5 x Abbi Rose's favourites in Scotland
Abbi Rose King @folkenrose
I’m Abbi (on Instagram I’m @folkenrose, the girl obsessed with chilly weather, fairy lights and colsie vibes) and I’ve lived in Scotland forever, growing up in Fife before spending a few years studying archaeology in Orkney. Last year I flew back south to East Lothian where I now stay in a farm cottage with my partner, Woody, and our lurcher, Fly. Over the years I’ve experienced a lot of Scotland, but collating a list of my favourite spots was more difficult than I’d anticipated, because there are so many places I hold dear in this little country. Therefore, my list is somewhat random and simply consists of the places I’d like to share most enthusiastically.
1) The Orkney Islands
This may seem broad and distant (and I may be biased), but Orkney is a place that I truly believe is worth spending time in. You’ll find Orkney has a magic all of its own, and squeezing everything these islands have to offer into one paragraph is impossible. Think Scotland-meets-Scandi, friendly locals, traditional music, pretty beaches where you’re more likely to bump into selkies than other people, dramatic clifftops, big skies, archaeology galore and (crucially) good whisky and local food. Each of the islands is uniquely enchanting, with Hoy and Rousay being a couple of my favourites, especially as both are easily accessible for day trips from mainland Orkney. In mainland Orkney some of my favourite spots are Yesnaby, Marwick, Waulkmill Bay and Stromness. I recommend visiting outside of the summer, and during the darker months you may be compensated for the long nights by a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
2) Loch Awe
We once spent an idyllic Christmas in a cabin in Dalavich, a village situated on the banks of Loch Awe, and the area swiftly became a favourite of mine. There are plenty of places to wander and countless spots to dip into the clear, freezing loch water (don’t forget hot chocolate and warm clothes). I feel like Loch Awe provides a neat package of everything you’d expect from a postcard of Scotland – castles, lochs and hills – and if you take the train from Glasgow you will travel by some stunning panoramas.
3) National Museum of Scotland
My top recommendation in Edinburgh is to wander and keep wandering - it is one of my favourite cities in the world and it has so many wonderful places within it. I thought I might exclude the city entirely from this list as Edinburgh recommendations are abundant across blogs and books, however I have so many fond memories of this museum I couldn’t not give it a spot. It comprises beautiful spaces, seats to ponder on, a diverse range of exhibits and alternative views of the city from the rooftop terrace.
4) Balgove Larder
I just love this place. It is perfect for coffee dates, picking up local/homemade groceries (the corn bread is to die for), browsing Scottish gifts and to top it all off they have really pretty loos. St. Andrews itself has a lot to offer for such a small place, from beaches and harbours to cobbled lanes and cathedrals, and if you are in the area I’d definitely recommend pausing here for a cup of tea and cake in the cosy, country-living atmosphere.
5) Loch Tay
When I was little we spent so many Sundays exploring Perthshire. It is one of my favourite regions and I am enchanted by it all over again every time I return. I was always obsessed with the past and so I remember the Crannog in Kenmore being a source of sheer amazement for me from my very first visit. It is a lovely place for a brisk swim, to float on your back for a moment taking in your surroundings and the thousands of years’ worth of history, before retreating to the shore to get cosy. At the head of Loch Tay sits Killin and in the Killin Hotel there might just be an open fire and a bowl of homemade soup waiting. Utterly colsie.
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Hidden Scotland reveals off-the-beaten-track places and interesting details for anyone who's keen to explore Scotland's best-kept secrets.
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