From the remote beauty of snow-capped mountains to the festive warmth of Hogmanay, here are 10 of the best reasons to visit Scotland this winter.
Our locations are open all year round and many guests love the exclusive feel of a winter break. Winter in Scotland is particularly special, with stunning seasonal landscapes and cosy celebrations that seem designed to banish the winter blues.
Why not take a holiday in Scotland this winter to enjoy some of these seasonal highlights?
Visit fairy tale castles
We’re not sure why but Scottish castles look more romantic in the winter. The ultimate fairy-tale castle is Dunrobin Castle, which stands on the northern coast near Dornoch. Other notable Scottish castles, close to Ardgartan Argyll and Strathyre, include Inveraray Castle, Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle.
Go skiing in the UK
No flights, no hair-raising transfers, and no passports necessary. Scotland’s five ski resorts have improved immensely over the last few years and, on a good day, hold their own against anywhere in Europe. And if snow and ice adventures aren't your thing, how about trying some of these slightly quirky ideas.
Discover beautiful winter landscapes
The outdoor landscape is at the heart of a Scottish winter holiday. It’s all white-capped mountains, glassy lochs and acre after acre of snow-dusted pine forests. Wrap up warm and go for long winter walks in the short daylight hours, to clear your head and nourish your soul.
Who knows why the Scots made the New Year celebration their own, but thankfully they did and Hogmanay is the highlight of the Scottish winter. Join the revellers in Edinburgh for the most famous New Year event in the world or try Stirling, which is catching up quickly. For a more traditional celebration, the Comrie Flambough is a fire festival that dates back to Pagan times, in a village just over half an hour’s drive from Strathyre.
Be in with a real chance of snow
Do your children keep asking when it’s going to snow? A traditional winter, and almost every Christmas scene, involves snow. But for the last few years, it’s been sadly lacking in England and Wales. Your best bet for delighting the children, lies in Scotland where, in the north, winter snow is up to 10 times more likely than in the south of England.
Spot the winter wildlife
Scotland’s Big Five – the red squirrel, red deer, golden eagle, otter and harbour seal, are all around in the winter months. Also worth looking out for, are beautiful white mountain hares and snowy ptarmigans. Both these species change their colours with the seasons. And at Strathyre, winter is a great time to spot pine martens and red squirrels, as the protective cover of the foliage has diminished.
Enjoy comforting Scottish fayre
Scotland’s ‘proper’ winters are reflected in the nation’s cuisine. From the nourishing warmth of cock-a-leekie soup and Scotch broth to the simple but heart-warming combination of haggis, neeps and tatties - these are not summer foods! Winter is game season too, when venison, partridge and pheasant are on the menu. And that cold weather brings out the sweet tooth of the nation, with sugar-laden puds that include, clootie dumpling, tablet and butterscotch. And for inner warmth on a cold evening? Well, it has to be Scotch whisky.
See the Northern Lights
To see the Northern Lights, or the mirrie dancers as you may hear them called in Scotland, is a bucket-list experience and Scotland gets some amazing displays. With long nights, dark skies and a latitude shared with many Scandinavian locations, your chances of seeing the Northern light on a Scottish winter holiday are pretty good. Nothing is guaranteed of course, but the further north you go, the better your chances.
Celebrate Burn’s Night
With Christmas a distant memory and winter showing no signs of loosening its grip, January can seem to offer little cheer. Fortuitous then, that Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, was born on 26 January - and that’s all that’s needed for the final beacon of light in the Scottish winter. Traditional celebrations include piping in the haggis, fine speeches, reciting Burn’s poetry and generally having a good time with friends and family. Good on the Scots!
Ready for your winter break in Scotland? Reserve your cabin at Strathyre or Ardgartan Argyll today and look forward to a proper winter!