In what has been one of the most turbulent and stressful years of our lives, a recent trip to the Scottish Highlands allowed me to slow things down and restore some mental calm. London is renowned for its luxury, now is the time to explore Scotland.
Being surrounded by breathtaking scenery, peaceful nature, and wildlife provided an outlet for an otherwise claustrophobic feeling that held onto the 2020 lockdown existence.
The Cairngorms are a highland mountain range, part of the Cairngorms National Park - the UK's largest national park. Thanks to the team of www.visitcairngorms.com I was able to discover a region perfectly nestled in this vast quiet space.
The sleepy town of Boat of Garten - just 45 minutes drive from Inverness Airport - offers perfect access to the wider Scottish Highlands, but it's this quaint village itself that is worth exploring. . Home to a number of luxury lodges hidden behind beautiful pine trees, this was Wildcat Lodge - organized for me by Scotland Retreat - it was my home for my time here.
Wildcat Lodge is perfect for a couple. The large king-size bed is wonderfully comfortable so a good sleep is guaranteed - especially after soaking in the hot tub outside in the private garden under the twinkling stars in the night sky!
The open plan living room with adjoining kitchen is a home away from home. Look for amazing Scottish ingredients in local shops to whip up a delicious meal. With a full bodied bottle of red to accompany this, you should be in for a very romantic evening.
The surrounding area is popular for walkers and cyclists, with local restaurants, cafes and shops paired with extraordinary views. Neighboring town of Aviemore offers a number of activities, from skiing the Cairngorm mountains to quad biking, ziplining and much more!
Glen Dye cabins
Across the Cairngorms to the east, not far from Aberdeen, lies Glen Dye Cabins - an outdoor haven that The Sunday Times voted in the UK's top 25 cottages. Although WiFi is accessible, I highly recommend that you disconnect from the network completely while staying here to truly immerse yourself in the experience and truly reconnect with nature. Your body and mind will thank you for it later.
Located in a private 30,000 acre estate, there are five lodges. The group's choice is the sawmill. This campground provides a romantic outdoor retreat, with adjoining woods to explore during the day and a wood-fired outdoor hot tub perfect for the evenings. The sawmill also houses a completely renovated 1955 Airstream Safari caravan!
A few steps away you can pick up your own vegetables and eggs from the chicken coop. A real treat if you are from the city.
With its own bespoke wood-fired sauna and also being a dog-friendly place, you might find it hard to tear yourself away from Glen Dye Cabins come at the end of your stay.
This luxury hotel is an open love letter to Scotland. Friendly staff welcome you to their Balmoral tartan, while classic Scottish artwork decorates the interiors and brings the country's culture to life. Scotch is home to passionate ambassadors of whiskey dressed in kilt and 500 malts. Although sadly closed on my recent stay, it was nevertheless another visit someday.
Likewise, these difficult times in which we are currently living have forced the temporary closure of the Michelin-starred restaurant of Balmoral, Number one. Brasserie Prince however remains open, serving classic French cuisine with Scottish produce. Brasserie Prince is both relaxed and elegant. Soft buttery leather banquettes, sparkling mirrors and brass accents wouldn't hurt Paris.
The restaurant takes its name from its address - No.1 Princes Street - an ideal location in the city. It's in the perfect moment when New Town meets Old, lovingly casting glances in the direction of Edinburgh Castle.
There are 167 rooms and 20 suites, all of which are elegant, elegant and very well maintained. The design was overlooked by Olga Polizzi and embodies the rich Scottish landscape. The blue and gray colors impart a calming feel, paying homage to the country's forests, hills and lakes. The handmade beds, too, are sublime and literally worthy of royalty; Glencraft is a supplier to the Queen of Balmoral Castle.
This legendary hotel is part of Rocco Forte Hotels, as the Brown's in London. It has truly established itself as a historic clock tower, which acts as a symbol for its city, as well as a beacon for luxury hotels in Scotland.
The best time to visit Italy are the months of May, June, and September. Compared to the peak summer months of July and August, these months offer more comfortable temperatures and there are fewer crowds ( except around Easter ). The country experiences four classic seasons per year, although there is a marked difference between the wetter, cooler North and the drier, warmer South. The rainiest months pretty much everywhere are usually October and November.
Fall ( September – November ) : temperatures cool down gradually, although September is usually still very pleasant. Expect crisp fall leaves and some sunnier days, but plan for wet weather too. Fall carries many of the same benefits as spring, but with slightly less predictable weather.
Winter : temperatures in the South remain mild in winter, while Northern Italy is normally wet and cold. Winter in the Italian Alps is fantastic though for skiing and snowboarding, but the ski resorts do get crowded so book early.
Travelers wishing to visit Italy can use a bus, train, plane, or boat to get there. Most tourists arrive by plane though, often landing in Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport, the country’s busiest airport. This is the preferred point of entry in Italy when you want to visit Rome, or saut the entire country. Click here for a continuously updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Rome.
Although Rome is the main getaway for most visitors to Italy, it’s often easier and cheaper to fly directly to/from one of the country’s other airports. It can also save you a lot of time to book a multi-city ticket, hereby arriving in one airport and leaving from another ( for example fly in Milan in the north and fly out via Naples in the south ). The following airports are of interest for most tourist itineraries :
Milan Malpenza Airport ( north ) is the largest international airport in the Milan metropolitan area in northern Italy ( and also the main getaway to the Italian Lakes ). Click here for a continuously updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Milan.
Venice Marco Polo airport ( north ) is the international airport of Venice. It offers flights to many European metropolitan areas as well as some partly seasonal long-haul routes to the United States, Canada, South Korea and the Middle East. Click here for a continuously updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Venice.