Route planner: Scotland
1. Built upon a series of rocky crags that surround the soaring ‘Arthur’s Seat’, Edinburgh is home to the Scottish parliament and an evocative old town that rests in the shadow of the magnificent Edinburgh Castle. Running from the Castle to Holyrood Palace, the city’s famous Royal Mile is lined with pubs and clubs where you can rub shoulders with the locals.
2. Resting on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow’s large-scale redevelopment is changing perceptions of Scotland’s largest city. Since being named a UNESCO ‘City of Music’ in 2008, Glasgow’s vibrant live music scene will have you dancing into the wee hours.
Stay at: Euro Hostel
3. Located on the idyllic waters of Loch Linnhe, Fort William serves as a key transport hub into the Scottish Highlands. Arrive in style aboard the world famous ‘West Highland’ railway from Glasgow. This scenic line traverses the stunning Beinn Odhar mountain and atmospheric Rannoch Moor en route. Hiking trails weave from town towards Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain.
4. A mere 3 hour bus ride from Fort William will transport you to the stunning Isle of Skye. Famed for glittering lochs and jagged mountains, the ‘cloud island’ floats serenely on Scotland’s northwest shores.
5. Having grown in prominence during the 60s as a ski resort, Aviemore is also a well equipped gateway for the Cairngorms National Park. Covering 1500 sq. miles, this majestic nature reserve proudly holds the UK’s largest mountain range. 52 soaring peaks stand watch over valleys of rich woodland, home to stunning vistas and a quarter of the UK’s threatened wildlife species.
6. Stop in Inverness when visiting nearby Loch Ness, home to the fabled Loch Ness Monster!
7. Hailed as the ‘Granite City’ due to a series of major architectural commissions, Aberdeen’s maritime museum and well-established art gallery warrant investigation. Make a refreshing walk along the city’s sand beach as waves crash in from the North Sea before strolling along the cobbled medieval streets of Old Aberdeen.
8. Sitting at the heart of the Cairngorms, Braemar offers plentiful opportunities for seeing wildlife in the spectacular countryside surrounding the small village.
Stay at: Braemar Lodge Bunkhouse
9. Although recognised internationally as the ‘Home of Golf’, St. Andrews’ appeal stretches further than those illustrious fairways. Saunter along the sweeping West Sands beach before refuelling at a promenade cafe with a filling portion of fish and chips. Retreating inland, alleyways connect the small town together, from the iconic ruins of St Andrews Cathedral to the Gothic St Salvator’s Chapel.
10. Following the murder of King James I in the 15th century, Perth was replaced by Edinburgh as the capital of Scotland. These days an attractive riverside embankment frames the alluring Tay Street 10. promenade filled with a charming array of quirky shops and cafes.