When you want to look at holiday destinations that are within driving distance from your house, you could stumble across a myriad of options that have always been right there – without you even knowing it. If there’s one place that you should try to explore at least once, it’s Scotland.
When it comes to the summer months, you can feel the entire country around you on a wind-down. Everywhere starts to relax their communications and schools let out for the long summer holiday. With the wind-down occurring, people everywhere start packing and getting ready for their own holidays, booking car services and hiring vehicles to go on road trips.
The money would have been saved all year long, and those who haven’t managed to save much will make a point of living on a strict budget for the time that they are away. Yes, the summer is upon us and it’s time to make the most of it. Of course, once you leave school you can’t just jolly off for six weeks in the hope that you would visit everywhere on your bucket list. Not only will you end up putting in your information on the hunt for personal loan details online just to fund your road trip, but you’ll also never want to go back to work.
Wanderlust is a real thing, and not everyone has the cash to jet-set around the world. Sometimes, it’s just as nice and easy to stick to the places that you know at home.
Make Scotland the destination of your summer
The trouble with Scotland is that there are so many places that you need to visit, it’s hard to choose just one! Wild marshlands hugged by the mists of the morning. Huge, rugged mountain ranges topped with snow at some time throughout the year. Flat sandy beaches full of fine sand and no rocks lining the seaside.
Scotland is a beautifully diverse place to visit, and to get you going with your Scottish adventure, we’ve got ten of the best areas that you should touch on. You may not be able to travel around Scotland consecutively over a few weeks: all you need is a few weekends and a packed bag. Let’s go exploring…
This capital city is one of the most historic in the UK. Both the old town in the city and the new town are marked as World Heritage sites, meaning that they are legitimate places of interest. Those who want to find some great nightlife will love the Royal Mile, and those who simply want some antiquated quiet can take a turn around Edinburgh Castle.
The curious among you will love the Camera Obscura museum in all its quirky glory. Take a picnic of all your favourite foods to Arthur’s Peak, but bring a coat or two because the air will chill around you in the evening.
It’s a city packed with history and dripping with picturesque sunsets wherever you look. It’s not just the city sights, either. Edinburgh boasts a zoo on the steep face of a cliff, and when you get to the top, you can look across a valley and see the rest of the city on the other side.
The Orkney Islands
Drifting just off the northern coast of Scotland sit the Orkney Islands. Animal lovers among you will absolutely adore the time spent on the Orkney Islands. From here, you can watch the seals frolic on the rocks, the puffins in their colonies and if you get a clear day, you get to watch the dolphins in the water! You can hike, cycle or sail around the islands, giving you the perfect chance to enjoy a beautiful place whatever the summer weather throws at you.
For those looking for a little history, you’ll love the stone circles and tombs to explore and you can learn more about those here.
There is a nature reserve here, which is majorly popular for those who love to hike, kayak and windsurf. Scotland is notoriously a place that is cold, so wrap up warm even if it is the summer months. It’s less than an hour away from Edinburgh, making it accessible from the cosy hotel you’ve booked into.
You may not spot any monsters, but this 754-foot deep lake has so much more to offer than a giant reptile. Urquhart Castle ruins are still here, meaning you can take the footsteps of history gone before you, and you can enjoy yourself in a historical picnic. The Loch Ness monster may be a historical legend and there is a museum and exhibition dedicated to it.
The adventurers will adore this beautiful peak. It towers over Fort William and is the highest peak in not just Scotland, but the entirety of the UK. It’s often a feature on the list of charity challenges taken by schools and other organisations looking to push themselves to raise money. The face of this mountain may be a steep one and difficult to climb, but the scenery from the top is so worth it. Pack your hiking boots; Ben Nevis has so much to offer those seeking a little fresh air.
While we’re on the topic of mountains to see, the valley of Glencoe is something that has to be on your list of places to visit while you explore Scotland. It’s a hike that you could only dream of completing, with the Three Sisters mountain range overshadowing the valley itself.
Mealt Falls & Kiltrock
You may not have heard the legends unless you’ve got some older Irish family members, but there is a story about Kiltrock which involves the legend of the giants who built a bridge from Scotland to Ireland to cross over. Not many people believe in magic, but once you’ve visited this majestic area of Scotland, it’ll be hard for you not to believe the stories.
Over the years, Glasgow has revamped itself as a city of culture. Music, theatre, design and the arts are now all prevalent in Glasgow now more than ever before. Go for drinks in the many cocktail bars. Walk the streets of the city and take in the sights and shopping. Take in some of the authentic Scottish cuisines; Glasgow has it all in spades.
The Outer Hebrides
When you think to go for a holiday, you may initially think of Europe and all the white sandy beaches that it has to offer. The thing is, the Outer Hebrides is one of the best choices for your beach holiday and you probably don’t even know it yet. Scotland isn’t renowned for its beaches, and that’s what makes them so great! They’re hidden gems here, white sand and clean, clear blue seas. All you’d need is a hot day for sunbathing and beach sports. Either way, it’s a breathtaking place to visit!
A naturalist’s paradise, Shetland draws those who want to get in touch with nature and animals in their natural habitats. Puffins, seals and gannets feature here and if you really want to get involved in the local culture, then time a second road trip with the Up Helly Aa. It’s a festival of fire held in the middle of the winter months to enjoy the torch-lit processions. It’s not a place that you are ever going to forget, especially given that the population is tiny, and the beaches are vast.
Make Scotland the destination of your summer
Scotland has so much more to offer than people realise and booking your trip to ensure that you enjoy a mixture of the towns, the cities and the beaches is so important. Scotland has got so much more to offer than the capital city and some chilly weather; especially when you consider the sheer size of the country and the surrounding islands.
The food is quintessentially British across the board, but when you hit those smaller, local restaurants and pubs, you can find food options that are more Scottish than anything else. People think of the bigger countries; the USA, Canada, Australia, when it comes to taking a long trip. The thing is, Scotland should never be far from your mind.
There are two airports in perfect places to start your road trip: Glasgow and Edinburgh, which means that you can hire a car once you get there rather than drive an awfully long way only to drive some more. You get to choose whether you book hostels and hotels everywhere you go or pack the boot of the car full of camping equipment that you’ve had for years and save yourself the money. The hiking doesn’t cost much except in new boots, or if you choose to hire someone to guide you on the trails.
Summer is approaching, and while you may not have the funds to disappear on a long-haul holiday abroad, you could take Scotland and make your summer worthwhile a little closer to home. Being on a budget doesn’t have to be a bad thing when you can really get the most out of as many free things as possible. Make Scotland the destination of your summer.