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Our guide to luxury holidays in Scotland

Welcome to the birthplace of golf, whisky, and bagpipes. From Skye’s Storr and sea caves to St Andrews’ sugar-fine sands, we’ve taken the high roads – and the low roads – to bring you our guide to luxury holidays in Scotland.

From the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond to the charming border town of Melrose, Scotland is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty; where rugged mountain ranges, coral-strewn coves, and glacial lochs with elusive residents vie for attention. This bravehearted nation might be speckled with ancient castles – from Eilean Donan to Edinburgh Castle – where tartan-clad kings once reigned, but the olde-worlde deal is sweetened with artisanal cities. Toe-tapping Glasgow is UNESCO’s City of Music, and the country's capital plays host to the world’s largest arts festival, The Fringe, every August.

Far-flung Hebridean islands call out to adventurers, and days are bookmarked with porridge, summits, and hours spent exploring secret islets by SUP as white-tailed eagles soar overhead. Glencoe holds Machiavellian history and Potter magic at its heart, and the promise of winding the NC500 route over Rannoch Moor is enough to ignite any engine. There's Scandi-inspired retreats with private beaches and architectural homes with treehouse aesthetics included in this guide to luxury holidays in Scotland; your key to unlocking all the best things to see, do, and discover across this storied land.

Locations in Scotland

From the bright lights of Auld Reekie to the dark skies of the Outer Hebrides and Highlands, we´ve covered every corner of old Scotia that, as Robbie Burns once wrote, "makes her loved at home, revered abroad."

Collections in Scotland

Start as you mean to go on with a honeymoon retreat in the Highlands, or sink into Scotland´s most coveted coastal hot tubs with paradisial views over Luskentyre. Plus, the best spots for an Auld Lang Syne New Year´s Eve.

Things to do in Scotland

Alpinists can scale Black Cuillin, whilst design enthusiasts source original works in the Borders. Learn about Scotland´s long gin-making lineage on Harris, or explore Loch Lomond from above in a luxury seaplane.

Things to see in Scotland

Spy scenes from the big screen on Skye, witness whales breach in Orkney, or watch dusk settle on ancient standing stone circles shrouded in mystery. From astronomical sites to silver screen scenes, there´s a thousand eye-catchers.

Where to eat in Scotland

From fifth-generation bakeries and coastal cafes with Niseaboist Beach as their backdrop, to Michelin-recommended menus in Melrose with walls of natural wines and wee drams, Scotland´s bounty knows no bounds.

Journals about Scotland

Pour a tipple and read tales of serendipitous property preludes on the Isle of Harris, and a secret elopement for two under the snow-capped mountains of Quiraing. Plus, the best Scottish hideaways to see out the storm this winter.

Unique Homestays´ travel trends for 2024

Unique Homestays´ travel trends for 2024

From nostalgic breaks that help connect those with their inner child to far-from-the-city “sleepcations” in Dark Sky areas — here’s what Unique Homestays predicts will be on the rise in the world of UK travel in 2024.

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The best places to spend Christmas in the UK

The best places to spend Christmas in the UK

Mulled wine, mince pies, chocolate logs and twinkling lights; it must be the most wonderful time of the year. If you´re looking for a last-minute Christmas trip, here´s your guide.

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The best houses to rent for a New Year’s Eve getaway

The best houses to rent for a New Year’s Eve getaway

From glittering affairs where grandparents waltz under crystal chandeliers to romantic getaways in cottages with hot tubs, New Year’s Eve parties are as unique as the folk who make them.

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Beautiful places to visit in the UK in autumn

Beautiful places to visit in the UK in autumn

Whether heading to the hills with walking boots in tow or for a hot soak in a Roman city, autumn offers a new perspective for travellers. Read our guide to making the most of the season.

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Scotland FAQ´s

Looking for advice on sourcing the finest Scotch? Want to know the chances of snow (and ski) in the Highlands? If you have a Scotland-specific query, you might find the answer here. For everything else, visit our general FAQs.

When is the best time to visit Scotland?

Each season offers something different in Scotland, but all are rewarding in different ways. In the spring, the highlands are still capped by snow and temperatures don’t move much past 8°C but life is bursting through everywhere; vibrant yellow daffodils begin to sweep the landscape, salmon start leaping from the rivers, and newborn lambs bleat from thawing meadows in the sun. In the summer, temperatures usually peak at 19°C, with wildflower meadows in full bloom, local summer berries ready to forage, and the Highland Games underway.

Come autumn, the temperature floats at around 11°C and explosions of colour line the lochs, red deers rut on the island of Jura, and dark skies tease the Northern Lights. In winter, the temperature bites at approximately 4°C but find warmth in the art of ‘coorie’, the Scottish term for snuggling indoors; then visit cosy pubs that erupt with ceilidh dancing to traditional music, Christmas markets and fire festivals that light up the towns and whisky distilleries which await to help you find the warmth within.

Where is Loch Ness?

Loch Ness is around 30 minutes’ drive away from Inverness, and an hour and half from Pitlochry. If you’re in search of the Loch Ness Monster from further afield, the easiest way to get there is by air, into Inverness Airport, and then by public transport. Shrouded in mystery and legend, with scientific research ongoing, Loch Ness stretches for 23 miles; plenty large enough to hide prehistoric creatures and all…

How many whisky distilleries are there in Scotland?

Throughout Scotland’s five whisky regions (Highlands, Lowlands, Islay, Speyside, and Campbeltown), there are over 130 whisky distilleries to see. Where a whisky is made can have a profound impact on its taste, from the wind-lashed rocks surrounding Isle of Jura distillery – often giving a salty, savoury flavour reminiscent of the sea – to the fertile valleys and secluded glens of Speyside, offering notes of sweet caramel and fruit. Although all of Scotland’s distilleries are unique in their own ways, these are some of the most popular:

The Macallan, Speyside

Glenfiddich, Speyside 

Laphroaig, Islay 

Lagavulin, Islay

Glenkinchie, Lowland

Auchentoshan, Lowland

Highland Park, Highland 

Old Pulteney, Highland

Talisker, Highland

Springbank, Campbeltown

Glenturret Distillery, Perthshire

Can you ski in Scotland?

Sit tight, Courchevel. Yes, there are five different mountain ski resorts in Scotland, with fresh powder and pillowy off-piste runs throughout winter (although it varies week-to-week with conditions). Each ski resort is different, with some offering terrain parks and mini-shred areas, nordic skiing and ski mountaineering, as well as other backcountry itineraries. Ski and snowboard hire and lessons are available at all five. Cairngorm Mountain and Glencoe Mountain Resort are popular with all abilities, whilst Nevis Range climbs 3,900 feet above sea level onto the mountain of Aonach Mor. Both Leight and Glenshee Ski Centres offer a maze of magical piste runs to explore, Glenshee itself taking its name from the Gaelic for ‘Glen of the Fairies’.

How likely is it to snow in Scotland?

The answer depends on where you’re staying but, generally, the snow is unpredictable. December, January and February are the coldest months and see temperatures on average below 5°C, although generally, the country’s climate is temperate. But conditions in the north can change rapidly, with snow turning glens, lochs, and the highlands into a winter wonderland. On average it snows around 15-20 times per year in Scotland but you’re most likely to see it in the north or on the west coast. And, of course, the mountains are almost always snow-capped throughout winter.

Own a property in Scotland?

Are you the keeper of an island conversion? Or the custodian of a luxurious mountain hut? From Skye to Glencoe to enchanting Loch Ness, we´re seeking Scotland´s most unique homes to join our growing portfolio.

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