A holiday in Scotland can come in many forms including wildlife watching, tucking into traditional food and drink, or picking an adventurous activity for the whole family! Travelling solo? There are many secret escapes to discover, such as wilderness walks and trails. Take your pick! Follow canals, the Scottish coast, or walk among dramatic forests, lochs, and glens.
Either way, if you head to Scotland for Burns Night and wish to stay for a week or month longer, fill your break with the stories of myth, magic, and Scottish folklore, within a backdrop of changing and contrasting landscapes.
In this blog, we’re excited to share some of Scotland’s traditions, wildlife, and a range of top destinations, which can be found within one of the UK’s most unique places.
Top Holiday Destinations in Scotland
- Edinburgh, Scotland’s historical capital for a top city break.
- Fort William, famous for being the first town in the UK to light up its streets using hydroelectricity in 1896.
- Inverness, the gateway to Scotland’s answer to ‘route 66’.
- Loch Lomond, the largest (by surface area) of Scotland’s 30,000 freshwater lochs.
- Loch Ness, the mysterious home of the legendary monster.
- The West Coast of Scotland where you can find sandy shores.
- Dumfries, where you can join The Big Burns Supper Festival to celebrate the life of Robert Burns.
Download our top towns to celebrate Burns night infographic here.
Family Holidays in Scotland
Scottish Holidays by The Sea
If a holiday in Scotland at the beach hasn’t crossed your mind, you’ll be surprised at the number of locations you can visit. There are in fact 1000’s of miles of dramatic and beautiful coastline. Go east to find Fife’s Blue Flag beaches or head North West to watch white horses from the Atlantic, crash against rugged bays.
Along the Western Highland coastline, discover all the bays, coves, and islands among the Inner and Outer Hebrides, such as the Isle of Skye. Dumfries and Galloway in the south will also provide you with adventures along sandy beaches, some of which sit on the edge of ancients forests.
Volunteering Holidays in Scotland
A volunteering or working holiday in Scotland will provide you with the opportunity to learn something new, have fun and achieve something memorable. You’ll also be giving something back to a local community. Led by the National Trust for Scotland, choose from looking after and monitoring wildlife, such as breeding seabirds on a remote island, like St Hilda. Or, if you’re passionate about conservation work, take up an archaeological, cultural, or woodland project to look after Scotland’s landscape and ancient heritage.
Outdoor Activity Holidays in Scotland
If you’re with a group, there are many adventures to have in Scotland’s wilderness. In winter, catch up with friends in the Cairngorms during a ski holiday. In summer, learn to kayak with family in the West Highlands. For a family activity holiday, include mountain biking, canoeing, geocaching, and wildlife watching, while learning about Scotland’s myths and legends. Whichever activity you decide on, follow all safety guidelines and wear/use the safety equipment provided. Luckily Free Spirit Travel Insurance includes over 100 activities for free.
However, if that sounds like too much excitement, take the cameras and improve your photography skills by immersing yourself in a photography holiday. Simply drive around the Inner Hebrides with your camera. When it is time to rest and refuel there are plenty of fantastic hotels to choose from, some with opportunities to indulge in award-winning cuisine.
Try locally sourced seafood and venison, before finishing with Cranachan. This is a traditional Scottish dessert made from oats, cream, whisky, and raspberries.
Scottish Holidays in Winter for Couples
See the Northern Lights!
To see the magic of the skies, visit Scotland between December and February. The Orkney Isles is said to be one of the best places to watch the Northern Lights. However, when the sky is clear and dark, you may also catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis in Shetland, on the Moray Coast, as well as The Isle of Skye.
The Isle of Skye is a great option because it has nine Dark Sky Discovery Sites. For instance, you could spend the day exploring Duntulm castle and Talisker Distillery before watching the Milky Way with a dram of whisky.
If you love astronomy you could book a dark sky holiday in Scotland to go stargazing and visit the Galloway Forest Park in Dumfries. While away, keep an eye on the Aurora Watch UK website. You may be lucky enough to be there when the aurora is active. Keep some binoculars to hand just in case.
Hiking and Walking Holidays in Scotland
In a previous walking holidays blog, we referred to The West Highland Way as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, for a walking holiday that isn’t as challenging, hike along a section of the Great Glen Way, which runs from Fort William to Inverness. By following the Caledonian Canal and forest tracks you can rest at Loch Lochy with a picnic and look out for the famous, mythical monster at Lock Ness.
The Abriachan Eco Campsite Cafe is the highest inhabited croft in Scotland. Also, there’s a selection of great pubs and Inns to stay in along the Great Glen Way too. Where better to rest after a day’s walking, perhaps with a hot toddy in hand, next to a roaring fire.
Scottish Holidays for solo travellers
Holidays in Scotland for you and your dog
A Scottish dog walking holiday can be relished by walking across Scotland’s vivid landscapes. Take your pick! Try a low-level route around Loch en Eilein and stop for some landscape photography. Or find an established footpath, along the Scottish National Trail. For easy walking, follow the section through the Borders and along the canal towpaths.
For something more challenging, plan ahead for a trek down the Cape Wrath Trail – Scotland’s wild north. Remember that a Free Spirit’s Activity Pack 2 will cover hiking, mountain walking, or trekking up to 2,000m but you’ll need to complete it while in an organised group.
Scotland Golf Holidays
It shouldn’t be a surprise that there are over 550 golf courses in Scotland. Golf derived in Scotland from a game played along the eastern coast. After King James IV of Scotland became the first golfing monarch (1502), golf grew in popularity. Today, the best months to play golf in Scotland are April, May, and June. One of the oldest courses in the world is Musselburgh Links, in East Lothian.
Coupled with some time spent at the spa, after a round or two, a golf holiday can be one of the more healthy and relaxing choices of trip.
Horse riding holidays in Scotland
Escape into Scotland’s dramatic scenery on horseback, during a horse care or trail riding holiday. If you’re a beginner, spend a few days learning how to look after and groom a horse. You can also book a riding lesson. Then trot among the Glens in Crieff, Perthshire, or across the Red Point beaches on the Western Isles. For those more experienced, spend a week exploring the trails of Knoydart, West Highlands, or the Mull of Kintyre. Here the terrain is diverse and a good level of fitness will be required.
If you book elements of your holiday separately a Free Spirit Super Duper policy will cover you for end supplier failure if your travel or accommodation provider suffers from financial failure.
How to get to Scotland
Like any holiday, it’s your choice when it comes to travelling there and back again. If you live in northern England, you might be happy jumping in the car to begin a self-drive holiday in Scotland where can explore secret sights. Why not explore some off the beaten track locations! However, if you live further away, it might be easier to get there by booking a coach, train or travel by air.
When travelling from the south of the UK, make your way to London before booking a direct flight to one of Scotland’s major cities. A flight from London to Edinburgh will take between 60-90 minutes. You can also fly direct to Glasgow. To commence your holiday in the Scottish Highlands, take a flight to Inverness or Aberdeen. If you choose to fly, most destinations are served by Loganair.
You can also travel to Scotland by train from London and Birmingham. For train fans, experience a holiday on the rail by checking out one of Scotland’s Great Scenic Rail Journeys.
Once you have decided how you are going to get there, consider what accommodation to rest in after your journey….
Scotland’s Unusual and Quirky Holiday Accommodation
Relax during your holiday in Scotland by staying in a log cabin, caravan, or self-catering cottage. However, here are some quirky accommodation ideas to get you excited!
Get in touch with nature! Stay in a yurt amongst Scotland’s rolling hills and heather. You can find a yurt holiday along the coast, or around a farm. Either way, there’s no need for tent pegs – just effortless glamour.
- Holidays with log cabins
Do self-catering in a log cabin with spectacular views of a loch! Here you can hide from the hustle and bustle of life. If you like the idea of a luxury lodge with a log burner and BBQ, you have the opportunity to stay cosy all year round.
- Shepard’s huts on the Isle of Skye
Enhance your adventure by staying in something unique. A stay in a Sky Shepherd Hut is complete with electric heating, blankets, and plug sockets. All mod cons will be provided as you drift off in the Isle of Skye’s rugged landscape. Enjoy peace and quiet and look out for wild donkeys!
If you’re looking for accommodation somewhere else that’s just as unusual read our unusual staycation ideas blog.
Travel Insurance for Holidays in Scotland
We hope we have inspired you to book a unique holiday in Scotland. Give yourself the freedom to plan, create and book your break the way you want to! There are many holiday packages to choose from. Just don’t forget Free Spirit Travel Insurance and all the benefits it can offer you.