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Temperate climate, varied landscape and soils, fruitful seas – these are just some of the factors that give Scotland the edge for top quality foods of all kinds. Choose any meal, any course and there are ingredients to inspire – from delicate seafood starters to soft-fruit dessert. Distilleries set in inspiring scenery, Lowland farm shops, seacoast smokehouses, as well as restaurants, bistros and hotels, are just some of the places to encounter Scotland's finest flavours.
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There is plenty for foodies to explore in and around Castle Douglas, including traditional butchers, a nearby smokehouse, delicatessens, chocolatiers, plus a range of restaurants and bistros. And nearby Threave Gardens even has a walled garden which once supplied fruit and vegetables to the main house. Overnight Castle Douglas.
Head for Glasgow. As Scotland's largest city, it has a wide range of restaurants, with many old favourites, including Sloan's Bar and Restaurant. Best check local magazine listings or the local Visitor Information Centre for what is currently hot in the cosmopolitan city dining scene. Overnight Glasgow.
Take the road by Loch Lomond for the north with perhaps a coffee-stop and a browse through the quality shopping at Loch Lomond Shores at Balloch, also the attractive location for one of Scotland's popular Farmers' Markets on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month. Alternatively, there should be time for a cruise from either Balloch or from Tarbet, further up the loch, where your road turns west for the high pass of the Rest and Be Thankful. From there descend to Loch Fyne and the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar at Cairndow. The award-winning Fyne Ales Brewery is also at the head of the loch and you can sample its products at local establishments such as the Creggans Inn to the south at Strachur. Both the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and the Creggans Inn are also on the area's Seafood Trail. Overnight Inveraray area.
From Inveraray, go north for the head of Loch Awe. Take the short walk across the lochside fields to see the former Campbells' stronghold of Kilchurn Castle. Then continue eastwards where the Real Food Café at Tyndrum serves classic fish and chips - and much more - from locally sourced produce. Continue east, pausing perhaps at the main street shops of the attractive little town of Aberfeldy. Among the food businesses in and around Aberfeldy is a smoke-house and a chocolatier. Continue to the main A9 'The Highland Road', turning north for Pitlochry and overnight.
The popular visitor resort of Pitlochry has two distilleries, with the Blair Athol Distillery by the main road at the east end of the town and a brewery at the Moulin Inn above the town. The nearby Blair Atholl Estates, at the centre of which stands the landmark attraction of Blair Castle, offers plenty for visitors. Take a Land Rover Safari for a real insight into the life of a Highland estate. An excursion northwards to the wellstocked and very popular House of Bruar is another option. Overnight Pitlochry.
Head south to Dunkeld, where there is a fine choice of cafes and foodie places along the main street, as well as a picturesque riverside walk by Dunkeld Cathedral. Go east from here via Kirriemuir. Continue to Arbroath, famed for its smokies, produced by local businesses such as the Arbroath Smokery. The haddock-smoking process is now officially recognised as creating a product with Protected Geographical Indication, (like Champagne and Parma Ham!) so that 'real' Arbroath smokies must be made within an eight mile radius of the town! Continue south via Dundee and over the Tay Bridge for Fife for overnight in the St Andrews area.
The East Neuk (Scots for corner) of Fife has a choice of organic eating places of all kinds from award winning fish and chips in Anstruther to friendly cafés at Falkland and artisan producers such as the St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company. Continue south for Edinburgh, where it is said there are more eating places per head of population than anywhere else in the UK, including Iglu, with its commitment to cutting food miles. Further afield, the Lothians also have plenty to offer: for example, the Sun Inn at Dalkeith. Overnight Edinburgh
Included in this package:
All hotels will be 3 star or above.
Best of Scotland Holidays offer a variety of tours including Tours of Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales, Whisky Trails, Honeymoon Packages, Castle and Garden Tours, Island Hoping, Walking Holidays and much more - something to suit everyone!
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