There’s so much more to Scotland than bagpipes, kilts and haggis. Home to some of the world’s most elegant hotels, crumbling castles, fine-dining restaurants, hidden whisky bars, Scottish folklore legends and remote pubs that you can only get to on foot, Scotland is a land of plenty. Take a look at our pick of the top things to do in Scotland including where to eat, drink, stay and play so that you make the most of your time in this amazing country.
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Scotland has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and those wanting to get lost amongst the rolling hills and endless plains of the countryside can find themselves wandering for hours and never getting bored of the views. All that meandering is hungry work though, and in true Scottish style you’ll never be too far from a good pub meal and a pint. So, here are our pick of the top restaurants in Scotland for amazing scenery.
Where to eat:
The Old Forge, Mallaig: This place holds the title of Britain and Scotland’s most remote pub, but that doesn’t put off people off visiting this renowned establishment for real ales, quality seafood and game dishes and whisky, all served with live music and incredible mountain and sea views. With no roads in and out, your only option is either an 18-mile mountain hike or a seven-mile sea crossing.
The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye: Perched on the shores of Loch Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, expect roaring fires, a friendly landlord and homely Scottish food at this world-renowned, high-end restaurant. Marvel at breathtaking views of mountain peaks, the wild sea and surrounding green fields as you dine on dishes such as Dunvegan crab with salt-baked turnip and roasted crustacean sauce, and baked apple doughnut with cider cream and java pepper crumble.
Doune Dining Room, Knoydart: Situated on the western tip of the Knoydart Peninsula, this famous restaurant will send one of its boats to fetch you from Mallaig. Once at the restaurant, you can enjoy a homely, yet elegant dining experience heroing local produce including the area’s famous venison and lamb, as well as prawns delivered by local fishermen.
Image courtesy of The Three Chimneys
The Scots love whisky. Fact. You won’t go a whole day in Scotland without one of the friendly locals recommending a good whisky bar where you can sample this famous local tipple. From hidden waterholes tucked away down cobblestone laneways to castle bars and famous clubs where you’ll find every kind imaginable, we take a look at some of the best whisky bars in Scotland.
Where to drink:
Whiski Bar & Restaurant: Edinburgh’s famous Whiski Bar & Restaurant serves over 300 Scotch malt whiskies, as well as cocktails and local craft beers to enjoy with an award-winning haggis lunch and live Scottish music.
Dornoch Castle Whisky Bar & Bistro: A whisky bar in a castle. How much more Scottish can you get? Located in the historic town of Dornoch, Sutherland, the Dornoch Castle Whisky Bar & Bistro is tucked away inside Dornoch Castle Hotel and is a wonderful passion project created by single malt whisky fans, the Thompson Brothers.
The Pot Still: The locals in Glasgow know how to have a good time and part of that good time involves drinking whisky with friends in a local haunt. The Pot Still displays over 700 different whiskies and hosts whisky tastings that the staff encourage you to pair with one of their homemade pies.
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Ten Hill Place Hotel: Discover the historic charm of Edinburgh with a stay at the stylish Ten Hill Place Hotel, which boasts comfortable modern rooms and an award-winning restaurant. Set right in the heart of Scotland’s capital, but on a quiet road away from the city’s hustle and bustle, this charming property is the perfect base for exploring. It takes just ten minutes to walk to the famous Edinburgh Castle and the many shopping options on Princes Street.
The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square: The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square is formed from seven interconnecting Georgian townhouses in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed New Town, overlooking one of the city’s prettiest private garden squares. A recent multi-million-pound restoration has perfectly married the building’s heritage with Principal’s modern brand of luxury, from the beautiful glass-encased eatery The Garden to the elegant bedrooms and spa with a pool, sauna and steam room.
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The Dome: Elegant and sophisticated, The Dome is one of Edinburgh’s top restaurants and is ideally located across the road from The Principal Edinburgh George Street. Think Corinthian columns, marble bars and sparkling chandeliers providing the backdrop for photogenic afternoon teas featuring scones with clotted cream and jam and finger sandwiches.
Edinburgh Castle: Situated just a ten-minute walk from The Principal, we’re sure this iconic attraction is already on your Edinburgh itinerary. The castle hosts various events throughout the year including the world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo gathering and summer concerts including Il Divo and Noel Gallagher.
Edinburgh Gin Distillery: It’s not all about the whisky in Scotland. Gin is also a popular tipple and the award-winning Edinburgh Gin Distillery (just ten minutes from the hotel) is the perfect place to head to if you’re after a G&T with tours of the distillery also available for those who want to learn more.
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If you’re looking to leave the rest of the world behind to discover genuine solitude, the Scottish Highlands may just be the bucket list place you’re looking for. Think misty mornings, wild coastline and waves of purple thistles rippling across majestic mountainsides and pathing the way to towering medieval castles. At the heart of it all, Loch Ness – home to the mythical Loch Ness Monster.
What to see & do:
The Jacobite steam locomotive: Renowned as one of the greatest train journeys in the world, most will not know The Jacobite steam locomotive by its real name, instead referring to it as the Hogwarts Express and the gateway to the wizarding world of Harry Potter. But, whether you’re a Potter fan or not, this incredible journey is not to be missed. Starting at Ben Nevis, the 84m round trip takes riders through some of the Scottish Highland’s most spectacular scenery.
Loch Ness Cruises: The whole world has heard the tales of Scottish folklore about the long-necked creature that calls Loch Ness home. The Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, is quite the local celebrity in Scotland and Loch Ness Cruises offers exhilarating high-speed boat rides over the loch, while those who want to spot this mythical creature might find the pace of a leisurely pace of a cruise easier for taking in the scenery and rumoured local wildlife.
Munro Bagging: This may sound a bit strange, but Munro bagging is incredibly popular in Scotland with locals and visitors wanting to tell their friends at their next dinner party, ‘I bagged my first Munro in Scotland’. So what is it? A Munro is a mountain in Scotland over 3,000ft and there are 282 Munros across the country with many of them in the Scottish Highlands. The idea is that you hike up the summit, and once you’ve hit the summit you’ve bagged that Munro.
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