8 Water Wellness Experiences in Scotland

Did you know how important water is for our wellness and wellbeing? The restorative qualities of being in, on, or near water are only just coming to light now.

But Scotland's coasts, lochs and waterways have influenced our way of life and inspired artists, composers, and writers for centuries.

Read on for ideas on how to improve your wellness through the healing powers of water and let your stresses ebb away.

  1. Paddleboarding Scotland

    Paddle sur le Loch Insh

    © VisitScotland / Jakub Iwanicki

    Paddleboarding is one of the UK's fastest-growing watersports and with so many amazing places to explore, Scotland is clearly the best place to enjoy it. It's also an ideal way for families, and even four-legged family members, to bond in the great outdoors.

    For beginners, we'd always recommend that you join an instructor-led session to learn the basics and to pick up those all-important water safety tips. Once you've mastered your balance, paddleboarding is quite possibly the best way to explore Scotland's quieter coasts and waters, and let your cares sail away.

    Just remember to plan ahead, check weather reports - especially if it's looking windy, paddle in a group or with a buddy and #respectthewater.

  2. Waterfall walks Scotland

    Les chutes de Black Spout, Perthshire

    Water is not something that's in short supply here in Scotland. And that's a good thing. Why? Because, alongside over 38,000 sparkling lochs here, you'll also find hundreds of wonderful waterfalls. These shards of tumbling water stand proud in the landscape and are ideal places for soothing your spirit.

    Bathe in water wellness, without actually getting wet - unless, of course, you want to take a dip beneath them - and enjoy one of our quiet waterfall walks.

    See them in their full-flowing glory after heavy rainfall or after winter snows melt, or take a summer saunter to one, when water levels are lower, to enjoy their gentler side.

  3. Wild swimming Scotland

    Baignade sauvage aux chutes d’Arbirlot, Arbroath

    © VisitScotland / Kate Abbey

    Immerse yourself, quite literally, in Scotland's 'blue spaces' with a spot of wild swimming and once you've become accustomed to the refreshing chill of the water, feel a sense of calm wash over you.

    Slip into a still loch, set spectacularly in the shadows of ancient mountains and castles, then emerge re-invigorated, ready for anything!

    If you're new to this activity, we'd always recommend that you book onto an organised wild swimming experience, or find a group through the Wild Swimming Scotland community.

  4. Marine life Scotland

    Des phoques à West Wemyss, Fife

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    There's no better way to improve your wellness than watching our marine wildlife in their natural watery homes.

    See white-tailed sea eagles swooping for fish off the Isle of Mull. Watch 'breaching' bottlenose dolphins from Chanonry Point or Fort George on the Moray Firth. Take a relaxing stroll along the Ythan Estuary in Aberdeenshire to see a vast colony of basking seals. Or join a summer boat trip from Oban where you might see basking sharks and if you're lucky, Minke whales.

    There are so many wonderful places along Scotland's coasts and in our waters to see amazing aquatic wildlife.

  5. Watersports Scotland

    Two friends wild swimming at Arbirlot Falls

    © VisitScotland / Kate Abbey

    It's time to embrace your adventurous side, release those well-being endorphins and dive into Scotland's watersports!

    Re-connect with nature on a West Highland sea-kayaking trip, learn to surf in the Scottish Borders or grab some friends and try white water rafting in Moray Speyside. Alternatively, you could try sailing in Argyll - SailScotland's digital guide can help with ideas and suggestions.

    Here are just a few watersports for beginners to choose from. You'll also find an amazing range of skilled instructors to get you onto or into the water safely, and there are plenty of places to stay overnight if you want to make a break of it.

  6. Wellness break Scotland

    La réserve naturelle nationale de Tentsmuir, Tayport, Fife

    © VisitScotland / Luigi Di Pasquale / Welcome to Fife

    Water wellness holidays don't always have to revolve around our renowned landscapes and nature. Why not treat yourself to a luxury spa break? You know you're worth it!

    Or why not combine culture and water wellness with a trip to a museum or gallery? Admire Landform - the Charles Jencks - designed stepped lawn and pools at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Explore the award-winning collection at The Riverside Museum in Glasgow. Or imagine what life was like in Shetland, at the Shetland Museum & Archives on Lerwick's waterfront.

  7. Island adventures Islands

    La plage de Liniclate, île de Benbecula, Hébrides extérieures

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    Mute your phone, leave your laptop at home and escape to the edge of Europe in the Outer Hebrides. You'll enjoy a Scottish welcome like no other as you breathe in fresh Hebridean air, and the slower pace of island life will do wonders for your well-being.

    See the sea and feel your shoulders fall. Let your mind wander, as you stroll along miles of beautiful deserted white sands. Uncover over 5,000 years of history and witness stellar night skies before relaxing in your overnight accommodation.

  8. Food & Drink Scotland

    Un plateau de fruits de mer à la Glenegedale House, île d’Islay

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    No guide to water wellness in Scotland would be complete without a mention of our amazing seafood. With the cold waters of the Atlantic and the North Sea on our doorstep, you'll find some of the finest fish and shellfish in the world, right here in Scotland.

    Of course, this mouth-watering produce is available in welcoming fish and chip shops and all manner of restaurants right across Scotland.

    But if you want to get a taste of the sea, by the sea, we'd recommend calling into one of our outstanding seafood shacks for a water wellness boost. Why not feed those happy hormones further and round your delicious and nutritious seafood snack or meal off with a tasty Scottish cask beer.

Respect 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.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution also provides helpful advice and safety tips across a range of pursuits, to ensure you have the best day out.

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