The United Kingdom is known for many things. Exquisite tea, greasy spoon cafes and saying sorry a lot, to name a few. However, if you’re on your first trip to the UK, then it’s hard to narrow down so many of the incredible attractions to visit during your stay. Thankfully, here at Best UK Hotels, we’re on hand to give you a little guidance. So without further ado, we present 5 extraordinary UK attractions you have to visit!
5) The Forbidden Corner – North Yorkshire
You could be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped onto the set of Labyrinth but tucked away in a nook of North Yorkshire lays the Forbidden Corner. A maze swarming with puzzles, timorous beasties and surprises round every corner, this is a true delight to experience with the family.
One of the UK’s best loved and best known attractions; the British Museum is a must-visit for anybody taking a trip to the UK’s capital. Packed full of thousands of exhibits, artefacts and works of art, account for a full day to explore this British gem.
It is what it says on the paint tin. Head on down to one of the UK’s Diggerland theme parks and drive a real JCB! Fancy yourself as a construction genius? Perhaps you just want to dig a big hole. We’ve heard it’s very therapeutic.
You could be forgiven for thinking you had arrived at an historical reconstruction, but the town of Culross really is a pocket of history frozen in time. So enjoy the ambience of this quaint little town and enjoy an authentic Scottish day out.
And remember that, for some reason, you pronounce it pronounced “coo-riss”, not “cul-ross”. You’re welcome!
So, you want to visit Inverness? Do you think you’ve seen everything there is to see? It’s debatable if you haven’t visited these two of Inverness’ best kept secrets! There is an abundance of things to see and places to visit in Inverness but the grandeur of these specific hidden gems can not be replicated and they certainly can’t be outdone. So what is hiding amongst all the things to see in Inverness that we might have missed? Here are two of Inverness’ best kept secrets you will kick yourself for having missed!
Achnagairn Castle is one of the many castles located near Inverness. Recently restored by Perfect Manors, the castle features an extraordinary ornate ballroom as well as individually designed boutique bedrooms to make even the most seasoned traveller’s heart soar. The castle hosts 18 spectacular and individually styled bedrooms, some twins and others are double. This is the perfect wedding venue for those wanting an elegant and beautiful wedding their guests are going to talk about for years to come.
The Adams Room – Kingsmills Hotel
This isn’t a hotel room, no. But this stunning room can be hired out for meetings, meals and everything in between. Kingsmills offer you a professional experience with friendly service from the staff regardless of whether you’re there for a night or just an hour in their Adams room.
But what makes the Adams room really special? It is the fact that this very room once played host to the great Scottish poet, Rabbie Burns!
The room seats between 18 and 35 guests. The Adams room is great for both small businesses and corporates, bringing you a stunning yet comfortable environment for the marriage of like-minds in the 18th century hotel venue. Some of the décor like the grand fireplace and the stucco ceiling. The hotel is centrally located which is brilliant for people coming from any direction be it further in the Highlands or as far south as London. The venue offers free parking too!
Inverness’ Best Kept Secrets
Now that’s a secret worth sharing! The only question that is left to stand is which of Inverness’ best kept secrets will you visit first?
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a major attraction to thousands of people each year. It’s so popular, you may want to start planning your trip early in the year. There are always loads of great comedians to look out for at the Fringe Festival. Here is a helpful guide on some of the best ones in recent years that you might be lucky enough to catch yourself.
Star of the Last Leg, Adam Hills, is a Fringe Festival favourite. His recent show, Clown Heart, was an hour long production, promised to not disappoint. His work is renowned for being witty and hilarious and he has even been praised by The Scotsman – “’If you cannot enjoy Adam Hills you cannot have a pulse’.
Next up is I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Now presenter, Rob Beckett, who regularly plays at the Pleasance Dome. Rob’s incredibly smiley and energetic performances should not be missed so make sure you look out for him at the Fringe.
Comedian and frequent Celebrity Juice guest Chris Ramsay will also be back at the Fringe Festival and he’s “All Growed Up”. Defined as “Stand up gold” by the Guardian, Chris’s tickets sell quickly.
“Comedy genius’ (Daily Mirror) Lee Nelson will be playing at the Pleasance Courtyard this August. Although he is new to the comedy scene, Lee has been celebrated by critics for his modern style of performance. Qualiteeee!
If you’re looking for a familiar face at the Fringe Never Mind The Buzzcock’ funny man Phil Jupitus often plays at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Phil is always worth a ticket.
Comedians to look out for at the Fringe this year
This is our top five pick of comedians to look out for at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe! For more information on venue and ticket purchases make sure you visit their website.
Scotland has the advantage of having some of the most picturesque views and landscapes in the western world. From Loch Assynt and Ardvreck Castle in Inverness to the American Monument on the Oa Peninsula in Islay. Places to astound and amaze. All of this helps sell Scotland as one of the best destinations for breaks and trips. Romantic breaks in Scotland are incredibly popular due to the stunning landscape.
One of these magnificent destinations to visit on a romantic break is Islay. It is well known as the Queen of the Hebrides. Renowned for dramatic views and glowing sunsets, Islay has a whole host of destinations for a romantic break, such as the beautiful Islay Cottages. The Museum of Islay Life has also proved a hit for those seeking some relief, as this quaint little museum has the history of Islay encapsulated in a charming setting that will surely melt anyone’s heart.
Islay is not the only home of great romantic breaks in Scotland. Edinburgh also has a wonderful range of destinations and attractions like Parliament House Hotel. Situated just a few minutes away from Waverly Station, at the foot of Calton Hill, sits this high-end, 3-star, homely Scottish hotel. This affordable Edinburgh hotel enjoys a Bistro for breakfast and dinner as well a snug, off the main lounge.
Flirting in Fife
Fife also has some of the best romantic destinations in Scotland. The Balbirnie House among them, situated amongst 400 acres of rolling parkland in the heart of Fife. Balbirnie House caters to all romantic needs by having in-room treatments. Get massages and aromatherapy, all within the comfort, privacy and security of your own room. Balbirnie pictures itself as a “home away from home” in the village of Markinch in the heart of Fife.
It wouldn’t be a romantic break without a dosage of culture. St Andrews Cathedral is minutes away from Balbirnie House, and should deliver than in buckets. This ruined building still has some of Scotland’s most profound and fine architecture to date. From steep spires and intricate stone work, St. Andrews Cathedral is a must for any romantic stroll.
A visit north
Lastly Inverness features some of Scotland’s most fabulous features and destinations. Culloden House claims “to bring history to life”. At the time of the Jacobite uprising in 1745-46, Bonnie Prince Charlie used Culloden House as his home and battle headquarters. This was sadly just before that fateful battle on Culloden Moor, so that claim really does have some meaning.
The 40-acre estate includes seasonal bluebell and rhododendron walks, open parkland, bicycle paths into Culloden forest, a croquet lawn, tennis court, duck pond, and a small herd of shaggy-haired Highland cattle. All of this really should encapsulate Inverness’s spirit, heritage and culture whilst still being brimmed full of romance for yourself and your loved one.
If you’re looking to get a piece of Scottish culture and history make sure you go to Tomatin Distillery, where some of the best rated whisky in Scotland is distilled, a surely perfect trip for anyone you hold close.
Romantic Breaks in Scotland
Visiting any of these destinations should is a treat on its own. Visiting them with a partner only increases the fun! To find out more about booking romantic breaks in Scotland, why not head on over to our blog on tips for booking luxury hotels!
Everybody should have their own slice of luxury, without it breaking the bank. Believe it or not, you don’t have to spend excessive cash to experience the best of luxury hospitality. Most high-end hotels have brilliant special offers all year round! There’s almost always something happening somewhere, no matter the time of year!
Booking luxury holidays and hotels can be confusing – especially with so many online travel agents! But, by booking direct, hotels will often offer additional incentives such as a free glass of wine. We look at some of the best hotels to book with in the world.
The Dunstane – Edinburgh, Scotland
If you’re going to visit Edinburgh, you may as well do it in style. The Dunstane is a boutique hotel that boasts some serious style. With its simple online booking engine, you can book your stay and pay in minutes! The hotel also is home to one of the best restaurants in the UK, known as the Ba’ Bar. This hotel has 4 stars, although some would argue with its excellent service and design perks such as bathroom heated floors, that the quality excels its official rating.
Parliament House Hotel – Edinburgh, Scotland
Parliament House Hotel, Edinburgh, is a fusion of Jacobean and Georgian buildings that make up the 53 bedroom hotel. Its grandeur has no limits, maintaining period features, creating a truly authentic experience for guests who stay. Don’t be put off by the period features though – Parliament House Hotel is equipped with all the contemporary amenities that are expected with city centre hotels.
Borgo Egnazia – Puglia, Italy
Taking a trip to Italy? Seeking the ultimate celebrity experience? Borgo Egnazia is your hotel! Many high-end clients and celebrities have stayed at Borgo Egnazia. It’s no small wonder that celebrities are known to return with the destination boasting a castle-like structure and 28 luxury villas. Did we mention the golf course and the worldwide award winning spa? If these aren’t reasons to book now, what is? This destination is on the pricier side of luxury hotels, but provides the ultimate relaxation experience. There is no place quite like Borgo Egnazia.
Castle Leslie – Monaghan, Ireland
This 1000 acre estate has everything you want, from team-building exercises to equestrian tracks and riding lessons. The castle was completed in 1871 by Sir John Leslie. The grounds of the castle were the venue for the marriage of Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills. Ireland is possibly one of the friendliest countries in Europe and the castle delivers a rich sense of freshness, open air and luxury comfort without being overwhelming. To top this off, you can even take a tour of the castle and its grounds on their website too!
Booking Luxury Hotels
Each hotel has its own deals throughout the year and luxury hotels often offer exclusive discounts and packages inclusive of local attractions, meaning that spending a little more often means saving more too!
Just remember, when booking luxury hotels, book direct to potentially receive additional perks!
It’s shouldn’t come as any surprise that Scotland is regularly chosen for a filming location for TV, indie and big Hollywood films. With its outstanding scenery, it looks amazing on-screen. But to have found as many filming spots as we have in Scotland almost knocked us off our seats. We’ve narrowed down our favourites to the top 10 Scottish film locations so you can visit the backdrops of your favourite films!
Monty Python and the Holy Grail – 1975
Firstly, this film is very silly. However, it is also brilliantly funny and looks fantastic. A lot of it was filmed in Scotland, including at Doune Castle. And it is also where the best insult ever created was shouted from: ” Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”
Chariots of Fire – 1981
The opening scene for Chariots of Fire was actually filmed on the West Sands beach on the coast of St. Andrews. This beach was chosen specifically for its stunning aesthetics and Highland feel. COme and run barefoot yourself!
Braveheart – 1995
Aspects of this epic film, which will never get old, were filmed in the stunning landscapes throughout and near Glen Nevis and Loch Leven. The backdrop was chosen specially for this Oscar-winning film by Mel Gibson. If you want to find out about the real William Wallace, then take a trip to the Wallace Monument in Stirling.
Trainspotting – 1996
Got a lust for life? This disturbing yet brilliant movie was partially filmed in Edinburgh’s famous location Princes Street as well as Calton Road. But Edinburgh wasn’t the only lucky place to be picked for this film though, Glasgow and Rannoch Moor were also chosen.
Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets – 2002
This was the first of the movies in the series to exhibit the stunning scenery around and the body of Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Scottish Highlands. You can take a train across yourself and pretend you are heading to Hogwarts (although your actual destination will be just as stunning).
The Da Vinci Code – 2006
Dan Brown’s bestseller saw Tom Hanks run all around the world looking for the Holy Grail. He took it a bit more seriously than Monty Python at least. But what he didn’t bet on was coming to the bottom of the mystery at Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian, near Edinburgh. This 15th century chapel is a stunning piece of work, and is open to the public. So get your cryptex ready, we’re going in!
Prometheus – 2012
Filmed in Skye, parts of this film show off the island’s stunning landscaped, fresh skies, natural shining waters and Cullin Mountains. The landscape and scenery help to add to the mysterious tone of the movie.
Skyfall – 2012
The James Bond film producers have a history of choosing iconic locations for the production of these popular movies. So it was no surprise to us when Scotland’s Glencoe was chosen for scenery in the film. Having been chosen for the Bond blockbuster is without a doubt the seal of approval for Scotland as one of the best places to film for scenery.
World War Z – 2013
Brad Pitt brought out the screaming fan girl (and boy) inside all of us when he came to shoot in Glasgow’s city centre: George Square (turned into Philadelphia Square.) Not only was the film shot in Glasgow, but open auditions for extras were held at the local Caledonian University campus just minutes walk from the filming location.
Outlander – 2014
This hugely popular time-travel romance/fantasy television series has been built from the best-selling novels by Diana Gabaldon. The entire series was filmed throughout Scotland. And what does it have in common with Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Well, it also features Doune Castle, just 9 miles from Stirling.
Avengers: Infininty War & Avengers: Endgame – 2018 & 2019
Finally, two of the biggest films of all time decided they could only tell their huge story by using some of Scotland as a setting. In Marvel’s Infinity War, you will recognise large parts of Edinburgh’s Old Town, including the Royal Mile, Cockburn Street and even Waverley train station.
In Endgame, the scenery switches east towards the beautiful coastal village of St. Abbs. From henceforth, this shall be called New Asgard! This is where Thor and his people lay down roots. It is a gorgeous place to visit, as is all along this stretch of coastline, not far from Edinburgh.
Visiting Top Scottish Film Locations
A great place to stay whilst exploring Edinburgh is Parliament House Hotel. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from all these Marvel(ous) city centre locations, and with great public transport links too.
If you are heading north for some Outlander experiences, then the Kingsmills Hotel and Ness Walk both offer fantastic accommodation and advice on where to see locations. If you are heading to Fife to see the amazing beach at St. Andrews, then we recommend trying Elderburn Lodges, a five-star, family friendly option that makes you feel at home.
So don’t miss out, come and see your favourite movie locations in real life! Have we missed out your favourite filming location? Let us know!
Scotland – a country known for its world-class scenery, memorable music scene and of course, eclectic cuisine. Haggis, whisky and square sausage, anyone? If you are planning a trip to Scotland, why not take our ultimate Scottish road trip?
Kick things off in the Kingdom of Fife
The first port of call for anybody new to Scotland is a trip to the beautiful east coast. Pop on down to the proclaimed home of golf, St. Andrews and play on world-famous courses. Head on over to Anstruther or as the locals call it, “Ainster”) for a true delight of a fish supper from the award-winning Anstruther Fish Bar.
Explore the ruins of the battle grounds of Culloden, unfurl the myth of the Loch Ness monster and embrace the stunning Scottish scenery on offer. Are you a fan of Scotch Whisky? Why not take a Speyside Whisky tour? Indulge in having your very own Whisky tour-guide-come-chauffeur and spend the day having a true Whisky adventure sampling all the best distilleries Speyside has to offer.
No trip to Scotland would be complete without a trip to the scenic Outer Hebrides. Visit the Isle of Islay and immerse yourself in the serene tranquillity and natural wild beauty that the island offers. Take an opportunity to sample the peaty malts of Islay, or set off for some island hopping across to Jura and other neighbouring lands. And make sure you have a taste of freshly cooked pizza from Peatzeria.
Finish off in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. Explore this UNESCO heritage site and unravel Scottish history with a trip to Edinburgh Castle, visit the spooky underground city vaults and discover the site of the Covenanters Prison – widely regarded as the world’s first concentration camp. Finish off with a bit of souvenir shopping and head on over to Edinburgh’s Grassmarket to snap up a vintage bargain or two.
Planning your Scottish road trip can be a lengthy task – especially considering how many fantastic attractions there are! Why not visit some of our previous suggestions to help get your creative juices flowing.
Scotland has many wonderful reasons to visit. The top 5 probably being scenery, whisky, food, heritage and textiles. Scotland’s history is also a huge draw for tourists every year. From before the ice age through the dark ages and all the way up to now, there are so many stories to tell. If you are looking to immerse yourself in history, then Scotland is the country to visit.
Our beautiful nation is steeped in history. With the Jacobite fueled Outlanderattracting international visitors, Scotland as a historical destination has never been stronger. This show has re-ignited many people’s love for the Scottish Highlands, which is such a romantic yet dramatic landscape.
Outlander inspired tours in Scotland are growing in popularity. With much of the series being filmed in Scotland, the demand to experience Highlander life first hand has never been higher. From graves to battlefields, it’s easy to feel like you are part of Outlander’s world. If you plan on staying in Inverness on your trip, we can recommend both Kingsmills Hotel, and Ness Walk.
Scotland’s wealth of castles and historic sites makes for a truly interesting vacation. It would take more than just one holiday to see them all, so make sure you plan ahead when you visit. It’s also worth checking opening times, as not all of Scotland’s castles open year-round. To research castles of interest, Historic Environment Scotland is a great place to start.
Here are three of our favourites.
Highlights of Scotland’s History
Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city. Edinburgh castle famously housed many Scottish kings and queens, including Queen Margaret who died in the castle in 1093. In 1566 James VI was born in the Royal Palace housed within the castle grounds.
Stirling Castle is also full of history. It was originally planned to be the residence for King James V in 1538. However, the palace was only halfway completed before his death in 1542. So it fell into disrepair in the 17th Century, before the military claimed the castle until 1964.
Finally, Balmoral Castle was famously bought in 1852 by Queen Victoria for Prince Albert. After much thought, he thought the original was too small for the family! So Prince Albert asked for a new castle to be built 100 yards to the North West of the building. Currently a 5 star tourist attraction.
This castle and others contribute to the fascinating stories of Scotland’s history. Are you planning an historical visit to Scotland? What is your favourite castle here?
If there’s one thing you’re guaranteed to remember when reminiscing about holidays, it’s the food. If you don’t remember your food, then you’ve not experienced a true taste of the country. We explore the restaurants in Scotland you have to visit this summer.
Almost as soon as it opened, Brea in the heart of Stirling’s historical centre began winning awards. It’s mixture of relaxed dining, excellent service and superb Scottish food made it an instant hit with both critics and the general public. Offering fresh, locally sourced dishes means you are guaranteed a taste of Scotland. And not only that, they sell some of the finest burgers in the land, having been named winner of ‘Best Burger in Stirling’ at the Restaurant Guru Awards 2019!
Head onto the luxury hub of Inverness, the Kingsmills Hotel and spa, for a delightful evening in their Conservatory restaurant. Enjoy a varied menu of Scottish culinary treats such as Loin of Ardgay Red Deer, served with roasted parsnips and Pan Seared Scottish Hake Fillet, served with dill and lemon potato cake.
Totally tantalising? We agree. Book your table here!
Asknish Bay Restaurant, Loch Melfortg
Located just outside Scotland’s seafood capital, Oban, enjoy world-class views and dining in the Asknish Bay Restaurant. Boasting two AA rosettes for their outstanding fine dining restaurant, this is a destination worth travelling to. Enjoy incredible local seafood such as Islay scallops, lobsters, langoustines and crab.
Book in for a fine-dining experience of a lifetime here!
Restaurants in Scotland you have to Visit
There’s never been a better time to hit the road and take a road trip to explore the best of Scottish cuisine. Scottish food is going through a renaissance right now – come and be a part of it! Not sure where to stay when visiting our favourite restaurants in Scotland? Check out this helpful guide here.
With so many taxes and fees being whacked on at the payment page of a website, it can seem like you’ve already spent a small fortune before even booking your holiday. Looking for a budget escape away? Don’t worry – simply follow our top tips for getting the best holiday deals!
Book Direct – Best Holiday Deals
We cannot emphasise this tip enough – when booking your holiday, always book direct with the hotel you’re planning to stay with. Whilst rates may not necessarily be cheaper than when booking through the likes of Expedia or Booking.com, often booking direct with a hotel is inclusive of additional perks – such as a free breakfast.
Book Mid-Week – Best Holiday Deals
If time isn’t an issue and you’re simply looking for a lovely getaway, then consider booking a break that departs mid-week. Booking onto a Friday or Saturday flight typically tends to be more expensive, and that makes sense. It’s the time when most long-distance commuters return home!
Even when booking with a hotel, mid-week rates are typically cheaper as this is when people are less likely to stay.
Always Book in Advance – Best Holiday Deals
Despite the age-old adage that it’s best to wait last minute to book a bargain, this does not ring true with long-haul flights. Long haul flights typically tend to point toward destination business central hubs (such as New York to London, etc.) and as such rarely come down in price, but can in fact actually increase.
If you’re planning to visit a particularly popular destination, it serves well to book in advance, not only to get the best price, but ensure you have a spot on the flight too!
Tips for the Best Holiday Deals
Stick by our tips and you’ll not be without the best holiday deals possible! Not sure where you want to go? Check out some of our suggestions here.