Scotland in winter almost feels like stepping into another world. Snow-capped peaks, festive markets and events, winter wonderland walks, and plenty of family activities to enjoy too.
If you’re looking for a long winter weekend break in Scotland, you have plenty of options to choose from. Keep reading to see what takes your fancy or inspires you to book a trip this season.
1. Enjoy a sparkling city break
During the winter months Scotland’s cities come to life with twinkling lights and Christmas festivities. Throughout December and into early January you can enjoy markets, rides, Christmas theatre shows, delicious winter menus in local bars and restaurants, festive events and more that will get you into the Christmas spirit.
If you only have time for a short weekend break, a trip to a neighbouring city may be a great option for you. Our cities offer a range of enticing accommodation options, from luxury hotels and budget-friendly hostels, to cosy B&Bs and self-catering apartments. Our cities are also very accessible, with frequent trains, major roads in and out of the cities, and affordable coach and bus services running too.
2. Book a cosy cabin getaway
Nothing says a winter weekend break in Scotland quite like cosying up in a homely log cabin or lodge. Scotland’s countryside landscapes are glorious in winter, frosty trees, snowy hills, and frozen lochs are just the start of the wonderland waiting for you.
Across Scotland you can find a range of cabins, lodges and chalets to snuggle into, from forest retreats to mountainside locations and more. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a bit of solo travel, this self-catering option is a great choice. Some also come with real log fires and hot tubs too, so you can stay toasty whilst admiring the wintry landscapes around you. Some cabins you don’t need to travel too far to find. There are many located just a short distance outside of the cities, so you can spend less time travelling and more time enjoying your winter weekend.
3. Immerse yourself in a Dark Sky Park retreat
The winter months are the perfect time to see Scotland’s incredible night sky dotted with stars, meteors and constellations. Scotland is home to dozens of Dark Sky Discovery Sites and Europe’s second Dark Sky Park, the first of its kind in the UK, in Dumfries & Galloway.
The dark skies of winter combined with the low levels of light pollution out with the cities, create the ideal setting for spotting a range of starry sights and even the Northern Lights if you’re lucky. Some of the top spots to go stargazing include the Isle of Coll, Moffat, Galloway Forest Park, North Ronaldsay and Tomintoul, to name a few. Within these areas and Dark Sky Sites you can find a variety of accommodation options too.
4. Treat yourself to a luxury spa day and hotel stay
We all deserve a little me time, or a weekend without the kids, so why not treat yourself to a winter weekend break with a luxury spa day? Scotland is home to an array of luxurious and top-quality spas and hotels, many are located in the quiet, secluded countryside, and some are modern finds in our city centres, so you don’t have to travel far for a spot of relaxation.
Book a cosy getaway in Perthshire with a stay at Fonab Castle Hotel & Spa, enjoy the city sights of Dundee before getting pampered at the Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa, or immerse yourself in an island retreat at Machrie Hotel & Golf Links on the Isle of Islay.
Many spas also have festive deals or offers on around Christmas. Or if you’re looking for a last-minute Christmas present idea, why not treat a loved one to a spa day gift card?
5. Explore a budget break
If you’d rather save your pennies for a lovely Christmas dinner or extra festive gifts, Scotland offers a range of ways you can still enjoy a winter break or getaway without breaking the bank.
No matter where you venture in Scotland this winter, you’ll come across a range of budget-friendly options to add to your trip, from free attractions, scenic landscapes, and affordable accommodation to frequent public transport services and more. Our cities boast many free attractions, from botanic gardens and museums, to galleries, monuments, and iconic scenery. There are also a variety of passes and offers for attractions, locations and transport too.
6. Relax in a snowy mountain escape
You can’t quite beat a cosy escape to the Scottish mountains with a stunning snowy view from your window. In Scotland we’re not short of mountains and hills so there are plenty to choose from for your winter weekend break.
Head to the Cairngorms National Park where you can quite literally be surrounded by snow covered mountains and peaks, and scope out some of the best skiing and snowboarding slopes in the country. On the west coast, you can have a stunning island view on one side and towering mountains on the other, it’s a real sight to see. In south Scotland we have lush rolling hills and hundreds of cosy cabins, cottages and accommodation options that you can nestle into on your winter escape.
7. Embark on a weekend tour
If you’re looking for a weekend break in Scotland, but are not quite sure what to do or where to go, why not book a Scottish tour?
Across Scotland there are hundreds of knowledgeable and friendly tour guides that know Scotland like the back of their hand. From whisky, history and photography, to wildlife, food & drink and film & TV, there are dozens of themes and topics you can explore on your tour, as well as a range of scenic locations and regions too.
Tour lengths can also range from 1hr to 2-3 days, depending on what you’re looking for and how long you have. Some tour operators also offer bespoke tours too, just make sure you give them plenty of time in advance.
That was just a taste of the amazing things you can do and experience on a winter weekend break in Scotland, but the fun doesn’t stop there! A long weekend is an ideal amount of time to spend in Scotland, and if you leave wanting more, you can come back for longer next time.