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Our favourite hidden gems in Scotland!

Posted on the | Category: Blog

My name is Julia and I am the Marketing Assistant at Timberbush Tours. Having lived in Edinburgh for over 5 years, I have had plenty of time to discover numerous treasures throughout the beautiful country of Scotland. This blog is dedicated to giving all you lovely readers a little insight into some of my personal favourites of the many wonders which can be found in Scotland. 

1) Cramond Island

First on my list is one of my all-time favourite places to go for a Sunday stroll; Cramond Island. No more than a 20 minute drive outside of Edinburgh City Centre, this beautiful island is a haven for dog walkers and walkers alike.

Crammond Island is one of several islands in the Firth of Forth in Eastern Scotland and lies off the foreshore of Cramond. What’s interesting about this island is the fact that you can walk along to it at certain times of the day when the tide is out. There are only certain times of the day when it’s safe to make the crossing so make sure you check the tidal timetable before you set off.

Also, keep an eye on the tide as it can be very easy to get cut off. Over 100 people a year have to get rescued from the island when they get stuck after the tide has gone in. If you happen to end up in Cramond and the tide is in and you are unable to make it out to the island, don’t fret. There is a lovely beach and promenade you can wander along whilst catching stunning views of the island from afar.

2) My favourite quaint Scottish village- Luss

Once the summer crowds have disappeared, autumn is the perfect time to visit the picturesque loch-side village of Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond. Pretty cottages, loch-side beaches, beautiful walks and an old fashioned pub- this place has it all.

I visited Luss when I did the ‘West Highland Lochs, Mountains & Castles’ tour with Timberbush Tours last spring. This tour goes to many fascinating places such as Doune Castle, Kilchrun Castle and Inverary to name a few, but it was the last stop on this tour that really captured my heart- Luss. Theres are also several other Timberbush Tours where you can visit this wee village such as the Loch Lomond tour, 2 day Loch Ness tour, Skye tour and the Oban tour from Glasgow.

 

3) Afternoon Tea at the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow

One of my favourite places to go for afternoon tea is at The Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow. It was designed by the famous architect, Rennie Mackintosh with the name coming from the street where it is situated, Sauchiehall Street, meaning “alley of the willoes” in Gaelic. It is one of the most iconic tearooms in Scotland and a must for any visitor. It truly is a magnificent way to spend an afternoon in Glasgow 

 

4) The Lobster Shack in North Berwick

This isn’t the first time I have mentioned ‘The Lobster Shack’ in one of our blogs (One of Scotland's Favourite Dishes: Fish and Chips Blog) but I can’t stress enough how much I love going to this place. Not only is North Berwick a charming seaside town with lovely sandy beaches perfect for refreshing walks but it also has a Lobstershack.

Now you are probably wondering what is a Lobstershack?

Well The Lobstershack is a quaint eatery near the port in North Berwick where you can buy affordable fresh lobster with garlic butter, mussels, langoustines, mussels and other fresh sea food bought daily from the local fishermen. It is only open in spring/summer months as it is weather dependent so make sure you check out their website to ensure they are open before you go visiting. 

5) Luca’s Ice Cream Parlour in Morningside

If there is one thing I love more than lobster, its ice-cream and I was lucky to discover several years ago that Edinburgh is the home to one of the best homemade ice-creams I have ever tasted- Luca’s ice-cream.

Luca’s ice-cream has become a bit of an Edinburgh institution dating back over 100 years when it all began in 1908. It all originated in the pretty sea-side town of Musselburgh, when man and wife duo, Luca and Anastasia Scappaticcio, opened their first ice-cream shop. It became a roaring success and people from all over Edinburgh would queue up to get a tub of their freshly made ice-cream. There are now two Luca’s Ice Cream eateries, one in Musselburgh and the other in the Morningside area of Edinburgh. They also have a small fleet of vans which go around several east Lothian villages selling the delicious ice cream. 

6) Oban

Oban is the biggest hub on the west coast of Scotland giving access to all the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Having stoped at Oban on the Timberbush ‘Oban, Glencoe & West Highland Castles Tour’ from Glasgow, I can truly say it is one of the most beautiful towns I have ever visited. Oban is rich with attractions for tourists, from the dramatic scenery of the coast and mountains to the fascinating histories of the local castles and ancient religious sites. This is definitely a must see for first time visitors to Scotland. 

7) Calton Hill

Calton Hill is one of Edinburgh's main hills, set right in the city centre with its unmistakable Athenian acropolis poking above the skyline. This is one of the best places to get breath-taking panoramic views of the whole city as well as views of some of the major landmarks in the city such as Arthur’s Seat, the Crags behind Holyrood Palace, the Parliament, Leith, Princes Street and the Royal Mile. It is one of the best places to take in the city's range and many productions have used Calton Hill for the instituting shot of the city and as such, it is the iconic view many people will have seen.

8) Carlton Terrace Mews

This is somewhat random but Carlton Terrace Mews is one of my favourite places in Edinburgh. Originally built in the 1830s, these cottages housed horses and carriages on the lower floor with living quarters for the coachmen upstairs. The charm and character still remain, but these cottages have come a long way from the 1830s and are now probably some of the most sought after properties in Edinburgh. Many of the doors of the cottages are painted contrasting colours such as bright pinks and blues adding to the charm of the area. With a walking distance of about 10 minutes to the city centre, these cottages are ideally located yet when you are standing in the courtyard you feel as if you are somewhere in the tranquil countryside. I stumbled across this area after a walk around the nearby Calton Hill area and I immediately fell in love.

9) Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most photographed castles in the world and I was lucky enough to get to see it on the Timberbush ‘Eilean Donan, Loch Ness & The North West Highlands’ 2 day tour. This breath taking castle sits at a point where three Scottish Lochs meet and is known as one of Scotland’s most romantic castles. There has been many a wedding proposal at this stunning setting (Click here to see one of these romantic proposals!).

The island of Eilean Donan has been a fortified site for over 800 years but the present castle which sits there is less than one hundred years old as it had to be rebuilt between 1912 and 1932 by Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap. Although Eilean Donan Castle is not the oldest castle in Scotland, it certainly has plenty of character as it sits in a place with so much history.

10) Valvona & Crolla

Valvona & Crolla, similar to Lucas Ice-Cream, is another family run Italian business in Edinburgh that is also an iconic institution. Dating back to 1934, it is one of the oldest delicatessens and Italian wine merchants in the city. Its main store is on Elm Row but there are many more places across Edinburgh such as Jenner’s department store, Frasers and Multrees walk. The Elm Row delicatessen and cafe is the perfect place to go for a wander and look at all the delicious Italian goods on offer. I love coming here to grab a coffee and one of their home made almond croissants.

 

 

These are just some of my favourite places to visit across Scotland, but there are many more on my Scotland to-do list. Next on my list is to visit the beautiful Isle of Skye which I have heard time and time again is absolutely breath-taking. We have a fantastic 3 day Isle of Skye tour here at Timberbush Tours which regularly receives 5 star reviews so why not treat yourself this autumn and book yourself on for a fabulous 3 day retreat!