Best Staycation Destinations in Scotland
It will come as no surprise that the popularity of staycations has skyrocketed since the pandemic began but even before March 2020, the number of people enjoying staycations was on the rise. Why not leave behind the worries of travel insurance, long airport queues and that inevitable hunt for your lost passport and join the ever-growing community of people who are immersing themselves in the beautiful staycation spots dotted all over Scotland.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
Home to the largest lake in the UK, surrounded by rolling countryside and breath-taking views, Loch Lomond is a staycation location that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime! With the tagline of ‘Respect, Protect, Enjoy’, Loch Lomond is a natural wonder that travellers can’t get enough of.
For an energetic holiday maker, activities available include cycling, walking & hiking trails, water activities and climbing. For travellers wanting to take in the scenery, there is plenty of wildlife and nature to explore alongside loch cruises, scenic routes and multiple viewpoints where you can take it all in. The charming towns and villages surrounding Loch Lomond are perfect for a wander and to take in some of the local charm. Stargazers can take advantage of the dark skies at night time, where you could even catch a glimpse of the galaxy or the milky way thanks to the pollution-free, rural skies above.
For those who want to be close to nature throughout their staycation, Loch Chon and Loch Achray both have campsites which run until the end of October. However, you are free to wild-camp all year round – something we would definitely recommend for a truly immersive experience and a breath of fresh air. Just be sure to plan ahead, as some spots get super-busy even in colder months and always be respectful and responsible in your surroundings.
For those who aren’t up to wild camping just yet, there are multiple hotels, staycation cottages and cozy lodges with hot-tubs available. There are also plenty of smaller B&B’s to choose from, if you want to support a smaller business and get some great recommendations from locals.
Travelling to Loch Lomond is possible by car, or the nearest train station is Balloch, a gateway town to the national park which also houses plenty of visitor attractions, pubs and shops for even more to see and do!
Isle of Skye
Arguably one of the most popular holiday destinations in all of Scotland, the Isle of Skye is the largest of the Inner Hebrides, measuring at 50 miles long. This beautiful destination is rich with history, from dinosaur fossils to the Clan MacDonald and Clan MacLeod castles which are definitely worth a visit.
Skye is an ideal spot for any wildlife lover and eagle-eyed holiday makers can catch a glimpse of dolphins, whales, otters, seals or red deers during their staycation (to name a few!). Walkers and hikers who visit the Isle of Skye can make the most of their world-class walking trails and climbs, including the Cullin Range with peaks above 3000ft and phenomenal views. There are multiple walking routes available to suit all ages and abilities, details of which can be found on the Isle of Skye website.
At the foot of the Black Cullins, near Glenbrittle, is one of the most magical parts of the island: the Fairy Pools. Intertwined with ancient folklore about “the little people”, this part of the Isle of Skye is believed to be home to fairies who bathe in the waters. The Fairy Pools offer a great photo opportunity or wild-swimming location for anyone brave enough to take a dip in the crystal clear (cold) waters! And for travellers seeking even more magic during their trip, there is the similarly named Fairy Glen located on the North end of the island that is just as stunning.
There are no direct public transport links to the Island but there are trains from Inverness and Glasgow that take you as close as possible on the mainland, where you can then hop on a bus or ferry to your destination. However, public transport on the Island is limited so this is one thing to consider when weighing up travel by car vs. public transport or whether to take part in an organised tour/day trip. When it comes to accommodation on Skye, there are options to suit everybody! From luxury hotels to cottages, B&B’s and even hostels or wild camping – the choice is yours depending on how you want to experience this incredible location.
Edinburgh & Glasgow
City breaks are perfect for holidaymakers who enjoy the hustle and bustle of a thriving location, with plenty to see and do. In Edinburgh, you can pay a visit to Edinburgh castle, Arthur’s seat and the old town amongst so many other attractions and museums. Thirsty travellers can head to a gin distillery such as Edinburgh Gin or Pickerings, The Scotch Whiskey Experience or head to one of the many bar and restaurant options all over the city.
Travellers taking their city break in Glasgow also have a huge array of eateries and bars to choose from, alongside some beautiful greener spaces such as the Glasgow Botanic Gardens and Pollok Country Park. A trip to Glasgow isn’t complete without a trip to the gothic Glasgow Cathedral and travellers can enjoy some Glaswegian spirits at the Clydeside Distillery & the Drygate Brewery. For sports lovers there is the Scottish Football Museum or for those seeking art and culture, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum is a great choice and one of the most visited museums in the UK!
A bonus of city breaks is that holidaymakers have a huge range of accommodation options to choose from. From luxury hotels and spas for a 5* experience to Air B&Bs, for something completely unique. With so much choice, you’re much more likely to find an accommodation that is the perfect fit for you and your staycation.
Another bonus of a city break? Great transport links! If you’re not travelling by car, Edinburgh and Glasgow are easily accessible by bus and train from a huge range of locations across Scotland & the UK. Not only can public transport be more affordable (if tickets are purchased in advance!), but it is also an eco-friendlier option.
Fort William is considered the ‘outdoor capital’ of Scotland so if you are someone who loves the outdoors, this is the staycation for you. Located in the highlands, Fort William is home to Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the UK and one of its main attractions! Other activities available here include skiing, cycling, mountain biking & much more so there is plenty to keep an active holidaymaker busy.
The Steal Waterfall is definitely worth a visit, as Scotland’s second-highest waterfall with a stunning single drop of 120 metres. For travellers hoping to see as much of the highlands as possible, we would suggest a ride on the Jacobite Steam Train for 83 miles of uninterrupted, rural scenery.
Lochabar Geopark is a must-see for some of the most breath-taking views in all of Scotland, with flawless beaches and crystal blue waters that look like they have been plucked from the other side of the world. For any budding geologist, Lochabar has a unique geological heritage which you can learn all about. For more local history, The Inverlochy Castle dates back to the 13th century and is another sight not to be missed at Fort William.
There are multiple public transport links to Fort William from Inverness, Glasgow & Edinburgh. There are regular buses from Glasgow airport for those travelling from afar. If this is you, we would always suggest planning your travel well ahead of your trip to ensure a smooth journey to your staycation spot.
Similar to the staycation spots mentioned above, Fort William has a whole host of accommodation options available to suit a variety of budgets and preferences, such as hotels, B&Bs, lodges & more. For those who are looking for a happy medium between luxury hotels and wild camping there are even some glamping options in Fort William. These include wigwams, glamping pods, yurts and even treehouses. Many of the glamping options come with hot tubs, beds, televisions and fridges to provide some home comforts whilst still allowing guests to get as close as possible to the outdoors.
There you have it! 4 (or technically 5) incredible staycation picks in Scotland. Between city breaks, the highlands, the lochs & the islands, Scotland has something for everyone. We have no doubt that visiting any of the above locations will completely surpass all your expectations and open your eyes to the freedom, relaxation and natural beauty a staycation can offer.