The Best of the Highlands

The Best of Scotland team have been out and about visiting various destinations over the past year and this week we want to focus on the Scottish Highlands.

Travelling North on the A9 a stop off at the delightful 5* Fonab Castle for a show round and enjoy a delicious tapas style lunch in one of their private pods which guests can hire for an afternoon or evening.  We were shown a selection of rooms including the Woodland Lodge rooms, some of which are dog friendly.

Next stop on the road North was The House of Bruar just north of Pitlochry which is a must even if you don’t like shopping!  Along with an impressive collection of traditional Tweeds and cashmere garments, they also have a delicious selection of the best in Scottish food and drink with a firm focus on locally-sourced goods from small, artisan producers.

From here, we made our way to Inverness in around 90 minutes to visit the 5* Rocpool Reserve Hotel which is part of the ICMI Collection of Hotels.  Rocpool is a boutique hotel, bar and restaurant that offers 5-star luxury in the heart of Inverness. It’s a beautifully renovated Georgian mansion house with stunning views over the River Ness. We were greeted with a very warm welcome and shown around many of the individually designed spacious bedrooms which come complete with spa style bathrooms, rainshowers and luxurious deep baths.

Whilst in Inverness there are many things to see and do. Culloden Moor is a 10 mins drive from Inverness.  The interactive visitor centre guides you through the events which unfolded and tells both sides of the story with the audio guide as you walk through each section. The cinema room puts you right in the heart of the battle with a recreation of events. You can then take a walk around the Battlefield and view the headstones and the memorial cairn which have been erected to represent the clans who lost hundreds of men during the battle.

Just a couple of minutes drive from Culloden is the Clava Cairns which date back to the Bronze Age. Clava Cairns is a well-preserved cemetery complex of passage graves; ring cairns, kerb cairns and standing stones in a beautiful setting. Nowadays, in addition to their historical significance, they are also a popular draw for Outlander Fans as demonstrated by Jacqui as she tried to travel back Jamie Fraser in the 1700s!

Next on the Highlands must-visit list when is Dunrobin Castle in Golspie, just over an hour North of Inverness.  This fairytale castle is home to the Earls and later, the Dukes of Sutherland and is the most northerly of the great houses. It has been continually inhabited since the 1300s.  The castle is open from April to end of October, with a self-guided tour that grants visitors access to many of the 189 rooms in the Castle.  We would also advise taking in the falconry display in the grounds which runs daily at 11:30 and 14:00.

Heading back South, we had time for a quick photo-stop at The Mermaid of the North and then one of the best scones at the Storehouse on the shores of the Cromarty Firth just before we arrived at Loch Ness for our Jacobite Cruise.  There are a variety of cruise options available with some allowing you to hop-off at Urquhart Castle to explore its turbulent past!

Back on the road, our journey took us Southwards to the 5* Inverlochy Castle in Fort William.  During a trip to Balmoral in 1873, Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy, sketching and painting where she wrote in her diaries: ‘I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot’ and we couldn’t agree more!

Our overnight stop was at the 5* Isle of Eriska Hotel just outside Oban, located on a private island with gorgeous views over Loch Linnhe and the dramatic Morvern mountains beyond.  Our bedrooms were spacious and elegantly decorated and our fine dining experience was second to none!. After a hearty breakfast we enjoyed a tour of the facilities which include a spa, gym, swimming pool and golf practice facilities.  You can also grab a pair of wellies from the vestibule and explore the grounds with great nature and wildlife walks in the grounds.

Next on our whistle-stop tour was 5* Cromlix in Dunblane near Stirling.  This 5* property owned by local boy and tennis ace Andy Murray is set in 34 acres of secluded woodlands and garden grounds.  It boasts a Chez Roux restaurant focused on using seasonal locally sourced produce wherever possible.  There are five suites, ten bedrooms and gate lodge accommodation.

Our journey finished back in the lowlands near Glasgow at 5*  Crossbasket Castle where we were treated to a delicious afternoon tea followed by a tour of the suites and rooms at this stunning 17th century castle.

Our team only scratched the surface on things to do on our travels. Do not hesitate to contact us today to find out what else you can do on your bespoke Best of Scotland Holiday!

You can visit some of these stunning destinations with our Private Driver Tour of Scotland, or The Scottish Highlands by Public Transport package

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