The first of our staycation ideas in Scotland is wrapped around the beaches of Scotland. Maybe not the first place you’ll think of for a beach holiday, but Scotland has some of the finest beaches in the United Kingdom. Varying from wild, rugged beaches to sandy white beaches with turquoise water.
Weekend staycation on the Scottish Beaches
In the north-western area of Scotland lies Sandwood Bay, a remote and wild beach. A long drive over a beautiful road will take you to this beach with rocky cliffs. Backed by wonderful dunes, perfect for some shelter to pitch your tent. Camusdarach is maybe most famous because it was used as a decor for the film Local Hero, but also famous for the beautiful sand and clear blue water. From here you can see the Isle of Skye. You’ll find the beach close to the end of the A830, near Morar. Not too far from the beach, there is campsite Camusdarach, for a complete holiday!
A bit further off but worth the travel: Long white sandy beaches in the west of the Isle of Berneray are not inferior to any of the beaches in sunny beach resorts (except for the weather maybe). Perfect for hiking too, as there is an abundance of wildlife in the summer. Closer to a city is Aberdeen beach, where you can combine a city trip with a beach visit. You can take a walk to “Fittie”, or Footdee, to explore the former fisher village, follow the coast path or enjoy a bite or dinner in the Granite City.
Island hopping – the perfect staycation
A perfect staycation is Scotland is doing some island hopping. We’ve listed our favourites here. In between the mainland and the Shetland Islands lie the Orkney Islands. You can take the ferry from Gill’s Bay to St. Margareths Hope and from Scrabster you’ll find yourself in an hour and a half in Stromness. Also from Aberdeen there’s a ferry to Kirkwall. The islands have some impressive rocky cliffs, but behind the coast, the landscape is flatter. 70 islands, of which 20 are uninhabited, stretch out with few places for cover. History is visible here, from the Vikings to the Stone Ages. Also a great island for wildlife spotting like sea lions, otters, puffins and a lot of seabirds. In the water, you might see whales or dolphins.
The Isle of Arran is very fit for a culinary trip. Try the creamy cheeses, special beers, the distillery of Arran, traditional oatcakes and heavenly chocolate. It is also known as “miniature Scotland”. The perfect island for hiking, climbing ridges, mountain biking or simply enjoying the landscape.
Lewis and Harris, Outer Hebrides – Home to the famous Harris Tweed, but also lot’s of great scenery, splendid beaches and historical heritage. The Isle of Skye deserves a separate mention. This beautiful island, famous for its marvellous scenery is really one of the best places in Europe for adventurous people. Stunning hikes, beautiful campsites to watch the sun disappear and the stars appear and make some new memories with your family or friends. Keep your camera close, but remember to also enjoy and take in the views without a lens.
Citytrip: Edinburgh & Glasgow
Alright, let’s continue our staycation ideas in Scotland with the two most interesting cities in the country. Edinburgh, also the capital of Scotland, has a rich historical city centre where you can get your kicks with a lot of museums and many good shopping opportunities. One of the unique things of Edinburgh is its castle, high up on the hill with a dramatic view from the top. A visit to Edinburgh is not complete without a trip up to the castle.
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland. A bit ‘more edge’ than Edinburgh, fewer tourists but a lot of hotspots! A number of beautiful museums like the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, of which the buildings often are already an architectural highlight. In the city you’ll find more architectural highlights, amongst others buildings by designer and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. To find out more about his life you can visit the Mackintosh house. In West End you can find the best places to get a bite.
Staycation ideas in Scotland road trip: North Coast 500
We’ve written a whole article about this trip, which you can read here, so we won’t go too much in-depth here. However, the North Coast 500 is a great road trip for a week or two. You’ll drive the most amazing coastal roads, find the finest beaches and see some of the most beautiful scenery has to offer.
Cairngorms National Park
The largest National Park, and a special bonus: 5 out of 6 of the highest mountains of the United Kingdom are located in Cairngorms National Park. Hikers, mountain bikers and nature lovers are not going to be disappointed. After a day of hard work maybe one of the bookstores or a whisky distillery can cheer you up. Find the wildlife on trails through the park like the wildcat, ospreys, eagles and reindeer. In the winter this is a place where a lot of skiërs and snowboarders get their kicks.
Galloway Forest National Park
Whether you enjoy hiking, easy family cycling or more serious mountain biking, Galloway Forest National Park offers some great trails through the forest. You can also run into some of the wildlife here like the red deer, otter and red squirrel. Did you know that this is also one of the best places in Scotland for stargazing? So set your alarm, or stay up all night to watch the stars from the Dark Sky Park, a place where they keep the light pollution low.
That’s it so far on the staycation ideas in Scotland! You’d like to do one of these trips but you don’t have campervan, caravan or motorhome yet? Please check this link below to find your perfect holiday vehicle.