The stage is set for a staycation summer in Scotland and thankfully there is no shortage of luxurious, magical or inspiring venues across the country. Here Ailsa Sheldon and Paul Trainer have selected some of their favourite destinations.
A cosy bed and breakfast-in a fairytale castle, need I say more? With serviced apartments and holiday cottages too, all within Glengorm Castle or the beautiful grounds, this is the perfect spot for a holiday on Mull.
The castle is a family home that they enjoy sharing with guests – enjoy a complimentary whisky in the library, and a breakfast featuring the best of island produce. The estate is also home to the Glengorm Wildlife Project, which is well worth a visit, as is booking a nature walk with the ranger to explore this very special 5,000-acre estate.
Tobermory Isle of Mull PA75 6QE
Guardswell Farm, Inchture
Deep in the Perthshire countryside on a 150-acre hillside farm overlooking the River Tay, family-run Guardswell Farm is quietly and confidently raising the bar for self-catering accommodation. Choose from three larger cottages and three individual hut-like dwellings, all with incredible views of the surrounding Perthshire countryside.
From the sheep’s wool insulation to the internal larch cladding, using local sustainable resources is integral to the design of the huts – and the ethos behind everything else at Guardswell. Try The Innfield with magical floor to ceiling views of the Carse of Gowrie, and swap wifi and widescreen televisions for a wildflower meadow and a wood burning stove.
Kinnaird, by Inchture, Perthshire, PH14 9QZ
Inverlonan Bothies, Oban
Inverlonan is the collective name for Strontoiller, Duneil and Ballygowan farms. At a particular point within the fields, beside the banks of Loch Nell, there are two simple bothies structures. Guests enjoy levels of comfort but still have the slow living, back-to-basics element.
Supplies include local meats for barbecue or a pizza box with ingredients that can be baked in a Stadler oven. The neighbours are highland cows, blackface sheep, white tailed sea eagles and the landscape, punctuated by rough footpaths.
Ballygowan Farm, Oban, PA34 4QE
Dunnet Head Lighthouse, Dunnet
Dunnet Head lighthouse looks out over the most northerly point of mainland Scotland and was built by Robert Stevenson in 1831. Its lantern continues to shine from the cliff edge at night. The Keepers Cottage sleeps up to six people in two double and one twin rooms.
The cosy living room features a wood-burning stove and furnishing that reflects the building’s Victorian heritage. Outside you have a courtyard with picnic tables, two walled sculpture gardens and views out towards the Orkney Islands and the hills of Cape Wrath.
Dunnet, Caithness, KW14 8XS
The Lazy Duck, Nethy Bridge
Get back to nature at The Lazy Duck with a relaxing stay in one of their idyllic wooden huts, nestled in six acres of woodland in the Cairngorms National Park. The huts and safari tent are all unique, eco-friendly, and utterly charming, with handmade furniture, chimenea fires and piles of cosy blankets.
This is simple accommodation for some serious off-grid relaxation- whether that’s watching the wildlife, reading by the fire, soaking in the wood fired hot tub or stargazing from a hammock. There’s the option to book yoga classes or a massage, and a tiny 4 pitch campsite too.
Nethy Bridge, Inverness-shire, PH25 3ED.
The Fife Arms, Braemar
When international art dealers Iwan and Manuela Wirth turned their attention to this traditional but tired Braemar hotel the suspense was palpable. The Fife Arms re-opened in late 2018 with a jaw-dropping redesign by Moxon architects with interiors by Russell Sage, and has quickly become an exciting art and design destination.
There’s a clear nod to the Victorian history of the hotel, but this opulent celebration of contemporary art takes that heritage in an entirely new direction. Look for works by Lucian Freud, Louise Bourgeois and Pablo Picasso among many, many others. There’s a wide range of rooms at varying price points- but from ‘royal’ suites full of antiques to cosy ‘croft’ rooms with hand-painted beds – art is everywhere.
Mar Road, Braemar, Aberdeenshire AB35 5YN
The Highland Club, Fort Augustus
The historic walls of a former fort, monastery and abbey at Fort Augustus now houses a collection of luxurious serviced apartment accommodation on the banks of Loch Ness.
The Highland Club sits on a 20-acre estate surrounded by spectacular scenery. You will be close to the small-scale local distilleries of the Whisky Trail, the Caledonian Canal, Urquhart Castle and the peaks of the Nevis Range.
St Benedict’s Abbey,
Fort Augustus, PH32 4BJ
Cashel Camping, in the Forest Rowardennan
Located at a tranquil spot on the east side of Loch Lomond, Cashel campsite has views of Luss to the West with the rolling mountains framing the loch and islands. Campers can rent a boat nearby or journey on the West Highland Way, which passes the entrance to the site.
The camping and caravan park will be an excellent base for a rambling holiday this summer with walking routes through the nearby Rowardennan Forest and Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.
Cashel, Rowardennan, G63 0AW
The Edinburgh Grand, Edinburgh
The former Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters on St Andrew Square in the capital has been transformed into fifty chic serviced apartments fitted with dark wood panelling fireplaces, decorative cornicing and original Art Deco features.
The show-stopping penthouse has three bedrooms, 360-degree views across the Edinburgh skyline and a fully furnished outside terrace. Downstairs you can make a reservation at the exclusive Register Club for cocktails or enjoy immaculate steaks in Hawksmoor restaurant, housed in the elegant building’s former banking hall.
42 St Andrew Square,
Edinburgh, EH2 2AD
Killiehuntly Farmhouse, Kingussie
Killiehuntly Farmhouse is a lovingly renovated home from home in the Cairngorms, where guests enjoy the best of Scandinavian and Scottish design in one of five elegant bedrooms, not to mention the rest of this beautiful abode.
There’s plenty of help available to make the most of your time in Killiehuntly, whether you’d like to cycle, fish, swim, hike, or join a pony picnic. Back at the farm the Scandinavian influence extends to the ‘wild sauna yurt’ and plunge pool in the woods nearby. End your day with a hearty family-style supper in the kitchen and maybe a wee dram by the fire.
Killiehuntly, Kingussie PH21 1NZ