Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

5 Places You Won’t Believe Are In Scotland

Sunday, June 5th, 2016
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Planning your next holiday but dreading the long check-in queues and frantic search for the passports? If so no need to worry, the UK offers some of the best scenery in the world and with this summer predicted to be the hottest on record, there is no better time to book a UK break. But where to go? Well for white sandy beaches, iconic wild swimming spots and fantastic architecture, we suggest heading north to Scotland. It may not be your first choice for a summer holiday but keep reading and you’ll discover some amazing location you just won’t believe can be found in Scotland!

Achmelvich Beach

Scotland. Achmelvich Beach

Image of Achmelvich Beach by Lucy ChapmanCC 2.0

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway then forget the Maldives or Mexico, sunsets at Achmelvich Beach are just as spectacular! This picturesque beach not only provides incredible scenery in every direction but with its turquoise waters and white sandy beach, it’s the perfect spot for a couples retreat.

Dunrobin Castle

Scotland. Dunrobin Castle

Image of Dunrobin Castle by John HaslamCC 2.0

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this fairy-tale castle is a chateau in France, or even the castle from Disney’s classic ‘Beauty and the Beast’, but in reality it’s the iconic Dunrobin Castle in Sutherland, Scotland. Visitors to this castle can spend the day exploring the grounds and the castle as well as attending one of the venue’s summer falconry displays!

Northern Lights at Bute

Scotland. Bute

Image of the Northern Lights over the Isle of Bute by MarkCC 2.0

With many of us travelling to Iceland and as far as Canada to see the Northern Lights, you may be surprised to hear that the Aurora Borealis can be seen in your own back yard. Simply travel to the Isle of Bute and you’ll be able to see the beautiful lights dance across the Scottish sky.

Smoo Cave

Scotland. Smoo cave

Image of Smoo Cave by Dwilkinson08CC 2.0

When you think about British caves, our minds are instantly taken to Devon and Cornwall but let’s not forget about the rugged northern caves in Scotland. The dramatic Smoo Cave is a perfect example of a Scottish cave and at 200 feet long and 130 feet wide, this large cave is perfect for discovering local wildlife, geology, archaeology and legends.

Fairy Pools

Scotland. fairy Pools

Image of the Fairy Pools by Daniel StockmanCC 2.0

With the Fairy Pools in Australia more than half the world away, it would be far easier to head up north to the Isle of Skye and take a dip in the Scottish Fairy Pools. The beautiful crystal clear pools are great for wild swimming, but if you don’t fancy getting wet then the magical atmosphere is perfect for day trips and picnics.

If you feel like exploring Scotland’s hidden treasures for yourself then make sure to visit our Cottages in Scotland page for a fantastic selection of over 700 self-catering holiday lets located across Scotland.

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her husband.

Outlander Filming Locations

Monday, April 4th, 2016
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There’s some great news for all of the Outlander fans out there, as the much awaited second season is due to premiere later on this week. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with the show, it’s a whirlwind historical drama based on Diana Gabaldon’s famous books that follow the story of Claire Randall, a World War Two nurse who gets transported back to the mid-18th century whilst celebrating her honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands.

Season 1 of the hit show was filmed entirely North of the Border and showcased some of the finest scenery and monuments that Scotland has to offer. So to celebrate the impending release of the second series we’ve been taking a look at some of these stunning filming locations.

Castle Doune

Where else is there to start than with Doune Castle, the setting of Castle Leoch. As the home of Colum and the ancestral seat of Clan Mackenzie, it’s one of the central locations of Season 1. In reality, Doune is not too far from Stirling in Central Scotland and much like the fictional Leoch, it boasts a colourful story or two having played major roles in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and the Glencairn and Jacobite Uprisings. And as it happens, Doune is no stranger to the limelight with Outlander being the latest in a long line of productions that have been filmed there, alongside big names including Monty Python and Game of Thrones.

Culross

Next up we’ve got Culross. Arguably the most complete example of a 17th or 18th Century burgh in Scotland, Culross is a medley of winding cobbled streets and quaint traditional buildings. The eagle eyed amongst you will recognise it as the village of Cranesmuir, with the Mercat Cross area pictured above probably being the most familiar spot from the show. But that’s not it! The walled gardens at Culross Palace were also used as Claire’s herb garden and the town’s West Kirk doubled as the Black Kirk in episode 3.

Blackness Castle

Then there’s the imposing Blackness Castle in West Lothian. Overlooking the Firth of Forth, its unique appearance earned the castle its nickname of “The Ship That Never Sailed” and I think it’s fair to say that Blackness has had a fairly eventful life. Built way back in the 15th century, it has served as The Royal Burgh of Linlithgow, an official residence of the Scottish Monarchy, a state prison and an ammunition depot in World War One. In Outlander however it only has the one role, that of Fort William, the brooding base of operations for the evil Black Jack Randall and the location of Jamie’s heart-rending incarceration.

Hopefully that’s got you in the mood to tune in when Outlander finally hits the screens again later this week? Or who knows, maybe it’s even tempted you into going for your own Outlander adventure, albeit hopefully without the time travel, murder and intrigue? If that’s the case then you’ll want to take a look through our selection of Highland Cottages! They’ll give you the perfect place to unwind after a day spent following in the footsteps of Claire, Jamie and all the other Outlander characters.

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Sykes’ Snapshots: Scotland’s Best Architecture

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016
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Well it looks as though 2016 is set to be a year to remember north of the border. Music festivals, major sporting events and of course a few Highland games – it’s all happening. But that’s not all, as 2016 has been labelled as the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design! Aimed to showcase the incredible contribution that Scotland has had on life as we see it now, from the telephone to the television, penicillin all the way through to the mackintosh coat. So to do our bit for the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, we’ve tracked down some of the photos of the spots that we think best illustrates Scottish design at its finest.

The Dugald Stewart Monument, Edinburgh

 The Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

The Forth Bridge, The Firth of Forth

Edinburgh Castle

The Kelpies, Falkirk

Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire

The Glenfinnan Viaduct, Lochaber

Eilean Donan Castle, Western Highlands

The Sir Walter Scott Monument, Edinburgh

So there you have a small selection of photos of our favourite Scottish landmarks. Hopefully they will have tempted you into taking a trip up to join in with the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. If so you’ll want to take a look here to find out some more about the celebrations. And who knows, you might even need somewhere to stay whilst you’re there? If that’s the case then don’t forget to take a look at our selection of Scottish holiday cottages, as you’re sure to find something to suit your needs.

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Brilliant Burns Night Events

Monday, January 11th, 2016
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Who can believe that we’ve only got a couple of weeks until Burns Night takes place? That’s right, on the 25th of January, people all around the world will be following the example set by Robert Burns’ close friends way back in 1801, in celebrating his life and works by getting together, eating some good Scottish grub, enjoying some poetry and maybe even having a wee dram. But don’t worry if you haven’t made any plans to celebrate the big night as we’ve done some research into what you can do to celebrate the life of Scotland’s famous bard!

Burnsfest 2016

To kick it all off, we’re going to start at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in the heart of Edinburgh for their fantastic event – Burnsfest! Running from January the 21st all the way through the 6th of February, it promises to be one of the biggest and best Rabbie Burns themed events in the UK. With everything from Burns for Beginners through to a Café Ceilidh, and even a range of family orientated workshops, Burnsfest promises to be a great event for all generations.

The Big Burns Supper

Or there’s always the Big Burns Supper! Held every year in Dumfries, Burns’ home for the latter stages of his life and the site of his grave, the Big Supper claims to be the world’s biggest Burns Night celebration. A nine day long extravaganza of live music, theatre and comedy held in various locations all around Dumfries, it promise to bring a whole new perspective on the bard’s life and works so don’t miss out!

Host your own Burns Night Bash

Alternatively you could always throw your own birthday party for wee Rabbie. Over the past few years, we’ve put together a range of posts that may well give you a hand when it comes to celebrating the Bard’s birthday, ranging from recipes for the perfect Burns Night meal (Scotch Broth, Haggis, Neeps and Tatties and a good old Clootie Dumpling) through to a trip round Scotland to see what inspired his finest works. Or if you fancy going the whole hog and maybe even taking a trip north of the border for the big occasion, don’t forget to take a look at our Scottish cottages where you’re sure to find something to suit.

So there you have it, a few little pointers on how you can enjoy Burns Night 2016! We hope that you all have a great time come January the 25th and we’d love to hear what you all get up to so feel free to get in touch over Twitter or Facebook to let us know!

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Why Scotland For an Adventure Break

Sunday, September 20th, 2015
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If you count yourself as something of an adrenaline junkie then there’s nothing quite like an adventure holiday. Forget about putting your feet up and relaxing with a good book, your idea of a good break would be getting out and about in the great outdoors and trying your hand at a variety of action-packed activities, but where’s the best place for that? Well that’s easy! Between its rugged coastline, the majestic lochs and of course the stunning Highlands, Scotland has got every base covered when it comes to adventure breaks, but read on if you think you need a bit more convincing.

The Lochs

It’s estimated that there are over 30,000 freshwater lochs (and a few sea lochs) dotted around Scotland, so I think that it’s safe to say that any thrill seeker who wants to head out on the water will be spoilt for choice. Ranging from the famous Loch Ness right the way through to its lesser known counterparts, they’re all perfect playgrounds for a wide variety of water-sports. Whether it’s windsurfing, kayaking or wild swimming, there’s nowhere better, and if you fancy going to the extreme you can even canoe your way across the whole country via several lochs, rivers and canals, but be warned you’ll have to set aside 5 days to make the journey!

The Highlands

Or if you don’t fancy getting too wet (rain aside) you’ll want to have a look at the Highlands. With their beautiful scenery and peaceful atmosphere, they might seem the perfect place for a bit of quiet relaxation but they’re also ideal for those looking to get their adrenaline fix. Whether you want to tear around on the back of a quad bike or pedal your way through rugged terrain, there’s nowhere better in the UK than the Scottish Highlands. And that’s not it, they’re also fantastic for all of the walkers out there who can challenge themselves to see how many munros they can bag. In the winter months, you can even pay a visit to one of the only ski resorts in the whole of the UK at Glencoe.

Our Scottish Cottages

But the best thing about Scotland is the wide range of cottages that we have available for you to book whilst you’re on your adventure break. Whether it’s so that you have a cosy living room where you can put your feet up in front of an open fire or a hot bath where you can have a long soak after a day in the great outdoors, we’ve got them all, take a look here.

Hopefully that’s gone some of the way into convincing you that your next adventure break should be taken north of the border, but if you still need a little push then you should take a look at this useful graphic that we made showing the best activities and where to go for them!

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.