How to Spend a Weekend in Scotland
This past weekend I traveled to Scotland for the first time and quickly fell in love with the beautiful country and its lovely people. We were incredibly lucky that our trip was able to happen before the national lockdowns, and although things weren't 100% normal and open in Scotland, we still had a great time. […]

This past weekend I traveled to Scotland for the first time and quickly fell in love with the beautiful country and its lovely people. We were incredibly lucky that our trip was able to happen before the national lockdowns, and although things weren't 100% normal and open in Scotland, we still had a great time. Today I'm sharing a full itinerary for a weekend in Scotland!

HOW TO SPEND A WEEKEND IN SCOTLAND

Lifestyle blogger Mollie Moore explains how to spend a weekend in Scotland

THURSDAY

9h: Flight from London to Edinburgh.

10:30 am: Arrive in Edinburgh and head straight for the Highlands. We used Private Concierge Scotland for the ride and they were amazing - the car was fully equipped with everything you could possibly need for the two hour drive, from tartan wool blankets to iPads with Netflix - it was such a comfortable trip!

12:30 p.m .: Register at Blair's old mansion and have lunch by the fire. We couldn't have enjoyed our stay at the Old Manse of Blair more - it exudes the charm of the Scottish countryside from every corner and the staff were incredibly friendly. It's also a great location for those really looking to explore the Highlands. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to see as much as we wanted, but The Old Manse of Blair is centrally located, making it the perfect base for a trip to the Highlands. I already want to go back and explore places like Glencoe, Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye.

1:30 p.m .: Purchases! Head to the Bruar's House for everything from housewares and cashmere, to classic British brands like Barbour. We didn't have time to stop in the small town of Pitlochry, but we walked through it on our way to the Scotch Distillery and there seemed to be plenty of cute independent shops. I would definitely recommend walking around town if you have the time.

4 p.m .: Scotch tasting at Blair Athol Distillery. Unfortunately, due to the Covid measures in place in Scotland, we were unable to taste the scotch on site during our visit (alcohol was not allowed to be served inside). However, we were still able to take a tour of the distillery and learn more about Blair Athol Scotch Whiskey, and we took the tasting samples home to try them out for ourselves.

5 p.m .: Happy hour back to the hotel. The same alcohol rules also applied at the hotel, which meant we could only have happy hour on the outdoor patio or in our rooms (hotels had an exception to the no-alcohol rule at inside as long as you were drinking in your room - kinda funny, i know lol).

7:30 p.m .: Dinner at The Orangery in The Old Manse of Blair. Another fun Covid rule that was in place while we were in Scotland was that restaurants / cafes were not allowed to serve dinner - they had to close at 6 p.m. The exception was hotel restaurants, which could serve dinner to their guests. Fortunately, the Old Manse of Blair has an absolutely fabulous restaurant on site called The Orangery. It serves contemporary Scottish cuisine made with fresh, seasonal ingredients and local produce. The menu is constantly changing based on what's fresh! I had the Scottish salmon and it was one of the best salmon dinners I have ever had.

Lifestyle blogger Mollie Moore explains how to spend a weekend in Scotland

FRIDAY

8h: Breakfast at the Orangery.

9h: Go for a walk to explore a bit of the Scottish countryside. Hotel staff recommend Queen's View or Bruar Falls - be sure to bring your rubber boots as there is mud!

12h: Discover The Old Manse of Blair and see you in Edinburgh! I recommend to use again Private Concierge Scotland for a smooth journey.

12:30 p.m .: Make a quick stop at Blair Castle leaving the Highlands. It was closed the day we tried to go, but it looks absolutely gorgeous (like something from Game of Thrones) and I really hope to go the next time I'm there.

2 p.m .: Register in the Kimpton Charlotte Square in Edinburgh. The Kimpton is an absolutely amazing hotel - everything from the decor style, the friendly staff, and the central location were second to none. I really can't imagine staying anywhere else in Edinburgh!

3 p.m.: Get out there and explore Edinburgh. It was my first time visiting the city so I just wanted to walk around and understand everything. A few things to do are take a Harry Potter or ghost walking tour, visit Edinburgh Castle, experience whiskey (a bit touristy but heard it was fun), or hike to Calton Hill or Arthur's Seat for some nice views.

5 pm-6pm: Happy hour back at the Kimpton. Alcohol drinking rules applied throughout Scotland so we had a platter of cold cuts and wine in our room while we relaxed a bit before dinner.

7:30 p.m .: Dinner at the hotel restaurant, Baba. It offers a Mediterranean style menu and super chic and comfortable interiors. The lamb was one of the best dishes I have had in ages - highly recommend it!

SATURDAY

9h: Breakfast at the hotel (have the vegetarian breakfast - it's amazing!).

10am: Explore a little more - head to Dean Village to find a quaint little town in the middle of a big city, shop on the Royal Mile or visit one of Edinburgh's museums (I would personally choose the Scottish National Gallery , the Scottish National Portrait Gallery or the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art).

12h: Lunch in a cafe. As I mentioned, restaurants have to close at 6 p.m., but they can serve lunch. A few that come highly recommended are Nomad, Cairngorm Coffee, Bross Bagels, and The Milkman.

1 p.m .: Shopping around the hotel. Jane davidson was a nice little shop with brands such as J. Brand Jeans, Isabel Marant and Nanushka. We had so much fun sailing and trying some things - we even had a glass of champagne while we were sailing. Another great store to consider is Strathberry. An Edinburgh-based handbag brand, perhaps best known for being one of Meghan Markle's favorites, they make beautiful handbags at good prices for the modern woman. The hardest part will be deciding which color to choose!

3 p.m .: Head to Stockbridge for more shopping. We loved shopping at the independent boutiques in this part of town. A few stores of note include Life story (a well-organized Scandi home goods store), Treen (an ethical male and female fashion boutique), Golden Hare Books, and The method (luxury products for the bath and the body).

5 pm-6pm: Another hotel happy hour (this is where we learned about the fate of the current national lockdown in England lol).

7:30 p.m .: Due to the Covid rules in place in Scotland we had to have dinner at Baba Again, as the hotel restaurants are the only ones allowed to provide dinner service (luckily Baba is amazing so we didn't mind eating there twice!). However, if it hadn't been for Covid, we would have had dinner at Undine, which is a lovely Scottish seafood restaurant.

Lifestyle blogger Mollie Moore explains how to spend a weekend in Scotland

SUNDAY

9h: Breakfast at the hotel.

10am: Massages at the Kimpton's Spa (facials are not allowed at this time due to Covid). I went with the 'Revigorating Massage', which used products from the brand Ishga. Ishga is an organic Scottish skin care brand that uses the powers of Scottish seaweed to create its award-winning products. The spa was so beautiful and relaxing, and after a busy weekend of exploring, a massage was the perfect way to kick off our last day. My therapist and I wore masks all the time (I promise to immediately forget this - had no problem relaxing even with them) and felt safe the entire time.

12h: Take a shower, pack your bags and leave Kimpton Charlotte Square. Fortunately, the reception held our luggage for the afternoon!

1 p.m .: Head to colorful Victoria Street and collect last-minute souvenirs and gifts. Rumor has it that Victoria Street inspired JK Rowling when creating Diagon Alley. I can certainly see how the colors may have inspired him, but I think Shambles in York (another rumored inspiration spot) is more architecturally similar to Diagon Alley. Be sure to stop Museum context (a must for Harry Potter lovers), John Kay (a well-organized shop filled with vintage prints, books and antique knickknacks), and Red Door Gallery (lots of fun and well priced prints and home decor pieces).

3 p.m .: Harry Potter fans should also be sure to check out the Elephant house, just around the corner of Victoria Street. This is where JK Rowling sat down and wrote several of her early manuscripts while she had a cup of tea!

4 p.m .: Taxi at Edinburgh Airport. It is only about 30 minutes from Kimpton Charlotte Square.

6 p.m .: Flight back to London!

And that's the end of our little weekend in Scotland! As I mentioned, this was my first time in Scotland and I barely felt like I had scratched the surface of all the things I would love to see and do in the country. I feel like I got off to a good start! Unfortunately, Covid definitely had an impact on my experience, with restaurants and pubs shutting down. This route would have included a lot more pub stops otherwise! I can't wait to come back when things "keep my fingers crossed" soon.

xx Mollie

Editor's Note: As this is my first post on travel since the pandemic, I just want to make it clear that I cannot recommend or give specific travel advice at this time. Things are so uncertain and any kind of trip will be a calculated risk (whether domestic or not). This is simply an itinerary of my trip and the things I chose to do and felt comfortable with during my stay. This list might seem different to you, or maybe you won't even be traveling at all right now. Let's all lead with grace during these times and recognize that everyone is going to have different levels of comfort, and that's okay. Do what's best for you and let others do what's best for them. Travel is something I really care about, so for me supporting hotels and tourism in these difficult times is extremely important. Even if traveling isn't for you right now, you can always save this guide for reference when you're ready! X



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