This autumn, escape to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands with Highland Coast Hotels. From mid-September until early November, the unforgettable landscape bursts into a riot of fabulous colours of red, orange, yellow, bronze and crimson. There’s a reason Scotland was voted as one of the best places to see the autumn foliage by Lonely Planet.
As well as observing a change in the beautiful scenery, autumn is one of the best times of year to spot Scotland’s rich and varied wildlife across the stunning natural environment. The months of October and November ensure that driving the well-travelled roads of the NC500 will be a quieter experience, as will walking the trails and paths found across the remote region. After a day exploring the wonderful Highland surroundings and invigorating weather, guests may indulge in some of the most amazing local produce from the autumn harvest served at each of the hotels.
For guests looking to embrace the best activities the area has to offer, Highland Coast Hotels has put in place a new series of exciting and unique seasonal experiences, working with local businesses from across the region. Choose from a range of unique and memorable autumnal pursuits that are great for families and couples alike.
Kylesku Hotel – a magical haven
Located in the northwest Scottish Highlands, Kylesku Hotel is a magical haven surrounded by sea lochs, dramatic peaks and hills. These hills are often ablaze with the colours of autumn,. Drumbeg, just a 30-minute drive from Kylesku, offers stunning views across the Scottish landscape, with mixed woodland which turns into a melody of autumnal leaves. Moreover, Kylesku Hotel features panoramic views across the loch and highlands, providing the perfect pit-stop for any autumn adventure. The hotel’s award-winning restaurant specialises in ultra-local seafood, meats and produce while its reputation for excellent hospitality means booking is advised.
Adventure beckons with the hotel’s new and authentic adventure day packages. Explore the beauty of the hotel’s surrounding rugged landscapes by foot or bike, brave the crisp northerly waters by kayak, fly through the air on a zipline or capture spectacular views on a photography workshop.
For something a little less bracing, discover Assynt through the eyes of a local with Guided Story Walks, led by award winning storyteller, folklorist and poet, Griogair MacAllein. Journey through the surrounding area and discover hidden gems that Griogair feels have been overlooked by other North Coast 500 tourists. Visit undiscovered peat roads, old crofting settlements, rivers, woods and much, much more.
Kylesku Hotel is an 11 bedroom, beautiful boutique hotel and restaurant located in the northwest Scottish Highlands, specialising in ultra-local seafood, meats and produce.
Newton Lodge – radiating wild romance
The stunning Highland landscape is forever changing and each season rewards guests with unique sights and diverse wildlife. Newton Lodge is perfectly positioned in the heart Scotland’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the North West Highlands Geopark, which is particularly popular during the autumn months due to Stac Pollaidh and Quiniag, peaks that boast wonderous colours of crimson and amber during this time. The autumn colours reflect in the waters of Assynt with perfect sunset scenery.
Embrace the crisp autumn temperatures while hiking through the nearby Coigach Geotrail and uncover ancient rock formations and prehistoric fossils. Enjoy a luxury picnic and take in majestic views of the Summer Isles and the mountains of Coigach and Assynt before leaving with an understanding of how landscapes are formed and appreciate the unique culture of the Highlands.
Alternatively, McKenzie Mountaineering aims to capture the rugged beauty of the Highlands while embracing any potential inclement weather with walks near Ullapool all year round but particularly in the colder months when the area might be lucky enough to experience snowfall. Walkers can enjoy snow-capped mountains during this time and try their hand at snowshoeing before warming up with an alfresco hot toddy.
Newton Lodge is a small boutique lodge style hotel with seven bedrooms, nestled amidst stunning scenery near Kylesku in the far North West Highlands on the NC500. The bedrooms are en-suite and all of the public spaces have large windows showcasing panoramic views of the surrounding lochs. Newton Lodge is also home to Highland Bar No 4, a rustic and stylish bar, that is also open to non-residents.
The Royal Golf Hotel Dornoch – A golfer’s paradise
The Royal Golf Hotel, Dornoch enjoys wonderful clear autumnal light . Whilst the sea remains crisp and blue, the surrounding hills develop into a beautiful crimson, offering the perfect autumn contrast.
Autumn is the ideal time to visit Dornoch for a golfing break with unbeatable coastal views. Offering the shortest walk from hotel reception to the First Tee at one of the finest championship courses in Scotland, the Royal Golf Hotel is a mecca for golf fans and rounds may be played up until December (weather permitting).
Aside from golf, guests may discover some of the most iconic coastal, rural and city destinations in the Highlands with a guided tour, offered in collaboration with local partner Highland Explorer. These bespoke excursions provide a memorable Scottish adventure with authentic experiences. Journey through mesmerising, wild and rugged landscapes, visit the top attractions related to the thrilling yet romantic television series, Outlander or enjoy a trip to two of the world’s most famous whisky distilleries, including Glenmorangie, – there’s something to suit everyone.
After a windswept day out exploring or on the course, guests can retreat back to the Royal Golf Dornoch with its 22 en-suite bedrooms that overlook the golf course. When guests make a reservation, the team are more than happy to arrange golf tee times on guests’ behalf at local courses including Royal Dornoch Golf Club, Brora Golf Club, Golspie Golf Club, Tain Golf Club and Castle Stuart Golf Links.
HOW: Enjoy a two night stay for two people with breakfast including dinner on the first night and a complimentary bottle of wine, from £75 per person, per night. Please visit:www.royalgolfhoteldornoch.com // www.highlandcoasthotels.com
The Royal Marine Hotel Brora – A coastal escape
The Royal Marine Hotel Brora, is an ideal location for an escape to the Scottish Highlands. The bracken and stunted birch trees that line Loch Brora, close to the hotel, are alive with autumnal colours, with vibrant oranges and reds that blend into the foliage beneath.
Grab a pair of wellies and discover the beauty and history of Brora and surrounding areas with custom walking tours led by local guide and expert, Nick Lindsay. For a Halloween-suitable stroll, hike along the old Coffin Road before ending on the beautiful banks of Loch Brora at Oldtown or wander through the tranquil historic graveyard at Clynekirkton, with its 1200 years plus of history. These tours shine a light on the amazing history of the village and the previous residents of Brora in a respectful, yet humorous way. Stop mid-way to enjoy a delicious picnic full of homemade treats and warming hot drinks.
Thrill-seekers will love the new outdoor activity packages, created in partnership with Connell Outdoor Pursuits. Explore hidden caves, take a lesson on archery and clay pigeon shooting, or enjoy an exhilarating ride across the beautiful white sand beach at the 230m long Golden Eagle Zipline. After an adventure-filled day, grab a stiff drink while enjoying a tour of the nearby Clynelish Whisky Distillery.
After a day of adventure, guests can settle by the fire at the Royal Marine Hotel, Brora, a 21-room hotel located a little over an hour’s drive from the city of Inverness along the popular North Coast 500. Guests are welcome to enjoy outstanding, fresh and local food with various dining options; a challenging 18-hole links Golf Course, or relaxing beauty treatments by Blisss.
HOW: Enjoy a two night stay for two people with breakfast including dinner on the first night and a complimentary bottle of wine, from £65 per person, per night. Please visit: www.royalmarinebrora.com// www.highlandcoasthotels.com