When I first visited Scotland, it was not somewhere I had ever wanted to go but from the moment I stood in the grounds of Edinburgh Castle, looking out across the city and afar, I began to be genuinely interested in this beautiful country.
I had been invited by the Scottish Tourism Board to spend a whirlwind weekend creating brilliant moments to share and this certainly became a weekend which allowed that to happen.
Climbing the Forth Bridge had my knees knocking for the first time ever, as an external lift bounced on reaching the top and left my stomach aligned with those knocking knees. Yet the views across the Firth of Forth were spectacular. From the Orocco Pier restaurant on the shoreline, I was able to see the stunning land side view of the bridge, at the same time as not having to go out in the cold, whilst enjoying delicious food.
One for the history lovers and I think a defining moment for me on our trip to Glamis Castle, childhood home of the Queen Mother, was sitting down for lunch in the great hall and holding a gift from Oliver Cromwell to the family, in my hands. I was living and touching history in that moment.
A helicopter ride then took us to Kinnaird Estate – a luxe B&B. Our accommodation for the night. Although the main house which I stayed in, has now been sold and returned to being a family home – it still has plenty of self catering cottages and a farmhouse and new for 2018 there is also a luxury cabin for that romantic short break. The Kinnaird Estate is only one hour drive from Edinburgh or a 30 min drive from Perth.
On this whistle stop weekend, only having a short time in St. Andrews, I was fortunate to drive a 1966 Austin Healy, this enabled me to explore and understand enthusiasts love of vintage cars.
Although managing a 3 point turn in a small car park space, was quite the physical challenge without automatic steering, and as we sped once again along the stunning Scottish coastline, the return journey meant we could drop the car off-walk across the road for lunch and enjoy the views from the Seafood Ristorante, located next to the world famous St Andrew’s Golf Club and overlooking the beach. With delicious, sustainable and local offerings such as Anstruther Lobster, grilled with garlic butter or hand dived Ardnamurchan scallops on the menu.
There are so many brilliant moments I’m be able to share and climbing aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia is one of them. Observing the furniture in the Queen’s bedroom, which reminded me very much of the furniture in my own mum and dad’s, took me straight back to being a child in the 70’s. Walking down the cascade stairway-feeling emotional, knowing royalty had walked the steps I placed my feet upon, was truly a brilliant moment.
I flew back to Stansted Airport on a short flight from Edinburgh and would definitely recommend taking the train up and flying back. There’s something special about going to sleep in one country and waking up in another!
There is so much to do on a four day weekend to embrace and create brilliant moments, it just needs to be planned and timed well, to make the most of a short break. I was on a press trip on this occasion so there were a few moments when i’d wished i’d had more time to just explore- spend time gazing into the eyes of highland cattle and climb a few of the hills surrounding me. May seem silly I know but these are the little joys which make my visits away feel more special.
What is it about Scotland which makes you want to visit?