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Quirky Group Getaways in Scotland for every season

© David Anderson

At any time of year, a Scottish break will offer nothing short of magical memories for you and the squad. Gasp at the landscape instead of the notifications on your smartphone, leave behind any everyday stresses and create unforgettable memories together with quirky stays and adventurous days.

Springtime fun in the Scottish Borders

Best for….a peaceful break away, tasting the amazing local produce, gazing out at the rolling countryside and taking invigorating walks in the countryside.

Spend your days…

  • Tearing down the hillsides on mountain bikes at the 7stanes in Glentress Forest.
  • Book a table for dinner at Seasons in Gattonside and treat your tastebuds to innovative menus in the cosy, relaxed restaurant.
  • Wading into the River Tweed to try your hand at fishing, a river is famous for its salmon fishing.
  • Sample some delicious local beers and ales in local pubs or at Broughton Ales, Traquair House Brewery, Born in the Borders or Tempest Brewery.
  • Any alpaca fans out there? Say hello, take some selfies or take an alpaca on a walk (in groups up to 6) with Beirhope Alpacas through the glorious Borders countryside.

Glentress Forest, near Peebles © Ian Rutherford

And your nights…

Aikwood Tower, near Selkirk

10 friends can stay in the luxurious Aikwood Tower with beautiful grounds to explore and comfortable stylish bedrooms, a games room, a lawn for croquet, terrace for catching springtime rays, an open crackling fire in the main hall and over 500 years worth of history. Perfect for a special occasion.

Airhouses, Lauder

Opt for a lodge stay at the Airhouses, which can be found only an hour and a half drive from Edinburgh. Offering unique self-catering options with a selection of lodges and a house to choose from, it’s a little haven for making memories. The five-bedroomed house which sleeps 10 is called The Capercaillie, and is tucked away in the woods with its own hot tub and BBQ hut.

Find more self-catering accommodation in the Scottish Borders.

How to get there

Travel to the Borders by train on the Borders Railway which stops at 10 charming towns in the region. Passengers can travel from Edinburgh to Tweedbank in under an hour.

It’s also a short drive from Edinburgh to Tweedbank (just over an hour) and the north of England (one hour 45 minutes from Newcastle to Tweedbank).

East Lothian’s summer vibes

Best for…

Beach frolics. When the sun shines, this coastline sparkles and there are seaside gems to discover across every inch of the East Lothian sands.

Spend your days…

  • Try cable wakeboarding at Foxlake, where you will have 15 minutes to master the moves across the water attached to an overhead cable.
  • Another wonderful group activity is surf lessons with the folks from Coast To Coast Surf School. See who can ‘pop-up’ first and enjoy morning or afternoon sessions in the water.
  • Gaze at Tantallon Castle which towers over the sea. Perfect for any history or photography buffs in the group.
  • Keep it simple and take a seafood picnic to the beach from the Lobster Shack, and spend a lazy day beachcombing and catching up.
  • Try some of the artisan gin offerings at North Berwick’s NB Gin or Dunbar’s excellent offerings, including Thistly Cross cider or beers at Belhaven Brewery.
  • Before or after a dip in the ocean, grab a breakfast roll, a hot drink or some cake at the Fenton Barns Farm Café, a lovely farmhouse eatery.
  • Take a boat trip out to the Bass Rock to admire ‘Seabird City’ with summer visitors including adorably cute puffins and pufflings.

Tantallon Castle

And your nights…

The Bus Stop, near Haddington

Ideal for a smaller group of friends, one of the luxury converted buses at the Bus Stop is a perfect place to settle after an outdoorsy day. Situated on a working farm and sleeping up to four people with a king size bed and bunkbeds, make the most of the long summer nights with a hot tub, decked dining area, log burning stove, BBQ and fire pit. Most of all, you’ll be able to say that you spent your holiday sleeping in an old bus, which makes for a fun story.

Harvest Moon Holidays, Dunbar

The crew will be ecstatic about the mixture of tents and treehouses at Harvest Moon. The tents sleep six to eight people while treehouses sleep five to seven. The incredibly cool treehouses are decked out with all the essentials, including electricity, but no WiFi – so you’ll have to be prepared to speak to each other! Luxurious safari tents are also available for a spacious, comfortable glamping experience right beside the shores of Tyningham beach.

How to get there

You can travel to Dunbar, North Berwick and other towns by train from Edinburgh with Scotrail.

The East Lothian coast is around a 30 minute drive from Edinburgh.

Autumn is awesome in Argyll

Ask anyone who’s spent time in Argyll & The Isles, and they will likely say something like ‘west is best’ or maybe #ArgyllBeBack. This region is home to some of the loveliest landscapes in Scotland, which look particularly pretty in autumn, with vibrant reds, golds and yellows appearing in every direction.

Best for… Leafy wanders, hot chocolates, seafood and cosy times in the heart of Argyll.

Spend your days…

  • Embark on a group excursion through the enchanting forest, Puck’s Glen, some say it’s home to fairy folk and forest magic and it’s only a scenic hour’s drive from Inveraray.
  • Take a trip to one of Scotland’s very best pubs. The George Hotel has it all – log fires, a cocktail bar, live music, a fabulous selection of whiskies and beers, as well as a great bar menu and restaurant.
  • Discover the ‘Fynest’ flavours of this region with the world-famous Loch Fyne Oysters, and don’t forget to try a pint of Fyne Ale.
  • Take a short walk around Inveraray Castle and the Bell Tower, and stop at Inveraray Jail to learn more about the town’s colourful history.
  • Have an energised day with Argyll Adventure with paintball, laser tag and pony trekking on offer.
  • The seaside town of Oban is about one hour’s drive away, so you could easily stop here and discover the ‘gateway to the isles’. There are several ferry crossings per day with Calmac including Mull, Iona and Staffa – make sure to check the timetables first.

Inveraray

And your nights…

St Malieu, Inveraray

A fabulous self-catering accommodation option is a stay for eight at St Malieu which welcomes dogs and is situated right on the banks of Loch Fyne. From here, it’s a walkable distance to all the town’s attractions and pubs.

Barcaldine Castle, near Oban

If you’d like to stay a little closer to Oban, check out Barcaldine Castle. Just imagine, boasting to your friends and colleagues that you spent your holiday lording it up in a Scottish castle?

Find more self-catering accommodation in and around Inveraray.

How to get there:

It’s possible to get to Inveraray by bus from Glasgow with Citylink. The journey takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Take a scenic road trip from Edinburgh in just over 3 hours, or from Glasgow in 1.5 hours.

Create a wonderful wintery scene in Aviemore

Best for….

Reconnecting with what really matters. Wrapping up warm and heading into the great outdoors, followed by cosy nights beside the fire with a dram.

Spend your days….

  • On the slopes at the CairnGorm Mountain, which offers some of Scotland’s best snowsports facilities, with 12 lifts and runs to suit all levels of skier or boarder.
  • If you prefer to watch than carve down the slopes, experiencing the mountain can also be done in a seated position, from the comfort of Scotland’s only funicular railway. Enjoy the views from above at the Ptarmigan Restaurant which is open all winter.
  • Go for a snowy walk around Rothiemurchus Forest and an icy Loch Morlich, a freshwater loch with a wonderful sandy beach. Keep an eye out for a tiny island castle at Loch An Eilein.
  • Book a sled dog safari and go on a mountainous adventure alongside 12 amazingly strong (and adorably fluffy) huskies.
  • The Old Bridge Inn at Carrbridge is a great option for dinner and drinks, with a varied menu and excellent selection of beverages. Or try options in the town, such as the Winking Owl, known as the ‘winky’ and the Skiing Do. The Cairngorm Hotel is also a great stop on a night out with its traditional Highland vibes.

CairnGorm Mountain

And your nights…

The Lazy Duck, Nethy Bridge

Part of the offering available at the Lazy Duck is a tiny wooden hostel, which sleeps eight people.  You and your friends can have a nostalgic bunk bed experience and enjoy the sociable kitchen and campground, BBQ and log fire, dining and chilling area, as well as a wood-fired hot tub, outdoor showers and two-person sauna.

Inshariach House, Aviemore

This house, a former shooting lodge, Inshariach House sleeps up to 17 people and comes complete with farmhouse kitchen, grand fireplaces and original Edwardian features. The grounds of the estate are yours to explore. You can always come back and try a romantic retreat for two at some of the estate’s other accommodation options with a yurt, converted jeep, shepherd’s hut and bothy hidden in the forest.

Find more self-catering options near Aviemore.

How to get to Aviemore

From Edinburgh: 2 hours and 45 minutes driving. The direct train from Edinburgh takes just under 3 hours.

From Glasgow: The direct train from Glasgow Queen Street takes approximately 2 hours 40 minutes.

From Inverness: 45 minute drive or 45 minutes on the train.

Looking for your next group getaway? Find more accommodation for big groups or lodges with hot tubs and let the fun begin!

 

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