Scotland is not just about marvelous golf courses and obtaining access to private ones like St. Andrews. Scotland remains mysterious as it envelops you like a blanket of soft cashmere softly caressing and luring you with its historical and romantic fairy-tale charms. Standing among silver birch trees and hiking through little streams and fairy pools with snow-capped mountains in the near distance background, it’s no wonder that upon arrival one is immediately captivated by lush green landscapes and rolling hills scattered with heather, purple flowers, and plentiful sheep – an ideal canvas for the natural painter.
This country is the secret gem of the European luxury travel market as it takes you on a voyage to five star historic mansions and castles in or near cosmopolitan cities, green hilltops and ancient villages -home to legends such as – Rob Roy McGregor and clan dynasties.
In a field of green, one can gather fresh herbs with a famous chef before a Michelin culinary lesson commences and truly experience farm to table dining or even partake in mobile dining across the country. Or venture on a historical safari via Range Rover as you gaze upon wildlife for its sheer natural beauty or hunt, fish, and kayak on bountiful estates and in national parks. How about diving for your own scallops or sampling cured fish and meat at smokehouses?
The quality of scenery is so breathtaking it is no wonder it remains one of the most popular film set locations and offers thematic tours worthy of James Bond, Harry Potter, and Outlander. In this part of the UK, one can live a true 007 experience inspired by actual film location visits, VIP distillery tours to Macallan (007’s favorite), Dalwhinnie, Royal Lochnagar and others; visits to remote parts of the country such as Isle of Skye while enjoying fine cigars, helicopter rides, and your favorite ride – the Aston Martin.
Glamour is found in the romantic history of the clansmen, the Jacobites, and the Stuarts where one can visit ruins, an abundance of castles – ideal for private rental and milestone celebrations, and restored homes often guided by the noble owners – lairds and ladies – direct descendants who will be more than happy to tell you quite a few tales dating back to earlier centuries- including that of their favorite national hero – William Wallace. The cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow offer many wonderful museums and rich architecture to further complement your historic education.
In August and September the annual Highland Games and the Edinburgh Festival are held – a plethora of vast cultural, traditional and historical entertainment for all ages – from theater, opera, music and dance to athletic competitions officiated by members of the Royal Family.
For the fashion forward, visit kilt couturiers and shearling factories to have apparel custom-made. You’d be surprised how many celebrities visit Edinburgh to have something created just for them.
See you in August as I sample smoked fish at assorted smokehouses, indulge in a whiskey pairing dinner onto of a mountain, meet Lady Cawdor at Shakespeare’s favorite haunt, and look for Scotland natives – Sean Connery and Ewan McGregor while taking the Orient Express throughout the countryside. Now that’s luxury!