Happy St. Andrews Day! Cast off thoughts of heather, whisky and men in kilts and come on our world tour of Scotland. We have some surprises in store for you…
You don't need to go to the Caribbean for a white sandy beach, or Japan to enjoy an exquisite garden, or Brazil for a lush rainforest. They are all right here in Scotland!
Hop aboard and enjoy a tour of the world in one small but beautiful country on the edge of Europe. And then, come and see some of these amazing sights for real.
1. A French chateau... in the Highlands
Have you ever canoed down the Dordogne River in France? High on the sides of the valley, countless castles and chateaux stand proud amid the trees. None are quite so captivating as Dunrobin Castle, right here in Scotland.
2. A Caribbean beach... in the Outer Hebrides
As the sun rises over the soft white sands and azure blue waters at Vatersay Beach, you could be in the Caribbean. You might need your sweater but the views more than make up for the temperature.
3. A verdant rainforest... in West Argyll
The Caledonian Forest was an ancient Atlantic temperate rainforest. In many of the remaining remnants of the forest, humid sea air and mild (for Scotland) temperatures have created a mysterious and magical landscape. Stay at Ardgartan Argyll and visit Puck's Glen.
4. A Greek island beach... on the west coast of Scotland
Have you seen the most photographed beach in Greece, Shipwreck Beach in Zakinthos? Achmelvich beach in Sutherland is more beautiful and you don't need a boat to get there (although if you live anywhere south of Inverness, it’s a long journey!)
5. A Japanese Garden... near Stirling
A stunning oasis and a labour of love, the Japanese Garden at Cowden Castle has been painstakingly restored over the last few years to its former, early 20th Century glory.
© The Japanese Garden at Cowden Castle
6. On safari... in the Trossachs National Park
Stay at Strathyre and spend the day at the Blair Drummond Safari Park. Your chances of spotting giraffes, elephants, zebras, lions and tigers are higher than on a Masai Mara safari!
7. Urban graffiti... on a castle
You can take the street art out of Bogota or Berlin…and wrap it around a castle in Scotland. The result would be Kelburn Castle in Ayrshire, which has to be seen to be believed.
8. A Swiss ski resort... in the Cairngorms
Skiing in the Cairngorms can be every bit as exhilarating as alpine skiing – with fewer weekday skiers, some amazing off-piste skiing and an altogether friendlier vibe.
9. A Roman skyline... in Edinburgh
Overlooking Edinburgh, the National Monument of Scotland is a memorial to those who died in the Napoleonic Wars. Modelled on the Parthenon, it was left unfinished in 1829 due to a lack of money. This led to it being known as "Scotland’s disgrace". We rather like it!
What are some of your favourite Scottish places to visit?