Bright sun, blue skies, that unbridled sense of joy that lingers in the air, it can only mean one thing:
Summer is finally here, bringing it with it the perfect chance to head outdoors for that perfect getaway.
Yet let’s be honest, we all have our own ideas of what that perfect getaway actually entails.
For some, it’s packing up the whole clan for a family summer holiday of a lifetime, a chance to enjoy as much fun, excitement, and quality time together as possible.
For others, it means setting out on an adventure, exploring a part of the world you’ve never seen before or conquering a brand new challenge.
For others still, a perfect getaway is simply one where you take the first chance you’ve had all year to really relax, unwind, and take it easy.
Whatever kind of break you’re planning this summer, we’ve got some good news for you:
Whether it’s excitement, adventure, or relaxation you’re looking for, you’ll find everything you need for your perfect summer holiday in beautiful Highland Scotland.
From gentle walks to exhilarating rides and genuine once-in-a-lifetime experiences, the area really does offer something for everyone. That being said, there are some attractions that should be an absolutely essential part of your itinerary no matter what kind of summer getaway you’re planning.
Speaking of which, here’s our guide to the top five must-visit attractions you need to experience on your next summer holiday in Highland Scotland.
Jacobite Steam Train
For fans of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise, no visit to the Highlands could be complete without stepping aboard the famous Jacobite steam train, the very same train that served as the Hogwarts Express in the eight blockbuster movies.
Often described as “The Greatest Railway Journey in the World,” The Jacobite crosses 84 miles of spectacular scenery, boarding near Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and taking in many sights made famous by the film series, including the outstanding Glenfinnan viaduct.
Even if you’re not a big fan of the boy wizard and his magical adventures, the Jacobite steam train still has plenty to offer.
As you ride through mile after mile of dramatic, undisturbed Highland scenery, you’ll pass Loch Morar, the deepest freshwater Loch in the UK, roll past quiet, picture-perfect villages and finally end up in the historic fishing port of Mallaig.
West Coast Railways run a return service between Fort William and Mallaig twice daily until late autumn. The total length of the trip is approximately eight hours.
For tickets and pricing see westcoastrailways.co.uk
Blair Castle & Grounds
Though a favourite among guests at our five-star Perthshire hotel right the year round, Blair Castle reaches the peak of its popularity in the summer months thanks to its magnificent, immaculately-groomed gardens.
Among its nine acres, you’ll find lavish woodland areas perfect for cooling off in the warm summer sun, splendid Georgian design features and contemporary sculptures, not to mention a plethora of native Scottish wildlife, flora and fauna.
Head inside the castle, and you’ll be taken on a fascinating journey through time, recounting the visits from notable figures such as Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Queen Victoria herself.
Over the next few months there’s even more reasons to make Blair Castle a vital part of your summer holiday in Scotland.
Every year, the grounds play host to the annual Atholl Gathering, whilst in late August, the renowned Blair Castle International Horse Trials & County Fair take over for two days of world-class competition, luxury shopping, and entertainment. For details see: blair-castle.co.uk
A two-hour drive from our luxury hotel in Perthshire, no list of Scotland’s most essential attractions would be complete without at least mentioning Loch Ness.
Though we can’t guarantee you’ll meet the mythical monster that makes the area so famous around the world, we can guarantee that you’ll find plenty to do, see, and explore for the whole family.
The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition is an entertaining as it is educational, with six themed rooms telling the complete history of the loch from the very dawn of time to the present day.
Elsewhere, the remains of the majestic Urquhart castle provide a sight every bit as captivating as when the castle stood in all its glory centuries ago, whilst a host of guided walks, tours, tea rooms and more make Loch Ness just as much of a must-visit for those visiting without children.
A little closer to home, the award-winning Highland Safaris have served as the highlight of many a summer holiday in Highland Scotland for over 25 years, providing visitors with a rare glimpse at native Scottish wildlife in their natural environment.
Located just a short drive from our Perthshire hotel in Aberfeldy, the five-star attraction offers a host of unique safari tours.
Whether you set off on an epic trek through the mountains or across dense, enchanted forests in a land rover, across the tranquil waters of Loch Tay on a chartered boat, or simply journey on foot, this is your chance to explore a side of the highlands that few truly get to experience. For tickets and information, see: highlandsafaris.net
Pitlochry Explorers Garden
Last but by no means least, after all that excitement you’ll be delighted to discover the Pitlochry Explorers Garden, a haven of calm and tranquillity in the very heart of Highland Perthshire.
Whether you’re bringing the whole gang on your family summer holiday in Scotland or simply looking to get away from it all for a while, this wonderful attraction serves as a perfect day out.
Strolling your way through six acres of beautifully maintained woodland gardens, you’ll discover the story of Scotland’s legendary Plant Hunters; the brave explorers who journeyed to the furthest corners of the earth to collect, curate, and preserve some of the rarest exotic plants and flowers on Earth.
Not only will you hear their captivating tales of courage and excitement, but you’ll also have the chance to see the some of those incredibly rare specimens which, thanks to the hard work of the Garden’s dedicated team, continue to bloom to this day.
The Pitlochry Explorers Garden tour lasts roughly 90 minutes, after which you can treat yourself in the cafe or shop for an array of unique gifts and souvenirs in the nursery and store.For bookings and details, see explorersgarden.com.
However you decide to spend your next summer holiday in Scotland, spend in style with the five-star Dunalastair Hotel Suites, Perthshire.
Recent winners of the Recent winners at the prestigious 2018 Boutique Hotel Guest Experience Awards (Bohos), we offer the ultimate in luxury holiday experiences for families, couples, and solo travellers alike.
Book your stay online today for our best available rate, or call now on +44 (0)1882 580444.