Reconnection Travel in Scotland – Unique Learning Experiences
Reconnection Travel, where you learn traditional skills and reconnect with mother nature, is predicted to be the next big trend this year. More and more people want to get back in touch with their roots, and live a more simple, wholesome life.
They want to book holidays where they can not only relax, but also re-evaluate and learn; to return to normal life a little more inspired and educated.
Where better than Scotland to get back in touch with your wild side? With majestic mountains, stunning coastlines and mystical forests, there’s no better place to get lost in retreats and workshops to find your natural side. From stargazing to bushcraft, here’s our pick of the most unique experiences in Scotland.
Star Gazing in Galloway...
Do you know your Pole Star from your plough? Fancy being able to navigate via the stars? Combine your holiday with a visit to Galloway Forest’s Dark Sky Park. To qualify as a Dark Sky Park a place has to have unusually dark night skies, with limited light pollution. In 2009 Galloway Forest Park became the fourth Dark Sky Park in the world and first in the UK. The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory offers public and private events where experts are on hand with state-of-the-art equipment to navigate your through the stars. Alternatively hire your own expert Dark Sky Ranger (officially the coolest job title going) to tailor your perfect tour.
Where to stay: Cavens Country House
To the south of Galloway Forest lies Cavens Country House. A beautiful spacious Georgian country house with beautiful grounds and a warm welcome guaranteed. With roaring log fires and an impressive culinary reputation, it’s the perfect romantic retreat. Spend the daytime exploring the nearby coast and castles. Then in the evening head to the forest to gaze at the stars.
Foraging in Glendye...
Increasingly we want to get back to our roots and further from all those plastic packaged veggies in supermarkets. Foraging is a great way to introduce more natural produce to your diet, save money and reduce your carbon footprint. No wonder then that we’re seeing a resurgence in foraging workshops and retreats.
Camp Glendye offers fantastic holidays where you learn everything from foraging to wild cooking to herbology. All set in a beautiful forest, with wood-fired hot tubs!
Where to stay: Glendye
Glendye is a collection of cabins, cottages and a 1950s airstream, all hidden away in a wild wood in Kincardinshire, north-east Scotland. Opened in 2019, the focus is on wholesome outdoor fun. Cook on an open fire, plunge into a cold river for some wild swimming, let your kids run wild, free and feral. They frequently run workshops and retreats to pass on the wholesome way of life. Good vibes only.
Wood Craft in Aviemore...
Fancy yourself a bit of a craftsman? Been inspired by Etsy and want to get creative?
Forget plastic, forget IKEA, and book yourself a workshop with Wooden Tom. Nestled in the forest of the Cairngorms is Tom’s impressive workshop, where he creates bespoke wooden commissions and leads wood-carving courses. From knives to goblets, not only do you take home your own creation, but also an impressive set of new skills.
Where to stay: Springfield House
Springfield House sleeps up to six guests (and a dog) and is just a few minutes from some of the most stunning countryside walks imaginable. There’s just something about the woods and forest of the Cairngorms, the super clean fresh air, the smell of the pine.... dreamy.
The house’s traditional exterior belies a quirky interior with a distinctively vintage vibe. With exposed stone walls and wooden floors, curl up by wood burning stove and put on the record player with its vintage amp. The perfect forest hideaway.
Candle Making in Nairn...
Coast Candle Company takes inspiration from the surrounding scents of the Scottish Highlands to create their natural, luxury candles. Scent is the most powerful sense for reawakening memories, so what better souvenir than a scented candle, made by you, to remind you of your trip? Using only the finest quality oils and natural waxes, choose a drop-in workshop or a more thorough masterclass. Take home a quality souvenir and some serious present-making skills for the future.
Where to stay: Golf View Nairn
Nairn is a great place for a relaxing seaside holiday and comes with the impressive claim of being one of the driest and sunniest places in Scotland! The Golf View Hotel and Spa has THE most incredible location with panoramic views over the shores of the Moray Firth. These views can be admired from the restaurant, bar, spa and many of the 42 bedrooms - wow. Also a great location for golf lovers.
Sea-fishing in Gairloch, Highlands...
Scotland is famous for its seafood. Why not see how it gets from nature to plate?
Shellfish Safaris is run by local skipper Ian, who has featured on BBC 1, and who comes from a family who have fished the northern waters for over 200 years. You won’t get a more authentic experience than being on a working, traditional fishing boat with Ian and up to 9 other guests. Learn how lobster and prawn creels are hauled from the deep water. While some of Ian's shellfish end up on Michelin starred plates, you can sample them here while they’re as fresh as fresh can be. If you’re nice Ian might also let you take some shellfish home for tea. The fact that you may also see an abundance of wildlife on these trips (from dolphins to seals) is only a bonus!
Where to stay: Shieldaig Lodge
Shieldaig Lodge is a recently refurbished Victorian hunting lodge set in a 26,000 acre estate amongst the stunning scenery of the West Highlands, and nestled next to the stunning Loch Gairloch. With magnificent waterside views, real fires, snug lounges and a whisky and gin bar, this is the perfect place to escape. Guests can experience the Scottish Highlands at its best – from falconry, fishing, hiking, pony trekking, archery and sailing. If you’re staying with them, Shieldaig are happy to arrange sailings with Ian on your behalf (and cook your catch for your dinner).
Wildlife Photography in Argyll...
This new form of deer-stalking means you don’t need a gun; only a camera. Increasingly, holidaymakers are keen to learn how to find and photograph Scotland’s impressive array of wildlife. Loch Visions, based in Argyll, runs a variety of photography workshops and multi-day tours. Expect to snap anything from otters to eagles, and learn some conservation skills along the way!
Where to stay: Loch Lomond Arms Hotel
The Loch Lomond Arms Hotel is a stylish and cheerful Inn which has been tastefully and thoughtfully put together, resulting in a ‘Chic Scotland Standard’ place to rest your head for a night or two whilst enjoying everything that Loch Lomond has to offer. Located in the picturesque village of Luss, within the breathtaking Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, you can enjoy freshly prepared local fare from the talented chef, David Hetherington - dining is informal but seriously good.
Weaving in Edinburgh...
Increasingly we’re becoming aware that our clothes have a high human and environmental cost. Scotland is famous for its textiles (Harris Tweed, Lambswool Scarves, and Tartan), and is keen to see its industry grow. Dovecot is a world-renowned tapestry studio in the heart of Edinburgh which celebrates and promotes the craft. They frequently hold talks and workshops where you can get to grips with skills such as embroidery and weaving. You’ll be making your own tartan in no time!
Where to stay: The Edinburgh Grand
Opened in 2018, The Edinburgh Grand is one of the latest 5 star additions to the city. Set in a former bank, step into the grand entrance hall and back to another world. Plush velveteen sofas, marble floors and gilded edges, it harks back to the golden age of travel. Choose from 50 luxury apartments, with kitchenette and coffee-come dining table. Pssst! We recommend the penthouse, with expansive outdoor terrace and unparalleled city views.
Bushcraft Survival in Duncarron Medieval Village...
Who hasn’t chipped two stones together to try and make a spark? In every modern-day city-dweller is the desire to conquer the basics of survival and namely, make fire.
Primal Bushcraft Survival run a range of survival workshops and primal retreats, many from Duncarron medieval village near Stirling. From safe knife skills, to sourcing water, to den building (I mean shelter building), it takes as little as one day to hear the call of the wild. Sign up to pre-existing courses or contact them for a tailored experience for your group.
Where to stay: Dam View Glamping
Continue your reacquaintance with nature by staying at Dam View Glamping. Set in 100 acres of farm land, within Gartmorn Dam nature reserve, these beautiful lodges mix the excitement of camping with the feeling of staying in a luxury hotel. With roll top baths, wood burning stoves and beautiful terraces, it’s the ultimate retreat.