There are few places as staggeringly beautiful as the Scottish Highlands. Remote, yet still boasting a mesmerising community spirit… not the only spirit this part of the world is famous for either.
To sample the Highlands are their best, book at trip for late summer to take advantage of the long daylight hours with bright, cheery skies. Spring is also lovely, when the heathers are out, but pack for all seasons because the weather could be doing anything in April and May!
Start your trip in Edinburgh, which is well worth a trip in its own right.
Edinburgh’s Old Town is gorgeous, with tasty food at reasonable prices. Check out Edinburgh Castle – home to the renowned military tattoo, and spend an afternoon rambling through Holyrood Park, and make the climb to Arthur’s Seat for an unmissable cityscape of Scotland’s capital city.
And then get out of the city. Hire a car and hit the open road, North. Keep your phone and camera charged for this road trip of a lifetime. Here are some highlights for your itinerary.
SCOTLAND’S LIQUID GOLD
Scotch Whisky. One of the UK’s most important global exports. The highlands are creaking under the weight of countless barrels of Scotch. It would be rude not to visit at least one of the distilleries en-route.
Book a hotel nearby so you don’t have to worry about who’s going to be the designated driver, and tour one of the bastions of Scottish culture.
In Aberdeen, explore the most easterly distillery in the country – Glen Garioch. Since 1797, Glen Garioch specialises in quality small batches, so make for a very special gift too.
The most popular distillery tour in the Highlands is at Glenturret. Scotland’s oldest working distillery is the home of the Glenturret single malt whisky. The tour, which includes whisky tasting, is an immersive walkthrough of the traditional art of hand operated whisky-making.
For an extra bit of fun, and the chance to bottle your own whisky from the cask, head to the Tomatin distillery, not far from Inverness.
The Highlands offer many unrivalled opportunities to be at one with nature and a trip to Ben Nevis is sure to awe you. “Ben”, as the locals nickname the mountain, is Britain’s highest mountain at 4,406 feet.
A trip to Ben Nevis is great for a couple of hours, or, if you’re feeling super active, dedicate a full day to scale the mountain and watch the sun set from the highest point in Britain.
Head across to the Isle of Skye to enjoy the vibrant coloured waterfalls known as the Fairy Pools. If it’s a warm day, go kitted out in your swimming gear and swim in the tranquil pools, engulfed by mountains, accompanied by the steady tinkle, rush and roar of the various waterfalls that make up this enchanting natural attraction.
CITY-HOPPING IN THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
Whilst the more remote spots are ideal for losing yourself to Mother Nature’s charms, there are a number of cities worth including in your itinerary too.
Aberdeen is a charming coastal city, in line with the Northern tip of Denmark. Celebrate Scotland’s strong maritime history with a visit to the Aberdeen Maritime Museum, or take the family to the see the Queen’s favourite home: Balmoral Castle (bought as a gift for Queen Victoria by her husband, Prince Albert).
In the heart of the highlands, stop off in Inverness for another romantic Scottish castle (Inverness Castle) – a great spot for a proposal, if that’s what you’re thinking – and, of course, the world-famous Loch Ness with its mysterious and terrifying monster.
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