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Where to go and what to do on a spa break in Scotland

From R&R to outdoor activities, here are some of our top things to do and spa hotels to stay at in Scotland.

The many and varied aspects of Scotland have been attracting visitors for centuries. From the rugged Highlands to dramatic lochs, buzzing cities to picturesque towns and villages. From R&R to outdoor activities, here are some of our top things to do and spa hotels to stay at in Scotland.

Things to do in Scotland

Scotland is a big place and there are obviously many incredible sites to see, places to visit and activities to enjoy. To give you a taste of what you can look forward to, here are a few favourites.

Visit historic sites

From the historic Royal Mile and the spectacular Edinburgh Castle, set atop an extinct volcano, to The Scottish National Gallery, The Burrell Collection, or Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum set within Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow. From The Real Mary King's Close - one of Edinburgh's top attractions and only preserved 17th-century street - to the mesmerising views at the Glenfinnan Monument in the Highlands. Scotland is brimming with a history that's so rich you can practically feel its presence. Make sure you have some time to take in as much as you can.

Explore Scotland's nature reserves

Scotland's natural beauty is widely reported, so strolling in its nature reserves is a must. From geoparks in the Highlands and RSPB reserves in the Outer Hebrides, see the wonders of Forsinard Flows in Caithness, the dramatic Knockan Crag in the first UNESCO Global Geopark, or maybe the array of waterside wildlife at St Abbs.

Paddleboard on the lochs

The lochs are synonymous with Scotland, but why not explore them in a slightly different way? Get closer to nature with tranquil travel via stand-up paddle board (SUP), and boost your health at the same time. Find operators at the likes of Kenmore, Ganavan Bay, the River Almond near Edinburgh, Loch Kinord in Royal Deeside, Loch Lomond, the Forth of Firth, the Union Canal and more.

Hike the world's only UNESCO Trail

Scotland is the first country in the world to bring together 13 UNESCO sites into one trail, so for walkers it's total paradise. The whole thing takes you around sites from the south of Scotland to the islands of the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland, the north, and then back to central Scotland. You probably won't be doing the whole thing in one trip, but that’s just a good reason to come back time and again.

See the Northern Lights

One of nature's most theatrical performances, the Aurora Borealis is a sought after sight that you can sometimes see from the Isle of Skye between October and March. Northern Scotland sits on the same latitude as Stavanger in Norway and Nunivak Island in Alaska, giving you a good chance of spotting the unique display. Keep an eye on the Aurora Forecast to discover the best time to visit.

Explore Edinburgh's many neighbourhoods

Edinburgh is a city of many characters, from the enchanting Dean Village to the shores of Leith - the port district in the north of the city, home to hip creatives, waterfront bistros and traditional pubs. A popular feature is the former royal yacht, Britannia, famously beloved by the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Go to the beach

Edinburgh is not known for its beach, but head to the coastal suburb of Portobello and you will discover a jewel in Scotland's town. A beautiful beach, lined with cafes, bars and restaurants as well as the opportunity to visit unique independent shops on the high street.

Shop 'til you drop

What would a spa break be without a little retail therapy? Edinburgh’s stylish, St James Quarter is a gem for shopping and dining. Meanwhile, Glasgow is home to a wonderful shopping scene, from independent shops at The Hidden Lane, to vintage and pre-loved outlets like Glad Rags Thrift, not to mention weekend markets like Merchant Square Craft & Design Fair every weekend.

Enjoy a gin or whisky experiences

What would a trip to Scotland be without a little whisky? Across the country you will find gin and whisky experiences at distilleries including the popular Johnnie Walker Princes Street to The Port of Leith Distillery as well as Lind & Lime Gin.

Have a night out

Alongside the beautiful restaurants and bars at Scotland's hotel spas, its cities really do know how to have a good time. From Scotland to Glasgow and beyond, there are chic bars, city pubs and a wide array of foodie options to enjoy.

Go to green spaces

Whether you travel into the Highlands or stay in the cities, there's always green space to reveal in. For example, Glasgow is home to over 90 parks and gardens, from cooking up a little culture as you take the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Trail or the Contemporary Art Trail, hop on a boat to take it all in from the water or even meeting friendly Highland cows at Pollok Country Park.

Listen to the music

The Scots have a talent for music that's deeply rooted in their culture and it's celebrated in all forms today for everyone to enjoy. For example, Glasgow is one of the 19 UNESCO cities of music in Europe, so it's the perfect place to enjoy live events at iconic music venues like the Barrowland Ballroom, which also features on a Glasgow Music City Tour.

Scotland spa hotels to stay in

Amongst the many things Scotland is known for, hospitality is definitely one. Excellent pubs, beautiful inns, charming restaurants - they all abound, but alongside them there are also some spectacular spa hotels. Here's a little taste of what to expect.

Mar Hall, Glasgow

In this five-star grand mansion you’ll feel like royalty, thanks to the grandeur of the architecture, the plush furnishings and the opulent surroundings. The wooded estate offers plenty of outdoor trails for walking or running but it’s the spa that gives you the ultimate in relaxation. With first-class facilities, including a thermal suite (in the Garden Spa) and 25-metre swimming pool, a luxury menu of spa therapies is available to help you unwind and feel utterly spoiled.

Book a spa break at Mar Hall

The Address, Glasgow

A four-star hotel in the heart of the city, The Address Glasgow is a stylish getaway perfect for any occasion, welcoming groups, couples, business travellers and those visiting for leisure. They have a range of wellbeing facilities, including a beautiful Himalayan sauna, where their wellbeing magic is at its pique. It's worth noting there are no spa treatments available.

Book a spa break at The Address Glasgow
Edinburgh spa hotel - Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa

One Spa at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh

Located in the UNESCO World Heritage city centre of Edinburgh, Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa is a luxurious hotel that’s perfect for romantic breaks, special occasions or simply just because. An urban resort, it offers everything you could want from a city spa break, complete with modern luxury surroundings and a full hydrotherapy suite and a rooftop hydro pool, where you can enjoy an indoor-outdoor warm water whole body experience.

Book a spa break at One Spa at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh

Murrayshall Country Estate, Perthshire

Set in 365 acres of Perthshire countryside, including 27-holes of parkland golf, Murrayshall Country Estate is a four-star retreat surrounded by towering trees and total tranquillity. Alongside stately rooms and suites and award-winning dining, it's an opportunity to explore nature, enjoy outdoor activities and then unwind with a treatment or two using Scottish organic seaweed products from Ishga.

Book a spa break at Murrayshall Country Estate & Golf Club

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