A cosy, yet stylish knit, some comfortable wellies for a paddle, Autumn is a brilliant time for being by the opal sea or a breath-taking loch. Combine that with, say a GORGEOUS overnight stay with some sumptuous grub and enjoy an Autumn Staycation.
By Tracy Mukherjee
Autumn Staycations in Scotland Westender Magazine
Gosh, we are a nation who love to moan about the weather. And, yes, we have more than enough reason to do so. But I often find that in September and October, it’s a glorious time to be outside, to take a break away. The sun may set earlier each night, but often the sunsets are golden, amber and accompanied by the heady scents of autumn that linger in the still evening air.
Taking a short break away in autumn sets us up for the less-so-enticing long winter nights. And where better to watch those sunsets and breathe in that awesome autumn air? By the water!!!! Westender has picked it’s very favourite staycation destinations for a perfect autumn adventure.
The Dolphin Inn Dunbar
30 miles from Edinburgh, Dunbar on the east coast is a fantastic base for those seeking adventure on the rugged North Sea. Belhaven beach is one of the best beaches in Scotland to learn how to surf. Paddle Boarding has become a popular activity in the past few years and paddling with the seals in Dunbar harbour is a beautiful experience.
The perfect accommodation to explore the area is the appropriately named Dolphin Inn. Situated in the centre of the town, this boutique hostel has a quirky vintage vibe. It’s a stone’s throw from the beach and has everything needed for an active, self catering holiday. Bedrooms are located on the two upper floors of the hostel, whilst the ground floor has a dining area and kitchen for residents to use. Outside there is a fabulous private sun terrace and area for storing surf boards, bikes etc. and with a laundry and drying room, there’s no excuse for not dipping your toe in the sea! The Dolphin Inn is extremely family friendly, a great place for group holidays and most importantly, is dog friendly!!! Dunbar here we come.
Loch Tay Highland Lodges
On the shores of Loch Tay, sits Loch Tay Highland lodges. Nestled into the stunning central highlands in Perthshire, the lodges have a Scandinavian vibe to them. This break is perfect for families with so many attractions on your doorstep. Loch Tay boat safaris, Nae Limits Outdoor Activities as well as the fabulous Aunchingarrich Wildlife Centre less than an hour away. Onsite at Loch Tay Highland Lodges there’s archery, guided canoe tours and for those more adventurous- river tubing! Once you return to the lodge for the day, visitors are in for a treat. Each lodge has a private patio with spectacular elevated views over Loch Tay and Ben Lawers mountain.
Some of the cabin accomodation also feature private hot tubs. Other accomodation at Loch Tay include stays in Highland Vacations’ exclusive houses. The spectacular Mill House sleeps groups of 8 and is an architect’s dream. The main living area is double height, with stunning views over the Perthshire countryside. The wrap around deck outside overlooks waterfalls and the bubbling burn that sits aside the property. And of course, there’s a hot tub sitting amounts the treetops!
For a lochs and glens get away, Loch Tay Lodges ticks all the boxes for Autumn Staycations in Scotland
Loch Rannoch Hotel Estate and Spa
Okay, we’ve covered the kids autumn break. Now it’s time for some you-time. Loch Rannoch Hotel Estate and Spa is set in 250 acres on the banks of the majestic Loch Rannoch. It looks directly onto the iconic Schiehallion munro. This elegant 4 star hotel, which is perfectly situated for outdoor activities such as sailing, kayaking and wild swimming, is also perfectly situated for some pretty perfect down time. With an indoor pool, sauna and steam room, the ESPA spa has a treatment list to relax even the busiest of Westender minds.
And of course no autumn break is complete without a cosy fireside tipple before a sumptuous dinner. The Estate Drawing Room and Whisky Bar is the perfect venue to nestle into a sofa for a pre-dinner cocktail. And with not 2 but three restaurants on-site to choose from, the only decisions to make are which will be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Accommodation comprises of Heritage rooms in the original Victorian hunting lodge or Contemporary rooms in the new wing. If you are going all out, consider the Rannoch Suite with private balcony, an enormous 4 poster bed and a Victorian fireplace.
All in all, can there be a better autumn trip than with glorious loch-side activities and views, followed by a luxury hotel and spa stay? I think not…
Isle of Barra Beach Hotel
Next in our Autumn Staycations in Scotland? The Isle of Barra Beach Hotel. Yes, on Barra. Where the plane lands on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
For those of us whose spiritual place is by the sea (absolutely me) this is on all of our bucket lists.
Barra. Now, to me, THIS is a staycation by the sea. This perfect, tranquil setting offers open sea views to the North Atlantic Ocean. It offers the sound of the waves lulling you to sleep. Outdoor pursuits? Oh, watching dolphins leap, sea otters feeding, wild eagles hunting. Crystal clear rock pools to explore, opal water to immerse into. The Isle of Barra to many is the poster child that epitomises a Scottish Hebridean Island. White, empty beaches, azure blue waters. Ahhh… Accommodation at the hotel are twins and doubles as well as a fabulous self contained Bolt Hole, perfect for families and right on the beach. In the hotel the upper deck dining room is where you’ll enjoy your breakfast looking out onto the sea.
There is also the Blue Bar lounge bar and patio where you can enjoy a glass of something fabby whilst watching that golden autumn sunset.
This is a Staycation of blissful simplicity, yet, probably the most outstanding.
Coorie Retreats Portpatrick
Last but by no means least, new kids on the block Coorie Retreats are set to make a splash (get it) in the Glamping Scene. This luxury geo-dome glamping acommodation is set in the gorgeous little village of Portpatrick in Dumfries and Galloway. This location has it all – countryside, lochs, hillside and coast.
This is my kinda camping. The luxury glamping site combines all that’s fabulous about sleeping outdoors with actually being comfortable and warm!
During your stay you’ll receive a luxury hamper full of hand picked local produce, which you can sample whilst lazing in your private wood fired automated hot tube. Oh, there’s also a projector screen to watch movies whilst in the tub. Afterwards pop on your complimentary bath robe and slippers and sit down with a glass of bubbles beside the crackling fire-pit. When it’s time for bedlingtons, no need to trek to the communal toilet block to brush those teeth. Each glamping pod has en-suite facilities! Yip, that’s right I said EN-SUITE. No tripping over guy-ropes in the middle of the night and returning to the tent freezing and with skint knees! A little stroll to the facilities in your pod will see you super cosy as your geo-pod also has… under floor heating.
Yes, of course it’s not camping. It’s glamping. And it’s a whole lot of fun!
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