Aberfeldy, Perthshire

Holidays

5 Fun Ideas for a Spring Break in Scotland

Spring in Scotland is a wonderful time of year as the landscapes all around begin bursting into new life. A spring break in Scotland will shake off the cobwebs and recharge your batteries for the year ahead.

From around the end of March onwards, attractions that close over the winter months begin to re-open, making spring the perfect time to visit ahead of the busier summer months. Springtime in Scotland also brings with it a range of fantastic events and festivals, and - with the weather warming - there are lots of fun outdoor activities beckoning once again.

1. A cultural break in Dumfries & Galloway
2. Celebrate our national drink during Whisky Month
3. A back-to-nature experience in the Glenmore Forest Park
4. An active walking holiday on the Three Lochs Way
5. A get-away-from-it-all adventure trip in Perthshire

With artists, crafts people, makers, performers and writers all hailing or making their home in this beautiful part of Scotland, it's little wonder that Dumfries & Galloway in the south west boasts more than its fair share of culture.

Enjoy a trip in the spring time to see the forests and farmland springing into life and re-awaken your cultural side with a few of these must-do experiences.

Things to see and do

Book tickets for the Knockengorroch World Ceilidh from 23 - 26 May 2019. Enjoy roots and world music at this unique family festival, located in the beautiful setting of a mountain and riverside meadow.

Running from 24 May - 2 June 2019, the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival will showcase 170 artists in 82 events across the region, making it Scotland's largest rural performing arts festival. Book tickets to see performances in music, drama, dance, arts and literature.

Another festival to look out for is Dumfries & Galloway's arts and crafts open studios event, Spring Fling, which will take place throughout the region from 25 - 27 May 2019. Be there to get behind the scenes when artists and makers from throughout the area open their studios to the public. Expect unique insights into the work they create and demonstrations, as well as the opportunity to buy pieces directly from the makers.

In spring 2019, the house that inspired JM Barrie to write Peter Pan, Moat Brae, will open as the National Centre for Children's Literature and Storytelling. Be one of the first to walk through its doors and see the place where Neverland first began.

To search for some other great reads, head to Wigtown, Scotland's National Book Town, to browse the book shops and see what rare finds you'll come across.

Other cultural attractions to visit include the Kirkcudbright Galleries, which houses a nationally significant collection of artwork, as well as the Theatre Royal and the Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre, which are both in Dumfries.

Check out the Dumfries & Galloway Culture Map for more great things to see and do in the area.

Eating out

Places to check out include Brodies in Moffat, Casa Mia in Dumfries, Marrbury Smokehouse in Gatehouse of Fleet, the Selkirk Arms in Kirkcudbright and Campbell's Restaurant in Portpatrick. Be sure to also consider the great range of places to eat in Castle Douglas Food Town.

Getting there

Taking Dumfries in the east of the region and Stranraer in the west as locators, from Edinburgh it's 2 hours by car to Dumfries and 3 hours 25 minutes to Stranraer. From Carlisle in north England it's 50 minutes to Dumfries and 2 hours 20 minutes to Stranraer by car.

Stay

Find accommodation in Dumfries & Galloway.

If you’re a whisky fan, there’s no better time to visit Scotland than May, otherwise known as Whisky Month.

Go on a whisky pilgrimage around the five whisky producing regions – Campbeltown, Highland, Islay, Lowland and Speyside – to visit some of the distilleries from these distinct regions. Sample some of the whisky from each and see if you can pick out the tasting notes that embody the area.

Make sure to raise a toast on 18 May, which is known as World Whisky Day.

Things to see and do

During May, there is a range of whisky events going on at various locations throughout the country.

Head to Moray Speyside for the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, which takes place from 1 – 6 May 2019. This six-day whisky extravaganza packs in a huge range of events, from behind-the-scenes distillery tours to whisky and food pairings, sensory experiences and ceilidhs.

A few days later, from 10 – 17 May 2019, the Highland Whisky Festival gets under way. Choose from a host of great events, including exclusive tastings and tours, at eight iconic Highland distilleries - Balblair, Clynelish, Glenmorangie, Old Pulteney, The Dalmore, The Singleton of Glen Ord, Tomatin and Wolfburn.

Running from 10 – 12 May 2019, the Stirling Whisky Festival will bring together the people behind some of Scotland’s best distilleries. Choose samples from over 100 different malts and join expert masterclasses.

Taking place on 18 May 2019, the Edinburgh Whisky Stramash promises lots of great experiences to take part in, distillery staff to meet and chat to, and over 200 whiskies from around the world to choose samples from.

Finishing up the month, Fèis Ìle, the Islay Festival Of Music And Malt, takes place from 24 May – 1 June 2019 on the enchanting island of Islay. Join in distillery events and enjoy the distinct flavours of the different whiskies, including the peaty aromas that are the signature of Islay malts.

On top of all the whisky events there are lots of other great events and festivals taking place in Scotland in May; plus, find more whisky festivals taking place throughout the year.

Eating out

Places to check out include the Seven Stills and the Dowans Hotel in Moray Speyside, Brea and Hermann’s in Stirling, Kyloe and Origano in Edinburgh, and the Port Charlotte Hotel and the SeaSalt Bistro on Islay.

Getting there

From Edinburgh, Moray Speyside is 3 hours 45 minutes by car or 4 hours 10 minutes by train, and Stirling is 1 hour 15 minutes by car or 45 minutes by train.

To get to Islay, simply board the ferry at Kennacraig in Argyll and sail to Port Ellen (2 hours 20 minutes) or Port Askaig (1 hour 55 minutes) on Islay.

Stay

Find accommodation providers in:

Moray Speyside

Stirling

Edinburgh

Islay

Get back outside and explore the spring time beauty of the Glenmore Forest Park. Situated in the Cairngorms National Park, at the foot of the Cairngorm Mountains, the park encompasses a huge variety of landscapes, from ancient forests to rugged hillsides and sparkling lochs.

Things to see and do

Choose from a great selection of walking trails and explore the natural beauty of the park. Absorb the beautiful setting of Loch Morlich on the flat, circular route around the loch. At 3.5 miles the walk will take you around 2 hours and there’s plenty of wildlife to see along the way, including red-throated divers and otters.

Other walking routes to explore include the short 1.25 mile Pine Knoll Trail, where you may see dragonflies as you wander through the ancient pine trees, and the more strenuous 2.5 mile Allt Mor Trail, which offers panoramic views of the park.

Look out for spring primroses at the Pass of Ryvoan by following the Ryvoan Trial which will take you through the forest to the enchanting An Lochan Uaine (The Green Lochan) with its unusual green colouring.

Book a watersport on Loch Morlich and enjoy a fun few hours making memories in the spring sunshine. Reopening for the season in April, Loch Morlich Watersports offers sailing, windsurfing, stand up paddleboarding (SUP), kayaking and canoeing.

Meet Britain’s only herd of free-ranging reindeer at the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre. Visit the paddocks and exhibition in Glenmore to learn more about these beautiful animals and book one of the daily hill trips to visit the reindeer on the mountain.

Eating out

Stop at the Glenmore Forest Visitor Centre to grab a light bite in the park. In nearby towns, such as Aviemore and Boat of Garten, you’ll find a fantastic range of restaurants and pubs where you can enjoy a hearty meal after your time in the great outdoors.

In Aviemore have a look at The Winking Owl, which is owned by Cairngorm Brewery, and the Old Bridge Inn, with its cosy log fire. In Boat of Garten try Anderson’s and The Boat Country Inn & Restaurant.

Getting there

From Inverness, Aviemore is 45 minutes by car or 40 minutes by train.

From Edinburgh, Aviemore is 2 hours 40 minutes by car or 2 hours 50 minutes by train.

From Glasgow, Aviemore is 2 hours 40 minutes by car or 2 hours 30 minutes by train.

Stay

Browse accommodation in and around Aviemore.

If you enjoy long distance walks, the 34 mile/55 kilometre long Three Lochs Way takes 3 – 4 days to complete and is ideal for a spring break that will really blow away the cobwebs of winter.

Things to see and do

One of Scotland’s Great Trails, the Three Lochs Way offers a beautiful mixture of gentle landscapes, dramatic mountains and, of course, stunning loch views.

Beginning in Balloch and ending in Inveruglas, the route meanders through the heart of the stunning Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, passing the three lochs it was named after - Loch Lomond, Gare Loch and Loch Long.

The following towns are your recommended stopping points each evening:

Before: Balloch

Day 1: Helensburgh

Day 2: Garelochhead

Day 3: Arrochar

Day 4: Inveruglas

Some of the highlights from the route include:

  • Stunning views of Loch Lomond at Goukhill Muir.
  • The Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed masterpiece, The Hill House.
  • Beautiful views over Gare Loch and Loch Long to the undulating mountains of Argyll.

Eating out

Have a look at:

Before: Balloch – The Stables Restaurant & Bar and Palombo’s Fish & Chips

Day 1: Helensburgh – Cattle & Creel Steakhouse & Seafood Bar and Sugar Boat

Day 2: Garelochhead – The Anchor Inn

Day 3: Arrochar – Ben Arthur’s Bothy and Loch Long Hotel Bar & Restaurant

Day 4: Tarbet/Inveruglas – Slanj Restaurant

Getting there

From Glasgow, Balloch is 40 minutes by car or 50 minutes by train.

From Stirling, Balloch is 45 minutes by car or 1 hour 40 minutes by train (via Glasgow).

From Edinburgh, Balloch is 1 hour 50 minutes by car or 1 hour 45 minutes by train (via Glasgow).

Stay

Find recommended accommodation for walkers along the Three Lochs Way. Many of these accommodation providers will happily pick you up or drop you off at the start and end of each section and will even transfer your bags to your next stop.

Search for more accommodation in:

Before: Balloch

Day 1: Helensburgh

Day 2: Garelochhead

Day 3: Arrochar

Day 4: Tarbet/Inveruglas

Try your hand at an adventure activity or two in beautiful Perthshire and make memories that will shine bright for a long time to come.

Perthshire is one of the most scenic parts of Scotland, with glittering lochs, steep-sided glens and forests of towering trees that have earned it the nickname ‘Big Tree Country’. There are plenty of adventure activities on offer that make the most of this natural playground.

Things to see and do

White water rafting – Perthshire is home to many fast-flowing rivers that are ideal for white water rafting. Scotland in April and May is an ideal time for this as the rivers are more turbulent (and more fun!) than the gentler summer months. Try Nae Limits, Splash White Water Rafting, The Rafting Company and Activity Scotland.

Canyoning – explore Perthshire’s natural canyons on a canyoning adventure. Make your way along jagged rock faces, slide down natural water flumes and plunge onto pools. Companies to try it with include Splash Canyoning, Nae Limits, Ace Adventures and Activity Scotland.

Bungee jumping – head to the River Garry in beautiful Killiecrankie to experience the thrill of bungee jumping into a dramatic gorge with Highland Fling Bungee. As well as the traditional bungee jump, you can try the bungee bridge swing which will see you sailing through the air over the river.

4x4 off-road driving experience – spring is a fun time to go on a 4x4 driving experience as the weather is getting warmer, but the terrain is still challenging, meaning bigger thrills than in dry summer conditions. Check out companies including Perthshire Off Road Driving Centre, Highland Safaris, Activity Scotland, Crieff Hydro and Land Rover Experience Scotland.

Eating out

Places to eat that are close to some of the great activities above include:

Perth – Effie’s of Perth, The Post Box Restaurant and The Roost Restaurant.

Aberfeldy – Thyme at Errichel Restaurant, The Black Watch Inn and Croft Restaurant and Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier.

Crieff – Crieff Hydro, Barley Bree Restaurant and The Rooftop Restaurant at Knock Castle.

Getting there

Perth – from Edinburgh, Perth is 1 hour and 5 minutes by car or 1 hour 25 minutes by train. From Glasgow it’s 1 hour 10 minutes by car or 1 hour by train.

Aberfeldy - from Perth, Aberfeldy is 50 minutes by car or 1 hour 44 minutes by bus.

Crieff - from Perth, Crieff is 35 minutes by car or 50 minutes by bus.

Stay

Places to stay that are close to some of the great activities above include:

Perth

Aberfeldy

Crieff

Find more accommodation in Perthshire.

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