Make sure your 2022 travel plans include exploring Scotland. With escapes away from it all and journeys that prioritise your wellbeing, you can take your time and put yourself first for a change.
And with new whisky distilleries, thriving city openings and the return of some major events, there’s never been a better time to visit.
1. Delve into the Year of Stories 2022
Great stories stick with us forever. From JK Rowling to Robert Burns, Walter Scott to Ian Rankin, Scotland has inspired many creative minds and captured imaginations for centuries.
Whether you’re visiting the Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh or the Orkney Folklore and Storytelling Centre, you can hear stories and folklore from communities all over Scotland. Heading on a tour? Meeting a local in a pub? Scouring the shelves of an independent book shop? You can expect to hear some great tales, wherever you go.
2. UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK
In 2022, UNBOXED presents a ground-breaking celebration of creativity taking place across the UK, featuring free, large-scale events, installations and globally accessible digital experiences.
Scotland’s contribution, Dandelion, will demonstrate the power of collective action in a Scotland-wide ‘grow your own’ initiative. The programme follows the arc of the growing season, from April to September, and will culminate in hundreds of harvest festivals across Scotland – reimagining the cultural celebration of harvest for the 21st century. Beyond Dandelion, Scotland will also host five other projects presented as part of UNBOXED.
3. Rediscover the joy of our cities
Our cities sure know how to impress. With so many new things to enjoy, you might need to make yourself at home in one of our cities’ neighbourhoods so you have time to discover it all.
- In Edinburgh, shop all the trends or grab a bite to eat in the food hall in the new St James’ Quarter before visiting a classic Edinburgh attraction. The Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile is a wonderful way to learn about whisky and the Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith is always a fun day out.
- Over in Dundee, the waterfront is the place to be. Enjoy the feeling of the sand between your toes at the new city beach or pop into Discovery Point Dundee, located on the shoreline and beside V&A Dundee, to discover the Antarctic research vessel Captain Scott’s RRS Discovery. Book a night at one of the coolest hotels, Sleeperz, which has one of the city’s best views of the waterfront and River Tay.
- Aberdeen’s Provost Skene’s House is one of the city’s oldest buildings and has been transformed into a museum featuring interactive displays of the life and achievements of well-known faces from the north east of Scotland. Footballer Denis Law, singer Annie Lennox and football manager Sir Alex Ferguson along with many others, will feature in the Hall of Heroes. Not to be missed!
4. Escape somewhere new and unique to stay
In Scotland, you have a pick of accommodation options which will help you feel far away from your everyday routine. Meditate in the mountains or chill by the coast, and you’ll head back home with a fresh perspective.
- Try Knockinaam Lodge, a boutique hotel in Dumfries & Galloway, with 10 stylish rooms in a historic hunting lodge. With a 3 AA Rosette restaurant, discover a secluded, luxurious stay and some much-needed peace and quiet.
- Take an active break with Scot Mountain Holidays who specialise in guided and self-guided walking and biking holidays, exploring some of Scotland’s most incredible scenery. Your package will include transport, meals and accommodation, so you just need to bring your sense of adventure!
- Head up north to Croft 103, a family croft which is now the ultimate escape for couples in the north west Highlands. The croft is a mixture of cutting-edge design, traditional craftmanship and sustainability. Flee here to discover true luxury in amongst some of the Highlands’ most untouched wilderness.
5. Visit an unusual distillery
A distillery visit might well be on the agenda for your visit to Scotland. Have you heard of these new distilleries which are planning to open soon?
- The new and innovative Port of Leith Distillery will be the first vertical distillery in Scotland! Head down to Leith when it opens and grab a drink at the top floor bar.
- On Princes Street, make a visit to one of the most exciting new attractions, spread over eight floors – the Johnnie Walker Experience! It’s one of the hottest spots in town.
6. Get ready for a golden year for golf
The Open is returning to the Home of Golf, St Andrews, for its 150th year. The ticket ballot has now closed but you can find all the information you need if you’re attending the event in St Andrews in July 2022 to see all the pro golfers in action, competing on the Old Course for the prestigious claret jug.
Just a few metres from the first tee, the R&A World Golf Museum has just re-opened its doors. This year is the perfect time to embrace 400 years of golf history and enjoy the views from the rooftop café.
7. Keep it simple with a rural way of life
If you’re looking to escape the city or town life and get back to nature, come and experience Scotland’s countryside. There are lots of farm experiences to enjoy and it’s becoming quite the trendy thing to do!
Whether you’re making friends with Highland cows at Kitchen Coos and Ewes in Dumfries & Galloway, tasting the homegrown produce on offer at Wilson’s Farm & Kitchen in the Scottish Borders or staying over at the farm at Newton Farm Holidays in Angus, learning about life on the farm could be just the activity for you in 2022.
8. Improve your wellness by the water
The restorative qualities of being in, on, or near water increase our wellness and wellbeing. Luckily in Scotland, we’re never too far from a calm loch or coastline. Let your stresses wash away with activities or holidays near the water.
Our coasts and waters offer fun activities for all the family, but it’s important to stay safe. Whatever you’re planning to do, follow the advice from Water Safety Scotland.
9. Refuel with sustainable food and drink experiences
Food and drink – it’s always an important part of any holiday. Enjoy exciting foodie experiences all over Scotland.
Try some of these unique and sustainable experiences.
- Visit the Scottish Tea Factory in Crieff, a micro tea factory with a wee tea garden. Try tea tasting and blending classes and discover your favourite flavour.
- Head over to Ayrshire and treat yourself to a six-course dinner at Glenapp Castle. The fish and shellfish are line-caught or hand-dived off Scotland’s west coast and the beef, lamb, and pork are farmed just a few miles from the castle.
- Taste a delightful Kirsty’s Gin from the Arbikie Distillery in Angus. It is named after the Master Distiller, Kirsty Black, who carefully chose the botanicals to represent the landscape and surroundings.
10. Head north to Orkney and Shetland
There’s never been a better time to visit the northerly isles of Orkney and Shetland. These islands are so excited to welcome you to their shores, or welcome you back after a wee while apart.
- In 2022, Scapa Flow Museum on Hoy will reopen its doors after a huge renovation, to tell the unique story of Orkney’s wartime history. Hoy is a unique part of the archipelago. It might remind you more of the north Highlands than the other Orkney isles, with tall cliffs, sandy bays and heathery hills all around. It’s most famous for the iconic sea stack, the Old Man of Hoy which stands at 137 m. You can see it along a three-hour round trip walk from the spectacular Rackwick Bay.
- In Shetland, discover some of the most incredible landscapes, coastlines and island adventures in Scotland. Why not make this the year you visit somewhere truly unique and remote, such as the islands of Foula or Unst, both home to just a few inhabitants? Here are 12 reasons why Shetland is the perfect Scottish escape.
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- 5 Days of Iconic Attractions and Hidden Gems in Scotland