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There are so many accommodation options these days that it can be bewildering when you are planning a trip around Scotland. Should you book a budget hotel or splash out on a slice of luxury? Is camping really for you or maybe you should go glamping? One type of accommodation for me that really stands the test of time, whether you are travelling with your family, in a couple, as part of a group of friends, or even just heading off on your own, is self-catering.

Every year I go on at least a couple of self-catering breaks, which I find always work well with my young family and also encourages other people to come along and join us to share some of our travels, whether they be family or friends.

Join me now as I share my 5 reasons you should book a self-catering break and why it is a type of holiday so suited to Scotland. Stay tuned to the very end of this blog as I have links to some of the great self-catering oases I have stayed at over the last few years.

Aikwood Tower

Aikwood Tower © Robin McKelvie


Not in a Mel Gibson sword rattling way! More in a space and flexibility to do your own thing kind of way. I love that there are no reception staff to deal with or cleaners bashing in unannounced. No other guests either playing loud music or slamming doors. Hotel rooms – even expensive ones – can be tiny, but by their very nature self-catering escapes tend to offer more space. This space comes in especially handy when you have wee ones in tow.

Sound of Harris, Harris

Sound of Harris, Harris © Robin McKelvie


In the past self-catering could be quite an expensive option. Supply was often limited, or you frequently had to book a property for a minimum of three nights or even a whole week. That has all changed in an era where flexibility is key. As a rule of thumb the bigger the group the better value a self-catering break becomes. I have stayed at some stunning places around Scotland with a couple of other families, and when you divide the daily rate for these luxurious abodes by the number of guests they are great value.

Kindrochet Lodge, Atholl Estates

Kindrochet Lodge, Atholl Estates © Robin McKelvie

Cooking Up a Storm

Not all hotels include breakfast in their standard rate, and few provide any cooking facilities, so you can save money by making your own breakfasts and event heading out to restaurants when you book a self-catering escape. At home I’m often too busy in my office to do much cooking, so I love getting away on a self-catering trip and spoiling my wife and kids with some good home cooked food. Scotland also boasts a rich larder of world-class produce, and when you book a self-catering escape outside of our cities you often get closer to its source – meaning you can pick up foodie goodies like fresh langoustines and venison.

Cooking langoustines at Sound of Harris

Cooking langoustines at Sound of Harris © Robin McKelvie

Growing Luxury

Self-catering has become seriously cool and there are myriad luxury options available. We are talking hot tubs in the heather, with the chance to steam away while your hair freezes! Not to mention designer kitchens, saunas, fancy toiletries and fluffy robes. We’ve even stayed at places with their own snooker rooms and croquet lawns!

The Chester Residence

The Chester Residence © The Chester Residence

Weird and Wonderful

The choice of self-catering accommodation today is so varied, especially when you consider some of the crazily offbeat options that have opened to welcome guests. You now have the chance to sleep in an old Iron Age roundhouse, a modern version of the ancient brochs, or even an old search and rescue helicopter! A mixture of the weird and luxurious is coming online next year, as the people behind the Royal Yacht Britannia have told me they plan to open Edinburgh’s first floating hotel on another vessel.

Modern broch, Balbinny

Modern broch, Balbinny © Robin McKelvie

Links to my blogs on holidays at some of the best self-catering around Scotland.

*Welcome to Scotland offer swathes of great self-catering options, which you can check out here. *


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Link to the free Welcome to Scotland travel App

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