If you fancy a change of scenery but don’t want to go too far afield, Scotland is a perfect choice. A subtle cultural change, cheap fares and a 90-minute flight make a holiday in Scotland stress- free. Take a look at some of our favourite holiday destinations in Scotland – and dream of your very own Highland fling!
Orkney & Shetland
Off the northern coast of Scotland, you will find the Northern Isles of Shetland and Orkney, an archipelago of more than 230 islands. The Northern Isles have their own unique culture and an enchanting allure that seems more Scandinavian than British. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise when you realise their proximity to Norway; Scotland was a mere romp for Vikings, who first built longhouses amid its ancient communities.
There is a rustic innocence yet a certain strength to life in the Northern Isles. Rugged cliff tops and vast landscapes are totally exposed to the elements, battling for survival against the bitter winds. Maybe it is this determination to survive and the resilience against challenging conditions that afford these isles their magic for here, the sheer beauty of nature is laid bare for you to enjoy.
Slowly but surely the chill of the winds will be replaced by a warmth and love for these mysterious islands. Our favourite way to explore is with a little island hopping; hire a car and hop on a car-ferry from island to island, exploring craggy cliff tops, hidden coves and ancient ruins. Alternatively, you can fly from Kirkwall in the Orkneys to Lerwick in the Shetland Isles.
A holiday in the Northern Isles may not deliver on glitz and glamour, but with its breath-taking scenery and rolling landscapes, it is the perfect place to get away, escape everyday life and enjoy pure freedom.
The Central Highlands
Scotland’s central mountain ranges were formed over millions of years, with Ice Age glaciers and dramatic weather gradually carving the landscape into what it is today. The contrast between the craggy rock formations of Glen Coe and the subarctic plateau of the Cairngorms inspire wonder; just imagining the years it took to sculpt the landscape is enough to baffle even the most experienced climber.
Unsurprisingly, the Central Highlands are the preferred holiday location for the more adventurous traveller: during the summer, walkers and serious climbers flock to Aviemore, Fort William and Glen Coe, while in the winter months, the mountainsides are awash with skiers and snowboarders.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of secret beaches and sheltered coves, just waiting to be discovered. After a long day of climbing, beach-hunting or skiing, you can reward yourself with traditional food and a few drams while warming yourself in front of an open fire; the perfect way to end a glorious day in Scotland. For a holiday in the Central Highlands, book flights to Inverness.
Lochs of Fun
Lochs are probably in the top four things you think of when somebody mentions “Scotland” – the other three being kilts, bagpipes and haggis. There is no doubt that Scotland’s lochs are one of the biggest pulls to the country, and no wonder; there are 31,000 in total, each as beautiful as the next. It is sacrilege to visit Scotland without seeing at least one loch, but choosing could be an issue!
The obvious choices are Loch Ness, which is 22 square km in size and a whopping 230 metres deep in places. There is no doubt that the loch is beautiful, but the hunt for Nessie has made this loch a lot more overdeveloped than many of its counterparts. Loch Lomond is probably second on the popularity list and, as the largest freshwater loch, there are plenty of things to do.
You can cycle, walk, hike or picnic on the banks of the loch, or take to the water and enjoy a swim, sail, fish or kayak. If you want something a little less populated, head to some of the quieter lochs, such as Loch Awe, home to Kilchurn Castle and a favoured spot for fishermen, or Loch Rusky, which is tucked demurely away at the end of Loch Lomond and visited only by the better-informed tourists.An idyllic loch holiday will surely involve log cabins, wood fires, and maybe a hot tub where you can sit, relax, and contemplate the staggering beauty of your surroundings.
With so many thoughts of mountains and lochs, it is easy to overlook Scotland’s cities, which are as diverse and enticing as its landscapes. From the quaint Highland capital, Inverness, to bustling, majestic Edinburgh and the gritty- turned-glamorous Glasgow, each of Scotland’s cities has its own unique personality, packed with history and lashings of culture. Follow in the intrepid footsteps of William the Braveheart Wallace and wander around the quiet cobbled streets of Stirling.
Take in a few museums or visit the best city beaches in the UK in Aberdeen, whose austere granite buildings are perfectly complemented by vibrant parks and floral displays. Discover Glasgow, which has undergone a transformation over the past decade, going from poor relation to Scotland’s self-proclaimed style capital, its streets crammed with boutique and museums that enlighten you on the country’s varied history.
From Perth to St Andrews, Melrose to Linlithgow, there are plenty of enticing cities, but you must visit Edinburgh at least once in your life. For Edinburgh must be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, its stunning buildings encased by mountains and rocky outcrops; a perfect balance of manmade indulgence and awesome scenery; amble down streets and over bridges, discover curio shops and gastro pubs purveying “the best haggis in Scotland” and other authentic fare. A trip to Edinburgh will leave you head over heels in love, and counting the days until you can return. Why wait book a cheap flights to Edinburgh.