Staying in the Sticks: Independent Breaks

Thinking of heading to rural Scotland for your next holiday?

One of Scotland’s most powerful commercial assets is its countryside.

In 2017 it’s estimated that tourism brought roughly £11.2 billion into Scotland’s economy, this success can be attributed to the fantastic work done by hosts and hotels owners across the country, as much as the spectacular countryside that they have chosen to run their businesses in.

On a recent tour of Scotland I stopped in at a number of totally independent businesses that have been making real waves deep in the heart of the countryside, whether it’s on the windswept North-Eastern coast or the mountainous Highlands.

These businesses have taken their rugged environs and transformed them into picture perfect holiday destinations. They come highly recommended from me and thousands of happy customers:

Highland Heather Lodges

Before the rise of Airbnb rentals many holidaymakers were used to hiring out holidays homes and lodges in Scotland through independent businesses such as Highland Heather Lodges.

Owners John and Elaine have carved out a little slice of Highland heaven on their land near Crieff and have been inviting guests into their bespoke build lodges since 2005. Choose either a 1 or 2 bedroom lodge and enjoy lazy evenings staring up at the stars from your personal hot tub.

Where? Nr Crieff, Highlands How much? From £365 per night (for a one bedroom lodge)

Vatersay Cottage

Situated right next to a historical canal, this 3-bedroom cottage is a perfect choice for a family or small group of friends looking to lose themselves for a weekend in the stunning Highland landscapes. The cottage is near-enough 30 miles from the larger settlements of Inverness and Fort William, so you will have to settle with what Fort Augustus has to offer you. The bedrooms are decorated with a light touch and waking up next to the canal is a truly wonderful experience.

Where? Fort Augustus, Loch Ness How much? From £120 per night (minimum stay of 3 nights required)

Field House

Rural accommodation doesn’t get much simpler than this! The aptly named Field House is a basic (but beautiful) little hut that has just enough room for two people to stay. Olivia is the host here and although she’s technically not Scottish, she still knows more than enough about the area to be able to point you in the right direction of a breathtaking Highland walk. The tiny kitchen and bathroom are well fitted, making this a cosy snug to retreat to for a weekend.

Where? Nr Fort Augustus, Loch Ness How much? From £64 per night

Roulotte Retreat

For something a little out of the ordinary Roulotte Retreat offers the chance for couples to escape to their very own boutique gypsy caravan. Each caravan here has been designed in the French Roulotte design (except Rosa Bella, who’s built in a Dutch style) and gives couples the chance to completely disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with nature. Japanese-style roulettes Zenaya and Gitana both come with not-so-secret eco-hot tubs for an extra layer of luxury.

Where? Eildon Hills How much? From £115 per night

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