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Outdoor activities in Scotland

Scotlands outdoor spaces are a natural playground where you can enjoy everything from hiking and biking to wild swimming and picnics overlooking your favourite loch. Getting outdoors is a great way to keep fit, try new things, and enjoy Scotlands magnificent scenery and you can enjoy them all at our places!

Cycling

Home to world-famous mountain biking trails and scenic loch-side tracks and coastal roads, Scotland is a popular destination for cyclists. Whether you’re tackling tricky terrain or letting the kids loose, you can enjoy hours of great riding no matter your age or ability.

Go cycling at:

Balmacara Estate – a cyclist’s dream. Miles of roads and footpaths wind around towns, hills, woodlands, and lochs, with spectacular views of the Highlands at every turn.

Torridon – home to one of our favourite cycling routes, a rugged and challenging 8km path from Coire Mhic Nobuil to Coire Dubh.

Crathes Castle, Garden & Estate – you’ll find lots of safe family-friendly routes, plus a super playpark when you’re all pedalled out.

Find out more about cycling in Scotland

A mum and a toddler cycle along a woodland path. The mum is holding the little girl's hand as they take a wee break.

Walking and hiking

Some of the best places in Scotland can only be reached on foot, so lace up your shoes and enjoy some truly unique experiences, from short scenic strolls to epic day-long hikes. Don’t forget to plan in advance and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Go walking at:

Glencoe NNR – experience the wild majesty of one of Scotland’s most historic wild places. Try walking in the footsteps of famous Scottish clans, finding iconic film locations, or following the An Torr trail to Signal Rock.

Grey Mare’s Tail – this 2.5 mile climb alongside a dramatic waterfall takes some effort, but the views are worth it!

The Hermitage – easy-going paths with lots to see, from towering Douglas firs and interesting wildlife to historic follies and caves.

Find out more about walking in Scotland

A man walking through a woodland of tall Douglas firs. Sunlight is streaming through the trees.

Munro-bagging

Named after the man who first documented them, Scotland’s tallest mountains are called Munros, and you can bag lots of them at our places. Even the easiest climbs take proper planning and effort, so it’s not an activity for the faint-hearted or the under-prepared.

Read more about Munro-bagging in Scotland

Bag a Munro at:

Ben Lomond – Scotland’s most southerly Munro, standing at 974m high with a round-trip time of around 5 hours. Good for beginners, but still satisfyingly tricky, and with splendid views of the Trossachs.

Mar Lodge Estate NNR – home to the second-tallest Munro in Scotland, Ben Macdui. Great for experienced climbers!

See all of the Munros at our places

A walker sitting on a stone at the summit of Ben Lomond. In the background is Loch Lomond and its islands.
Views from the summit of Ben Lomond
A young man hiking a knife-edged mountain ridge on the Liathach Ridge

Water sports

Scotland’s rugged coastlines and sprawling, sparkling lochs are a haven for kayakers, canoeists and ‘SUP’-ers (stand up paddleboarding). Bring your own equipment or ask us for help to get you started, and enjoy a peaceful paddle among picturesque scenery.

Take to the water at:

Kintail & Morvich – great for all kinds of outdoor activities, but especially sea-kayaking! Trust rangers can help you explore the Kintail coast and Skye, and help you spot dolphins. No experience of equipment required.

Glenfinnan Monument – launch a paddleboard or canoe from the banks of Loch Shiel for a unique view of the Jacobite monument and famous ‘Harry Potter’ viaduct.

Four people in a row in kayaks raise their hands in the air. The water is very still and blue. Tall mountains rise behind them in the distance.
Kayaking at Kintail

Camping

Want to spend a night under the stars? Not only are there lots of campsites across the country to choose from, but in Scotland you’re also free to camp on most unenclosed land, which makes wild camping a popular activity for people who like to go off the beaten track.

Set up camp at:

Goatfell – pitch up at the foot of Arran’s tallest mountain and enjoy epic landscapes, great walking and climbing, and a trip to Brodick Castle.

Ben Lawers NNR – a spectacular remote place where you can have rare arctic-alpine flora, iconic wildlife, and archaelogical sites on your doorstep!

Find more outdoor places where wild camping is allowed on our properties page, and wherever you go, remember to be responsible and follow the outdoor code.

Wild camping | Image by Kate Hopper

Wildlife spotting

On the land, in the skies, and beneath the waves, you’ll find some of the world’s best wildlife in Scotland, and there is plenty to see at our places. From tiny bugs to the ‘Big Five’, you can find all kinds of creatures in their natural habitat.

Spot wildlife at:

St Abb’s Head NNR – a rare chance to see seabird colonies on the mainland, and home to huge numbers of guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills that nest here in their tens of thousands from May to July each year.

Inverewe – a massive variety of wildlife calls this remote corner of Wester Ross its home, including the famous Big Five. See everything from rare dragonflies to shy pine martens.

Read more about wildlife at our places

Scottish wildlife
A young woman looks out to sea through binoculars. She stands on a grassy clifftop. The sea and sky are blue.

Picnics

Stock up on sandwiches and snacks and make the most of the great outdoors with a picnic. Pick a picturesque lawn to spread your blanket or eat lunch with a view on a peaceful hilltop. You can find a new spot for an al-fresco feast every day!

Picnic at:

Killiecrankie – beautiful woodland walks and views over the gorge, with lots of historical stopping-points along the way.

Pitmedden Garden – meticulously manicured lawns and beds full of blossoming flowers provide a great backdrop for an open-air lunch.

Many of our places are picnic-friendly. Visit the property page for more inspiration.

A couple sit on a tartan rug in a garden, enjoying a picnic. The man is kneeling on the edge of the rug and smiling at the lady, who is laughing.
A summer picnic in one of our gardens

Parks and gardens

Lots of Scotland’s castles and stately homes are surrounded by amazing gardens and country parks. They might not be as wild as other remote places, but they’re still packed with different things to do and see!

Explore at:

Culzean Castle & Country Park – set yourself loose on this 206ha estate and explore woods, beaches, parkland, clifftops and much, much more.

Threave Garden & Estate – come for the fabulous outdoor walks and unique garden, stay for the wildlife-spotting and Scotland's only bat reserve!

Read more about our favourite parks and gardens

A stone urn stands in the middle of a gravel path in a walled garden. Bright pink, red and purple flowers fill the flower beds either side of the path.
The walled garden at Threave

Beaches

We’re known more for our mountains than our beaches, but Scotland boasts some of the best stretches of sand anywhere in the UK. Enjoy long walks, picnics on the dunes and a fresh dip in the sea!

Have a beach day at:

Iona – this tiny historic island is peppered with white sandy beaches and surrounded by crystal clear waters. Perfect for toe-dipping!

Coldingham Bay – a popular sandy bay close to St Abb’s Head NRR and not far from Edinburgh. Great for families, dog-walkers and surfers alike.

Read more about the best beaches in Scotland

The seashore at Iona, with clear blue water and pale white sand. The village and abbey are visible in the distance.
The clear blue water and white sand of Iona

Golf

Scotland is the birthplace of golf and home to a staggering 550 golf courses, some of which are considered the finest in the world. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re just getting started or trying to test your handicap.

Go golfing at:

Hill of Tarvit Mansion & Garden – At the Kingarrock Hickory Golf Course play a round of nine holes the old-fashioned way, with Edwardian clubs at the last remaining hickory course in the UK. Great for families and golf enthusiasts alike (though not so great for your handicap!).

You can also take your pick from one of hundreds of courses around the country. Some of our favourites include Musselburgh Old Links, near Newhailes House & Gardens, and Fortrose in the Highlands, near Brodie Castle & Estate.

Read more about golf in Scotland and where to find the best courses

A man wearing plus fours and a tweed jacket putts a ball towards the hole on a green. The hole is marked by a yellow flag. Hill of Tarvit Mansion can be seen in the background.

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