Holiday Homes in Scotland

Scotland is the northernmost region of the UK, and offers up a playground to outdoorsy types, history buffs and those looking for an adventure. Venture further inland and you’ll find bustling cities brimming with culture. Medieval castles are dotted around the country, and excitingly, our destination experts regularly comb the lands of Scotland to find castles to add to our unique collection, along with stately manor homes and characterful cottages. After all, one thing all our properties need to have is the ‘wow’ factor.

Scotland is the ideal place for a short break, and our properties reflect this – with a minimum stay of just 3 nights. To add that extra bit of luxury to your stay, a good chunk of our Scotland properties offer hot tubs - so you can stay warm on those chilly nights. Not only this, but almost half of our properties are dog-friendly, meaning you don’t need to leave your furry friend at home… it’s like a wonderland for walkies!


Read the Scotland Travel Guide

Why stay with us?

Style and character are everything at Oliver’s Travels, and our collection of handpicked holiday homes and cottages in Scotland have this in spades.

We have destination experts who know the ins and outs of all our regions, picking holiday homes that aren’t only unique, but also in the best locations. What's more, our cottages are 100% family-friendly, and have the ‘wow’ factor.

Our helpful concierge team are on-hand to make your stay extra special. Whether you want a fully-stocked fridge, a local in-house chef to cook your meals, housekeeping or any other extra service – consider them your holiday genie, who will happily grant your wishes.

Why visit?

  • The area’s wilderness is vast, with magnificent lochs, mountains and craggy coastlines decorating the landscape.
  • It’s the perfect place to take on challenging hikes, thrilling outdoor activities, or simply to explore historical treasures.

We have 10 more reasons for you to visit Scotland. Check them out!

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Holiday Homes in Scotland: Our Top Picks

Scotland Travel Guide

Why visit

Bonny Scotland lives up to its name and its reputation. This gorgeous part of the UK is a land of towering mountains, deep brooding lochs and fabulous towns. The welcome is warm, the castles are picture-perfect, and the best way to see the finest aspects of this small but perfectly formed country is to book one of our holiday cottages in Scotland.

Hot tub happiness

The sheer number of premium quality lodges with hot tubs in Scotland makes this destination perfect if you want a luxurious break with your partner surrounded by dramatic scenery and huge, starry skies with no light pollution to dim the view of the Milky Way.

We have castles that’ll make you feel like the local Laird for a week. Or why not bring your four-legged family members and stay in one of our dog-friendly cottages? Scotland is a paradise for pups – there’s plenty of space for them to run around and dogs are welcome in nearly all cottages and holiday homes.

Food and drink in Scotland

Haggis, neeps and tatties, all washed down with a wee dram, followed by some butter shortbread, delicious! Scotland’s food culture is also embracing new and exciting flavours, so you’ll find Michelin-starred restaurants and fusion food that’ll make your mouth water.

If you want more information, check the Scotland Travel Guide in our blog.

Beaches

Beaches? In Scotland? Absolutely! In fact, this is one of the biggest secrets we’re about to let you in on – Scotland’s beaches are genuinely incredible.

They’re vast, they’re spectacularly beautiful, and they’re usually almost completely empty. You may need to kit the family out with wetsuits if you want to go body-boarding or swimming as the water is very cold compared to what you’d expect in the Mediterranean, for example, but it’s well worth that initial cold-water gasp as the water is clean, with great surf most of the year.

There are plenty of cottages close to the coast, and even if you don't want to try the cold water, here you can take a stroll or walk the dog, watch the kids play, or break out the binoculars and spot seals and the occasional pod of dolphins offshore.

The coastline is packed full of tiny coves, secret beaches, and inlets, as well as some huge sweeps of golden sand that are practically empty even in the height of summer. If you love your water-sports such as stand-up paddle boarding, or even a spot of coasteering, then the Scottish beaches are the place to go.

Check out our blog on the 7 best beaches in Scotland.

Things to do

From discovering secret beaches and exploring ancient castles, watching burly men in kilts throw hammers, cabers and just about anything else they can lay their hands on at a Highlands Games, or spending a day boutique shopping in Edinburgh, there’s so much to see and do in Scotland.

Scotland’s culture is unique, distinctive, and proud, and the Scots will embrace any opportunity to celebrate it with music, dancing and poetry. Pop into any Scottish pub in the evening and there’s a good chance you’ll be greeted with traditional Gaelic music and some of the best single-malt whisky you’ve ever tried.

We've pulled together a jam-packed list of things to do in Scotland - give our blog a read!

What Oliver loves

The warm welcome, the quirkiness and the jaw-droppingly gorgeous landscapes. Scotland is a friendly, inviting place where you’re treated as one of the clan from the moment you arrive.

Gylen Castle, Argyll, Scotland

Gylen Castle, Argyll

Best time to go

  • June, July and August are the high season months, when you can expect temperatures in the high teens to low 20s. It does rain (a lot), but during the summer the showers are brief.
  • Look out for the Highland Games during the summer – a series of competitions held all over the Highlands that are a big part of Scottish culture.
  • Keep an eye on the forecast during April and May, as you often get good weather during this time and the crowds are much smaller.
  • Winters are very cold, often with heavy snow. If you’re here for winter sports and skiing in the Cairngorms then the best snow is usually in January and February.

    Top tips

    • The weather can be very interchangeable, so pack wisely.
    • Make sure you pack insect repellent during the summer months. The clouds of midges, especially around the lochs, are relentless.
    • Be aware that during grouse season you'll hear plenty of gunfire on the heather moorlands.

    Why it’s perfect for families

    • Great for babies: Our cottages in Scotland are usually well equipped if you’re travelling with very young kids, although you may need to let them know in advance if you need a high chair or crib. Check out our holiday homes for toddlers.
    • Great for kids: The different castles, attractions, and outdoor adventure opportunities are bound to keep the kids happy, and there are even some stunning beaches for a day by the seaside. These are our holiday homes ideal for kids.
    • Great for teens: Edinburgh during the August Fringe Festival is an absolute stunner for young adults, with family-friendly comedy on offer, exhibitions, shows, and some superb shopping. Discover our holiday homes for teens.

    Want some more inspo for your family holiday to Scotland? Check out this blog dedicated to all things family-friendly!

    Castles in Scotland

    Scotland knows how to do castles – its craggy landscapes are perfect for medieval fortresses, and the dramatic backdrops make crumbling ruins look majestic. But it's the fascinating history of Scotland that really brings the castles to life.

    Mainly built for defensive purposes, the castles in Scotland are imposing, sturdy and were made to protect against invasion so they're incredibly impressive to look at. But what's more intriguing are the stories behind the castles – Scotland’s history is full of invasion and settling, which has greatly influenced the culture and society of the country. From Romans, Vikings and Clansmen, to Monarchs and Philosopher’s… it's seen its fair share of rulers, invaders and settlers over the years, and proud Scottish traditions are still alive and kicking today.

    Scotland’s castles vary in stature, fame and location, some tower over cities, others sit alone amongst the rolling hills of the Highlands and some even star in major film and TV shows (die-hard Game of Thrones fans may recognise Doune Castle from the pilot episode…). Scotland is also home to the British Royal Family’s Scottish residence, Balmoral Castle.

    The thing about these castles is that you can only visit them, which is great, but it just gives you a taste of it. So, what would you say if we said you can actually stay in some castles? A Scottish castle holiday is perfect for history buffs, or people who are just looking for a different kind of holiday home (there’s nothing more extraordinary than a castle holiday, let’s be honest!).

    We’ve got an incredible collection of Scottish castles for rent, from forts in Ayrshire and majestic Loch Lomond, to lavish palace-like castles in the Scottish Borders and medieval homes in The Highlands. Whether it’s a wedding, milestone celebration, birthday or you just fancy doing something a bit different this year, a Scottish castle holiday is bound to impress!

    And because we’re all about the extraordinary, it doesn’t stop there. We’ve even got Scottish castles with hot tubs, castles that are sustainable, and castles where you can host ceilidh's, whisky tastings and go fishing in the grounds (just chat to our concierge team and they can help you sort any special extras out!). 

    Staying in a castle in Scotland is the perfect way to get stuck into the country's history and bring it to life. So what are you waiting for? Let's get planning the holiday to trump all other holidays!

    Ayrshire Castle

    Why you should consider a Scottish castle holiday

    • Scotland has a rich culture, where castles have played a big part in its history. Our Heritage Collection is filled with historically significant buildings! 
    • Our Scottish castles are in some of the most magical locations - some are by a loch, others in the hills and some are surrounded by woodland. 
    • If you love adventuring in the outdoors then there's no better place than Scotland - from hiking and biking to fishing and water-sports, you can adventure by day and castle wander by night!
    • You don't have to worry about cooking or cleaning if you don't want to - you can opt for catering, and more often than not, maid service is included!

    We featured quite a few of our Scottish castles in our Top 10 UK castles to rent blog because we are just head-over-heels for them!

     

     

    Towns and villages

    Scotland is full of charming villages and pretty towns, as well as cities that have incredible presence. Edinburgh, for example, is a complex mix of incredible Georgian boulevards and a huge castle sitting on top of an ancient volcanic plug, while Glasgow has reinvented itself from its industrial past and is now a city of culture packed with museums, art galleries, and exclusive shopping outlets.

    Aberdeen, the ‘Granite City’, is filled with towering houses and granite battlements, while on the Borders Berwick upon Tweed (which regularly swaps allegiances between England and Scotland) has more castles than almost anywhere else in the UK.

    However, head into the countryside and within a few miles of those imposing cities you’ll find tiny villages filled with candy-coloured cottages, flowers, and ancient Celtic crosses. With so many holiday cottages in Scotland to choose from, you’re never far from a charming village or a thriving city centre. If this is of your interest, then check out our villas close to towns.

    Oliver’s Hidden Gem

    Peebles: Sitting on the Scottish Borders, this delightful town is an artisan’s haven filled with crafts shops and quirky boutiques. They’re still hanging onto their Pagan roots here too, with a week-long Beltane festival in May, as well as jazz and arts festivals all year round.

    Peebles, Scotland

    Fort Augustus

    Sitting at the foot of Loch Ness, this pretty town is also home to the Caledonian Canal, its own heritage centre, and some of the best afternoon teas you’ll ever taste. The views down to the Loch are spectacular, and cottages in the Highlands in this area put you right in the heart of some of the finest countryside in Europe.

    Tobermory

    If you’ve got kids, then you’ll probably be familiar with the brightly-painted houses and tumbling streets of Tobermory – they form the set of Balamory as well as being the main town for the gorgeous Isle of Mull. Look out for the town museum, whisky distillery, and aquarium, as well as an arts centre that displays local artists’ work.

    Pitlochry

    Sitting on the River Tummel is this busy town that’s a real hit with tourists and locals alike. The town manages to pack plenty in, including a number of castles, golf courses, cycling paths, distilleries, and festivals. If you’re here in February, look out for the Winter Words book festival, while the Kenmore Highland games take place in early July.

    Killin

    With the huge loch at one end and the stunning Falls of Dochart the other, the village of Killin is popular with travellers looking for a little bit of peace and quiet. If you need to escape the crowds there are plenty of cottages to rent. Scotland doesn’t do much better than this, and the pubs are full of superb local whiskies.

    Durisdeer

    A little off the tourist trail, this ancient village in Dumfries and Galloway sits quietly in the shadow of the Lowther Hills, giving you a glimpse of how Scotland used to look. Expect miles and miles of hiking trails and a stunning coastline all within easy reach of the village centre. Perfect if you’re craving a little bit of solitude on your Scottish holiday.

    Torridon Mountains

    Take the B-road from Applecross and you’ll stumble across this fabulous little village sitting on the banks of Loch Sheildaig. With the Torridon Mountains forming an imposing backdrop, and the still water of the loch reflecting the fisherman’s cottages, this is the place to break out your camera and grab some epic photos of one of the prettiest villages in Scotland. 

    Getting there and around

     

    Flying

    The main airports into Scotland are at Glasgow and Edinburgh, depending on which side of the country you want to explore. You’ll find cottages to rent in Scotland close to both major cities, as well as further up into the Highlands, and you shouldn’t be on the road for more than an hour or two to reach your home-from-home.

    If you’ve booked one of our cottages in the Highlands then to keep journey times down it would be better to fly into Inverness, Dundee or Aberdeen.


    Driving

    The roads in Scotland are genuinely stunning, especially if you’re driving through the Highlands or heading to one of our lodges with hot tubs at Loch Lomond.

    The main tourist routes do tend to get very congested during the summer, so if you visit in July or August expect to get stuck in a convoy of Winnebagos and caravans.

    Visit in May or early September and not only will you have a good chance of reasonable weather, but the roads will be much quieter.

    Parking in Edinburgh can be difficult, and our top tip is to avoid driving in the capital during the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as the traffic is epic.
    All of the major towns and cities have reasonable parking, and public transport networks in Glasgow and Edinburgh are very good.

    Rural public transport can be sporadic, and as distances between destinations are quite vast in the Highlands, taxi fares are expensive.  

    If you don’t want to miss out on the best bits, you can use a route-planner to help you navigate the smaller roads. Google Maps is the go-to for most people, although others are available.

    If you’re travelling by motorcycle the route-planning app Curvyger will give you ‘wiggly’ routes to explore.


    Public transport

    If you’re travelling around by public transport then check out Traveline Scotland, which also includes route planners and accurate timetables for all types of public transport journeys.

    The trains are frequent and reliable, but they are expensive and often run only a limited service in the smaller locations out in the Highlands.


    Cycling

    The hills are BIG, the distances pretty epic, but the scenery is amazing. Bring your bikes with you when you book your holiday cottage in Scotland and get out and about on two wheels.

    Top tips

    • Petrol stations are few and far between in the rural highlands, so make sure you have a spare petrol can in the back of the car and fill up when you can.
    • Look out for city deals on public transport in Edinburgh such as daily hopper tickets.
    • Make good use of the Park and Ride schemes if you’re heading into the city centres.

    From the blog...