mats) Luxury Scottish Fine Soaps toiletries are complimentary
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 Extra Lg. Double Bed , 4 Poster King-sized Bed
    Bedroom 2 - 1 Double Bed , Split Level Room. Double Bed
    Bedroom 3 - 1 Extra Lg. Double Bed , 2 Single Bed , Super-kingsized Bed or 2 singles
  • The bedrooms capture the ambiance of this wonderful church conversion. These luxurious rooms have all been freshly decorated for our 2015 guests. Thick woollen plaid carpets, mahogany doors, coordinated furniture and fabrics and their own en-suite facilities. The new Église Room, with its delicate colours, imposing beam, deep window recesses & staged platform housing the double bed. The Brodie Room, with its elegant furniture and coordinating plaid fabrics offers flexible sleeping arrangements with a super king-sized bed or 2 single beds. The Oak Room, with its magnificent king-size four poster, coordinated oak furniture and rich indulgent fabrics and commanding cathedral floor-to-ceiling window. All the bedrooms have lockable doors. Guests are afforded total privacy, with a guarantee that they will not be interrupted in any way during their stay. Luxury Scottish Fine Soaps toiletries are provided. Quality bed linen. A wooden cot is available on request - (bring baby's own bedding)
  • Books
  • Books - Fiction / Non-fiction
  • Books for Kids
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player
  • Games
  • Games for Kids
  • Radio
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo
  • Television
  • Toys
  • Video Game Console ...
  • Video Games
  • Video Library
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only ...
  • pets considered ...
  • not suitable for elderly or infirm
  • wheelchair inaccessible
  • autumn foliage
  • bay
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • library
  • museums
  • playground
  • restaurants
  • ruins
Leisure Activities:
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • horse riding
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • Babysitter
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • mountaineering
  • surfing
  • swimming
  • tennis
This is very spacious accommodation that is child-friendly with a well designed layout which is luxurious, yet practical and comfortable. Beautiful open country views from the lounge. Main TV has SKY Package and SKY+. TV's in bedrooms are all flat screen digital. XBox 360 with 2 controllers and its own flat screen and plenty of XBox games for all ages. Digital radio in the kitchen. Excellent Wi Fi is provided free of charge. WiFi is available throughout the entire property - no limited 'hot spots'. There is no garden to this property, but lots of dog walking opportunities in the area - with a park just a short walk away from the main door. Caithness has lots of glorious beaches and Lybster's own beach is 5 minutes by car or a 20 minute walk. If you have a well-behaved dog that would like to join you on holiday, then please enquire. A charge of £25.00 will be added for a dog.

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