Practical Caravan - - Travel Regional Round Up -

With more than 6100 miles of coast to main­land Scot­land, there are clearly a lot of beaches, cliffs and lochs to ex­plore, of­fer­ing stun­ning views and in­cred­i­ble wildlife that in­cludes dol­phins, whales, sharks, sea ot­ters, seals, puffins, ea­gles and osprey. It’s just as stun­ning in­land. You can ex­plore Scot­land by fol­low­ing some of the won­der­ful driv­ing routes, in­clud­ing the NC 500, a cir­cu­lar route of the North High­lands, run­ning to and from In­ver­ness and tak­ing in cas­tles, beaches, lochs and coun­try­side. If you’re par­tial to a dram of whisky, a trip to Spey­side for a tour of the dis­til­leries is a must – the scenery is won­der­ful and the wel­come warm. Spey­side is part of a new tourist route, the NE 250, which takes in the Cairn­gorms, Dee­side, Aberdeen and the east and Mo­ray coasts. The 90-mile Snow Roads Scenic Route takes you through the east­ern reaches of the Cairn­gorms Na­tional Park, from Blair­gowrie to Gran­town-on-spey, tak­ing in Brae­mar, Bal­later and Tom­intoul along the way. This route fol­lows the high­est pub­lic roads in Britain and can be nar­row and twist­ing, but the re­wards are great: moun­tains, rivers, forests, dis­til­leries and cas­tles. Things to look out for in 2018 in­clude the V&A Mu­seum of De­sign, due to open in late sum­mer as part of the £1bn in­vest­ment in Dundee’s water­front, and the new Na­tional Cen­tre for Chil­dren’s Lit­er­a­ture and Sto­ry­telling, at Moat Brae in Dum­fries, which will cel­e­brate the work of JM Bar­rie, cre­ator of Peter Pan. Glas­gow will cel­e­brate the 150th an­niver­sary of the birth of Charles Ren­nie Mack­in­tosh with an ex­hi­bi­tion at Kelv­in­grove Art Gallery, while Dundee marks the bi­cen­te­nary of Mary Shel­ley’s clas­sic Gothic novel, Franken­stein.

A wee dram, any­one?

New whisky mak­ers open­ing their doors in 2018 in­clude the Bor­ders, Falkirk and Ard­na­hoe Dis­til­leries (the lat­ter bring­ing the num­ber of dis­til­leries on Is­lay to eight), and Ed­in­burgh’s Holy­rood Park Dis­tillery. Fam­i­lies will love the Harry Pot­ter tour that takes in Ed­in­burgh’s cob­bled streets, Ran­noch Moor, Bo’ness Mo­tor Mu­seum, the Scot­tish Owl Cen­tre, the Ja­co­bite Steam Train from Fort William to Mal­laig, Steall Falls, Clachaig Inn, near Glen­coe, and Glen Etive.

■ Turn to p11 of the Top 100 guide for site info

CLOCK­WISE FROM LEFT Spey­side whisky trail takes in some fine scenery. Head to the coast to see puffins. V&A’S Dundee mu­seum opens later this year

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