We've rounded up the best Scotland trips on offer if you're thinking about a staycation for 2021.
Think sweeping lochs, towering mountains, heather-clad hills and beaches all to yourself - if that sounds like a dream, these Scotland trips are perfect for you.
Here’s how to savour Scotland’s finest holiday spots.
1. Hike the North Highland Way
Take an eight-day guided hike with Exodus along Scotland’s North Highland Way.
You’ll stay for three nights in Thurso, the northernmost town on the British mainland, before walking west to the coastal haven of Kinlochbervie.
Yomp along rocky clifftops to marvel at giant sea stacks, and wander on brooding moorland and remote beaches, discovering ancient war monuments and Neolithic sites. You’ll also spend a day on Orkney, where you could see puffin colonies.
From £1,499pp for seven nights B&B, including luggage transports, guide and activities; exodus.co.uk (opens in new tab)
2. Self-cater on the Isle of Skye
Skye is a patchwork of velvet moors, black cliffs, sparkling lochs and plunging crevices. A profusion of wildlife thrives here, from seals to red deer, and it’s an outdoor adventurer’s dream. Hike to the otherworldly Fairy Glen, fish for salmon in the River Snizort, hire kayaks on the coast, and go wild swimming in Loch Coruisk.
Stay off the beaten track at Supernova, a beautifully converted chapel, with its own sauna and views over serene Loch Harport. Set against the backdrop of the Cuillin mountains, it’s the perfect spot for peace and tranquillity.
Supernova sleeps two, from £995 for four nights; uniquehomestays.com
3. Bag a private island on the west coast
Cast yourself away to your very own island, a 600-acre retreat surrounded by Loch Sunart. The family-owned and run Isle of Carna buzzes with biodiversity, with wild flower meadows, heather moorland and diverse species of wildlife, including otters.
Stay at Carna House, a cosy 1920s cottage; there are no phone signals or WiFi, so it’s perfect for a digital detox. Explore secret coves in your own boat (provided with the accommodation), and spend evenings by the crackling log fire or outside stargazing.
Carna House sleeps eight, from £1,200 per week; hostunusual.com (opens in new tab)
4. Cycle the Inner Hebrides
When it comes to Scotland trips, the Inner Hebrides is not to be missed. With quiet back roads, the beauty of the Inner Hebrides is great for exploring by bike. While hard to navigate these islands on your own, local operators, like Wilderness Scotland, tailor island-hopping cycling holidays to unveil the area’s gems.
From single tracks beneath Ben More and winding road climbs along sea lochs, to the ‘Calum’s Road’, built by just one Raasay crofter with hand tools, self-guided itineraries let you discover the islands in your own time and at your own pace.
From £1,235pp including six nights B&B, transfers, a support guide and bike hire; wildernessscotland.com (opens in new tab)
5. Stay in a castle in Ben Nevis
Nestling in the foothills of the mighty Ben Nevis, Inverlochy Castle is a stunning mid-19th-century hotel in a breathtaking country setting once frequented by Queen Victoria. It’s now a 17-room luxurious retreat, where pampering and sports are taken seriously - making for one of the best Scotland trips.
In-room massages are the order of the day, while outdoor activities include mountain biking, clay pigeon shooting and white-water rafting. Ideal to explore the Highlands, the hotel also runs day tours, including a cruise of Loch Ness and a photography tour of glorious Glencoe.
From £338 per night B&B for two; inverlochycastlehotel.com (opens in new tab)
6. Go glamping in a luxury ecolodge in Perthshire
Tucked away in private woodlands on the historic Culdees Castle Estate in Perthshire, three brand-new bijou glamping boltholes offer wood-burning hot tubs, firepits and sumptuous eco-friendly accommodation.
The closest village is Muthill, where you’ll find plenty of places to eat. There are lovely walks on your doorstep, where deer and pheasant can be spotted, and red kites can often be seen at nearby Glen Lednock, a heather-clad haven.
Drummond Lodge sleeps two, from £145 per night; qualityunearthed.co.uk (opens in new tab)
7. Hire a boat on the Caledonian Canal
Captain your own boat and glide down the Caledonian Canal, which stretches 60 miles along the spectacular Great Glen, from Fort William to Inverness.
Soak up the beauty of the serene lochs nestled in the valleys, and moor up to visit hilltop castles and waterside towns. With landmarks including Ben Nevis, Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle, there’s plenty to explore.
A seven-night, self-catered cruise, beginning and finishing at Laggan, starts at £673 per boat, which can sleep up to eight; leboat.co.uk (opens in new tab)
8. Camp in a pod on the Isle of Lewis
Oystercatchers and swallows swoop and pipe overhead, and minke whales bask in the waters surrounding Callanish Camping, a spectacularly scenic site that hugs the shores of the Isle of Lewis.
Cosy wooden camping pods boast cooking facilities, electric heating and fabulous views, and they’re right by one of the island’s finest and most mysterious Neolithic sites – the 5,000-year-old Callanish Stones.
The beaches of Dalmore and Dalbeg are not far away, where you can stroll along the sands or catch a wave or two – the surfing on Lewis is renowned. Bikes can be hired from Callanish village.
Camping pods sleep three, from £40 per night; pitchup.com (opens in new tab)
9. Escape on a wilderness retreat in the Cairngorms
Enjoy a women-only retreat in a small-group, to boost confidence and improve wellbeing. Climb to the summit of Cairn Gorm, do yoga and map-reading workshops, try foraging in the woods, and wild swimming in a mountain loch. The week also includes a visit to Glen Feshie, home to an ambitious rewilding project.
With maximum group size of eight, prices start at £1,735pp for six nights full-board in a lodge near Aviemore; wildernessscotland.com (opens in new tab)
10. Hide away in a waterside cabin in the Trossachs
Scotland trips are all about the scenery. So immerse yourself in nature in a glass-fronted cabin overlooking Loch Venachar, where beavers and otters are known to play and, in season, ospreys, golden eagles and peregrine falcons put on diving shows.
Explore the Trossachs National Park on foot or by bike. The scenic Route 7 cycle network passes through the hills or hike up to Bracklinn Falls. Evenings are for cosying up by your firepit and watching stars – you’re in one of the UK’s finest Dark Sky Reserves, making it one of the best Scotland trips.
Rowan cabin sleeps four, from £135 per night; canopyandstars.co.uk (opens in new tab)
Helena is the Travel Editor for Woman & Home, Woman’s Weekly, Woman, Woman’s Own and Chat. As a journalist with 8 years’ experience, she has also worked for titles including Stylist, The Evening Standard and Heat.
She is a keen traveller who loves nothing more than exploring a new country. Her dream trip is a safari. A fierce animal lover, she dreams of seeing some of the big five out in the wild. Her wish-list also includes India – to explore her husband’s heritage more – as well as exploring more of America’s stunning national parks.
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