A country with high-drama scenery

From the rugged wilderness of its northern stretches to the bright lights of its busy cities, Scotland holidays are somehow romantic, relaxing and exciting all at once. For lashings of culture and things to do, historic cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness all have plenty of museums and heritage sites. There are hip eateries and bars, romantic winter markets and scenic spots to experience, including world-class botanic gardens and Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile.

Along Scotland’s coasts, pretty fishing villages, ancient kirks, craggy castles and cosy pubs are waiting to be discovered. That’s before you’ve even thought about the wide sandy beaches or glided by boat past the lighthouses of its rocky shores. For an outdoor holiday, you can revel in the spectacular landscapes. There are hills of all sizes to conquer – from Arthur’s Seat overlooking Edinburgh to the mountain of Ben Nevis – and a range of trails to suit all hiking abilities.

To really get away from it all, consider hopping around Scotland’s unique islands. To the west in the Inner Hebrides, you’ll find Islay’s whisky distilleries, while in the Outer Hebrides you’ll discover impressive castles on Skye. Head further north for the Neolithic sites of Orkney, and catch glimpses of the otherworldly Northern Lights and wild ponies of Shetland. Wherever you head on your holidays to Scotland, you’re sure to be utterly wowed.

All resorts in Scotland

Three tips for a top trip

Ride the Hogwarts Express

The West Highland line doubles for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express. The journey winds around the Glenfinnan Viaduct, offering fabulous views of Loch Shiel and Ben Nevis.

Go leaf-peeping

Visit during autumn to see Scotland’s woodlands at their most beautiful, when the tree leaves transform into a striking palette of red, orange and yellow.

Take a road trip

Scotland has some of the most scenic driving routes in the UK. Take the winding roads from Glasgow to Glen Coe, or enjoy coastal views between Edinburgh and Fife.

Best attractions to see in Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

Rising from a rocky outcrop, Edinburgh Castle is about as Instagrammable as sites get. Climb up the vennel off Grassmarket and gaze up past the ancient houses.

The Northern Sky

Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park is a dedicated stargazing area, with very little light pollution. Wonder at the stars at the observatory, which has telescopes and a rolling roof.

The Fortingall Yew

One of Europe’s oldest trees stands in corner of the churchyard in Perthshire’s Fortingall village. It’s thought to be between 3,000 and 9,000 years old.

Your Scotland questions, answered

Who knows? Just south of Inverness, you can enjoy a cruise across beautiful Loch Ness. Take in views of the ruined Urquhart Castle while keeping your eye out for the Loch Ness monster.
With more than 100 distilleries, Scotland is all about whisky. Tour the Speyside, Islay, Campbeltown or Lowland distilleries to try a wee dram of the good stuff.
Edinburgh’s summers are filled with art festivals, making it a popular time to go. At New Year, the city also celebrates Hogmanay with a party atmosphere throughout the streets. Spring and autumn are great times to get out and enjoy the spectacular countryside. But you may also find it the ideal time to take a city break without the crowds. The cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow have plenty of museums, galleries and attractions that can be enjoyed all year round. With so much to do indoors and out, there’s never a bad time to go.
With beautiful national reserves, forests, lakes and mountains, there are opportunities to spot wildcats, puffins, eagles and whales. It’s worth taking a land-and-water safari while you’re here.
One of Scotland’s best-kept secrets is its beautiful beaches. With golden and white sands, blue seas and traditional ice cream parlours, they’re an attractive day out for all ages. If you’re looking for beach time while you’re on a city break to Edinburgh or Glasgow, you’re in luck. Edinburgh’s Portobello Beach is a traditional seaside spot with a promenade. And the highly-rated beaches at Ayr and Troon are both within an hour of Glasgow, making them good options for day trips.
Wherever you go in Scotland, you won’t be disappointed by the food. You could be enjoying a spot of fine dining at a hotel restaurant or tucking into the delights of the cities’ best fast-food joints. Classic Scottish fare of game and seafood can be enjoyed alongside the rustic neeps and tatties in many pubs and restaurants. Cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh have embraced international cuisine too. So, you’ll find more than a few flavours to choose from.
With city-centre attractions like the castle and Camera Obscura, Edinburgh is a fun and interesting place for families to explore. You can even fit in a traditional day out at the seaside at the nearby Portobello Beach. Glasgow’s modern museums provide plenty of interactive exhibitions and its vast parks with gardens, play areas and wildlife are good for burning off some energy too. But Scotland doesn’t just have entertainment for families, you’ll find plenty of late-night venues in the cities, and adventurous walking trails in the countryside.
Scotland is famous for its highlands and lochs, as well as tartan and bagpipes. But aside from these Scottish treasures, the country has a wealth of history and culture too. Glasgow’s George Square is famous for its grand buildings and statues. Its Lighthouse museum and House for an Art Lover highlight the city’s links to Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Meanwhile, Edinburgh boasts UNESCO world heritage status and hosts vibrant arts festivals. And then there's golf.
This is up to you. If you’re on a city break to places such as Edinburgh or Glasgow, then you’ll find you can get around on foot and by public transport very easily. If you’re looking for day trips to explore the neighbouring countryside, you could hire a car or book a day tour. Regular trains run from Glasgow to Loch Lomond, so that could be a good option if you want a mix of city life and countryside.