From stunning lochs to historic castles, a vibrant culture and a world-famous comedy festival, Scotland has a lot to offer. Travelling from London, the Scottish capital can be reached within 4 and a half hours by train or a mere 1 hour 10 minutes flight, meaning it’s probably more easily accessible than you first thought.

Whether you’re looking for bustling city-life full of historic architecture, street performers and a lively nightlife or you’re aiming for plenty of fresh sea air, breath-taking views and country pubs, then Scotland is the destination for you.

As Burns Night draws closer, we’ve picked out our favourite Scottish hidden gems, and there really is something for everyone!

Edinburgh Kyoto Friendship Garden

Set in the grounds of Lauriston Castle, the garden is a sanctuary of peace built to honour the twinning and friendship of Edinburgh and Kyoto, Japan. The beautiful garden offers spectacular views over Cramond Island to the Firth of Forth, vibrant blossom trees and bamboo shelters perfect for picnics. The garden is such an oasis of calm and is perfect for anyone looking for a short break from the bustling city.

Glasgow University

Not an obvious tourist destination but Glasgow University’s atmospheric and mesmerising cloisters make it a great spot for any architecture or photography enthusiasts. If you’re more interested in art and history check out the Hunterian Museum, part of the Royal College of Surgeons, and one of the oldest collections of anatomical, pathological and zoological specimens in the UK.

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

You might know this iconic place from the equally iconic song, and if you’re heading to the Glasgow area it’s definitely worth a visit. Just a short train ride from the city, the loch is part of The Trossachs National Park and is just one of 22 large lochs in the park. Visitors to the National Park can partake in a number of activities, including mountaineering, loch cruises, golf and angling. This is a must visit for lovers of the outdoors and visitors can even set up camp to enjoy all the park has to offer over several days.

Moray Speyside

The beautiful Moray Speyside area is home to some fantastic tourist destinations, including The Malt Whisky Trail where whisky aficionados can visit the legendary Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Macallan distilleries. You can then soak up the whisky with some famous Walkers Shortbread whose factory is in the area. Visitors can also enjoy the stunning coastline views and try out some of the many outdoor activities on offer, such as mountain biking, golf and a trip on the Keith and Dufftown Railway.

Shetland

An archipelago, Shetland is made up of over 100 islands, 15 of which are inhabited, with the largest island known as the “Mainland”. Shetland is blessed with beautiful beaches, a wide array of wildlife, including Shetland ponies, gannets, puffins, seals, otters and porpoises, and meadows full of wildflowers. If that isn’t enough, then perhaps the chance of seeing the Northern Lights will entice you. Shetland lies closer to the north pole than any other part of the British Isles, and on a clear winter night, you could expect to see the beautiful light show.

Smoo Cave

Head to Durness, the country’s most north-westerly point in the mainland, to explore Britain’s biggest sea cave. Set into the limestone cliffs, the cave and waterfall are truly magical and can be explored by boat or on foot via a path in the cliffs. While you’re in the area, visit the nearby sandy beaches of Balnakeil Bay and discover the remains of Durness Old Church, with views over the bay to Faraid Head.

Have you got any recommendations for us? Let us know in the comments below!

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