Wild coastline, medieval castles, historic cities and wonderful whisky


Wild coastline, medieval castles, historic cities and wonderful whisky

The rugged beauty of the Land of the Brave has long served as inspiration for poets, artists, musicians and scholars. It’s the stuff of legends, drama, superstition and heroes, from William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Robbie Burns, to Sean Connery, Andy Murray, and TV’s ‘Outlander’.

Whether you’re a history buff, food fanatic, outdoorsy type, or enjoy a luxury spa hotel you’ll find your magic here, in Scotland, one of the last great wildernesses of Europe.

Comedian Billy Connelly once said “There are two seasons in Scotland: June and winter.” It seems a lot of travellers took him rather literally as summer is indeed prime time for people wanting to explore Scottish national parks, country estates, golf courses, stunning shores and remote islands. And why not? The days are long and warm weather likely. If you really prefer however to immerse yourself in a genuinely crowd-free experience, consider a low season visit from the end of the October half-term until March. Many choose to stay away at this time believing the weather to be wet, road conditions adverse and many venues closed. On the contrary, there are some great low season days featuring a changing light and dramatic skies, easily accessible routes, excellent public transportation, and year-round domestic flights and island ferry crossings. In the winter, locals have more time to chat, show you some real traditional Scottish hospitality and you’ll avoid the annoying summer midges. You’ll also more easily get that table at a favourite restaurant to enjoy delicious spiced haggis, west coast lobster or a creamy cullen skink.

City Break Weekenders

The major cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen are extremely well connected with flights throughout the year from all over Europe. They offer distinct and varied options for low season fun. Enjoy a couple of days away exploring the historic centres, traditional pubs, green parks and world class restaurants. Choose Edinburgh and its looming castle and climb to Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park for outstanding city views. Or check out Glasgow’s art nouveau architecture, many breweries and stunning 12th-century cathedral, the oldest in mainland Scotland. Aberdeen is less well known, but is so worth a visit boasting a fascinating maritime museum, inspired street murals, cobbled alleys and eclectic nightlife.

Are We There Yet?

The thing about Scotland is that it’s considerably larger than many people imagine. From London, it’s a full day’s drive to the border and then a good 6 hours plus to the northernmost point of the mainland. The good news is that a road trip is still totally possible with the ‘Scotland Starts Here’ campaign showcasing the many delights of the southern regions of the nation. This area around the Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Ayrshire, Arran and Bute not only remains the most accessible but enjoys renowned characteristics of Scottish spirit, is historically significant and offers a wealth of exciting experiences. Beautiful Dalkeith Country Park; the 15th century Rosslyn Chapel of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ fame; Hawick Glass Art; Jedburgh Castle Jail & Museum; and stunning coastal walks are just a few examples.

Highlands & Islands

Venture further north and the sky opens to endless spectacular scenery, picturesque lochs, waterfalls, mountain terrain and pristine shoreline. You’ll need a good raincoat, decent hiking boats and thermals. That’s true at any time of year but particularly in low season! Hunt for Nessie, wander windswept beaches, or enjoy the West Highland Line train journey across the Glenfinnan Viaduct. If you’ve got a little extra time, take a ferry out to the peaceful islands of Tiree, Shetland, Mull, Orkney or Skye and discover their unique cultures, histories and adventures.

Low Season Months

Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct

Featured Hotels

Top Experiences

Book a Tutored Whisky Tasting

Who would have thought there were so many whiskys? Educate yourself with a cosy tasting session under expert guidance. Experience the taste sensations of hundreds of whisky varieties, learning what food to pair with which blends.

Search for the Northern Lights

Forget Iceland and Norway. The Scottish north is a great place to observe the green hues of Aurora Borealis. The best time to see them is autumn and winter when nights are longer and darker. Try a remote island beach in the Hebrides.

Meet a Hairy Cow

Get a hands-on experience with highland cattle at a working farm and learn how these magnificent and distinct beasts are reared and tended. Feed a calf and discover how the cattle are deeply connected to highland culture.

Insider Tips

  • Visit BrewDog’s state of the art beer school, museum and library in Ellon, north of Aberdeen. It’s one of the most technologically advanced breweries in the world, is located on a green field site, and offers a host of fun experiences. Food is served and there’s even a playground for the kids.
  • Golfers will be pleased to know that the sport can be played year-round on many courses. Enjoy stunning scenery while you take part. Favourite winter courses include North Berwick West Links, an Open Championship Qualifying venue; historic Gullane Golf Club; and the renowned St Andrews.
  • Bottlenosed dolphins can be watched in the Moray Firth and at Aberdeen Harbour year-round. Visit the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre, where entry is free and learn about these charming creatures. Enjoy beautiful walks along the tumultuous River Spey. You may also a spot seal or osprey.

Good To Know

  • Single malt aficionados can take a short break on the Isle of Islay with no fewer than 9 functioning distilleries. The southernmost of the Inner Hebrides islands, Islay is best known for peaty smoky whiskys as well as stunning scenery and wildlife. Don’t embarrass yourself…it’s pronounced ‘Eye-la’.
  • Low season offers some of the best of UK birding. RSPB Scotland looks after 77 nature reserves that total more than 72,000 hectares and make up almost half of RSPB’s total UK land holding. Spot golden eagles, crested tits, Scottish crossbill, and black grouse as well as winter waders.
  • Scottish celebrations don’t end with the summer. Check out the Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry in October, BLAS Festival on Skye in November, or Glasgow’s Celtic Connections and Shetland’s Up Helly Aa in January. You can also join St Andrews Day and Burns Night across the country.

Food & Drink

Airds Restaurant, Argyll

Award winning eatery at Airds Boutique Hotel in Port Appin near Oban. If you love fish and seafood, this is the place! An à la carte menu is served is a candle-lit atmosphere, specialising in producing the best of local Scottish seafood, and renowned meat or game dishes.

The Bay, Stonehaven

Excellent fish and chips shop serving local, sustainable and delicious freshly cooked take away meals right on the Stonehaven seafront from Wednesday through Sunday. Winner of numerous awards including ‘Young Frier of the Year’, and ‘UK’s Best Takeaway’.

Glenmorangie House, Tain

Set amongst the rolling barley fields of Easter Ross, this beloved Highland hideaway serves five course tasting menus featuring the likes of freshly caught lobster, venison and passion fruit tart drizzled in a sauce made with Glenmorangie 18 Years old.

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