When it comes to rediscovering your post-lockdown sense of freedom and adventure, it’s hard to beat Scotland. It’s wide-open countryside, heather-topped hills, peaceful lochs and rugged coasts are good for the soul and are a tonic at any time of year. Now, as we start to shake off the remaining shackles of Covid restrictions – the last legal restrictions are expected to end on the 21st March in Scotland [Correct at time of publication] – we’re headily dreaming of holidays spent freely exploring its majestic landscapes unhindered by masks, tests and social distancing.
After we – as a nation – have spent so much time indoors over the past couple of years, there’s something thrilling in knowing that in Scotland, thanks to its liberating right to roam policy, you’re free to (responsibly) explore its fields, forests, hills and beaches *.
At Crabtree & Crabtree, we have spent much of the past couple of years seeking out the best holiday homes in the South of Scotland to add to our portfolio of luxurious holiday cottages. From stylish wooden treehouses with hot tubs and stunning sea views to large farmhouses with swish modern interiors, alongside fortified towers and plenty of beachside cottages, our Scottish properties are set in stunning locations across both coast and country and are the perfect place to base yourself as you rediscover the joy of unrestricted travel.
While restrictions may have dropped, our standards certainly haven’t. We still inflict rigorous cleanliness, upkeep and our exacting family-friendly standards on each of our properties. So, all you need to worry about is choosing where to stay before packing your walking boots, surfboard, map – you don’t want to get lost when you adventure off the beaten track! – dogs and children!
To help you decide, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite Scottish properties – all of which have ample availability for adventures throughout the year…
The Grieve’s House, Pencaitland | Sleeps 4
Set in a dream location surrounded by gorgeous countryside with plenty of lovely quiet walks to explore, and just seven short miles from the East Lothian coastline, The Grieve’s House is a stunning architect-designed hideaway. With a striking exterior that blends rustic wood cladding around the contours of the building’s original stonework, the cottage is dog-friendly and comfortably sleeps four in quintessential country comfort and benefits from a large private courtyard flanked with mature olive trees and outside seating, where you can soak up the fresh country air.
Laurel Cottage, Dunbar | Sleeps 6
One of a trio of cottages that make up the stylishly restored former stables on the Dunglass Estate, Laurel Cottage is the perfect base from which to explore what Robert Burns described as the “most romantic sweet place I ever saw”. Encompassing 5,000 acres of woodland, parkland, landscaped gardens and a thriving sustainable farm on the East Lothian coast, there’s a lot to be explored from the doorstep including gorgeous country rambles on estate land and cliff-sidewalks along the picturesque East Lothian coast and Southern Upland way.
Hawthorn House, Dalkeith
Set on a quiet country lane amidst lush gardens and rolling Scottish countryside, Hawthorn House has been cleverly transformed from a pair of traditional stone cottages into a bright and airy modern home. Sleeping up to eight in four generously sized bedrooms, Hawthorne House a great option a group walking holiday. Spend days hiking up steep hillsides of the nearby Pentland hills for fantastic views over Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth, or go a little further afield and amble along the beautiful John Muir Way before returning to enjoy some well-earned tea and cake enjoyed on the sheltered patio.
Newton Cottage, Coldstream | Sleeps 2
This pretty period cottage is an ideal base for solo travellers or couples seeking leisurely river walks, hilly hikes, oodles of fresh country air and trips to the stunning Heritage Coast. An abundance of fantastic riverside and woodland walks are a treat whatever the season. Take the time to unwind and soak in the gentle sounds of nature or look out for local wildlife and birdlife – there’s plenty to spot including otters, kingfishers and over 170 different species of bird. Back at Newton Cottage, contemporary and colourful interiors are a cosy place to curl up with a book, while a small patio tucked to the rear of the property is a tranquil place to enjoy a little time-out or a glass of wine after a busy day exploring.
Daffodil Cottage, Haddington | Sleeps 4
Made for those that enjoy a slice of the quieter life, this charming two-bedroom lodge is just the ticket. Set on the Huntington Estate and surrounded by tranquil countryside and rich woodland, the ochre-hued Daffodil Cottage boasts stunning views and miles of wonderful walks and cycling right from the doorstep including a lovely walk up to the ridge of the Garleton Hills, which gives way to panoramic views of the East Lothian coast and country. Alternatively, if you want to feel the sand between your toes, head to the glorious dog-friendly beach at Gullane and wind your way northwards along the stunning white sandy beaches and secluded coves of the John Muir Way.
Papple Farmhouse, Papple | Sleeps 8
If you are after a holiday where you don’t have to compromise on space inside or out, then Papple Farmhouse is for you. Set within the old Whittingehame Estate, guests staying at Papple Farmhouse not only have private use of the property’s large lawned garden but are also free to roam The Steading’s wider grounds which comprise of six acres of lawns, paddock, a wildflower meadow and 18 acres of ancient woodland – complete with wooden follies and wildlife hides. If that’s not enough to explore, the county’s world-class golf courses and beaches are also within an easy distance.
Fordel Cottage, Dalkeith | Sleeps 4
Looking for a sprinkling of the bright lights on your rural getaway? Fordel Cottage, near Dalkeith is just a short hop from Edinburgh making it the perfect mix of town and county. Adjoining a working arable farm and with ponies grazing the paddock beyond the drystone-wall that encloses the garden, this cottage offers a true sense of the good life and is ideally located for enjoying walking or cycling in Dalkeith Country Park and the Pentland Hills. Despite this sense of blissful rural isolation, the urban delights of Edinburgh and the beautiful beaches of East Lothian are within easy reach. What more could you wish for?!
Garden Cottage, Denholm | Sleeps 4
Looking out over arable land leading down the River Teviot, Garden Cottage boasts a peaceful country setting that hits the right note for fishing, walking and cycling pursuits along the tranquil river valleys. There are thirteen designated walks around this area ranging from short two-mile stretches to more demanding eight-mile hill hikes in the beautiful countryside and rolling Border hills. Similarly, there are lots of cycling and mountain biking routes if you’d rather cover more ground. However you decide to explore, make sure to pack a picnic and stop along the way to enjoy a feast of local goodies while you take in the specular views.
The Coach House, Pentland Hills | Sleeps 6 + 2
If you’re after sublime country views and miles and miles of empty countryside to explore, then it doesn’t get much better than The Coach House. Perched above rolling farmland on the edge of the Pentland Hills Regional Park, it is superbly positioned for amazing outdoor adventures spent in the raw, natural beauty of the Pentland Hills. Walk from the door on waymarked trails or study the map, pack a picnic and enjoying roaming freely across the hilltops. After a muddy day exploring, pour yourself a wee dram and sink into a sofa in the characterful beamed sitting room next to a roaring log fire. Accommodating up to eight guests and two dogs, The Coach House is an ideal house for groups of friends and families alike.
Leuchie Walled Garden, North Berwick | Sleeps 12
A tale of two homes, Leuchie Walled Garden is an architectural triumph that blends a 200-year-old gardener’s cottage with an avant-garde mid-century modern house. Set in five acres of gardens within the 60-acre Leuchie estate, this property offers the ultimate Secret Garden adventure. Pick your way through the gorgeous walled garden admiring its voluptuous herbaceous borders and gnarled fruit before spending the day playing leisurely games of croquet or tennis in its tranquil surrounds. Or, if you can tear yourself away, adventure a little further afield and explore the glorious East Lothian coast and beaches by foot, bike or by boat – bliss.
* The Land Reform (Scotland) Act, colloquially known as 'right to roam' allows members of the public to access most land and inland water for recreational purposes. This is provided that the right to roam is exercised reasonably and responsibly. The Scottish Rights of Way & Access Society have some helpful information that we'd encourage you to read if you're unclear what your rights are.