Scotland's Hidden Gems

Take The Road Less Travelled

Scotland’s NC500 has received many well-deserved accolades for its stunning scenery and experiences, but did you know that Scotland is home to a number of amazing road trip experiences? As part of our Hidden Gems series we are going to introduce you to some of the lesser-known but equally stunning options, starting with the South West Coastal 300.

The SWC300

South West Coastal Path (image provided by Visit Scotland)

The South West Coastal 300 is a stunningly scenic 300 mile road trip. If you are looking for breathtaking scenery, enchanting coastlines, and new things to see and do, this is the road for you. What's more, it is a 300 mile loop, so you can join at any point. If you are driving up from England, the M6 will take you into the east of the region. From N. Ireland, take the ferry over from Belfast to Cairnryan. Explore on two feet or two wheels, whether you prefer an exhilarating bike ride or a tranquil forest walk, you will find it here. Follow in the footsteps of Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, or Robert Burns as you explore the rich history of this area. 

Horse-riding on Greenan Beach (image provided by Visit Scotland)

Enjoy horse-riding on Blackstone Clydesdales on Greenan beach or sailing at the Cornmill Outdoors Centre. There are numerous mountain biking trails including Glentrool which is great for family riding or Kirroughtree which is suitable for all levels up to challenging single tracks.

Mountain Biking (image provided by Visit Scotland)

This area is a walker’s paradise and you can enjoy the Mull of Galloway Trail which totals 37 miles or part of the Southern Upland Way which runs from west to east and totals 214 miles. The reserve of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is world-famous as the migration halt of millions of birds and the Galloway Red Kite Trail is well worth a visit.


Logan Botanical Gardens (image provided by Visit Scotland)

From Logan Botanical Gardens and Galloway Forest Park to the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory to Moat Brae, the birthplace of Peter Pan, there is so much to see and enjoy in this region of Scotland.

Drumlanrig Castle (image provided by Visit Scotland)

There are castles galore including Drumlanrig Castle and estate, the dramatic cliff-top setting of Culzean Castle at Maybole, and the ruins of Dunskey Castle at Portpatrick. Visit Robert Burns House and the Robert Burns Centre and Museum to learn more about Scotland’s famous poet.

Knockinaam Lodge 

Start your trip by arriving at the wonderful Knockinaam Lodge beside Portpatrick. This five star former shooting lodge nestled in a private cove enjoys spectacular views over the Irish sea. A clandestine meeting between Churchill and Eisenhower was held here while they planned the D-day landings. Enjoy wonderful cuisine in the 3 AA Rosette restaurant and choose whether to stay in either the main hotel or the 2 bedroom self-catering Shingle Lodge.

Glanapp Castle

Alternatively, travel further up the coast and stay at the stunning Glenapp Castle. With a historic legacy dating back to 1870, this magnificent five red star baronial hotel with 17 bedrooms offers a grand escape. Come on board the Glenapp Castle boat for a private Hebridean Sea Safari Adventure. Your private chef will be on board and the professional crew will navigate you towards remote islands and coastal castles. The island concierge team will prepare your luxury glamping experience in the wild as you enjoy a memorable dinner beneath the stars.

First published 24 June 2020. Information correct at time of going to press.