San Sebastian and Seville might be off the cards this summer, but Scotland is certainly not, and it appears Brits are ready to make the journey to the Land of the Brave in search of a much-needed break.
Fears of quarantine on arrival to the destination, or on return to the UK, accompanied by warnings from the government that you shouldn’t be travelling abroad unnecessarily thanks to Covid-19 risks, have meant staycation searches on Google have skyrocketed.
The Royal Station Hotel analysed Google search data to reveal that Scotland has trumped alternative destinations when it comes to growth in search trends year on year, having grown 532% on 2019.
Of course, the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has somewhat of a different agenda to that of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson when it comes to restrictions – however, it’s certainly worthwhile taking a look at what is making the nation such a desired location!
Intrepid travellers trek for thousand of miles just to indulge in a decent road trip. From the Great Ocean Road in Australia to the Alcan Highway in Canada, the world is awash with a number of breathtaking roads, but you don’t even need to leave the UK to be able to embrace something so spectacular.
The North Coast 500 is a route that starts and ends in the UK’s most northerly city, Inverness. Covering 516-miles, you’ll pass a number of distilleries, John O’Groats, and a plethora of utterly stunning scenery on your way. Few trips on the planet offer up as much of a variety as the NC500 does.
The only thing we’d recommend, however, and this goes for much of your trip to Scotland, is to remember wellies and a raincoat — it wouldn’t be unfair to suggest that the weather is unpredictable!
Whether you’re a golfer, a history-boff, or a self-proclaimed foodie, we’re confident that you’ll love it!
From bag pipes to club nights
While the Highlands can be ticked off with a trip on the NC500, the cities further south and closer to the English border and Irish Sea crossing offer a wide variety of alternatives.
Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland is home to a vibrant nightlife and a diverse shopping street often likened to the ‘Style Mile’. Visit King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut to gain a better understanding as to why this Scottish city is a NESCO City Of Music.
Edinburgh, the capital, on the other hand is unlike any other place you’ll visit in the world. The main shopping districts of George Street and Princes Street sit in the shadow of the dominating castle, which, perched on a hill, above the city, is an architectural masterpiece. Mary King’s Close offers visitors one of the most fascinating stories — a city beneath the city, that remains intact!
Stirling, Scotland’s lesser known city, meanwhile played host to the Battle of Bannockburn and houses the Wallace Monument, making it an area steeped in Scottish history. Furthermore, if you are looking to visit either of the other two major cities, setting up camp in a Stirling Hotel couldn’t be more appropriate, given its midway location.
Something for everyone
Whether you’re heading off on a couple’s retreat or you’re taking the family away for a fun-filled holiday, you’ll not be left wanting more in the way of activities when you visit Scotland.
Many visitors with time on their hands will attempt to bag at least one of the Munros, of which there are 282 off. Alternatively, if you’re not feeling up to climbing a 3,000+ feet mountain, there are plenty of other options, including Arthur’s Seat in the capital, which offers those who ascend an uninterrupted view of the city.
While the Cairngorms mountain range allows for skiing in winter, you’ll be able to seize the opportunity to embark on mountain biking trails or water sports during the warmer months – perfect for keeping the kids entertained.
Although Edinburgh houses one of the world’s most impressive zoos, which is certainly worth a visit if you’re in the vicinity, there are a number of wildlife parks and aquariums dotted across the country, including the Highland Widllife Park in Kincraig, Camperdown Park in Dundee, and Calderglen Country Park in East Kilbride.
With so much on offer, it should come as no surprise that Scotland is up there as one of the most sought-after destinations for a staycation. While we’re confident that you’ll be raring to go, getting your bags packed and heading for the border, it is advised to check with Scotland’s social distancing rules prior to travelling!