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A Week in the Highlands

I'm asking for insight and assistance. My wife and I want to drive from Edinburgh in late April / early May into the Highlands, as of yet, no specific place. We're willing to drive a full day to get where we're going, and want to stay in a town where we can relax, country-walk a bit, and be able to use the location for day trips. B&Bs, please; pubs; archaeological sites a plus; no preference as to forests or seaside. Much thanks in advance.


  • VisitScotlandAmyRVisitScotlandAmyR Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hi @Aaron , a week in the Highlands will be such an amazing trip. Have you considered the West Highlands? One option would be to base yourself in/around Fort William – it, along with the surrounding Lochaber area, is known as the Outdoor Capital of the UK, and there are plenty of wonderful opportunities to see beautiful mountain and coastal scenery.

    It’s very easy to reach Glencoe from Fort William, which has many lovely walks, including the Glencoe Lochan and Signal Rock, as well as more challenging climbs. Glencoe is home to the Clachaig Inn. The Boots Bar is a firm favourite with hill walkers and a great place for a bar supper after an energising hike!

    From Fort William, you could also head to top of Loch Shiel to see the Glenfinnan Monument (pictured above) and famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, and if you fancy a really scenic drive, continue to Mallaig along the A830, also known as the Road to the Isles. Mallaig is a busy fishing village and ferry port (ferries run to Skye and the Small Isles). There are some nice places for lunch, including the Tea Garden. Nearby Arisaig and Morar has some beautiful beaches – not to be missed is the Silver Sands of Morar.

    Fort William is also just an hour away from Oban in the region of Argyll - it's a pleasant seaside town famed for its seafood. From Oban, there are regular sailings to the Isle of Mull. Taking the car there is now quite reasonable thanks to the introduction of the Road Equivalent Tax (RET) and there are bus services connecting a number of ferries to the pretty island capital of Tobermory.

    There’s plenty to explore north of Fort William too – with an hour’s drive, you could be at Fort Augustus at the bottom of Loch Ness.

    These are just a few ideas to consider - you have many, many wonderful options in the Highlands!

  • VisitScotlandSarahWVisitScotlandSarahW Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    edited August 2016
    Hi @Aaron! A week in the Highlands will certainly will be a treat for you! There are so many things to see and a range of stunning landscapes. Aviemore might be a good location to base yourself, due to its proximity to Inverness (approx 40 mins by car) Loch Ness and other beautiful locations within the Cairngorm National Park.

    Glenmore Forest Park and the stunning Loch Morlich are just a short drive from Aviemore. There are lots of walks in this area. One of my favourites is Lochan Uaine, also known as the Green Loch.  Coire an  t -Sneachta is another cracking route and Meall a' Bhuachaille will reward you with wonderful views if you fancy a bit of a climb! Try the website walkhighlands, for a range of walks in the area and further afield.

    Another option is a ride up to the top Cairngorm mountain on the Furnicular railway; the views are wonderful! If you fancy a quirky, fun day out why not visit the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre and take a trip up the hill to feed these lovely characters!  

    If you are looking for a lovely lunch and delicious cakes the Mountain Cafe in Aviemore is not to be missed! The Winking Owl pub is another great spot and serves local Cairngorm ales from the nearby Cairngorm Brewery!

    The villages of Ballater and Braemar within Royal Deeside are just a short drive (approx 1.5 hours) over the A939; an exhilarating mountain road which is a delight to drive! Here you will find Castles, including Balmoral, stunning beauty spots and walks galore. Loch Muick and the Linn of Dee are just a few examples!

    I hope this helps you with planning your trip!

    Loch Morlich and the Cairngorm Plateau.

    Cairngorm Reindeer

    View from summit of Meall a' Bhuachaille 

    Views of Loch Muick

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