Malt Barn Bar, Moray

Holidays

Baby, it's cold outside... 5 perfect indoor winter activities and attractions

When you're done playing in the snow, walking across the white hills or gliding through the cool air on a sled, Scotland's got tonnes of fantastic indoor attractions where you can have fun and stay warm! So the next time you feel the urge to cocoon up in your favourite blanket, instead of hibernating the winter away, don’t! Come and discover the warmth of winter in Scotland instead:

What better way to celebrate a cold winter's day out than by warming up with some traditional Scottish tipples?

Scottish gin

If you thought that gin was solely a summer drink, think again. This quirky and adventurous spirit might just be the perfect alternative winter tipple to mulled wine, and you can even make your own!

Strathearn Distillery in Perthshire and Edinburgh Gin Distillery offer you a chance not only to learn about what ingredients are required and how the process works, but also to develop your own unique blend of gin with the help of their in-house distillers. And the best part? You can take the gin you've made home with you! Now we're talking...

Why not put a winter twist on your Scottish gin next time you have it at home and have it warm? If you've not tried it yet, a heated G&T is an adorable drink: lightly spiced, aromatic and with a splash of warmth - it's simply scrumptious!

Scottish whisky

Whisky too, is wonderful stuff, particularly on a winter's day. There are over 100 working distilleries dotted across Scotland, each carefully crafting their own unique single malts and blends. There's no right or wrong way to drink whisky, and you don't need to be an expert to enjoy it. It's best to start your whisky adventure at its source. Discover the centuries-old art of whisky production on a distillery tour, and enjoy a wee dram at the end. When at home, make yourself a hot toddy - a soul-soothing cocktail, with a sweet taste of honey, lemon and your favourite whisky, and a wonderful winter warmer.

The colour of green pines by icy ponds and red hats and mittens worn by skaters beautifully stand out against the white and silver hues of winter, adding a dash of colour to a winter landscape. A visit to a creative space can do just the same trick!

Events at creative spaces

The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh is one of the hottest* choices, but there's  hundreds of wonderful art galleries or museums to pick from in Scotland, ranging from the grand and formal to the more unusual and quirkier museums.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, with 22 themed, state-of-the-art galleries and some 8,000 astonishing objects and lots of interactive displays, is somewhere you can easily spend the entire day, if not a few days; and don't miss their daily delightful recitals on the historical organs!

At Dundee Contemporary Arts you can discover, enhance or revive your creativity with a selection of exhibitions, courses and workshops where you'll have a chance to make your own advent calendar or pick up the skill of oriental pad-printing, or even catch a movie; or take a look at heart-warming collections of toys and games from generations gone at the Highland Museum of Childhood in Strathpeffer where you can join an ancient crafts workshop for adults to weave your own mobile cover, or a tartan weaving workshop for children.

* The National Museum of Scotland is the most visited attractions with free admission © Moffat Centre, Glasgow Caledonian University.

Picture this: pure white snow blankets the landscape; icicles hang from trees like sparkling ornaments; you swooshing alongside marvellous mountains and shorelines on a train… If you like the sound of this, jump on board a train in Scotland this winter and experience Scotland's awe-inspiring winter landscapes from the comfort of a train ride.

West Highland Way

The West Highland Line is an excellent option, and is often lauded as one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. The line runs from Glasgow and offers two wonderful trips: either across to the west coast and Oban, or north west to Fort William and Mallaig. It packs some of Scotland's best sights into one trip, from the beautiful Gare Loch to crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct, famous for being featured in the Harry Potter movies. Prepare for non-stop snapshots of inspiring scenery as you marvel at the great expanse of mysterious, frost-covered moorland. Simply speaking, the journey is one epic adventure.

The Borders Railway

Linking Edinburgh with the Scottish Borders, a region famed for its rich cultural history and stunning scenery, the Borders Railway offers a chance to enjoy a fantastic day out in the pleasant towns of Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels. Simply sit back and soak up the splendid countryside scenery. The picturesque route passes by rolling hills and woodlands, and the River Tweed can be seen beautifully sparkling in the winter sun.

Enjoy a winter picnic on the train

Whichever route you choose, if you want to make your train journey even more epic, turn these already extraordinary trips into a scrumptious winter adventure. Pack your winter picnic hamper with some Scottish delights like smoked salmon or Scottish cheeses, or get creative in the kitchen and cook up a feast with our easy-to-follow recipes devised by Scottish chefs. Because who said you can't have a picnic in winter!

There's nothing more inviting at the end of a day sightseeing or walking in the mountains than a cosy pub. Settle in around the fire with a pint of real ale from tap and great local food, and enjoy a great welcome from the locals.

Seasonal Scottish produce

On the menus, look out for seasonal Scottish produce like roasted veg on the menu; wild duck and other game is in full swing too; oysters are great for a special occasion starter; and a luxurious winter salad can be a break from warming stews.

Get cosy by an open fire

If a pub has a roaring fire, there's no cosier place to be. The world famous Mishnish in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull has a quirky bar with snug rooms and open fires to hide away; and so does The Ben Nevis in Glasgow, with an amazing whisky selection to work through; and the Falls of Dochart Inn in Killin, where you can take in the views of Falls of Dochart, to name just a few. If you're around Holyrood Park area in Edinburgh, the Sheep Heid Inn is Scotland's oldest pub and a favourite for monarchs and poets too! It's been reported that HM The Queen dropped in there for a bite to eat on her recent visit to Scotland.

'Chuck another log on the fire, would you?'

Scottish castles, palaces and stately homes are beautiful any time of the year, but it's quite another sight to see them magically transformed with their Christmas décor on. The combination of their gorgeous historical interiors with their classical Christmas decorations is truly stunning!

Grab your friends and family and together enjoy an atmospheric start to the festive season at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The palace will be transformed both inside and outside for the festive period. From twinkling lights around the courtyard and ornamental fountain, to wreaths, garlands and a spectacularly decorated tree in the Great Gallery, the palace is the perfect place to get you into the Christmas spirit. You can hear stories of glorious feasts by the fireplace, explore the palace with their festive trail and discover hidden presents and even make your own Christmas present to take home.

Set within the beautiful Perthshire countryside, Blair Castle also dons its Christmas attire, decked as if it was in the Victorian era, when the 7th Duke and his family lived there. The rooms are decorated to give an insight into how they might have celebrated Christmas. Enjoy a break from Christmas shopping with a three course Christmas lunch next to the roaring fire in the historic ballroom and finish off your visit with a trip to Santa's magical grotto, set in one of the oldest parts of the castle.

Still needing more inspiration? Find out more about Christmas and winter breaks in Scotland and what's on in Scotland in winter!

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