(does not include Edinburgh or Glasgow)
●Belmond Royal Scotsman – 79 Shore (); 011-44-0845-217-0799; belmond.com/royalscotsman; luxury train; review website for various itineraries.
●Malmaison Aberdeen – 49-53 Queens Road; 011-44-0844-693-0649; malmaison.com; 79 bedrooms & suites; chic boutique decorated in rich tartans with open fireplaces & brasserie serving unusual cocktails.
●Marcliffe Hotel & Spa – North Deeside Road (Pitfodels); 011-44-0122-486-1000; marcliffe.com; grand Victorian manor house uniquely furnished in elegant blend of contemporary & traditional styles with antique furniture; all rooms have flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, safes, minibars & free WiFi; suites have additional lounges; conservatory restaurant features regional produce & wine cellar with over 400 wines, while drawing room bar offers over 100 whiskies; spa.
●Brasserie Malmaison – 49-53 Queens Road (at Malmaison Aberdeen); 011-44-0844-693-0649; malmaison.com.
Crathie & Braemar
Sights & Sites
●Abergeldie Castle – Ballater (from Aberdeen, take A93; on River Dee‘s south bank, 5 miles west of Ballater, & about 2 miles east of Balmoral Castle); scotland.org.uk/guide/castles/abergeldie-castle; only open to public on occasion (check ahead); tower house style castle located near Royal Family country home at Balmoral; 3 stories with attic in height & vaulted basement; Great Hall on 1st floor is vaulted; interior has been restored; built in 16th Century by Sir Alexander Gordon of Midmar who later became Earl of Huntly; remained in Gordon family for years, except for short time during 1st Jacobite rising when used as troop garrison; Prince Albert obtained long term lease of castle in 1848 & future generations of royals, including King Edward VII & George V, used Castle as summer home.
●Balmoral Castle – Crathie (near Crathie, 6.2 miles west of Ballater & 6.8 miles east of Braemar); 011-44-0133-974-2534; balmoralcastle.com; large estate house & 1 of British Royal Family residences since 1852, when estate & original castle purchased privately by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria; remains as their private property (not Crown property); example of Scots Baronial architecture; new castle completed in 1856 & old castle demolished shortly thereafter; now covers 50K acres; occasionally open to public (check ahead).
●Fasque Castle & Cottages – Fasque Estate (Fettercairn, halfway between Aberdeen & Dundee, at Grampian foothills); 011-44-0156-134-0223; fasquecastle.com or fasquecastle.com/cottages; high-Victorian castle set in Aberdeenshire estate (former Victorian Prime Minister William Gladstone home on 400 acres wooded grounds & immaculately kept park with several estate courses converted to self-catering cottages); classic interior includes imposing hall, sweeping double staircase, cathedral-worthy cupola & impressive period detail, but decor is boutique-tawdry; public rooms have wood fires; drawing room, library & billiard room with cozy sitting area; outside terrace; country pursuits include shooting (birds both clay & real), fishing, riding or wildlife-spotting walks (all by staff arrangement); 18 bedrooms in 18 styles & color schemes; rooms in lower east wing can feel gloomy (go for grander room on upper floor, but check if en-suite bathroom - not all rooms have them); Nespresso machines, Arran Aromatics toiletries, Egyptian cotton bedlinen & bathrobes, but no television; charming serviced apartment in old walled garden; bar is moody space decorated in copper, purple & mustard; dining room - turquoise flocked wallpaper & blonde wood chairs - overlooks park where rare white deer graze at same time you do.
●Malmaison Dundee – 44 Whitehall Crescent; 011-44-0844-693-0661; malmaison.com; huge domed ceiling above original wrought iron Mathers staircase; 91 bedrooms & suites; good restaurant-bar.
●Westport Luxury Serviced Apartments – 138 West Marketgait; 011-44-0138-231-3666; westportsa.com.
Sights & Sites
●Slessor Gardens – Thomson Avenue; dundeewaterfront.com/zones/central/centralopenspace.
●Glenapp Castle – Ballantrae; 011-44-0146-583-1212; glenappcastle.com; fairytale castle, hidden in 36 acres garden & woodland on rugged Ayrshire coast; spectacular views across Irish Sea to Arran Island & massive granite Ailsa Craig.
●Lochgreen House Hotel – Monktonhill Road (Southwood, Troon); 011-44-0129-231-3343; lochgreenhouse.com; 30 acres of lush grounds overlook Royal Troon Golf Club; rural manor house with polished rooms featuring scenic views, luxe bathrooms with heated towel racks, claw-foot tubs & sitting areas; overseen by acclaimed chefs, hotel has 2 restaurants serving gourmet Scottish cuisine; afternoon tea & whiskies offered in drawing room; courtyard fountain, tennis court & free parking.
●Turnberry Resort – Maiden Road; 011-44-0165-533-1000; luxurycollection.com/turnberry.
Sights & Sites
●Dumfries House – Cumnock; 011-44-0129-042-5959; dumfries-house.org.uk; fully restored & open to public.
DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY
●Knockinaam Lodge – Portpatrick; 011-44-0177-681-0471; knockinaamlodge.com; on 30-acre property with private beach; upscale hotel in grand country house; 10 Victorian-style rooms, some with sea views; full Scottish breakfast & dinner included; wood-panelled whiskey bar.
Sights & Sites
●Drumlanrig Castle – Thornhill; 011-44-0184-833-1555; drumlanrigcastle.co.uk; Duke & Duchess of Buccleuch & Queensberry‘s Dumfriesshire home; “Pink Palace,” constructed between 1679 & 1689, from distinctive pink sandstone; example of late 17thCentury Renaissance architecture; 1st Duke of Queensberry, William Douglas, had castle built on ancient Douglas stronghold site, overlooking Nith Valley; 120 rooms, 17 turrets & 4 towers.
●Cameron House on Loch Lomond – Loch Lomond (Alexandria); 011-44-0138-975-5565; cameronhouse.co.uk; plush country-house hotel; country-chic rooms have free WiFi, flat-screen TVs, tea & coffeemaking equipment & rainfall showerheads; dining options include brasserie & fine-dining restaurant; country club & golf course, as well as spa with fitness room & pool.
DUNFERMLINE & FIFE
Sights & Sites
●Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum – Moodie Street; 011-44-0138-372-4302; carnegiebirthplace.com.
●Dunfermline Abbey & Palace – city center; 011-44-0138-372-4856; dunfermlineabbey.co.uk or historic-scotland.gov.uk.
●Hotel du Vin – 40 Scores; 011-44-0844-748-9269; hotelduvin.com/locations/st-andrews; former stately home; stunning views over West Sands Beach.
●Old Course Hotel Golf Resort & Spa – Old Station Road; 011-44-0133-447-4371; oldcoursehotel.co.uk; at St. Andrews‘ golf course; 11-minute walk from British Golf Museum & 1.3 miles from St. Andrews‘ Botanic Garden; refined rooms range in style from elegant to contemporary; free WiFi & flat-screen TVs; some have balconies &/or views over golf course; 6 restaurants & bars offering pub grub to fine-dining; spa has 20m pool & treatment rooms, as well as rooftop spa garden & lounge.
Sights & Sites
●British Golf Museum – Bruce Embankment; 011-44-0133-446-0046; britishgolfmuseum.co.uk.
●St. Andrews‘ Botanic Garden – Canongate; 011-44-0133-447-6452; st-andrews-botanic.org; 18-acre botanical garden with more than 8K species of exotic & native plant species, surrounded by ponds.
HIGHLANDS & STRATHCLYDE (Achiltibuie, Applecross, Argyll & Bute, Dornoch, Fort William, Glencoe, Golspie, Inverness & Inverness-shire, Inverary, Kilmonivaig, Knoydart Peninsula, Oban, Strathcarron & Sutherland)
●Summer Isles Hotel – 011-44-0185-462-2282; summerisleshotel.co.uk; gorgeous rooms with coastline views in stunning area.
●Summer Isles Hotel – 011-44-0185-462-2282; summerisleshotel.co.uk; great food.
●Torridon Hotel – Annat (by Achanshee); 011-44-0144-579-1242; thetorridon.com; less than 5-minute walk to Loch Torridon; castlelike hotel with turrets on 58 parkland acres; modern rooms come with en suite bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks & WiFi; some also have free-standing tubs; gourmet restaurant serves local fare; whiskyy bar with more than 350 varieties; rates include full Scottish breakfast & outdoor/adventure activities such as sea kayaking; breath-takingly situated.
Argyll & Bute (includes Loch Fyne)
●Airds Hotel & Restaurant – Port Appin; 011-44-0163-173-0236; airds-hotel.com; set on Loch Linnhe’s shores, tranquil country house hotel; 11 individually styled rooms & suites feature marble bathrooms (some with glassed-in showers & soaking tubs); gourmet Scottish cuisine served on candlelit tables in elegant restaurant.
●Ardgartan Hotel – Main Road (Arrochar); 011-44-0130-170-2434; lochsandglens.com; 30 yards from Loch Long, thus incredible views to Loch & onto Arrochar Alps; surrounded by untouched countryside for long, relaxed walks through deep forests.
●Crinan Hotel – Crinan (Argyll, by Lochgilphead); 011-44-0154-683-0261; crinanhotel.com; over 200 year-old hotel in secluded fishing village overlooking Loch Crinan; loch-view rooms (some rooms have balconies with panoramic views); full Scottish breakfast daily in casual restaurant, which serves gourmet cuisine in evening; bistro offers seafood dishes, bar/art gallery & summer rooftop eatery; spa treatment room (fee).
●Loch Fyne Oyster Bar – Loch Fyne (Clachan, Cairndow); 011-44-0149-960-0236 or 011-44-0149-960-0482; lochfyne.com.
Sights & Sites
●Kilchurn Castle – Lochawe (Dalmally); 011-44-0131-668-8600; historic-scotland.gov.uk/index.htm; ruined 15th & 17th Century structure on rocky peninsula at northeastern end of Loch Awe.
●Kilmartin House Museum – Kilmartin (Argyll); 011-44-0154-651-0278; kilmartin.org/archaeology.html; interpretive centre that provides context for ancient monuments that you can go on to explore, alongside displays of artefacts recovered from various sites.
Caithness (includes Dornoch, Golspie & Thurso)
●2 Quail – Castle Street (Dornoch); 011-44-0186-281-1811; 2quail.com; homey, lovely rooms (especially bathrooms); attached to outstanding restaurant; great breakfasts.
Sights & Sites
●Castle of Mey – Thurso; 011-44-01847-851-227; castleofmey.org.uk; on north coast of Scotland, about 6 miles west of John o’ Groats; in fine weather, views to Orkney Islands.
●Dunrobin Castle & Gardens – Golspie; 011-44-01408-633-177; dunrobincastle.co.uk; stately home in Sutherland; family seat of Earl of Sutherland & Clan Sutherland; 1 mile north of Golspie & 5 miles south of Brora, overlooking Dornoch Firth; origins lie in Middle Ages, but most of present building & gardens added by Sir Charles Barry between 1835-50.
●Inverlochy Castle Hotel – Torlundy-Fort William; 011-44-0139-770-2177; inverlochycastlehotel.com; rolling green grounds & scenic lake; Victorian-style castle near Loch Ness.
Sights & Sites
●Jacobite Train – Tom-na-Faire, Station Square; 011-44-0152-473-2100; westcoastrailways.co.uk/jacobite/jacobite-steam-train-details.cfm; some consider greatest railway journey in world; 84 mile round trip takes you past Ben Nevis & over Glenfinnan Viaduct (“Harry Potter” bridge).
●Glencoe House – Glencoe Village; 011-44-0185-581-1179; glencoe-house.com; set on 10 acres of gardens; 19th Century Victorian mansion with loch views & mountain; suites have ornate ceilings, antiques, marble fireplaces, sitting rooms with dining tables & stocked bars, plus flat-screens & DVD players; lavish bathrooms with freestanding tubs & walk-in showers; some offer private terraces; breakfast included & served in each suite, as is afternoon tea & cake.
Sights & Sites
●Dunrobin Castle & Gardens – East Gate Lodge; 011-44-0140-863-3177; dunrobincastle.co.uk; most northerly of Scotland’s “Great Houses”; dates in part to 1300s; museum contains “Pictish” stones.
Inverness & Inverness-shire (includes Loch Ness)
●Aldourie Castle – Loch Ness (5 minutes outside); 011-44-0870-625-0265 or 011-44-0124-254-7902 (c/o Abercrombie & Kent Villas); akvillas.com.
●Ardverikie Estate – Kinloch Laggan (Inverness-shire); 011-44-0152-854-4300; ardverikie.com; see below.
●Balavil House – Kingussie (Inverness-shire); 011-44-0154-066-2020; balavil.com; built in 1790, house has remained in Macpherson family; fully restored & decorated in period style; not hotel but friendly family home; excellent home-produced cuisine; sailing, riding, tennis, historic castles (from Blair to Cawdor) & wide range of antique, woollen & craft shops; 3-mile River Spey stretch exclusively retained for house guests; excellent bird-watching.
●Boath House – Auldearn (Nairn); 011-44-0166-745-4896; boath-house.com; Georgian mansion on 22-acre property; elegant, individually decorated rooms feature original artwork, antiques & flat-screen TVs; some rooms offer lake views, free-standing baths & rainfall showerheads, or 4-poster beds; also cottage with separate sitting area, wood-burning stove & terrace; full Scottish breakfast included & afternoon tea available; on-site spa.
●Rocpool Reserve – Culduthel Road (Inverness); 011-44-0146-324-0089; rocpool.com; sophisticated, swanky little hotel on River Ness; elegant Georgian; contemporary interior; designer bedrooms in chocolate, coffee, & cream colors, with plasma screen TVs, plush bathrobes, Moton Brown toiletries & Egyptian cotton sheets; at price range top end, double walk-through shower with “aquavision” TV, heated balcony with city views & private, outdoor hot-tub; chic cocktail bar with white leather seats, Japanese art & designer chandeliers.
●Chez Roux – Culduthel Road (Inverness, at Rocpool Reserve); 011-44-0146-324-0089; rocpool.com; romantic; candles & crisp white linen, with city lights twinkling in background.
Sights & Sites
●Ardverikie Estate – Kinloch Laggan (Inverness-shire); 011-44-0152-854-4300; ardverikie.com; visitors can experience landscape (gardens, grounds, lochs, mountains & woods and/or 1 of 6 self-catering houses on estate; Ardverikie House built in Scottish baronial style in 1870; among Scottish highlands’ finest private houses; on promontory overlooking King Fergus’ Island with its ancient ruins; 3 mile private drive winds past Scotland’s largest inland beach & round loch; house hosted Queen Victoria & Prince Albert before she bought Balmoral.
●Cairngorm Reindeer – Reindeer House (Aviemore); 011-44-0147-986-1228; cairngormreindeer.co.uk; reindeer herd reintroduced to Scotland from Sweden in 1952.
●Highland Folk Museum – Aultlarie Croft, Kingussie Road, Newtonmore (Inverness-shire); 011-44-0154-067-3551; highlandfolk.com; how Highland people lived & worked from 1700-1960s; 30 historical buildings, some built from scratch on site & some moved here from other locations; site is 1 mile long, featuring 6 houses, amidst some of most beautiful scenery in world; also home to “Am Fasgadh,” storing 10K artifacts.
●Strathspey Railway – Aviemore, Badenoch, Broomhill, Forres, Granville-on-Spey, Strathspey; 10-mile preserved railway from Aviemore to Broomhill (via Boat of Garten); former Inverness & Perth Junction Railway (later Highland Railway) portion that linked Aviemore with Forres; among handful primary/secondary main lines to be preserved in Britain today; extensive Boat of Garten station features original buildings, dating from 1904 by architect William Roberts; line reaches current terminus at Broomhill (in countryside roughly half-way between Nethy & Dulnain Bridges); replica station building reconstructed on original foundations.
●Urquhart Castle – A82 (near Drumnadrochit); 011-44-0145-645-0551; historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/urquhart-castle; dramatic ruins overlooking Great Glen (among Scotland’s most panoramic views).
●Inver Cottage Restaurant – Strathlachlan; 011-44-0136-986-0537; invercottage.co.uk; looks out over Old Castle Lachlan ruins; European & Scottish cuisine; worth special trip.
Sights & Sites
●Inverary Castle – 011-44-0149-930-2551; inverary-castle.com; Chief of Clan Campbell, Duke of Argyll, seat; initial design in 1720 by architect Sir John Vanbrugh, who also designed Blenheim Palace; completed in 1789 for John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll; stands on original village site (when Archibald Campbell decided to build castle, had village demolished & rebuilt 1 mile away, so would not impinge on castle’s outlook; castle layout is square with 4 round, castellated towers at each corner, each of which bears conical spire; surrounded by 2 acres formal gardens & 14 acres parkland & lies around 1 mile north of Inveraray, near Loch Fyne’s shores in Argyll & Bute; open to visitors at certain times of year.
●Old Pines Hotel & Restaurant – Old Pines (Spean Bridge); 011-44-0139-771-2324; oldpines.co.uk; Scandinavian atmosphere & architecture; excellent cooking; modest but clean accommodations; just off wonderful hiking path into Spean Bridge that takes you past ruined “High Bridge.”
●Al’s Taxi – 011-44-0773-389-6163; driving.
Bars & Nightclubs
●Old Forge – Inverie; 011-44-016-8746-2267; theoldforge.co.uk; listed as 1 of only 3 of “Scotland’s bloody good pubs” by Peter Irvine; no roads in or out, 18 mile hike over munros or 7 mile sea crossing; remotest pub on mainland Britain.
●Knoydart Hide – Inverie; 011-44-016-8746-0012; knoydarthouse.co.uk; stunning highland honeymoon destination, luxury self catering escape for 2 guests.
●Knoydart House – Inverie; 011-44-016-8746-0012; knoydarthouse.co.uk; luxury, self-catering accommodations.
Lochgilphead (includes Kilmartin)
●Kilmartin Castle – Kilmartin (north of village); email@example.com; airbnb.com/rooms/6049149; beautifully rustic, the floorboards are a little loose in places and the walls have been deliberately left with their aged patina. The furnishings are a selection of vintage and modern pieces lovingly collected over time. All linen in the 3 bedrooms is 400 thread count Egyptian cotton, with duck down bedding.
●Kilmartin Hotel – Kilmartin; 011-44-015-4651-0250; kilmartin-hotel.com; 19th Century traditional pub with rooms; 1-minute walk from Museum of Ancient Culture, Temple Wood Stone Circle (prehistoric standing stones) & 29 miles from Oban; most rooms have en suite bathrooms & all have tea & coffee-making facilities; free cooked breakfast is included; pub serves traditional Scottish & seafood dishes, plus whisky & real ales; beer garden.
Sights & Sites
●Achnabreck Cup-&-Ring-Marked Rock – A83/A816 (1.5 mile northwest of Lochgilphead); 011-44-013-1668-8600 (general inquiries); historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/kilmartin-glen-achnabreck-rock-art; Achnabreck is signposted off A819 just after it turns north into Kilmartin Glen; forestry road runs east off A road to parking area & from there signed trail leads still further east for 500 ms to carved stones (should take no more than 10 minutes & probably less); about 1 mile west are more carved stones at Cairnbaan & there are still more at Kilmichael Glassary, 2 miles north.
●Kilmartin Castle – Kilmartin (north of village); scotland.org.uk/guide/castles/kilmartin-castle; small tower house, dating from about 1580; Campbell property, many of whom are buried in churchyard; comprises oblong, 3-story main block, with round towers to northeast & southwest corners, as well as small stair tower in west front; formerly ruined, it has been restored as private house in recent years.
●Museum of Ancient Culture – Kilmartin; 011-44-015-4651-0278; kilmartin.org; award-winning museum that interprets area monuments; impressive selection excavated artifacts of various periods; located within village in various converted buildings.
●Nether Largie Cairns – Kilmartin Valley; stonepages.com/scotland/netherlargiec.html; line of cairns including chambered round cairn & 2 cairns covering cists; known as Nether Largie North, Mid & South; part of large complex of standing stones, tombs & carved stones; on southwest lies Temple Wood stone circle; about 1 mile south of 3 Nether Largie is Ri Cruin cairn; many speculate cairns once contained successive burials of ruling family or chieftain series; oldest burial site is chambered round cairn Nether Largie South, dating from Neolithic & built on valley floor, near center of line of tombs; this cairn has diameter of over 130' with oblong central chamber constructed of schist slabs & drystone walling, entered from north; in cairn edge are 2 stone cists (1 visible), probably inserted later in Early Bronze Age; Nether Largie Mid cairn dates from Early Bronze Age; 2 stone cists are visible; many stones have been carted away; Nether Largie North covers burial chamber that can be entered from top; inside is stone burial cist whose capstone bears cup marks & carvings of axe heads; on east & southeast are several standing stones, though not all readily accessible.
●Temple Wood Stone Circle – Kilmartin Glen; historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/kilmartin-glen-temple-wood-stone-circle; stone circle; among earliest stone circles in Britain, dating to 3500 BCE; site includes 2 circles (north & south); southern circle contains ring of 13 standing stones about 40' in diameter (may have had 22 stones); in center is burial cist surrounded by circle about 10' in diameter; located just south of southern Nether Largie cairn.
●Isle of Eriska Hotel – Benderloch; 011-44-0163-172-0371; eriska-hotel.co.uk; grand Victorian house at winding drive end; in Middle Ages, this 300-acre forested island was church-protected sanctuary; in 19th Century, industrialist purchased & planted 100s beech trees, building bridge to mainland; local deer colony in surrounding forest, which is private park; in entrance hall, fire on chilly nights; formal sitting room & library/bar on ground floor; wide staircase leads to baronial bedrooms; each unit individually furnished; consider renting Lilac Cottage, which comes with private garden, sitting rooms & 2 bedrooms with private bathrooms; known for refined Scottish cuisine, made primarily from local produce; adjoining is Stables Spa with large heated pool.
Sights & Sites
●Iona Abbey – Reilig Odhrain (Iona); 011-44-0168-170-0512; island occupied since early centuries CE, as evidenced by Iron Age pottery uncovered in fort on Dun Cul Bhuirg; in 563, Irish missionary St. Columba exiled here & established small monastic community (died just 4 years later); work he began on Iona causes Celtic Christianity to spread throughout Scotland & eventually on to Europe; driven out of Iona by Viking raids, most of monastic community moved to Kells in Ireland around 800; in more peaceful times, around 1200, Benedictine abbey & nunnery re-established; Iona Abbey dissolved at Reformation & fell into ruin; restoration began at 20th Century’s beinning by Argyll duke, then taken over with great energy & enthusiasm by Lord George MacLeod in 1930s; most impressive remains from early Celtic period are high crosses, all dating from mid- or late 8th Century, most impressive being 14' St. Martin’s Cross (in original position in front of abbey; grave markers, some carved with Norse runes (10th-11th Century); along road to Iona Abbey is ruined Benedictine nunnery, founded by St. Margaret (12th Century); site of Columba’s monastery now occupied by Benedictine abbey church, St. Mary’s Cathedral (built around 1200 by Reginald MacDonald in Norman style); from Iona Abbey, “Street of Dead” runs west to St. Oran’s Cemetery, Scotland’s oldest Christian graveyard; here, more than 60 Scottish kings buried throughout Middle Ages, including Kenneth MacAlpin, who unified Scotland & Macbeth, made famous by Shakespeare (unfortunately, all tombstones thrown into sea at Reformation; every Wednesday, locals lead 7-mile hike to historic & holy spots.
●Saint Orans Chapel Cemetery – Reilig Odhrain (Iona); where Macbeth (1005-1057) buried.
Sights & Sites
●Attadale Gardens – A890 (between Strathcarron & South Strome); 011-44-0152-072-2603; attadalegardens.com; started in late 19th Century; hill paths meander through 20 acres of conifers & rhododendrons; substantially redeveloped after 1980 storms.
●Inver Lodge Hotel & Chez Roux – Iolaire Road (Lochinver); 011-44-0157-184-4496; inverlodge.com; surrounded by countryside, on hill overlooking Loch Inver & Western Islands; upscale boutique hotel; plush rooms come with en suite bathrooms & sea views; upgraded quarters add sitting areas & free-standing tubs; hot breakfast is complimentary; country restaurant serves local fare & seafood; bar with snooker table; half-board options & fishing/hunting trips available (fee).
ISLES (Arran, Luing, Skye, Shetland, Staffa & Ulva)
Isle of Arran – 011-44-0129-267-8100; ayrshire-arran.com.
Sights & Sites
●Brodick Castle – Brodick; 011-44-0844-493-2152; among Scotland’s oldest.
Isle of Luing – isleof luing.co.uk.
Hotels – none.
●Creagard Country Cottage – 48 Cullipool Village; 011-44-0141-639-4592 or 011-44-077-6532-8031; scottishcountrycottage.co.uk; renovated by Cully Pettigrew, Glasgow art dealer.
Sights & Sites
●Corryvreckan Whirlpool – world’s 3rd largest whirlpool; once almost killed George Orwell.
●Garvellachs – Eileach an Naoimh; beehive monk cells.
Isle of Raasay
●Raasay House – 5-minute walk from Raasay Ferry Terminal; 011-44-0147-866-0300; raasay-house.co.uk; 18th Century building; 22 rooms with en suite bathrooms are all different & vary from simple to luxurious; some have flat-screen TVs, and tea & coffee-making facilities; upgraded rooms have sitting areas & balconies; budget, hostel-style rooms, too; breakfast is included & further meals based around locally sourced, seasonal food available in the restaurant.
Isle of Skye (includes Archipelago of St. Kilda)
●House Over-By – Colbost, Dunvegan; 011-44-0147-051-1258; threechimneys.co.uk; luxury 5-star accommodation, romantic location & beautiful sea views; situated on Loch Dunvegan at Colbost shore in remote, north-west Skye; 6 spacious bedrooms next door to Three Chimneys; stylish.
●Flodigarry Country House – Flodigarry (Trotternish); 011-44-0147-0552-203; flodigarry.co.uk; 18 rooms.
●Three Chimneys – Colbost House, Dunvegan (Colbost); 011-44-0147-051-1258; threechimneys.co.uk; acclaimed destination restaurant offering upscale suites with 2-person tubs, flatscreens & WiFi.
●Flodigarry Country House – Flodigarry (Trotternish); 011-44-0147-0552-203; flodigarry.co.uk; relaxed bistro & dinner-only restaurant; great seafood.
●Glenview – Culnacnoc (near Staffin, Trotternish); 011-44-0147-0562-248; glenviewskye.co.uk; sheep graze outside window; menu changes daily, loaded with fresh seafood.
●Kinloch Lodge – Isleornsay (Sleat); 011-44-0147-1833-333; kinloch-lodge.co.uk; only Skye restaurant with Michelin star; fancy.
●Loch Bay Seafood Restaurant – Stein (Waternish); 011-44-0147-0592-235; lochbay-seafood-restaurant.co.uk; seafood; great for lunch; across from gardens, on Loch Dunvegan’s edge; known for specialty ales (try elderberry).
●Three Chimneys – Colbost, Dunvegan; 011-44-0147-051-1258; threechimneys.co.uk; top Scottish restaurant with fresh local food; owned by famous Scottish chef, Shirley Spear & her wine expert husband, Eddie Spear; long-established reputation; head chef, Michael Smith, leads kitchen today & is rapidly building his own outstanding reputation as he continues to improve upon high standards set in earlier years; housed within bare stone walls of original crofter’s cottage around 100 years old; 3 small dining areas covering whole ground floor.
Sights & Sites
●An Corran Beach – Staffin; walkhighlands.co.uk/skye/staffin.shtml or theskyeguide.com/see-and-do-mainmenu-35/27-natural-wonders/174-dinosaurs-at-staffin#_=_; dinosaur footprints.
●Armadale Castle & Gardens – Armadale; 011-44-0147-184-4305; clandonald.com; ruined country house is Clan MacDonald’s former home; destroyed by fire in 1855; since 1925, castle, abandoned by Macdonald family, has fallen into ruin; gardens around castle maintained & now home to Clan Donald Centre, which operates Museum of Isles.
●Bright Water Visitor Centre – Kyleakin (Pier); 011-44-0159-953-0040; Gavin Maxwell exhibit (otters).
●Duntulm Castle – Trotternish (near Duntulm); stands ruined on north coast; during 17th Century was Clan MacDonald of Sleat seat; at low tide, dinosaur prints on beach.
●Fairy Pools – Glenbrittle (at Black Cuillins’ foot); isleofskye.com/skye-guide/top-ten-skye-walks/fairy-pools; natural waterfall phenomenon; vivid blues & greens suggest unnatural origin; popular place for wild swimmers.
●Museum of Isles – Armadale; 011-44-0147-184-4305; clandonald.com/visit-us/museum-of-the-isles; award-winning museum, opened in 2002, tells story of Highlands & Islands through MacDonalds’ eyes, from medieval Gaelic Lordship of Isles era to 19th Century clearance & emigration; 44 acres of beautiful woodland gardens, with children’s play area, nature trails, restaurant & gift shops.
●St. Kilda – Uig Pier (departure point on Isle of Skye); 011-44-0778-991-4144; kilda.org.uk or gotokilda.co.uk (boat service); only UK location that is both cultural & natural World Heritage Site; book at least 2 weeks in advance; isolated archipelago 40 miles west-northwest of North Uist; contains westernmost Outer Hebrides islands; largest island is Hirta, whose sea cliffs are highest in UK; 3 other islands (Dùn, Soay & Boreray) also used for grazing & seabird hunting; islands’ human heritage includes numerous unique architectural features from historic & prehistoric periods; earliest written records date from Late Middle Ages; medieval village on Hirta rebuilt in 19th Century, but illnesses brought by increased external contacts through tourism & WWI upheaval contribute to island’s evacuation in 1930; 2 different early sheep types survive on these remote islands, Soay (Neolithic type) & Boreray (Iron Age type); islands are breeding ground for many important seabird species including northern gannets, Atlantic puffins & northern fulmars; St. Kilda wren & St. Kilda field mouse are endemic subspecies.
●Staffin Museum – 6 Ellishadder (Culnacnoc, Portree); 011-44-0147-056-2321; borve.net/staffin-museum.co.uk; dinosaur bones & footprints & fossils.
Isle of Staffa
Sights & Sites
●Fingal’s Cave – southernhebrides.com/staffa.html; 279' deep & 75' high; National Nature Reserve owned by Scotland National Trust; known as Fingal’s Cave after eponymous hero of 18th Century Scots poet-historian James Macpherson’s epic poem; naturally arched roof, size & eerie sounds produced by wave echoes give it cathedral atmosphere; large arched entrance is filled by sea; worth special trip.
Isle of Ulva
Sights & Sites
●A’Chrannag (Ulva Cave) – foreshore; isleofulva.com.
●Sumburgh Lighthouse – Sumburgh; 011-44-015-9569-4688; sumburghhead.com/accommodation; self-catering accommodations; where episodes of Shetland filmed.
LANARKSHIRE (includes South Lanarkshire)
Sights & Sites
●Chatelherault – Carlisle Road (Ferniegair); 011-44-0169-842-6213; southlanarkshire.gov.uk/SLLC/info/114/chatelherault_country_park/580/chatelherault_estate; name derived from French town of Châtellerault, title Duc de Châtellerault having been granted to James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran in 1548 for help in arranging marriage of Scots Queen Mary to France Dauphin Francis; country park centered on former hunting lodge, folly designed to be seen from now demolished Hamilton Palace at end of broad grass slope forming lime tree-lined avenue; lodge designed by William Adam & completed in 1734; comprised of 2 buildings, linked by gateway, in form of 4 pavilions above garden wall; north facade visible from palace & forms building’s front; to rear are formal parterre gardens; buildings provided kennels, stables & hunting party accommodations; from 1591, Hamilton Palace (now demolished) became Hamilton Dukes’ main residence; Hamilton art collection sold in 1882 & family moved out; Cadzow Castle ruins lie above Avon Water gorge, which runs west of lodge; cycle routes & woodland walks; Cadzow cattle herd live in fields overlooked by hunting lodge.
Sights & Sites
●New Lanark World Heritage Site – New Lanark Road (South Lanarkshire, approximately 1.4 miles from Lanark); 011-44-0155-566-1345; newlanark.org; village on River Clyde founded in 1786 by David Dale, who built cotton mills & housing for mill workers; Dale built mills there in brief partnership with English entrepreneur & inventor Richard Arkwright to take advantage of water power provided by River Clyde’s only waterfalls; under ownership of partnership that included Dale’s son-in-law, Robert Owen, Welsh philanthropist & social reformer, New Lanark became successful business & utopic socialist planned settlement example & so important milestone in urban planning’s historical development; New Lanark mills operated until 1968.
Sights & Sites
●Doune of Relugas – 5.75 miles south-southwest of Forres; portal.historicenvironment.scot/designation/GDL00325; hill fort situated on rocky knoll, rising to approximately 400' & forming southeast part of promontory at Rivers Divie & Findhorn confluence; occupied from 1st millennium BCE through late 1st millennium CE; at heart is timber-laced rampart enclosure, which is oval-shaped and has gap to east that may represent entrance; outer earthen rampart & ditch across promontory neck to north & west; stones from rampart show evidence of vitrification, suggesting that fort burned at some point; during 19th Century, Doune remains incorporated as features into designed picturesque landscape of Relugas estate by antiquarian & author Thomas Dick Lauder.
●Scala Flow – Lyness; 011-44-0185-679-1300; scapaflow.co.uk/sfvc.htm; 7 WWI German fleet ships (& many other wrecks); few other sites in world offer so many large, historic wrecks lying in close proximity & shallow, relatively benign diving conditions; mostly located at 35-50 ms; visibility, varying between 2-20 ms, not sufficient to view entire length of most wrecks at once; important wrecks include: 3 König class battleships (SMS König, Kronprinz & Markgraf, which together formed main component of WWI 3rd Battleship Squadron & which took part in some of fiercest fighting at Jutland); 4 light cruisers (SMS Brummer, Cöln, Dresden & Karlsruhe); destroyer SMS V83, Churchill blockships (e.g., Doyle, Gobernador Bories & Tabarka), U-boat SM UB-116 & trawler James Barrie; several wrecks are protected war graves.
Sights & Sites
●Knap of Howar – near Holland Farm (island can only be reached by ferry from Kirkwall); orkneyjar.com/history/knaphowar.htm; Neolithic farmstead which may be oldest preserved stone house in northern Europe; occupied 3700-2800 BCE, earlier than the similar houses at Skara Brae.
Sights & Sites
●Skara Brae & Skaill House – B9056 (19 miles northwest of Kirkwall); 011-44-0185-684-1815; historic-scotland.gov.uk/explorer; Skara Brae is world-famous archaeological site offering superbly preserved Neolithic houses with fine stone furniture; next door, Skaill House is fine mansion with gardens.
East Lothian (includes Gullane & Haddington; does not include North Berwick)
●Greywalls Hotel & Chez Roux – Muirfield, Duncur Road (Gullane); 011-44-0162-084-2144; greywalls.co.uk; Edwardian country house designed by Sir Edward Luytens who, also, laid gardens with Gertrude Jekyll; 23 rooms.
●Letham House – B6471 (Haddington); 011-44-01620-820-055; lethamhouse.com; restored mansion.
Sights & Sites
●John Muir Birthplace Trust – 128 High Street (Dunbar); 011-44-0136-886-5899; jmbt.org.uk; modest but inspiring museum that sketches out Sierra Club founder’s boyhood.
●Craiganour Estate – Kinloch Rannoch; 011-44-0173-847-7504; craiganour.co.uk; 21K acre estate, majority of which is prime stalking ground; red deer stag stalking takes place at Craiganour from beginning August until 20th October; hind stalking from 21st October to 15th February; 1st class modern accommodation for up to 18 guests; James Turrell skyspace.
●Cromlix & Chez Roux – Kinbuck (by Dunblane); 011-44-0178-682-2125; cromlix.com; on 34 acres of grounds, Victorian country house is 10 miles from Stirling Castle; some rooms offer views over countryside & grounds; Egyptian cotton linens, designer toiletries & iPod docks, plus free WiFi; most suites add free-standing baths; full Scottish breakfast included; Scottish antique furniture, wood panelling & fireplaces in public rooms contribute to country-house feel; swanky conservatory restaurant, as well as ritzy bar; fishing on private loch.
●Dalmunzie Castle – Glenshee; 011-44-0125-088-5224; dalmunzie.com; near Balmoral; beautiful, secluded; built in 1500s; UK’s “best kept secret.”
●Gleneagles Hotel – Auchterarder; 011-44-0176-491-7001; gleneagles.com/hotel; established in 1924; set within 850 acres; 3 championship golf courses & ESPA spa, along with falconry school; off-road driving, horse-riding, dog training & shooting; elegant rooms & luxurious suites, many with views over extensive grounds; full Scottish breakfast.
●Kinloch House – Blairgowrie; 011-44-0125-088-4237; kinlochhouse.com; aet on 25 rural acres; elegant Victorian country-house hotel with sporting-lodge feel; formal, individually designed rooms, most with countryside views, feature original architectural details, antique furniture & en suite bathrooms; flat-screen TVs; upgraded rooms add marble bathrooms, while suites add living areas (some have 4-poster beds); fine-dining restaurant offers breakfast, lunch & dinner; bar/lounge with fireplace; cosy sitting rooms & extensive gardens.
●Kinnaird Estate – by Dunkeld; 011-44-0179-648-2440; kinnairdestate.com; beautiful stately home on extensive grounds with lovely gardens; now only self-catering cottages available.
●Andrew Fairlie – Auchterarder (at Gleneagles); 011-44-0176-466-2231 or 866-881-9525; gleneagles.com; Michelin starred.
SCOTTISH BORDERS (includes Heiton, Kelso & Jedburgh)
●Roxburghe – Heiton; 011-44-0157-345-0331; roxburghe-hotel.net; upscale manor-house hotel & golf course; country-elegant rooms come with free WiFi, flat-screen TVs & iPod docks; courtyard rooms have more modern feel, while upgraded rooms offer more space, plus views; some suites add 4-poster beds & fireplaces; Scottish breakfast included & served in elegant dining room; fishing, shooting & spa treatments.
Sights & Sites
●Ferniehirst Castle – on east bank of Jed Water (about 1.5 miles south of Jedburgh); ferniehirst.com; ancient seat of Clan Kerr, built around 1470; after period of institutional use, restored by 12th Lothian Marquess in late 20th Century; currently used by his 2nd son, Lord Ralph Kerr, who also owns Melbourne Hall in Derbyshire; open to public without charge at limited times.
●Jedburgh Abbey – Abbey Bridge End (Jedburgh); 011-44-0183-586-3925; ruined Augustinian abbey founded in 12th Century.
●Mary Queen of Scots House – Queen Street (Jedburgh); 011-44-0183-586-3331; marie-stuart.co.uk/Castles/MaryHouse.htm; house where she is said to have lodged is now Mary Queen of Scots Visitor Centre; impressive 16th Century building belonged to Kerr family, who lived in nearby Ferniehirst Castle; rooms contain tapestries, oil paintings, furniture, arms, armour & some of Mary's possessions; house itself has interesting feature, left-handed staircase built for Kerrs in 16th Century, to enable them, as left-handers, to wield swords more easily); Jedburgh display includes lock of her hair & unusual painted death mask of Mary (common practice to make mask from severed head as soon as possible after death); memorabilia also includes jewelery, documents & watch she lost on her way to see Bothwell but retrieved from hole in ground some 250 years later; painted panel typifies turbulence that followed Mary through life, depicts Mary, Lord Darnley her 2nd (murdered) husband, Lord Bothwell (later her 3rd husband) & David Rizzio, her (also murdered) secretary; open from March to November, daily, from 10 am-5 pm.
●Dunmore Park – ½ mile northwest of Airth; 011-44-016-2882-5925 (Booking Enquiries); landmarktrust.org.uk/search-and-book/properties/pineapple-10726; eccentric 18th Century summer house built in pineapple shape, presiding over walled garden, while at back is private garden for those staying; elegant room inside Pineapple itself.
Sights & Sites
●Dunmore Pineapple – Dunmore Park; nts.org.uk/Property/The-Pineapple; unusual shaped structure, Dunmore Pineapple originally build as garden retreat, now acts as wildlife haven; sometimes referred to as “most bizarre building in Scotland”; ; estate sold in lots in 1970, whereby Countess of Perth acquired “Pineapple Lot,” consisting of folly, large walled garden, woodlands & small lake; in 1974, she gave to National Trust of Scotland.
Sights & Sites
●Kelpies – Grangemouth; 011-44-0132-459-0600; thehelix.co.uk/things-to-do/the-kelpies; 30-metre high horse-head sculptures, standing next to Forth & Clyde Canal extension, near River Carron, in Helix (parkland project built to connect 16 communities in Falkirk Council Area); sculptures designed by sculptor Andy Scott & completed in October 2013.
●Monachyle Mhor – Balquhidder (Lochearnhead); 011-44-0187-738-4622; mhor.net/monachyle-mhor-hotel; on 2K-acre estate within Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park; contemporary boutique hotel spans converted 18th Century farmhouse & outbuildings; country-chic rooms provide flat-screen TVs; individual features in some rooms include beamed ceilings, steam rooms, fireplaces &/or heated floors; some have loch views; suites add living areas; refined restaurant with glass-enclosed dining room offers complimentary breakfast, as well as fine dining lunch & dinner options; on-site activities include hiking & fishing.
Sights & Sites
●Church of Holy Rude – St. John Street; 011-44-0178-647-5275; holyrude.org; historic, Stirling Burgh Kirk (Parish Church) for 900 years; only church still in active use, apart from Westminster Abbey (London), to host coronation (when infant King James VI of Scotland (later also James I of England) crowned 29 July 1567).
●Stirling Castle – Castle Esplanade; 011-44-0178-645-0000; stirlingcastle.gov.uk; for centuries, most important castle in Scotland; great views; where Queen Mary of Scots spent childhood.
●Wallace Monument – Hillfoots Road (Abbey Craig); 011-44-0178-647-2140; nationalwallacemonument.com; tower built in 1869 standing on Abbey Craig (hilltop near Stirling) summit, commemorating Sir William Wallace, 13th Century Scottish hero; numerous artifacts believed to have belonged to Wallace are on display, including Wallace Sword, 5'4" long sword weighing almost three kilograms.