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4 years ago, the United Kingdom became my new home. Before emigrating here, I didn’t know much about the country as a whole. I had no idea just how varied the landscape is. London seemed so attractive as a destination, that the rest of it was just a shadow. When I got more settled-in, I became interested and curious of what else was out there to see and do.

Dearly missing nature and its calming beauty, taking a trip seemed like a great idea to unwind and do what I love the most, travel. My explorer-in-me saw me booking train tickets to the north of the UK in late November, on my annual leave.

With a 5-hour train journey from London, I wanted to make the most out of it. My initial plan was to travel to Edinburgh, then rent a car to go and see Loch Lomond and the surrounding areas. 

The Charm of Scotland Roatrip Itinerary

 

Edinburgh 

 

I feel a unique sense of tranquility and visual delight when travelling via train, I really enjoy the experience and often I prefer to travel this way over taking to the skies. With rail travel, you get to experience natural landscapes evolving as you go. Busy skyscraper filled city centres transition to wide open plains and untamed nature.

I find travelling by train relaxing, it conjures memories of times gone-by when I was just a passive traveller on long-distance journeys with my parents. 

Train tickets can be booked with Avanti West Coast (formerly Virgin Trains), Lner or National Rail. Train fares start from £26.50.

To check prices and dates, visit trainline.com for the latest information. On average it is a 4-5 hour-long journey. I recommend gearing yourself up with a great travel book to get lost in, playing cards and other low-key activities to get yourself in the holiday mood. If sleeping is your thing, the tranquility offers a great place to snooze too! 

Visiting Edinburgh during November/December time is a great opportunity experience the magical Christmas markets. Teeming with a huge variety of beautiful, handmade items, friendly, passionate sellers help make the atmosphere exciting and festive. 

If you’re looking for a great place to eat and you happen to like drinking wine, I spent a dedicated amount of time in Pickles. Pickles serves the best meat and cheese boards you can find, complemented perfectly with fantastic wine.

Airbnb have some great affordable options to stay in Edinburgh for 2 or 3 days. That should be ample time to see the iconic Edinburgh Castle and enjoy a relaxing walk around the city. If you’re a fan of nature like me, leave the city behind and see the ‘real’ Scotland. Breathe the cleanest air in the UK, marvel over stunning lakes and get a close-up interaction with the adorable, rare wildlife.

Balloch Castle

This beautiful, 19th-century establishment is a great place to explore and let your mind run wild. Surrounded by astonishing parks and pristine gardens, you’ll see many people walking their dogs there. There are so many lookout points to see the lake it might be hard to not go for them all for different perspectives. If it’s quieter areas that you seek, the Rose Gardens look incredible in spring. Inside of the castle is sadly off-limits, as it’s privately owned and close to the public. Nevermind though, there’s plenty to see in the surrounding area for a good couple of hours. 

Loch Lomond

Located in Southern Scotland, this lake is part of Trossachs National Park and is surrounded by impressive and well-preserved woodland. Serving as a great introduction to overlanding in Scotland before you decide to take on the ultimate adventure, the famed North Coast 500. Along the shore you’ll stumble upon many historic pubs, restaurants and smokehouses which prepare specialities with the locally-caught seafood. 

Gartmore House

Built in the 18th century, this wonderful mansion house has had a difficult past. Passed on from one  owner to the next, luckily it retained its original charm and magnificence. In winter, you can warm up by the fireplace with some delicious tea and read your favourite book. Exploring the inside of this building made me feel like I was in a completely different century. They organise activities based holiday packages – from hiking, painting, patchwork, quilting and sewing workshops if that’s your thing. 

 Luss

If you find yourself on the Western shore of Loch Lomond, I promise you’ll forget all about modern technology and city life. That’s exactly the dynamic that Luss offers its visitors. This picturesque conservation village is one of the most beautiful places I experienced on this trip. With the characteristic, ever-changing Scottish weather it’s very likely that you’ll see a rainbow or two as a cherry on top of this enchanting experience. Located only 72 miles from Edinburgh it’s a worthwhile visit and a goldmine for photography lovers.

Round Up

If you’re looking for a taster experience of Scotland, a diversity of choices are offered by small businesses in and around Loch Lomond. You’ll be provided you lots of entertainment, wonderful views and anything can dream – just make your plan and go get your boots muddy!

Scotland is one of the most recognised European locations for hiking, wild camping, nature walks, scenic drives, water activities and even horse riding. What are you waiting for? Pencil in your diary the journey of a lifetime. 

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