White sand beaches with clear waters, palm trees, world class golf courses, UNESCO World Heritage sites, National Parks… how many of these spring to mind when choosing your summer holiday destination? What if I told you that you can find all of these (even the palm trees) in Scotland? I know what you’re going to say – what about the weather? Last summer parts of the Highlands and Western Isles enjoyed one of the driest summers in years, and basked under beautiful sunny skies while the rest of the UK faced weeks of rain.
You don’t need to jet off to France to find an idyllic bay with azure waters and jaw-dropping views, or Portugal for a golfing holiday you’ll never forget. Scotland has all this and much more…
I have been on some stunning beaches over the last decade but I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I have seen beaches in Scotland that are just as breathtaking as those abroad.
I grew up near the pretty sandy beaches of the Moray Coast, but until I visited the North West Highlands, I had no idea that there were such Mediterranean-looking beaches in Scotland. We stayed in the Lochinver area last summer and I fell in love with the beaches at Achmelvich and Clachtoll. With sunshine warming my face, and turquoise waters lapping the white sand, I felt miles from home. Further north, Sandwood Bay is often described as the best beach in the country.
There are beautiful beaches all along Scotland’s rugged coastline, and some truly spectacular ones in the Western Isles, such as Huisinis on the Isle of Harris. For charming seaside towns, with cottage lined streets and picturesque bays clasped by sandstone cliffs, head to the east coast.
UNESCO World Heritage sites
Scotland has five fascinating World Heritage sites: St Kilda in the Outer Hebrides (the most remote part of the UK and a dedicated National Nature Reserve), Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns (including the historic Royal Mile with the iconic castle at its head and Holyrood Palace at its foot), the Heart of Neolithic Orkney (including standing stones, stone circles and Skara Brae, a Neolithic village), New Lanark (am 18th century cotton mill village in South Lanarkshire) and the Antonine Wall (the remains of a defensive turf and stone Roman wall between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of a Clyde).
If your summer holiday isn’t complete without a palm tree or two, you can find them dotted along the west coast, thanks to the warm current of the gulf stream. I spent my honeymoon on the Isle of Arran last year and I truly felt like we were abroad as I lay in the sun under a palm-tree patterned sky.
World class golf courses
With over 550 golf courses, the ‘Home of Golf’ is the perfect place to enjoy a golfing holiday. From world-famous championship courses, such as The Old Course at St Andrews and Muirfield Golf Links in East Lothian, to traditional links courses, you can enjoy fantastic golf with stunning scenery as a backdrop.
The Cairngorm National Park and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park are two areas of outstanding natural beauty, and are home to a wide variety of wildlife. You can enjoy a range of outdoor activities in the lochs, rivers and mountains, or simply soothe the soul with spellbinding scenery.
If you’re looking for the perfect place to embrace Scotland this summer, why not browse a range of Scottish summer holiday offers for self-catering holiday cottages.
Do you love to holiday in Scotland over the summer? Tell us why below.