Switch off your phone, and breathe at last - the rolling hills and open skies of Scotland make it ideal for a digital detox. Take a trip to an east coast fishing village, famed for their beauty, their seafood, and their down-to-earth people; or retreat inland, and unpick the rivers, lochs and National Parks. Take your time to reflect and appreciate the stunning scenery - unedited and no filter needed.
This region offers the perfect blend of coastal and forest scenery. The Solway Coast is a beachcomber’s haven with an array of shell beaches, and for avid star gazers, there is The Galloway Forest Park. Due to its sparse population and lack of light pollution, it was named the country’s first Dark Sky Park. If you’re feeling sporty, rent a mountain bike at one of the 7stanes centres for sweat-inducing inclines and soul-stirring views.
Escape to the east of Scotland for the undisturbed valleys of the Angus Glens. Against the backdrop of the Grampian Mountains, dust off your walking boots and stroll deep into the peaceful Scottish countryside. During your visit, be sure to take a trip to the wind-swept Angus coast, where you’ll find the rolling dunes and strawberry blonde sands of Lunan Bay. A secluded beach that stretches from Boddin Point to Land Craig, it’s the perfect way to wind down on an easy-going, sunny afternoon.
Step inside the picturesque, medieval villages of the Scottish Borders. From the historicism of Melrose to the awe-inspiring vistas of Scott’s View, there’s a quiet charm to this landscape that’s utterly infectious. While you’re here, too, why not stop over at Stobo Castle? This A-listed building now operates as a luxury spa retreat, complete with a state-of-the-art Ozone pool, Hydrospa and mud room - you may never feel stressed again.
A collection of islands at the edge of the Atlantic, the Outer Hebrides offer a true escape from the rat race. Here you’ll find a slower pace of life exploring rugged coast and countryside and observing stunning wildlife and fauna – walk or cycle the Hebridean Way and your reward will be the picturesque lighthouse at the Butt of Lewis. There are also prehistoric gems such as The Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis. In the towns, however, you’ll hear Gaelic being spoken by the locals and traditional folk music been played in the pubs.
Snow-capped mountains, vibrant wildlife, long walks in the woods - the national parks of Scotland are among the finest in the Europe. The Cairngorms National Park in the northeast is twice the size of the Lake District and boasts sprawling forests, glassy lakes and misty peaks - it brims with the wild romance of the natural world. The altitudes of the Cairngorm mountains have also made it a popular skiing destination; the season generally running until early April. To the southwest, meanwhile, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park features the largest stretch of inland water in the UK. Rent a kayak or take a leisurely cruise across the shimmering loch, before losing yourself in the whistling wilds of The Trossachs.
As well as boasting the world’s finest fish and chips, the region of Aberdeenshire to the north-east of Scotland is famed for its dramatic coastlines, rugged cliffs and delightful seaside towns. Head to the town of Stonehaven for some unbeatable seafood along the harbour, before heading south to the RSPB Fowlsheugh Reserve, where heart-stopping cliffs offer views of dolphins, seals, puffins and, in the warmer months, around 130,000 mating seabirds. The fishing opportunities, too, are second to none, so make sure to visit the River Dee for a relaxing spot of salmon fishing.
Composed of more than 100 islands (15 of which are inhabited), Scotland’s most northerly archipelago is a haven of seclusion, a fairytale landscape of undiluted beauty. With long daylight hours in spring and summer, you can pack your days with adventure. Between the white sands and shimmering blue coastlines, the heather-strewn moors, the treeless hills and the windswept clifftops, the Shetland Isles offer a welcome retreat from the pressures of city life. It’s also an animal-lover’s paradise with puffins, seals, orcas, and of course the famous Shetland ponies among the creatures to be seen - a sequestered escape you’re unlikely to forget.
Take a tranquil walk along the Fife coastal path for a tour of the region’s dramatic seascapes and charming East Neuk fishing villages. With a varying terrain of grassy dunes, windswept cliffs and sandy beaches, follow the trail from village to village, keeping an eye out for the seabirds and seals along the way. The medieval charms of St Andrews make the town a great base for exploring the coastline. From there, explore the idyllic villages of Anstruther, Crail, Elie, Pittenweem and Lower Largo, known best for their cobbled streets, peaceful harbours and Dutch-style cottages; make sure to sample the local seafood while you’re here, and to rest your feet in a cosy, coastal pub.