Finding accommodation for your NC500 road trip is easy, if you plan ahead. The route is popular and North Coast 500 accommodation fills up fast so booking well in advance will mean you can get the hotel/campsite/B+B you want.
No matter what your budget is there is accommodation to suit you. There are luxury hotels, basic hostels, top notch B+B’s, guest houses and campsites with beautiful views. It’s worth gathering your group together and sitting down with a pen and paper. Write down everybody’s top priorities. Does it need to be accessible? Pet friendly? Write down exactly what you want. Read reviews too to make sure people enjoy staying there. It’s fun finding accommodation, there is so much to choose from.
When I was planning my accommodation I was looking for something a little different, I prefer something quirky but no matter what your taste and budget is the best way to begin planning is with a map. If you are beginning at the start point in Inverness judge how long you want to be driving each day. If you have towns/villages/areas already in mind then use google maps to give you the time to each. If you think you’ll manage to drive that distance then you can go ahead and begin to look at accommodation. If you don’t have any preferences you can have a look at my suggestions here.
Then the fun begins
Are you planning to visit Scotland and looking for some inspiration? As well as my Scottish travel blog ?How about watching some of the best films about Scotland? This list of movies will have your booking your trip before you can say "Take me to the mountain". Whether it's a movie set in Scotland, a Scottish historical romance or movies about those Scottish Highlanders this list has something for everyone. It's also a list of films I'd like to add to so if I'm missing out your favourite please let me know in the comments below so i can add it on. I'm always looking for good films about Scotland or ones which use Scottish filming locations, the film industry here is booming at the moment and with news of new film studios in the pipeline I'm excited to watch this list grow.
This post contains some affiliated links, meaning i get a little cut if you click on the movies below and decide to purchase. Just click the photo if you fancy some Scottish inspiration.
Shakespeare’s tale of murder, guilt, witches and tyranny hardly shows of the most beautiful side of Scotland but it’s a well known story and definitely one of watch. I particularly like the 2015 version with Michael Fassbender playing a rather dishy Macbeth. Receiving a prophecy from three witches that one day he will become the King of Scotland, he is consumed by ambition, kills the king and spirals into madness. Filming took place across the UK and the Isle of Skye appears regularly.
The Village of Falkland in Fife, Scotland, was used several times as an Outlander filming location and it's easy to see why when you visit. The traditional stone cottages that line the streets were built in the 17th and 18th century and there are 28 listed buildings including the impressive renaissance Falkland Palace. The door frames of the cottages are small which is typical of the era, there are original marriage lints above several of the doors and some of the cottages even have thatched roofs. The winding cobbled lanes, colourful hanging baskets and quirky artistic touches make Falkland a popular day trip for locals.
Filming for season one began in October 2013 and Falkland was used as Inverness in 1946. The real Inverness was not suitable as the buildings and roads are now modern and not exactly the look they were going for!
Much of the filming concentrated on the main Square. Claire and Frank spent their second honeymoon in Mrs Baird's B+B after returning from the war. The Covenanter's Hotel was used as the B+B and the team didn't have to change much so you will instantly recognise the building. the black window frames were painted a mustard yellow and the white lost outside the front door were painted a matt black.
In the centre of the village you will find the Bruce fountain and you won't be the first to recreate the scene where Jamie's ghost looks up at Claire in the window. Again not much was changed except the horse statues on each corner which are usually red were changed to black using what looked like a black rubber covering.
Walks in Perthshire at any time of the year can be spectacular if you find the right spot.
Each season changes the landscape dramatically. Autumn brings crunchy leaves underfoot and a palette of burnt oranges and chestnut browns. In a region so abundant in stunning forests and woodland you can imagine the spectacular colours the season brings. and people flock to the area to witness it. Summer brings an array of colourful flowers and luscious greenery and villages hang colourful bunting and hold fayres. Winter caps the surrounding mountains with a layer of white and the gateway to the Highlands fills with fans of the snow who are heading north into the mountains. When spring arrives the fields, forests, villages and hills shake off their winter coats and step into the sun with blinking eyes. Spring flowers such as daffodils, tulips and bluebells tentatively emerge and grand houses and castles open open their doors ready for visitors.
Perthshire is easily one of my favourite areas of Scotland simply because of its sheer beauty. There are over 2000 square miles of pretty villages, lush green fields, forests, waterfalls, rivers, castles and forts.
Having spent some time in the area over the last few weeks I’ve discovered some fantastic walks and hikes, and what better time of the year to get out and stretch those winter-weary legs. Walks in Perthshire range from a little stroll through a forest canopy of birch, oak and ash trees to a strenuous hike up a Munro for panoramic views of “Big Tree Country” Perthshire is perfect for venturing outdoors and exploring not only Scotland’s awe-inspiring countryside but also areas made famous throughout history by characters, both real and fictional, such as Robert Burns, Macbeth and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The city of Perth itself was once the capital of Scotland and inspired Sir Walter Scott to pen “The Fair Maid of Perth”. Nearby is the village of Scone, the ancient capital of Scotland, where, for centuries, Scottish kings were crowned. You can read more about the history of Perthshire if you click below
“The fairest portion of the Northern Kingdom”
–Sir Walter Scott
Kinnoul Hill Woodland Park (3/4 - 2 1/2 miles
A picturesque walk though this park offers panoramic views over Scotland’s newest city of Perth, across to Ben Ledi in the west and the Carse of Gowrie in the east. A short loop (3/4 mile) takes you through an avenue of beech and pine and is a gentle relaxed walk. For those wanting to push themselves further a more strenuous 2 1/2 mile walk involves some steep slopes but is worth it for the views. In the park you can find a part of the coronation road, which the Scottish Kings used after being crowned at Scone Palace to travel to Falkland Palace in Fife
Moncreiffe Hill Wood (14km of trails)
Nearby is another pretty woods with a fantastic range of trails. You can enter from either the north or south car park (although the north is a lot less strenuous). If you follow the green and white waymarked route you will find the sculpure trail and also come pretty close to two hill forts, one named after the hill which sits at the lower rim of the hill and another named Moredun curled the summit (allow 90 minutes to complete this trail). Look out for Douglas Fir, ash and sycamore trails and higher up you can also find Scots Pine. Walks in Perthshire guarantee some of the countries most fascinating trees, it's not called "big tree country' for nothing.
Some of Scotland's most important historic events have taken place in Perthshire, from the crowning of Scottish Kings to the Battles of Killiecrankie (1689) and Dupplin Moor (1332). The city of Perth itself was once the capital of Scotland and was the inspiration behind Sir Walter Scott's "The fair maid of Perth". Known as the gateway to the Highlands Perthshire is also home to some of the tallest and oldest trees in Britain. It's a fantastic region to explore and base yourself if you want to travel further afield. It's also a region I've spent a lot of time in, I love how green and lush it is in the summer and can't get enough of the colours in the autumn. If you are in Scotland and history fascinates you as much as it does me then here at 10 ways to discover some Scottish history in this stunning region.
Sitting on the banks of the River Tay sits "Scotland's most romantic Cathedral". The site has been holy ground since 730 AD and the cathedral you see today was built over a period of 250 years from 1260 until 1501 resulting in a beautiful mish mash of architectural styles. Dedicated to Saint Colomba, it's said his remains were kept here after leaving Iona, until the reformation. The Cathedral was burnt down in 1689, along with much of Dunkeld itself, during the Battle of Dunkeld, when the government forces supporting William of Orange were attacked by the Jacobite Highlanders who were jubilant after their win at Killiecrankie. There are many famous burials here including "The Wolf of Bedenoch" Alexander Stewart who's tomb can still be seen, Richard de Inverkeithing, chamberlain to King Alexander II of Scotland, and Charles Edward Stuart, grandson of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Not only is this romantic ruin stunning but it's location on the riverbank in the pretty village of Dunkeld makes it a must see. Entrance is free too which is always a bonus.
When I got the opportunity to visit Taste Angus, a Scottish food festival held in the stunning Glamis Castle, my tastebuds were already tingling. I love nothing better than discovering a new region by sampling the local food and drink. Angus, in the east of Scotland, with the country's first UNESCO City of design, Dundee, at it's foot and Aberdeenshire to its north is best known, food wise, for its hugely popular Arbroath Smokie and its world renowned Aberdeen Angus. I was about to discover a whole host of exciting and passionate food and drink businesses to rival those big names though and I couldn’t wait.
It's not a region I have spent a lot of time in. I've previously explored the coast, swam in the open air pool in Stonehaven and visited the beaches of Broughty Ferry, Montrose and Carnoustie but I had yet to venture inland. What I found when I did was rolling hills, glens and the cutest little villages I've seen for a long time.
Angus is known as the birthplace of Scotland. It was in 1320 when the Declaration of Arbroath was signed at Abroath Abbey, declaring Scotland as an independent nation. If you are visiting make sure to hunt out the many Pictish stones, particularly the ones found in Kirriemuir, Aberlemno, St Vigeans and Monifieth. While you are ther sample some food too...
We were based at Glenesk Hotel in the Georgian town of Edzell. The Victorian period hotel is a credit to the owners, with knowledgable and helpful staff who did everything possible to make sure we had a fantastic stay. The hotel was also the perfect start to our foodie weekend, thanks to a truly astounding collection of whisky. Over 1000 bottles lined the walls of the traditional whisky room. A bottle from every Distillery in Scotland, and plenty more. Over 200 gins, 70 rums and 70 vodkas complete the collection.
The room I stayed in was lovely, big and airy with the comfiest bed I’ve slept in for ages! Decorated traditionally in terms of the walls and carpet it was in perfect keeping with the rest of the hotel. There was a lovely little tray of goodies with Cadbury’s hot chocolate , tea, coffee and biscuits and the bathroom was ideal (especially the shower - heaven!).
Oh and if you need any more pursauding to stay here there is also a swimming pool, sauna, steam room, gym, hot tub and games room.
Read more about the stunning food on offer here below.
I spent the weekend with fellow bloggers Claire from Foodie Quine and Lynsey from Girl Versus Food and loved spending time with people who love Scottish food festivals as much as me.
I love finding hidden gems in Scotland and am often asked about where to find them in areas that tourists are visiting. Tourists visit Scotland with an itinerary which often includes the Isle of Skye, the Highlands, Edinburgh and Inverness and I love to encourage them to explore Scotland away from the usual tourist trail. Places that are rarely talked about, rarely photographed, places that are off the beaten track and away from the usual "must sees". I thought I'd ask some of my favourite Scottish travel bloggers about their best hidden gems. These are the blogs I read to inspire my travels and these ladies really know their stuff.
The Highlands of Scotland is an area I will never tire of exploring. Visiting the Highlands always makes me happy and I love nothing better than going on Scottish Highlands tour in my car. Sometimes you just want to escape your daily life and get away from it all and travelling to the Highlands certainly does that for me. When I unexpectedly found three days free to explore the area I was over the moon. Time to plan a 3 days in Scotland itinerary.
With my planned trip up Ben Nevis put on hold for a few months I now had three empty days, as I had already booked the Invercoe Highland Holidays Campsite. As much as I say I want to relax it's impossible for me to visit a new area and not want to squeeze in as much as possible, so I got out my map and built myself a pretty exciting tour of the Highlands
I could make this one really quick,
Follow the path and soak up the views.
Walks in Scotland don't come much better than the Fife Coastal Path and this section from Lower Largo to St Monans is my favourite part so far. 9.5 miles of stunning beaches, cute villages and panoramic vistas. It should take between 3-4 hours but you will want to stop off and explore so many times you could easily make a full day of it. You can read about the other sections that I've completed in the Fife Coastal Path section of the blog.
I finally got to an Outlander Gathering! And what a weekend!
Women (and a few brave and crazy men) from every corner of the globe descended on the Highland town of Aviemore for which is essentially a great big party for Outlander fans. The Outlandish UK admins who planned this year's event need a huge pat on the back because I can't even imagine how much organisation it would take to pull off such a brilliant Outlander Gathering. There were so many different elements and each was flawlessly executed. Every element was thought about, every potential problem was solved before it even happened and every attendee was looked after and made to feel welcome, including me, who knew a grand total of about three people there.