Luxury properties across the UK
Encompassing Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, the South West is one of the most popular cottage holiday destinations in the UK. Boasting some of the most unspoilt countryside and coastline in the UK, it is easy to see why booking holiday cottages in the South West is so popular. See all of our South West Cottages
The Southern counties of England are varied, each with their own character and charm. Our collection of holiday cottages in Southern England covers the areas of Berkshire, Greater London, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Wiltshire. See all of our Southern England Cottages
The North West England region is home to the counties of Cheshire, Cumbria and Lancashire, each with their own unique qualities that draw in international visitors. The region is steeped in history as well as popular tourist attractions making it a popular destination to visit all year round. See all of our North West Cottages
Visit historic North East England with its castles and ruins, beautiful coastline and family attractions whilst staying in one of our luxurious holiday cottages. The region is home to countless Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks and World Heritage Sites. See all of our North East Cottages
Highlands of Scotland
Borders & The Lothians
Perthshire, Fife & Tayside
Skye & The Hebrides
Grampian & Speyside
Handpicked Cottages have selected what we believe are some of the finest holiday cottages in Wales. We have some superb properties in the most beautiful areas of the country. Rural valleys meet with the stunning coasts to make Wales a perfect self-catering cottage destination. See all of our Wales Cottages
The UK is blessed with some of the most beautiful and diverse National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty anywhere in the world. For us, these stretch from Isles of Scilly holiday cottages in the south to the very tip of Scotland. The largest of these is the Lake District but there are well over 50 in total. See all of our Cottages in Special Places
Sep 11, 2023
The 11 Best Things To Do In The Scottish Highlands
If you’re looking for a holiday in Britain with a great variety of things to see and do, head for Scotland and the magnificent Highlands. The Scottish Highlands takes in soaring peaks, windswept cliffs and astonishingly beautiful lochs. It’s a landscape rich with Scottish history, and is home to one of the country’s most famous legends.
In no particular order, here is the Handpicked Cottages’ selection of the best things to do in the Scottish Highlands
See lots of castles
There are simply so many castles in the Scottish Highlands. You’ll recognise Eilean Donan Castle from its famous island setting, which contrasts with the almost fairytale-like architecture of Dunrobin Castle. Explore the ruins of the fascinating medieval Urquhart Castle in its beautiful location on the shores of Loch Ness.
Take the ferry to Skye
You could drive over, but really? The best way to arrive at Skye is by ferry from Glenelg, which runs from April until October (please check the website for times and updates). If you’re spending just a day on Skye, try to visit the Fairy Pools, the Fairy Glen and Dunvegan Castle.
Watch out for monsters
It just has to be done, doesn’t it? The Highland region includes beautiful Loch Ness with its legendary resident. The Loch Ness Centre is a must-visit, and you can book onto a tour or loch cruise from here. Places to visit around the lake include Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus and Dores.
Go to a distillery
It just has to be done, part 2. There are over 40 whisky distilleries in the region, producing malts of all depths and tones. Book onto a tour at the Glen Ord Distillery, home of The Singleton, or call into the visitor centre at the Tomatin Distillery. Scotland’s oldest working distillery, The Glenturret, also has a fine dining restaurant.
Climb Ben Nevis (or at least, go to the Visitor Centre)
There’s a choice of routes up Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. Some are more challenging than others, and we’d certainly recommend you do your research before lacing up your boots and striding out. Walk Highlands details the different paths to the summit. You can find out more about this imposing peak at the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre.
Discover the coast
When we think of the Scottish Highlands, most of us probably picture majestic mountains and inland lochs; however, this part of Scotland also has a beautiful coastline. Try beautiful Achmelvich Bay, or walk the route from Blairmore to Sandwood Bay.
Spend a day in Inverness
The city at the mouth of the River Ness is definitely worth a day or two on your Highlands itinerary. Inverness, the largest city in the region, has everything from the imposing Fort George to a Victorian Market. Explore the evocative Old Town (taking in plenty of places to eat and drink) or unwind in the Inverness Botanic Gardens.
Take a ride on a steam train
Could there be a more spectacular setting for a railway journey than this 84-mile round trip from Fort William to Mallaig? Take time for this splendid trip on the Jacobite Express, which includes the Glenfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter fans will recognise this from the route of the Hogwarts’ Express!).
Walk in Glencoe
If your idea of the perfect holiday in the Highlands involves hiking, Glencoe is a must. The village lies in the dramatic, steep-sided Glencoe Valley, much of which is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. The best place to start your trip is at the Glencoe Visitor Centre, where you can learn about the history, legends and wildlife of this most beautiful of valleys.
Visit Culloden Battlefield
Culloden was the site of the most bloody battle of the Jacobean Rising. Today, Culloden Battlefield is an eerily atmospheric place to visit. There’s an excellent visitor centre (again, it’s National Trust for Scotland), where you can find out more about the battle and the politics behind it. If you’re interested in this period of Scottish history, combine your visit to Culloden with a tour of Fort George in Inverness.
Explore Highland villages
The Highlands is scattered with lovely villages. If you’re shopping for local produce or looking for a cosy pub for lunch, you’re definitely spoilt for choice in this part of Scotland. Charming little Plockton is often regarded as Scotland’s prettiest village, or try Applecross on the coast (the drive here is like something out of a car advert). Braemar in Aberdeenshire is famous as a location for the Highland Games, and the northern part of this county has a cluster of tiny, traditional fishing villages to explore (as seen in Local Hero).
Find your perfect holiday cottage in the Scottish Highlands
After a busy day walking in the glens (or sampling whisky in the local distilleries), it’s good to come back to your own comfy cottage. Here at Handpicked Cottages, we have a wide choice of holiday cottages in the Scottish Highlands, from modern lodges to traditional old houses.
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