7 Key Scottish Activities to Book in Advance

16th November 2021

Scotland is a popular international destination, which sometimes means that the most well-known activities or locations get booked up months in advance.  Thankfully, there is so much to see and do that you can always find an alternative which is guaranteed to be just as enjoyable, especially if Away from the Ordinary are helping you plan your trip.  

That being said, if you have something specific in mind, it is advisable to plan ahead and book certain aspects as soon as you know you will be travelling to Scotland – especially if you are visiting in the summer months.  To help with this, Away from the Ordinary have pulled together a list of a few of the places which we know often get pre-booked months in advance. 

Photo by Jack Anstey

1. The Jacobite Steam Train

The world-famous Jacobite Steam Train, which featured in the Harry Potter films, traverses across the breathtaking Scottish Highlands taking in a multitude of stunning vistas and landscapes.  The journey, which runs to and from the towns of Fort William and Mallaig, captures the majestic romanticism of train travel and never fails to delight both adults and children alike.  Tickets can get sparser, especially in the height of summer, so pre-booking is advisable.  

Photo by The Royal Dornoch

2. Golf Experiences

Scotland is the home of golf: It is the country where the sport was invented, and it has a plethora of incredible courses which range from the world-famous championship ones to charming rural locations which operate via an honesty box system.  Even with so much on offer, there are some golfing experiences which the team at Away from the Ordinary advise booking well in advance, such as tickets to an Open or other high-profile competitions and rounds at the likes of Royal Dornoch and other internationally renowned courses.

Photo by Edinburgh Tattoo

3. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo

One of the most riveting and soul-stirring events in the world, the rightfully globally acclaimed Royal Military Tattoo is an experience that many visitors will not want to miss.  In the shadow of Edinburgh’s medieval castle, the event takes place every year over several weeks in August. The Tattoo brings together marching bands from a range of international locations, putting on a show which has thrilled audiences for decades.  The Tattoo runs at the same time as the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Edinburgh Fringe, which is the largest arts festival in the world.  The city gets very busy at this time, and we advise booking event tickets, accommodations, and even sought-after dinner reservations as soon as possible.

Photo by Sarah Johnson

4. Scotland’s Enchanting Islands

Scotland is home to over 790 beautiful islands – many of which are highly sought-after visitor destinations.  These islands offer exceptional beaches, stunning views, hospitable accommodation, and an opportunity to delve deeply into a range of local Scottish cultures.  Their remoteness, which enhances their appeal, can also lead to some logistical challenges for travellers.  For example, the ferries which take locals and visitors alike from the mainland to the western isles, often fill up fast in the summer months; especially for those who would like to travel with their own vehicle.  In the busiest seasons, accommodation, activities, and even restaurants can get booked up well in advance.  The team at Away from the Ordinary can help plan your Scottish island visit, ensuring you get the most out of these incredible locations. 

Photo by Royal Scotsman

5. Belmond’s The Royal Scotsman

Train travel reaches a new peak of luxury and elegance with the Royal Scotsman’s travel experiences. Their incredible carriages take travellers on a range of sophisticated Scottish adventures throughout the year. The train has a beautifully appointed dinning carriage which serves a selection of incredible Scottish food and drink. A spa carriage ensures that visitors leave pampered and fully relaxed. The luxurious experiences and packages do get booked up fast, and there are limited cabins available. As an official partner of Belmond and the Royal Scotsman, Away from the Ordinary can help you successfully book your journey of a lifetime.

Photo from Shetland.org

6. Up-Helly-aa

Not many people know about Scotland’s deep Norse and Viking roots; Shetland is the perfect destination to travel to rectify this.  A series of ruggedly beautifully islands located in the Northernmost region of the UK, Shetland is truly a cultural and creative hub.  Every year, the local community comes together in the dead of winter to celebrate their Viking heritage with a series of events, parties, and a torchlight procession.  Viking armour and all-night celebrations are not uncommon.  Visitors can expect live music, lots of fantastic local food and drink, and a festive atmosphere.  

Photo by Sarah Johnson

7. North Coast 500 in the Summer Months

This stunningly picturesque driving route which takes visitors on an adventure around the very top of mainland Britain offers 500 miles of incredible food and drink, world-class accommodation, breathtaking vistas and beaches, and a series of amazing Scottish wildlife experiences.  Some of the stops along the way are in more remote and bucolic locations, which means that the accommodation and restaurants available can get booked up quickly – particularly in the more popular summer months. To get the most of this incredible region of Scotland, it is best to plan ahead and book a few of your stops.  For more inspiration, check out our NC 500 blog post here. 

At Away from the Ordinary, we do pride ourselves in fulfilling the requests of our guests, so please do let us know if one of the above is on your wish list.  We will do whatever we can to help make your dream vacation a reality. 

Find out more about golfing in Scotland here:

Read our top tips for the NC500 here: