WITH nearly 30% of men planning to leave their gift-buying until the week before Christmas, Northern Ireland’s last minute shoppers can spread some festive cheer with a cracking break to Scotland in 2015.
From the Burning of the Clavie in Burghead to Shetland’s s Up Helly Aa’ Festival, Scotland has a myriad of exciting attractions to enjoy and brilliant moments to discover.
Choosing a break to Scotland to match your loved one’s interests has never been easier with VisitScotland’s A-Z Winter Guide, which can be found at www.visitscotland.com/winter
As Scotland prepares for the Year of Food and Drink 2015, a taste of food and drink experiences to enjoy on a visit include:
· Scottish Seafood Trail
Perfect for lovers of the finest seafood cuisine, the Scottish Seafood Trail is a self-drive tour which offers a once in a lifetime experience. Learn some top cooking tips at a seafood cookery demonstration before heading off to “shuck” oysters at an oyster farm. Prices begin at £655 per person. www.theseafoodtrail.com
· The Royal Yacht Britannia Burn’s Supper
On 23rd January, celebrate Burns Night (25th January) and the birthday of National Bard, Robert Burns, with a truly Scottish dining experience upon the Royal Yacht Britannia. Enjoy a four course meal accompanied by the finest Scotch whisky, while surrounded by the luxury of the Edinburgh-based ship. Prices begin at £160 per person.www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk/
· Spirit Of Speyside Whisky Festival
Held during the first weekend in May, it is a must for any lovers of the Scottish national drink. The festival takes place in the Speyside region, home to over 50 distilleries and the 15 year old event boasts live music, fine dining and, of course, whisky tasting. Prices are to be confirmed on booking. www.spiritofspeyside.com
Experiences for history and heritage lovers:
· West Highland Line Steam Train Experience
The West Highland Railway Line offers some of the best views of the Scottish Highlands while travelling on some of its legendary engineering. Voted “The World’s Best Rail Journey” by the readers of the travel magazine ‘Wanderlust’, it is completed by a sumptuous journey in first class on the Jacobite Express. Prices begin at £275 per person.www.seescotlanddifferently.co.
· Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran
A short ferry ride away from the mainland lies the Isle of Aaran, the home of the stunning Brodick Castle. Open to the public, this 16th Century castle attracts visitors from all over the world. Its newest event, Fabulous Treasures, invites a closer look into their impressive collection of art, silverware and furniture. Prices begin at £17.95 per person.www.nts.org.uk/Downloads/
Trips that are licensed to thrill for car lovers and movie enthusiasts:
· Aston Martin 007 Weekend
A trip tailor made for Bond fans across the world, the Aston Martin 007 Weekend allows you to twist and turn through the Scottish countryside in a convertible Aston Martin. Live the glamour and the thrills of the Bond lifestyle as you visit famous settings of the legendary spy saga. Prices begin at £1285 per person sharing.www.seescotlanddifferently.co.
All these fantastic holiday experiences and many more are only a short flight away – Northern Ireland air routes cover various cities including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Prestwick, Inverness and Aberdeen from local airports – George Best Belfast City Airport, Belfast International Airport and City of Derry Airport. Additional easy access routes from Northern Ireland to Scotland include short ferry trips from Belfast to Cairnryan and Larne to Troon and Cairnryan. For more information on great places to visit in Scotland during the Year of Food and Drink 2015, please visit www.visitscotland.com.