It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and the busiest, too. Hit pause this December with a getaway at one of these Scottish boltholes
Compiled by Olivia Simpson
A getaway that helps you tick items off your festive to-do list and leaves you feeling rejuvenated? Sign us up. The Taybank in Dunkeld is hosting a pop-up vintage and makers market on 8th and 9th December, where you can pick up handmade ceramics, books, vintage clothes and more for your nearest and dearest without having to face the usual throngs of Christmas shoppers.
Purchases made, it’s time to treat yourself to an hour or so indulging in the hotel’s Braan sauna experience, complete with cold water plunge tank, cold shower and sauna whisks made from local birch. The sauna is open until March 2024, giving you the perfect excuse to steal away in the new year for a trip to banish the January blues.
Edinburgh knows how to put on a show at Christmas time, with a calendar full of markets, concerts and performances to celebrate the season of goodwill.
To take it all in, you’ll need a base right in the heart of the action, and The Witchery, located just off the Royal Mile in buildings dating back to 1595, is the ideal spot.
The exceptional seasonal menu is a sophisticated alternative to Christmas market frankfurters and glühwein, and the nine lavishly decorated suites are the perfect place to unwind after a day spent wandering the cobbled streets.
In the bleak midwinter, there’s nothing like a dram or two to warm you up.
So, when the temperature drops, a getaway to whisky label Glenmorangie’s boutique hotel, located just a short distance from their distillery in Tain, makes perfect sense.
As you’d expect, the bar is perfectly stocked and there’s whisky experiences aplenty, but it’s the blend of tradition and playfulness in the hotel’s interiors, designed by Russell Sage, that makes Glenmorangie House a real standout.
The famed Three Chimneys restaurant on Skye has been lauded countless times over the years, and for good reason. But it was Nigella Lawson’s reflections on a recent visit that summed it up best: “Exquisite food in an informal setting: there’s nothing finer.”
Diners who decide to stay in the restaurant’s neighbouring boutique hotel, The House Over-by, will be rewarded by impressive waterside views across Loch Dunvegan, made even better in winter by the chance of catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Tennis fans will have a trip to Cromlix on their summer wish list, hoping to improve their backhand on the outdoor courts at this Perthshire hotel, owned by Kim and Andy Murray.
But those who venture to Cromlix in the winter months will be rewarded by spectacular views of frosty Stirlingshire countryside and an array of festive events.
The season begins with wreath making workshops, and ends with a three night Hogmanay celebration, featuring all the elements you’d expect – like a champagne reception and gala dinner – and some you wouldn’t – like a falconry display on New Year’s Day.
Can’t decide between a city break and a countryside retreat?
Prestonfield House might just make the perfect compromise: nestled under Arthurs Seat and set within 20 acres of gardens, the peaceful setting belies the hotel’s proximity to Edinburgh city centre.
Spend the afternoon strolling the grounds (where you’ll have Highland cows and peacocks for company) and indulging in a Christmas afternoon tea.
Now suitably rested, you’ll be ready to get stuck into all the festive fun the capital has to offer. Who says you can’t have it all?