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Scotland, in summer, has so much more to offer than sunshine. While the clouds will often clear and the temperature can shoot into the 20s, visitors warm to the place not purely because of its climate. It's the country’s history, the beauty of its landscape and the welcoming disposition of its denizens that make Scotland an attractive summer holiday destination. If you are interested in the weather though, it’ll please you to know that summer days here are very long: you’ll often be able to enjoy extended twilights thanks to the country’s high altitude, and in some of the northernmost parts of Scotland, never experience complete darkness. Areas like Lerwick in Shetland experience four more hours of daylight than London at the same time.
There’s no end of outdoor activities to enjoy in Scotland, either. Whether you fancy golfing, hiking, fishing or sailing – or perhaps more daring pursuits like white-water rafting or kayaking – there are plenty of opportunities to experience that rush of adrenalin. Elsewhere, various cultural and music festivals get under way in summer, from T in the Park in Balado to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. So why not grab a piece of the action this year?
Five Scottish locales for the perfect summer holiday
Summer holidays in Aviemore
Aviemore is located in the Highlands of Scotland, at the epicentre of the Cairngorms National Park. A perfect holiday destination for all the seasons of the year, you can hit the ski slopes in the Spey Valley in winter, or go gorge walking and mountain biking during summer. Aviemore is also popular with animal lovers, who venture into the Caledonian pinewoods in search of native wildlife and birds. Oh, and don’t think there’s nothing to do at night time. Cosy pubs like The Old Bridge Inn offer live music at the weekends, and there are even a few nightclubs should you wish to trip the light fantastic.
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Summer holidays in the Isle of Arran
Despite being only 19 miles long and 10 miles wide, the Isle of Arran, located off the coast of southern Scotland, is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde. This is the the perfect place to find picturesque villages teeming with life in the summer. Rolling green hills, rugged mountains barbed in cloud, a deep-blue coastline, and plenty of wilderness make the island a paradise for those wishing to escape the city. Arran isn’t short on food and drinks options either, with smokehouses, seafood restaurants, cheese shops and bars allowing you to unwind and soak up some quintessential island charm. Summer shindigs, meanwhile, include the Arran Folk Festival and Brodick Highland Games.
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Summer holidays in Ayr
Located on the southwestern coast of Scotland, Ayr is renowned as the most famous beach resort in the country. In fact, tourism and fishing are the town’s primary forms of income. Temperatures during summer in Ayr remain on the cooler end, with average highs in July reaching only about 18°C – though records have, in the past, soared as high as 30°C. Whatever the strength of the sun, the atmosphere at the sea front, in summer, is sublime; park a towel on the long, sandy beach, grab a 99 and soak up the good cheer. Elsewhere, it’s worth spending some time in the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum – as well as in the Burns Heritage Park.
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Summer holidays in Aberfeldy
Aberfeldy is a very small, picturesque town located in Highland Perthshire, on the River Tay. Here, adventurous types can enjoy abseiling and white-water rafting, while others can stick to walking, mountain biking or golfing. Thirsty visitors are also known to drop in on Dewar's World of Whisky, a landmark distillery that provides an interactive presentation on how the famous drink is made. If besieged by hunger, you’ll find plenty of great eateries, among them Breadalbane Bakery, where you can sample a variety of Scottish delicacies. When in town, though, it’s well worth experiencing those famous open spaces – take a Highland Safari for a chance to spot red deer and several birds of prey.
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Summer holidays in Oban
If you want to make the most of those extended summer days, Oban, on the western coast of Scotland, is where you need to head. On the longest day of the season, the sun typically rises at around 4:31am and doesn’t set till 10:45pm; just think how much fun you could pack between those parameters! The weather does tend to be quite unpredictable, though, so be sure to bring all types of clothing. Enjoy ancient religious sites, castles, and plenty of outdoor fun from the coast to the mountains, where you’ll be welcomed by waterfalls, gardens and sanctuaries. If the sun is out, why not partake in a spot of archery or visit the Sea Life Sanctuary, located amidst pine trees on the shores of Loch Creran?
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Scotland Holiday Cottages
West Dene is a detached cottage located near the coast in the fishing village of Isle of Whithorn. The cottage sleeps four adults and two children in a double bedroom, a sofa bed and a children's bunk room. There are also a bathroom with bath, sho...
The Old Coastguard Lookout is a cottage in the village of Cove, with sea views from its two balconies. The cottage has two double bedrooms on the ground floor, one with an en-suite bathroom. The family shower room is also on the ground floor, and ...
Marys House is a detached single-storey cottage on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, with stunning views over the sea, towards Skye, sandy beaches and more. The cottage has a double bedroom, a shower room, a kitchen and a sitting room with dining area, ...
Bayview House is a delightful, cosy holiday home near to Carbost on the Isle of Skye. It sleeps five people in a double, a twin and a single bedroom. There is also a shower room, a ground floor bathroom, kitchen, dining room and sitting room with ...
Smuggler's Den is a stylish first floor apartment overlooking the harbour in Isle of Whithorn. There is a double bedroom, a bathroom and an open plan living area with fitted kitchen, dining area and sitting area. Outside is off road parking for on...