31st March 2023
We are so proud of the team we have curated here at Away from the Ordinary. Each dedicated person plays an important role in providing our clients with the bespoke vacation of their dreams. Every member has a deep personal interest and love for all things travel.
Read on to get to know us a little better and to find out the very best Scottish travel tips, from Away from the Ordinary’s team of experts. There are some real local gems in this one.
Meet the Away from the Ordinary team:
I am lucky enough to play a big part in the planning and creation of our clients’ wonderful vacations. I speak to clients to gain some understanding of their wishes and interests and then go on to plan a fully bespoke itinerary that will hopefully blow them away. I do a lot of communicating with our industry partners in Scotland, meaning I get to meet and speak to lots of great people across all corners of our lovely country
This one is near-enough impossible to answer. A recent favourite, though, has been the town of Pitlochry in the Scottish Highlands. My partner and I have made it a tradition to get away to Pitlochry for a few days around Halloween when the autumn colours are at their most dramatic. The town has a lovely atmosphere, great food, and direct access to some of Scotland’s most stunning landscapes and wildlife. Not to mention the annual Enchanted Forest event, a spectacular light show that transforms the already beautiful Faskally Woods into a stunning spectacle of light and sound.
Just explore as much of Scotland’s wilderness as you can. The atmosphere and emotions provoked by Scotland’s glens, lochs, coasts and mountains are hard to describe and even harder to replicate. Renting a car is the best way to reach the more remote spots. Even better, enrich the experience by being accompanied by a local guide, who will bring the areas to life with their invaluable local knowledge and insights. Oh, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is pretty amazing too.
A personal favourite is the Mother Superior bar in Leith, the vibrant port district just down the road from Edinburgh’s New Town. Its cosy atmosphere is beloved by locals, and it boasts a wide selection of beers and whiskies that will entice just about anyone. The pub also serves delicious food, hosts pub quizzes and local musicians, and has a downstairs room dedicated to all things music & entertainment.
Scotland has something special to offer whatever the season. I won’t pretend that Scotland’s reputation for rain is unfounded, but it may be exaggerated. No season is overwhelmed by rain, just like no season is completely safe from it. So do consider wrapping up and travelling in the off-season, because much of Scotland’s beauty truly reveals itself in the colder months. From the transforming foliage to the crisp blue winter skies, the seasonal events like the Enchanted Forest and the alluring light of a foggy pub window, there’s something very magical and dream-like about Scotland in the colder months.
My role has been really interesting. I was actually Aeneas’s first employee of Away from the Ordinary and it has been amazing to see the company grow and develop over the years into the company it is today! As the Creative Marketing Executive, I am here to connect with our audience and share stories from Scotland with our wonderful clients. I work closely with Aeneas and Michael and am always looking for new and unique ways to provide value to our customers.
I am biased as a west-coast highlander myself, but the North West Highlands are, to me, the best of the best. I think the landscape tells the real history of Scotland, a truly ancient land carved and shaped by glaciers over millions of years. As an outdoor enthusiast, the remote and wild landscape rejuvenates me.
Get outdoors. Take a full day to walk up a mountain or to a far-away beach or bothy. Take time to soak in your surroundings. To me, it’s not about the final destination, it’s about all of the unexpected things that pop up that make for the most memorable trips. There are so many incredible mountain guides in Scotland that can show you to the truly breathtaking places that you won’t hear about in magazines.
The Lochinver Larder for seriously unforgettable pies. I could talk about these pies all day; the pastry is the finest shortcrust pastry I have ever tasted and the fillings are incredible. You can enjoy your pie in their garden seating area or take it away to one of the infinite number of beauty spots nearby. If taking a pie from the Lochinver Larder for a picnic at Achmelvich beach isn’t on your bucket list already, add it now.
Don’t rush. I used to try to see as many places as possible in one trip, and squeeze in every activity, but I would return from holidays feeling more drained than before I left. When I learned to slow down, I would come home feeling invigorated with a new lease of life. I pay close attention to my methods of travel and try to go for a walk or cycle every day on a trip. If I need to drive, I take the scenic route and am sure to stop and take in the view regularly.
I am an Away from the Ordinary partner who often hosts immersive whisky tastings for clients. We pair the best of Scottish drams with amazing chocolates from The Highland Chocolatier, Iain Burnett, or with the best cheeses around.
Being a whisky nerd, Islay is always going to be near the top of my list of places to visit, with its incredible landscape, abundant wildlife and of course, its amazing range of distilleries, flavours and scents. If I can squeeze in a wee nip along the road from the ferry port to Campbeltown as well… I’ll meet you at Springbank.
Every corner of Scotland offers something unique, but I don’t think we make enough noise about the soft fruits of Angus or the abundance of world-class seafood we have throughout the seasons.
Seahills Farms have some of the biggest, juiciest strawberries you will ever see, and they are incredibly tasty. Never again will you eat an out-of-season supermarket strawberry. A newer arrival on my local food scene is The Johnshaven Lobster Shop. If you plan your visit right, it could coincide with the mid-summer fish festival, a great place to see our heritage and produce celebrated in such a way.
Edinburgh, as well as being the city I grew up in, is the centre of Scottish eating and hospitality, so when I want to celebrate or treat myself, this is where I head.
As well as an ever-growing list of award-winning venues, some new spots like The Palmerston, Duck & Waffle, and The Free Company need to be discussed along with the likes of the established Fior, The Little Chartroom and Ondine.
The Bow Bar for a pie and a pint is always on my mind when I’m in the city centre too.
After travelling a lot at the beginning of my career, I’ve realised nowhere compares to Scotland for me. So I guess my tip would be, stay here!
As a Luxury Travel Consultant, my role is not just to give clients an itinerary; my role is to guide, understand and be there for them. One of the best parts of this role is meeting with the client to begin the process of creating the best tailor-made experience a person can have.
My favourite place to stay in Scotland is the West Coast and its beaches. Here the seaside is stunning, and you will be surprised by the views and the relaxing environment. I always travel there to clear my head when I need to recharge my energy.
It is hard to recommend just one, as most of them are unique, but one of the best activities I would recommend is Clay Pigeon Shooting. Before I tried it, I didn’t know what to expect but I really enjoyed it and I was surprised by my score. It is really fun, especially with friends and family.
I would also recommend trying a Wild Picnic in the Scottish hills. The food is fantastic, and the attention to detail makes this a unique experience. I can assure you it is an activity possible to do during all the seasons.
I live in Edinburgh and when my family or friends come to visit me I love getting up early, taking a walk to the park nearby my house and then having a full Scottish breakfast at a place called The Raeburn in Stockbridge.
The Raeburn was built in 1832 as an elegant Georgian family home and has been transformed into an exquisite boutique hotel. Boasting ten bedrooms, a bar, dining, library, private dining and outdoor terraces, it is the only one of its kind in the area. You can not miss the opportunity to experience the Full Scottish Breakfast here!
I love to travel; it makes me feel free and myself. One of the things I always do is try to immerse myself in the culture by visiting places with locals, listening to their history and eating with them.
Italian and Spanish.
I am lucky enough to be involved in a variety of roles at Away from the Ordinary. I work directly with our lovely clients, helping them enjoy their bespoke Scotland itineraries. I communicate with the international travel and spirit media, keeping them abreast of our plans and activities. I often get to be part of marketing brainstorming and activations, and I am involved in Away from the Ordinary’s industry partnerships. More than anything else, my job is to support our fantastic wider team.
Edinburgh, Edinburgh, and I’ll say it again, Edinburgh. This magical city is more textured, layered, and storied than anywhere I have ever been. It is laden with culture and its cobbled streets are saturated with history, whisky, and long-forgotten tales. It evokes feelings of wonder and captures the imagination. Add to this excellent music, world-class food, wonderful accommodation, and a truly international outlook, and you can see why so many people fall in love with the city.
Visiting one of Scotland’s islands. Even for a person who is born and raised in Scotland, when you travel to one of the many breathtaking island communities, you experience a different version of the country. Each island harbours its own culture and secrets. I travelled back to Islay again recently and was reminded of how incredibly special the place is. The warmth of the welcome is only matched by the untamed wildness of the landscape. The plethora of soul-warming whisky definitely helps too.
This is a tricky question because the beauty of Scotland is that it has a little something for everyone. Personally, I love to take visitors to a Scottish pub so that can enjoy some great conversation, a warm welcome, and a whole host of local music. You can find this across the country, but one of the places I most adore is Captains Bar in Edinburgh. A small dimly lit and wooden adorned tavern, 5 minutes from the city centre, this bar has live music every night, along with a malt of the month which is bound to put a song in your heart.
Talk to locals. Scottish people, well most of us, love to have a blether. I personally think that Scotland is one of the friendliest places in the world, so be open to conversation and discussion. One of the things I love so much about Away from the Ordinary is that us organising your trip is like a conversation with a very passionate and well-informed local.
After years of planning, I founded Away from the Ordinary in 2017. Travelling a lot for work and pleasure, I saw an opportunity for a curated Scottish travel service for the discerning traveller. I wanted to create a company that unlocked the best places in Scotland for our clients to explore. Today I work across all aspects of the business and help the brilliant Away from the Ordinary team exceed our client’s expectations.
It’s cliched but there are too many places to mention. In Spring or Summer, I would like to be on a boat or in a kayak anywhere on the west coast of Scotland. In Autumn or Winter, during the day I would like to be in a whisky distillery warehouse, tasting whisky straight from the cask and by the fireplace in an exclusive-use property in the evening.
Get out on the water. Scotland’s coastline and lochs are stunning and full of history and wildlife. So let us book you on an amazing boat trip so you can discover it for yourself.
For a delicious meal in a beautiful remote setting within 90 minutes of Edinburgh or Glasgow, I would take my guests to Monachyle Mhor. When the road starts to get smaller and narrower in Scotland, it usually means that you are heading somewhere very good indeed.
For coffee, I would take them to Caora Dhubh Coffee which is just next to the Talisker distillery on the Isle of Skye. Have coffee and cake with a view.
For a welcome drink, I would take them to the Glenelg Inn, in one of my favourite areas of Scotland, then we could explore the Iron age brochs or get the tiny Kylerhea ferry to Skye.
Don’t rush. I like to stay in places for at least 3 nights, that way you can soak up a bit more of the location’s character and build in some free time for serendipitous adventures.
French and Spanish.
I’m lucky to have a varied and interesting role at Away from the Ordinary. I am responsible for data capture and analysis. I also liaise with our partners on industry matters.
Ooh, this is such a tough question! If I have to pick one place, then I opt for Nairn Beach – it’s made up of 3 distinct sections and the landscape is ever-changing; Culbin Forest to the East, Central Beach with its park, crazy golf and cafes, and West Beach beside Nairn Golf Club. You can look out for seals and dolphins, and the occasional basking shark as well as swimmers, paddleboarders and kayakers, and on a clear winter’s night you can look out for the Northern Lights. I love a long walk on the beach with our dog, Missy.
For a truly Scottish experience, I would recommend a day at a Highland Games. You’ll hear bagpipes, see highland dancing and traditional highland games like tossing the caber. Of course, you will also have the opportunity to mingle with locals.
Living in Nairn, my first choice would be One One Two on the Brae. It has fantastic food and an amazing selection of wine.
I have two tips; the first would be to use a private guide as it is, without doubt, the best use of your time on vacation, and the other is to slow down, take in your surroundings and observe life going on around you.
We hope you have a few new spots to add to your list of must-visits after getting to know the Away from the Ordinary team. To speak to one of our incredible travel consultants about building your dream Scottish vacation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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