Golf, every bit as Scottish as tossing the caber, but infinitely more refined; stroking and putting your way around the courses does not get better than when done in Scotland. With the dramatic landscape and frankly beautiful surroundings, there are few other countries which have as interesting and appealing courses.
If you are happier watching or perhaps your swing is not what it used to be, it is well recommended that you make the journey to St Andrews the home of golf. A golfing Mecca of sorts imbued with the history of the sport, encompassing one of the largest public golf courses as well as playing host to some of the biggest tournaments in the golfing calendar.
2. Fine dining
Scottish food will, for most people, be far removed from the tradition of cuisine and fine dining. It is painfully misguided that the most thought of dishes from the country is haggis and deep fried confectionary. What this fails to acknowledge is the fantastic array of fine steaks, succulent beef burgers and the sumptuous Scottish Salmon on offer.
Finding the finest Scottish restaurants can be tricky, as you are spoilt for choice, although if you are in Perth then the Strathearn, double rosette-winning restaurant located at the Gleneagles Hotel will leave you speechless. Classical foods with stylish service come together with breathtaking views across the estate.
3. Luxury spas
Relaxation and luxury so often come hand in hand, and perfect for following a day’s hard walking, shopping or golf – of better yet, “just because”. Although the holiday Spas in Scotland provide more than just the simple mud pack, or facial, the original Scottish spas, or “hydro hotels” provide much more. With most featuring state of the art health treatments you can relax whilst having a uniquely satisfying aromatherapy facial or Thai massage.
4. Seeing the sights
One of the most stunning features of Scotland is, surprisingly enough one of the most accessible to all – the Scottish landscape. The stunning mountings vistas, sparkling lakes, which stretch off into the distance and historic castles and palaces that can often be found in the least likely places are really a must see. Awaking and looking out of your luxury suite only to be greeted by the rising sun shining through the morning mist which hugs the mountains is sight which is seldom beaten.
Of course the weather in Scotland is a little lacking in its predictability, so ensuring you are in the right place to sample these sights at the right times, is one of the most important things to consider. A stay in one of the many castles or country houses, such as Cameron House, which now function as 5 star hotels, or maybe a loch-facing lodge can provide the views so beloved with all the comfort you could wish.
There are so many different ways to shop and everyone is on the lookout for different things, although shopping in Edinburgh promises to offer an experience seldom found elsewhere. For those looking for something special, unlike anything you will find elsewhere the Princes Street Gardens is one of the most choicest of locations, for those looking to pass the time or more specifically, for people looking for something special.
George Street, not too far from the Gardens is home to a number of exclusive boutique stores, stocking designer labels and bespoke clothing you’ll struggle to come by elsewhere. If you are really looking for something that sings and sparkles, Hamilton and Inches is a must see. A warrant holder for Her Majesty, the Queen, this prestigious store is Scotland’s foremost seller of jewellery and other fine wares.
Peter Lydford is Director at Travel & Leisure Group.