Explore the lochs, monsters and dramatic scenery of the Scottish Highlands – easily one of the most magical destinations in Europe. From conquering magnificent Munros to encountering fairytale castles nestled in the hills, this is a paradise for those who dream of the unforgettable. If you love the outdoors and enjoy cultural travel, the beauty of the Highlands awaits with a plethora of fun things to do and historical sites to visit. Here are some of the most amazing things to do when you visit Scotland.
The options are endless when it comes to hiking trails and you really can get off the beaten track. You’ll encounter terrain of every kind ranging from steep climbs to rough grounds, but jaw-dropping views come as standard. Here are some of the best:
The Old Mill and Achmelvich Beach
For the ultimate coastal hike, head to the Assynt coastline and start your journey at the old grain mill towards Achmelvich Beach. Here you will experience pure white sands (dogs are not allowed during high season) as well as a secret beach and Europe’s smallest castle. Hermit’s Castle was built in the 1950s by English architect, David Scott, and is one of the most unusual pieces of art in the country. Walking shoes are essential as it can be a bit of a clamber to get to it over the rocks. As well as Achmelvich being one of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches, it’s also a place to witness diverse wildlife, including seals, basking sharks and cetaceans.
Loch an Eilein, Cairngorm National Park
If you’re looking for an unforgettable family hike, spend a day at Loch an Eilein. Deep in the Rothiemurchus Forest of Cairngorms, this spot promises spectacular surroundings with ancient Caledonian pines as well as views of a 13th Century island castle. It’s one of the top places to picnic in the Highlands and offers a low-level route that’s easy for families and children. Little legs will find the path easy enough to tackle, and even off-road buggies can get by here. Your kids will be mesmerised by all the wildlife too. Keep an eye out for the cute red squirrels and Scottish crossbills.
Stac Pollaidh Ridge, Assynt
Take in the stunning scenery of the North West Highlands from the Stac Pollaidh Ridge, known as one of the best “little mountains” of Scotland. This 613m peak is a rocky crest of Torridonian sandstone. Because it has pinnacles aplenty and lots of sharp gullies, it’s often been said to resemble a porcupine. The hike itself will take you around three hours, so it’s relatively short. But be prepared for steep climbs, winding pathways and a bit of scrambling for the finale. The 360 degree panoramic views are worth it though. From the top, you’ll be able to see as far as Cul Mor and Suilven and Scotland’s western coastline.
The Saddle and Forcan Ridge
A popular trail for experienced hikers, The Saddle is part of a ridgeline that connects to neighbouring Meallan Odhar (known as the Forcan Ridge). There’s a challenging grade scramble and also a “bad step” to negotiate, so hikers should research the route in advance. At 1010 metres high, The Saddle is one of the most magnificent mountains in the Highlands, and tough terrain will keep you on your toes. Expect steep and rugged sections plus hard and exposed grounds, as well an easier path if you want to enjoy the views without the physical complexity. Get here from the A87 road between Shiel Bridge and Loch Cluanie.
It’s the highest mountain the British Isles, and one of the most famous destinations for hikers. Ben Nevis stands at 1,346 metres and features an iconic peak that towers over the stunning town of Fort William. Popular with tourists, the route can get busy during the peak travel season, but the vistas make battling the crowds totally worth it. Just be sure to pack layers for all weather, as the temperatures can vary greatly from top to bottom. It’s not unusual to experience summer heat at the nethermost point, followed by snow and ice at top.
Ben Nevis may be the tallest peak in Scotland, but Ladhar Bheinn is considered by many to be the toughest. So if you’re looking for a serious challenge, this mountain will prove to be intimidating enough to make your knees shake. It’s the highest summit in the Knoydart region of the Highlands, and usually requires an overnight stay for anyone planning on tackling this beast. At 1020 metres high, it’s at least 300 metres shorter than Ben Nevis but the relentless slopes can put even the best walkers through their paces. Not to mention the attack of the midges and horseflies (bring insect spray). The reward though is the spellbinding views of the West Highlands seaboard taken in from Ladhar Bheinn’s dramatic ridges.
With the largest, deepest lochs, vast and beautiful countryside, and the most majestic estates, the Highlands is an adrenaline junkie’s playground. Here are some activities to inspire your sense of adventure:
Canoeing on Loch Ossian
Heading out on a canoe is a great way of exploring Scotland’s many waterways. Loch Ossian is the narrow 5km loch located on our estate, and it’s the perfect place to practice safe and fun canoeing for the whole family. We can provide a coaching session and organise fun games on the water to help you improve on your canoeing skills. This can then lead to a journey to the other end of the loch, with a total excursion time of around 2 hours.
Find out more about canoeing on Corrour Estate.
Airsoft Shooting Experience
Enjoy an Airsoft shooting game where you get to take down your opponents at gunpoint with spherical plastic projectiles. Completely safe airsoft guns and BB pellets are used, and trained professionals will be on hand to train you up. This competitive team shooting experience takes place in the extensive woods of Corrour Estate, and is the perfect outdoor activity for groups visiting the Scottish Highlands. The pellets are biodegradable too so you can be assured that the game is environmentally-friendly.
Find out more about Airsoft Battle on Corrour Estate.
Another bucket list pursuit designed for adventure-seekers is zorbing. Some of you may have tried zorbing on the ground, but if you’re in the Highlands you simply have to try zorbing on water. Climb into a giant inflatable ball and get pushed out onto the water for a unique way to experience the lochs. It’s even suitable for children (aged 4+), making it a fun activity for the whole family.
Find out more about Walk on Water Balling on Corrour Estate.
Take in the views of the wonderful nature around you with a quad biking adventure. There are plenty of proven health benefits of riding a quad bike and it can be a good workout for the family. It’s suitable for children 16 years or over, and it doesn’t have to be hot and sunny to be fun. Get down and dirty (and covered in mud) and challenge yourself with varied terrain, ranging from flat runs to muddy trenches.
Find out more about quad biking on Corrour Estate.
An unlikely destination for surfing, Scotland is a complete surprise to many. But the surf crowds who come here know exactly where to find epic waves. The town of Thurso, one of the largest towns in the Highlands, is home to some of the best surfing spots in Europe. Huge swells come in from the North Sea and Atlantic, with legendary barrels to make your surf trip one to remember. Thurso Bay is also a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside and offers a lovely selection of traditional shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.
No-one wants to be stuck in the car when the wilderness is so enticing. But in Scotland, drives are out of this world. So get behind the wheel and enjoy a scenic driving route by going to one of these amazing places:
Quite possibly one of the most magical driving routes you will ever do, the A82 is drama personified. You’ll be gasping with wonder as you marvel at the surreal hills, mountains and valleys. There are plenty of stopping points to take pictures, and the road links Fort William to Loch Lomond, two of the top destinations for holidaymakers.
North Coast 500
Rivalling the USA’s Route 66, this is the ultimate Scottish road trip. The NC500 driving route begins in the Highland capital, Inverness, and is a romantic loop that takes you up the west coast through the North West Highlands and across the north edge before winding down along the east coast.
Corrour Estate 4×4 Landrover Safari
For an off-road driving experience, try our 4×4 Landrover Safari. Designed to carry 4 people, these vehicles will take you through the broadleaf woodlands for incredible views and wildlife. This is all done under the guidance of qualified British Off Road Driving Association instructors, who will be in the 4×4 with you.
Find out more about the Landrover Safari on Corrour Estate.
CULTURE / SIGHTS
Travelling to the Scottish Highlands, at times, is like travelling back in time. There are pockets of communities where tradition is well-preserved, and ruins and castles make you feel like you’re a character in a fairytale. Here are the sights not to miss:
Eilean Donan Castle
Perhaps the most recognised (and most photographed) castle in Scotland, Eilean Donan is a true icon. This famous landmark has graced books, calendars and shortbread tins for decades so you may already know what it looks like. But nothing beats seeing it in person. Perched on its own little island, it overlooks the exquisite Isle of Skye, and it marks the meeting of three great lochs.
A thriving city with everything from shopping to nightlife, Inverness is a cultural hub that deserves a long stay if you’ve got the time. Located at a Highlands crossroad, it’s easy to get to and can be a fantastic base to explore other areas. For those just passing through, the castle and cathedral are a must. As are the Victorian Market, Inverness Botanic Gardens, and Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. Kids will love Whin Park, Merkinch Local Nature Reserve, and the Infinity Trampoline Park.
Standing tall on an island with a towering mountainscape serving as its backdrop, this is one of the Highland’s most dramatic castle locations. It’s incredibly picturesque here and the castle features one of the best-preserved medieval tower houses in the country.
If you want to have an authentic experience of traditional Scottish culture, you have to attend the Highland Games. There are many taking place across the region, each with sports and competitions that are intriguing to witness as a Highland Games spectator. Just a stone’s throw from Corrour Lodge is an organised event that is inclusive of visitors, not just locals. The challenges include traditional games such as tossing the caber, shot putt and hammer throwing. There are also more modern games such as Chucking the Chicken, Wellie Whanging and Sack Races.
Find out more about the Highland Games near Corrour Estate.
Oban and McCaig’s Tower
There are so many reasons to visit Oban. Not just to see the iconic tower, but also to try some of the freshest seafood around. Whether it’s fish and chips in a bag or a sit-down meal overlooking the ocean, your palates will be delighted by how simple it is to create great dishes. Of course the 19th Century tower is not to be missed either. It houses tranquil gardens and offers the loveliest of views over the town and beyond.
This thriving port town is known to many as the “Road to the Isles”, but those who know what’s good for them will spend a few days here. Enjoy the atmosphere of its working fishing port, the wonderfully remote location in the Highlands, with plenty of amenities to keep you busy. Don’t miss the Mallaig Heritage Centre, Armadale Castle and Gardens, the nearby Loch Morar, and the stunning Silversands Beaches.