When the climate takes a wintry turn up here in the northern parts of the UK, those of us who spend our entire week planning ambitious outdoor adventures for the weekend soon find that the weather makes it near impossible to follow through. The thought of roughing it out in a tent with little more than a flimsy sheath of nylon separating you from the Baltic conditions outside is enough to throw you off the idea of wild camping completely.
When dreaming of the perfect getaway, we’re all a little guilty of being partial to a bit of luxury, even if in modest doses. While still not a household name, glamping is catching on to the outdoorsy scene with unstoppable flair and it’s easy to see its popular appeal.
Glamping is a portmanteau of ‘glamour’ and ‘camping’, with the premise being exactly that. It promises to furnish the thrilling journey of a camping trip in the wild with the indulgent comforts we’ve come to expect from quality holiday accommodation.
Think tipi huts and cabins, Mongolian yurts, wigwams, eco lodges, camping pods and pod holidays and treehouses with hot tubs, designer furnishings, iPod docks, kitchenettes and big stove-burning fires.
Our bonnie land of Scotland makes this notion truly exciting. With no end in sight to the marvels of the Scottish wilderness, including 31,460 lochs and a combined area of Highlands and Lowlands bigger than the state of Belgium, glamping and Scotland go together like single-malt whisky and fresh loch water.
Feast your eyes on this list of the most picturesque holiday destinations for this activity in Scotland – including beach huts eco lodges, cheap glamping with hot tubs… – and keep them peeled for your next dreamy outdoors vacation.
Loch Tay, Perthshire
One of the largest lochs in Scotland, this body of freshwater is tucked away in the southern Highlands, flanked by a ridge of seven Munros including the imposing Ben Lawers. The breath-taking scenery is magical throughout the four seasons, with local activities including golf, hillwalking, horse-riding, water sports, white water rafting, wildlife safaris, deer stalking and game shooting, so you’ll be kept entertained by the magnificent shows of nature around you.
Loch Tay Wigwams operate a series of glamping options set within the woodlands, with excellent facilities and services.
Loch Ness, Inverness-shire
The longest, deepest and most famous of all Scottish lochs, Loch Ness is a sight to behold and a place to experience. With acres and acres of unspoilt, forested glens and low mountains, there are tons to explore in this area, including the longstanding tradition of Nessie-hunting – the search for the mythical monster ostensibly trawling the depths of the loch, perhaps the best known Scottish legend. The Great Glen and Glen Affric provide walkers, climbers, cyclists and mountain bikers exciting terrain for days on end.
Loch Ness Glamping tantalises visitors with the prospect of staying in ‘Armadillas’, and BCC Loch Ness Glamping have affectionately-called ‘hobbit houses’ for hire. These eco-pods sleep up to three people and offer modern comforts such as Wi-Fi and a barbecue area.
Loch Lomond, West Dunbartonshire
Yet another lush outdoor playground for the senses is glamping in Loch Lomond. Britain’s largest lake by surface area, the loch stretches across three council areas and is a highly popular holiday destination due to its proximity to Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. From the peak of Ben Lomond to the dozens of scattered inland islands, waking up in the midst of this scenery will satisfy the die-hard adventurous spirit yet also please the picky traveller.
Lomond Woods Holiday Park has the camping pods to supply this very experience, with picnic tables perfectly positioned outside for a restorative lunch or a romantic evening spent stargazing before bed.
Isle of Skye, Inverness-shire
The Isle of Skye’s rugged beauty and lusciously diverse landscapes were made for glamping. With so much to absorb and appreciate all over the island, you’ll immediately grasp why the concept makes so much sense in this most magnificent location in the Inner Hebrides. From the Quiraing, Old Man of Storr and lighthouse at Neist Point in the north to the Fairy Pools and fishing villages of the south, the Isle of Skye offers boundless uncharted territory for outdoor exploration.
Shulista Croft Wigwams host travellers in cosy, amenity-rich wooden wigwams at the northern tip of the Trotternish Peninsula, within walking distance of the apex of Skye natural wonder, Rubha Hunish.
South Ronaldsay, Orkney Islands
Further up north in the remotest regions of Scotland, the Orkney Islands constitute an archipelago of over 70 islands and skerries that glitter with Neolithic charm and history. The Islands are home to ruins dating back 10,000 years, including the prehistoric village of Skara Brae and the Ness of Brodgar, which have seen Orkney designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Glamping Hub provides wood cabins in the shape of ‘upturned boats’ to add to the rustic heritage feel of your accommodation, boasting panoramic views of the crossroad merger of the North Atlantic Ocean and the North and Norwegian Seas.
Gorsebank, Dumfries and Galloway
The Lowlands territory of the southwest of Scotland presents a marked contrast to the Highlands through its secluded beaches, historic towns and splendid coastlines that blur the borders with our English neighbours and make for a quaint getaway amid the green rolling hills. Here you can spend hours navigating the countryside teeming with wildlife, fishing, and trying your luck on the country’s longest zip wires.
Gorsebank Glamping offers wigwams, timber tents, ridge pods, jumbo pods and even ‘posh’ pods, decked out with wood-fired hot tubs and sheltered dining tables and chairs.