We’ve ventured off the beaten track in Scotland to bring you a list of the most beautiful and unspoilt places to visit.
Ross and Cromarty
This tiny, ancient burgh, situated right beside the water at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth, has everything you could want for a lovely day out. Walk along the short and up the wooded hill, from which you can spot dolphins, then tuck into a delicious wood-fired pizza at the Sutor Creek Café (above) – ‘The Black Isler’ is topped with local haggis, black pudding, egg and mushrooms – washed down with something from the The Cromarty Brewing Company. Afterwards, hop on the little four-car ferry to the north side of the Cromarty firth, from where you can explore Easter Ross.
The Plodda Falls
Step out onto the viewing platform that’s recently been built over this astonishing wasterfall, and watch as it cascades into a panoramic canyon, past ranks of magnificent Douglas firs. The site is owned by the Forestry Commission, and there’s a well-maintained carpark nearby – access is via a track through the woods.
On the road to the Isle from Fort William, above Loch nan Uamh (where Bonnie Prince Charlie first landed on the British mainland), Arisaig is a really special country-house B&B, owned by an enterprising family who serve fabulous meals making use of all the local lobster, game and fish. It’s a perfect spot from which to explore the West Highlands – afterwards, come home to a hot bath and high tea.
Dunbar’s Close Gardens
0131 529 7061
Just steps away from the hustle and bustle of the Royal Mile, just past the Kirk, is one of Edinburgh’s loveliest – and quietest – spots. This peaceful walled garden feels much as it would have done when it was first planted in the 17th century, with its parterres, old roses and lavender. Saved in the 1970s by a bequest, it’s the place to come to catch your breath in the middle of the day.
The Museum at Dunrobin Castle
One of the very first private country-house museums in Scotland, Dunrobin’s brilliantly eccentric galleries are packed with curiosities, including a stuffed giraffe. The gardens, laid out in 1850 by Sir Charles Barry with one eye on those at the Palace of Versailles, are a delight too.
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