Beguiling Scotland

Last updated: January 17, 2021

Crowd-free Britain: We spotlight a different area of the UK each time in this series. We’ll look at Covid-19 safety, what attractions are provided and what behaviour the locals expect from visitors

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From the emerald shaded hills of the Highlands and the medieval streets of Edinburgh to those iconic glittering lochs and antique castles perched on craggy cliffsides, Scotland is beguiling.

Coronavirus in Scotland?

Scotland’s response to the coronavirus epidemic had been lauded as a success, with some lockdown measures instigated before the country had a single positive case. However, the situation changes constantly and at present there are stricter measures in place in some areas thanks to a rise in cases. Check out the current situation but, as with the rest of the UK, it’s entirely possible to travel to the country from one of several travel corridors without the need to self-isolate.

Face coverings in Scotland are mandatory in shops and restaurants as well as onboard all public transport — including taxis, buses, trains, the Glasgow subway, ferries etc, and people are asked to avoid crowded places, and to keep a distance of two metres from others where possible. Travellers from outside the UK are required to complete an online passenger locator form before travelling and to supply contact details, travel details and the address of the final destination where they will be staying.

While the UK is in lockdown, most attractions are closed, and you should follow guidelines and only visit areas in your locality to walk or cycle.

What to see in Scotland

If visiting one of Scotland’s elegant cities is a must, then choose Edinburgh. Start in the city proper and stroll along the iconic Royal Mile, before taking an evening trip to the stately surrounds of Edinburgh Castle for iconic views back over the city as the last rays of the sunset paint layers of gold and orange over the rooftops.

To get away from the crowds at the main sights, cross to the south side of the city to take a peek at the stunning architecture of the Royal Observatory or travel to the very north to visit the pretty little port village of Leith and take a bite from its impressive culinary scene.

But now is perhaps the best time to visit one of Scotland’s near-countless lochs. The most famous is, of course, Loch Ness and its fabled Nessie, but Loch Morar is undoubtedly one of the best, with miles of walks around its banks and endless opportunities for photographs. Another option is the phenomenal and vast Loch Lomond and the nearby Trossachs National Park. Here, stunning views mingle with beautiful lakeside hikes, scenic boat rides, plentiful wildlife, mountain trails and a pretty collection of rural villages.

And from there it’s easy enough to visit a variety of attractions all within a relatively short distance — from the remains of the Antonine Wall (ancient Rome’s northernmost point), and the historic city of Stirling, to Dumbarton Castle on the River Clyde and the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Cowal Peninsula.

Escape the crowds in Scotland

Scotland’s immense beauty comes at a cost, namely, lots of other people want to see it too. But there are ways to escape the crowds in Scotland. And generally speaking, the best way is to head to the islands.

Nature-lovers should try the incredible Isle of Arran just west of Glasgow. One of Scotland’s largest islands, it holds a treasure trove of lush inland forests bursting out to rocky coves and sheltered beaches, as well as walks up dramatic mountain peaks and a full range of outdoor activities such as gorge walking and mountain biking, horse riding and boating. But those seeking golden beaches and dreamy blue waters should travel instead to the Isle of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides to take advantage of the shallow bays and the high sunshine records (it’s one of the sunniest spots in the UK).

If you’re travelling in the autumn and don’t mind the rain and the reduced opening of the local businesses, then a visit to the Isle of Skye is a perfect option, while those looking for a little more variety should head to the 100-plus islands of the Shetlands Archipelago. Walkers sticking to the mainland should try the idyllic countryside of Angus, which stretches across the east coast from Dundee with miles of walking paths, relaxed villages and disarming, photogenic glens.

Checklist for your trip to Scotland

  • Pack PPE (facemask, hand sanitiser) and wear masks in public spaces, including shops and restaurants
  • Be aware that public transport will run at a lower capacity so plan ahead
  • Fill in the online passenger locator form before arrival
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Maintain at least two-metre distance from people on the streets, lanes and attractions
  • Wash hands and surfaces regularly.

Useful links Find up-to-date guidance on travel, safety, Covid-19 research and more.

RightRooms believes all information to be correct at time of going to press. As guidance, research and facts around Covid-19 are changing constantly, the information provided here is for general information only and does not constitute professional advice. Please check with venues, locations and attractions before travelling.

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