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With new, comfortable Caledonian Sleeper trains entering service on both ‘Lowlander’ (from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow) and ‘Highlander’ routes (from London to Fort William, Inverness and on to Aberdeen), there’s now another reason to plan an active break that will take in the majesty of Scotland’s great outdoors.
Tackle the Scottish version of the Coast to Coast
Best known for encouraging the establishment of the Yosemite National Park, Scotland has been rather slow to recognise its famous son – it wasn’t until 2014 that John Muir was honoured with a trail in his native land. The John Muir Way is a path that extends from Dunbar, on the southeast coast, to the seaside town of Helensburgh in the west, forming a Scottish coast-to-coast route.
Relive the legend of notorious Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor
Rob Roy MacGregor was a notorious outlaw and a folk hero, who escaped capture several times. The 80-mile Rob Roy Way takes you through classic Highland scenery and areas that were his old haunts. It begins in Drymen, whose Clachan Inn is the oldest registered licensed pub in Scotland and would have been known by Rob Roy as it was run by his sister!
Find your favourite loch along the Great Glen Way
The Great Glen Way is an exhilarating long distance trail starting at Fort William and concluding at Inverness, Scotland’s northernmost city. Following mostly canal and loch-side footpaths, it passes by the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. Scattered along the shores of Loch Ness, the centuries-old forts and castles remain a silent witness to the country’s turbulent past.
Spot native wildlife as you cycle through the heart of the Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands Cycle is a week-long trip that will see you cycling along scenic paths and quiet forest trails where you can spot native wildlife such as red deer, stag or golden eagles. At Fort William a day is set aside to rest, (or ascend Ben Nevis!), followed by a train journey that takes you across Rannoch Moor to Loch Rannoch. The trip concludes at the riverside city of Perth.
Discover the diversity of Scotland’s ‘Big County’
Enjoy majestic mountain peaks, shimmering lochs and pretty glens. On our Lochs and Bens trip, you’ll take Scotland’s backroads and country paths, explore peaceful villages and rural towns, take a forest walk and visit castles and ancient monuments found along the way. The trip focuses on Perthshire, known as Scotland’s ‘big county’ because of the wide variety of landscapes that can be found here.
Follow the old military roads of the West Highland Way
From the south of Loch Lomond to Fort William and Ben Nevis, the famous West Highland Way connects Britain’s largest lake with its highest mountain. The route is a step back into history - many stages follow military roads that date back to the 1700s and used to link the Highlands to the Lowlands, as well as hotels that originated from droving inns that operated for centuries.
Browse all of our Scotland holidays here.
Best Pubs in the UK for Walkers
The UK is famous for its historic inns and pubs, and no matter what your choice of refreshment, relaxing in one at the end of a day’s walk is an essential part of a walking holiday in the UK. We’ve asked around the office and here is a list of our favourite pubs that you can visit on one of our UK walking holidays.
Old Dungeon Ghyll, Langsdale
Located in the Lake District, the Old Dungeon Ghyll is a famous climber’s bar that has offered accommodation and sustenance to weary fellwalkers and climbers in the midst of some of the highest mountains in England, for over 300 years.
Why we like it: Stunning location and a great place to rest up with other exhausted walkers and listen to their epic tales.
Visit the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and more on our Cumbria Way walking holiday >>
DORSET AND WESSEX TRAILS
Smugglers Inn, Osmington Mills
This lovely old pub dates back to the 13th century and was once the home of the leader of the most notorious gang of smugglers in the area during the 18th and 19th centuries (Emmanuel Charles).
Why we like it: Cosy inn near the sea has some good ales and its location makes you feel miles from the real world.
Visit the Smugglers Inn and more on our Dorset and Wessex Trails walking holiday >>
Red Lion, Burnsall
The Red Lion in North Yorkshire was originally a Ferryman’s Inn from the 16th century and on top of some delicious real ales the pub also serves up a tasty selection of local game and produce. Image from Tip Advisor
Why we like it: Good old-fashioned pub with great food, nestled right by the old bridge.
Visit the Red Lion pub on our Dales Way walking holiday >>
GREAT GLEN WAY
Glenmoriston Arms, Glenmoriston
Another pub that was originally a Drover’s inn, the original hotel built on the site dates back to 1740, six years before the battle of Culloden.
Why we like it: Great old bar with over 100 varieties of single malt Whisky, including some from extinct distilleries.
This renowned whisky bar has a huge range of single malts to choose from and friendly bartenders who can talk you through the tasting of Scotland’s national drink.
Why we like it: Great food and whiskey (obviously) and a relaxing place for a meal after a visit to Urquart Castle.
Visit the Glenmoriston Arms, Fiddlers and more on our Great Glen Way walking holiday >>
WEST HIGHLAND WAY
Kings House Hotel, Glencoe
The Kings House hotel is one of the oldest (and most remote!) licenced inns in Scotland and offers an extensive bar with magnificent views of the hills. It even has a sneaky climber’s bar round the back.
Why we like it: Location, Location! This pub has one of the most famous backdrops in Scotland (Buchaille Etive Mor).
Visit the Kings House Hotel and more on our Great Glen Way walking holiday >>
COAST TO COAST
Buck Hotel, Reeth
Originally a coaching Inn dating back to around 1760, the Buck in has been refreshing weary travellers for centuries. Inside you’ll find a cost bar with many of the original features still in tact.
Why we like it: Good range of well-kept beers/ales on draught and great zippy food.
Black Bull, Reeth
Older still than the Buck Hotel, the Black Bull dates back to 1680 and offers a wide selection of hand-pulled ales and good hearty food.
Why we like it: The Black Bull’s position on the village green makes for a great spot to rest in the sun (if you’re lucky!) and the pub is also amusingly famous for its ‘Old Peculiar on draught’; two pints of which apparently and you are anyone's!
The Lion, Blakey
The Lion Inn on remote Blakey Ridge is a 16th Century freehouse. Located at the highest point of the North York Moors National Park, it offers breathtaking views over the valleys of Rosedale and Farndale.
Why we like it: This cavernous old pub in the middle of nowhere has a great feel to it inside with open fires and low beams, and outside in the beer garden you have some great views over the dales.
Horseshoe Hotel, Egton Bridge
The 18th century Horseshoe Hotel sits on some stunning grounds on the bank of the River Esk, in the quaint English village of Egton Bridge. Catering to walkers it is a great place to relax and replenish your energy.
Why we like it: You always hit this old fashioned pub right about when you feel like a drink! It’s beautiful beer garden is a great place to rest your weary feet before you contemplate crossing the Esk on stepping stones!
Visit these pubs and more on one of our Coast to Coast walking holidays >>
The Boathouse is a traditional pub, with low-beamed ceilings, stone floor and a dark wood bar decorated with tankards, pump-clips, and paintings.
Why we like it: Extraordinary range of 12 varieties of real ale or cider on hand-pulls and great home-cooked meals.
Twice Brewed Inn, Once Brewed
Overlooked by Steel Rigg, one of the best stretches of Hadrian’s Wall, the Twice Brewed Inn’s setting in rural Northumberland is quite unique. There are many theory’s surrounding it’s unique name that you can learn more about on your visit.
Why we like it: Once a brewery, this pub lives up to its name with a range of tasty ales.
Visit the Boathouse and Twice Brewed Inn on our Hadrian’s Wall walking holiday >>
Image credits: Some images used in this article were sourced from the pub's website, Trip Advisor or Visit Scotland.