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Scotland Holidays

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For such a compact country, Scotland packs a mighty punch. An epic land of misty glens, craggy peaks and windswept isles, steeped with a magical mix of Celtic and Norse legends. Dramatic vistas are within easy reach but beyond the iconic cities is a vast untamed wilderness waiting to be explored.


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Half the size of England with just a tenth of its inhabitants, Scotland is one of the least crowded countries in Europe. Most of the population resides in a narrow belt of fertile farmland, leaving great swathes of ancient moorland, craggy mountains and lush Caledonian forest virtually untouched. 

The rugged terrain is a haven for wildlife. Red deer roam across heather-flecked hills, golden eagles soar above remote island glens. Meanwhile, the convoluted coastline is one of the best places in the world to spot marine mammals such as freshwater otters, minke whales and a million nesting seabirds. 

Walk barefoot along a white-sand beach and kayak through turquoise waters. Bag a Munro before taking a bracing dip in an icy loch. Explore ruined castles then retreat to a cosy inn for a warming dram of single malt whisky. When the mist clears and the rain stops falling, there’s no more beautiful place on Earth. 


REGIONS OF SCOTLAND

OUTER HEBRIDES

A chain of interconnected islands off Scotland's west coast, where white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters and mystical standing stones await.

INNER HEBRIDES

Just west of the Scottish mainland lies a scattered archipelago boasting dramatic, rugged mountain peaks, charming colourful harbours and enchanted Fairy Pools.

ORKNEY

Lying 20 miles north of the Scottish mainland, the 70 isles of Orkney consist of vast skies and spectacular coastal scenery; a land where Viking roots run deep.

SHETLAND

Known as the isles at the edge of the world, Shetland is Britain's most northerly archipelago and renowned for its warm hospitality and unique character.

THE HIGHLANDS

The untamed wilderness of the Scottish Highlands is a region of epic proportions, where mossy hillsides tumble into dramatic mountain peaks as you head north.

THE LOWLANDS

From the peaceful shores of Loch Lomond to the bustling cobbled streets of Edinburgh, Scotland's lowest-lying region is rich in history, culture and beauty.

Tolsta Beach on the Isle of Lewis in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland

Outer Hebrides

Search for images of the Western Isles and you might think you’ve found the Caribbean: pristine white sands lapped by impossibly clear water and backed by endless skies. Yet, this Atlantic archipelago is remarkably diverse. From the haunting Callanish Stones of Lewis and the rugged Harris mountains, to the rocky patchwork of the Uists and towering birdcliffs of St Kilda, remote Gaelic communities live alongside an array of wildlife including puffins, porpoises and basking sharks.

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The town of Tobermory on the island of Mull in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland

Inner Hebrides

These unspoiled islands, off Scotland’s western coast, are an easy hop from the mainland via the Skye Bridge or ferry. Known for the dramatic knife-edged ridges of its Black Cuillin mountains, crofting villages and medieval castles, Skye is a photographer’s dream. To the south are wildlife-rich Mull with its colourful harbour, the whisky capital of Islay and the brooding hills of Jura, together with dozens of stunning islets that would take weeks to explore.

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Aikerness Bay on the northwest coast of Mainland Orkney in Scotland

Orkney

Six miles north of the mainland, Orkney is a fiercely independent archipelago with a bucolic charm. Largely low-lying and fertile, the islands are a pastoral patchwork of rolling hills and sheep-grazed moorland with clusters of cottages and quaint fishing towns. Set amongst the idyllic white sands are Stone Age settlements like Skara Brae and ancient standing stones, while in the far north the dramatic sea cliffs of Westray are a cacophony of nesting seabirds.

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Sumburgh Head Lighthouse on the southern tip of the Mainland of Shetland in Scotland

Shetland

Windswept and wild, rugged and remote, Shetland is like a paint splatter across the North Sea. Closer to Bergen than Edinburgh, the islands were once a Viking outpost and the landscape is steeped in Norse legends and Neolithic sites. Visit the maritime capital Lerwick, walk along soaring clifftops above deserted beaches, take a boat trip to spot seals and orcas. With spectacular birdlife and scenery to match, a journey here is well worth the effort.

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Bealach na Bà road through the mountains of the Applecross peninsula in the Scottish Highlands

The Highlands

In a country of spectacular beauty, the Highlands are the major draw. Severe glaciation has carved out a dramatic landscape of high peaks and ancient plateaux separated by loch-filled glens. Serious climbers flock to the high-level ridge walks of Lochaber and Glen Coe, while magnificent multi-day hikes can be found in the granitic Cairngorms and coastal mountains of Wester Ross. With five of the six highest UK peaks, this is Scotland at its most wild.

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Sunset over Loch Trool Glen Trool in Galloway in Scotland

The Lowlands

South of the Highland Boundary Fault, this vast region is home to most of Scotland’s cities and 80% of its people. From the heather-clad hills of the Borders to the sparkling lochs of the Trossachs, the landscape is rich in human history, with ruined abbeys and picturesque castles bearing testimony to the country’s turbulent past. Many a poet has been inspired by Edinburgh’s Old Town, serene Loch Lomond and the romantic rivers of Ayrshire.

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We'll send you a complimentary copy of Lonely Planet's Scotland Travel Guide Book when you book your Scotland trip with us


Highlights of Scotland

Driving the Quiraing on the Isle Of Skye in Scotland

Self Drive Scotland

Scotland was made for road trips. Single track lanes snake across snow-patched moorland. Scenic coastal routes hug rugged clifftops and skirt secluded beaches. Dramatic detours lead to atmospheric abbeys and crumbling castles. Whether you take the sleeper train from London to Edinburgh, fly to Inverness for the North Coast 500, or land on Barra's tidal beach to ferry-hop through the islands, a self-drive holiday allows you to move at your own pace and take in the spectacular views.

Victoria Street in the Old Town of Edinburgh in Scotland

Scotland City Breaks

No visit to Scotland would be complete without visiting its historic cities. Each has a unique character and makes a great stop-off before venturing into the wild. Edinburgh is an obvious choice for its cobbled streets, royal castle and world-famous Fringe festival. Glasgow, too, is a creative hub with a vibrant music scene and contemporary galleries. Stop off at Stirling or Inverness before visiting the Highlands, soak up Aberdeen’s maritime history or stroll along the picturesque riverfronts of Perth or Dundee.

A red deer in a field with bracken in Scotland

Wildlife

Sparsely populated and wild, Scotland’s land, sea and skies offer diverse wildlife encounters. In summer, the Hebrides are a haven for porpoises, minke whales and basking sharks, while orcas hunt for seals year-round off remote Orkney and Shetland. Seabirds flock to the rocky coasts with cute puffins, elusive ospreys and white-tailed sea eagles amongst vast numbers of noisy visitors. Inland, herds of red deer, highland cows and wild ponies graze peacefully on open moorland, while golden eagles soar high above remote northern glens.

Eilean Donan Castle on Loch Duich at Dornie in Scotland

Castles

Every corner of Scotland has a story to tell – and more often than not, it's a bloody tale of treachery and high treason. Fairytale fortresses rise silently out of misty lochs, stately stone bastions tower over historic towns and grand medieval palaces nestle amidst landscaped parks. Many of these national treasures now offer exclusive accommodation. Choose from breathtaking bed and breakfast at Glengorm Castle on the Isle of Mull to 5-star luxury and Michelin-starred dining at romantic Inverlochy Castle Hotel.

View down the valley of a train going over the Glenfinnan Viaduct in The Highlands in Scotland

TV & Film

With brooding mountains, desolate moors, ancient monoliths and moody skies, Scotland’s atmospheric scenery has been the backdrop for many memorable films. Who can forget Bond's epic drive through Glen Etive in Skyfall, or the Hogwarts Express steaming across the incredible Glenfinnan Viaduct? From the rugged Highlands of Macbeth and Braveheart to Edinburgh's stunning Rosslyn Chapel featured in The Da Vinci Code, we can include a number of photogenic film locations within our itineraries. Just don’t forget your camera.


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Wonderful places to stay in Scotland

The Fife Arms, Braemar The Jacobite Risings Bedroom, Scottish Culture Room, Photo Credit Sim Canetty Clarke

The Fife Arms

Lavish, ornate interiors meet critically-acclaimed artworks at The Fife Arms, where guests can enjoy exquisite luxury accompanied by first-class food.

The Highlands, Scotland

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View of the exterior of the hotel boat, Fingal in Edinburgh docks at dusk

Fingal

Scotland's first luxury floating hotel in Edinburgh dock. Formerly a lighthouse tender, Fingal is an exquisite 23 cabin boutique hotel with specular interiors and first-class service.

Edinburgh, Scotland

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View of daffodils and the exterior of Glenapp Castle on a sunny day in the Scottish Lowlands

Glenapp Castle

Winner of the 'Independent Hotel of the Year' 2019 award, the iconic Glenapp Castle is an exclusive Scottish retreat with a rich heritage, stunning natural surroundings and outstanding dining.

The Lowlands, Scotland

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Scotland in Pictures

Alamy Images Eilean Gas Lighthouse HGC4H1
Sunset at Eilean Glas Lighthouse, Outer Hebrides
Visitscotland 32641014581 Mealt Falls And Kilt Rock Isle Of Skye Visitscotland Richard Elliot
Mealt Falls & Kilt Rock, Isle of Skye
The View Across The Wick Of Mucklabrek Visitscotland Paul Tomkins
The view across the Wick of Mucklabrek, Shetland
A Highland Cow On The Road To Elgol Visitscotland Kenny Lam
A highland cow
Loch Lomond Visitscotland Paul Tomkins
Loch Lomond, The Lowlands
Sunset At Lochan Na H Achlaise On Rannoch Moor South West Highlands Visitscotland Kenny Lam
Sunset at Lochan Na H Achlaise, The Highlands
AIKERNESS BEACH COLIN KELDIE 3 Orkney
Aikerness Beach, Orkney

We can't wait to help you plan your holiday to Scotland