As far as underrated holiday destinations go, Scotland is high on the list. It’s known around the world for its whisky, tartan and bagpipes but often overlooked by British travellers who opt for the sun-kissed sands of Spain or otherworldly scenery of Iceland.
Thankfully, we’re here to show you just how wonderful this UK beauty spot really is by bringing you the amazing things you can only experience in Scotland…
1. Ride across the Glenfinnan Viaduct like Harry Potter
Florida and Hertfordshire have the fancy studio tours and rides but Scotland has the real-life Hogwarts Express in the form of the Jacobite Steam Train, one of the greatest railway journeys in the world.
© -Marjolein- – Getty Images Scotland holidays – places to visit
The train, which you can experience during a four-day tour this summer, runs from Fort William to Mallaig, crossing the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct and running through rugged mountains and past stunning lochs.
2. Land on the beach at Barra
The world’s only scheduled beach landing is located right here on this Outer Hebrides island, where you’ll get to tick an incredible flight landing off your bucket list. You’ll land between tides on the beautifully white, sandy beach Traigh Mhor, a runway like no other.
© Land on the beach in Barra – Getty Images Scotland Holidays – things to do
When a take-off or landing isn’t expected, you can stroll this unique airport runway to admire Barra’s Caribbean-esque sands – but be sure to check that the airport sock isn’t flying as this is when public access isn’t permitted.
3. Meet Highland cows
These icons of Scotland are cute, photogenic and very hairy. Highland cows, or coos, are often seen lazing and grazing all over the country.
© Sander Meertins – Getty Images Closeup of brown red Highland cattle, Scottish cattle breed (Bos taurus) with big long horns
You’ll spot them in picturesque locations like the Cairngorms National Park, Stirling Castle or during a rail trip through the Highlands.
4. Spot marine life on the UK’s first whale trail
Scotland’s newly launched Hebridean Whale Trail is a must for wildlife fans, with its 30 unique sites across the west coast where you can look out across the sea and watch for whales and dolphins.
© Wild & Free – Getty Images breaching bottlenose dolphins
The wildlife spotting trail includes lighthouses in the Isle of Lewis, Isle of Scalpay and the mainland, as well as beaches in the Highlands, the Isle of Harris and Ullapool.
5. Take off from the water with the UK’s only seaplane airline
Now this is one way to see Scotland! Seaplanes might be common in the Maldives but you don’t have to venture to the Indian Ocean to experience one for yourself, as there’s a seaplane airline operating in Loch Lomond.
© jvoisey – Getty Images Yellow Sea Plane
Loch Lomond Seaplanes will pick you up from the shores of the loch for a tour of the breathtaking national park as you take in the famous mountains, glens and lochs.