Isle of Skye: The Hebridean Island to Head to for Your Next Staycation
Make the Isle of Skye your next staycation choice, where brooding hills, white-powder beaches, sustainable eateries, storied distilleries and one seriously stylish check-in await
13 March, 2023
Isle of Skye, Scotland.
Spent last night enjoying Attenborough's highly anticipated new Wild Isles docuseries? The rest of the nation, too. Just five minutes into the episode, we found ourselves gently reminded of the utterly enchanting landscapes and wonderful wildlife to be found in our own backyard - which quickly led to us plotting our next great British adventure.
Enter, the Isle of Skye. The largest and northernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, dotted with shimmering, windswept lochs and jagged peaks, this Scottish destination might be considered off-grid geographically, but it's home to a thriving foodie scene that rivals that of some of the UK's coolest neighbourhoods - think sustainable eateries and arguably the world's finest native oysters. Plus, book now and you'll be among the first to experience The Bracken Hide Hotel, a new address offering a collection of contemporary bothies designed with savvy explorers in mind.
The Fairy Pools, left, and a sneak peek at The Bracken Hide. | Photo credits: Karen Cann / Unsplash.com / The Bracken Hide.
The Fairy Pools. Located at the foot of the dramatic Cuillin hills, pockets of gin-clear water see adventurous types braving the chilly depths for a wild-swim sesh. If the weather plays ball, make tracks to the white sands of Coral Beach.
Where to stay?
The countdown is on for 31 March, when The Bracken Hide Hotel is set to officially open its doors, blessing Skye with 45 timber-clad cabins, a whisky-stacked bar, design-driven restaurant, Nordic sauna and cinema. Stay in one of the wilderness cabins, partly for the king-size beds and underfloor heating, but largely for the undisturbed views across Loch Portree. We'll meet you there for a s'mores session.
What about food?
No one does it better than our good friends over at Kinloch Lodge - and it's all praise to head chef Jordan Webb for delivering the seasonal goodness. If it's breakfast you're after, order the award-winning oatmeal porridge spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon, followed by the hearty Scottish grill - all pork sausages, smoked back bacon and black pudding served on a bed of fried mushrooms, vine tomatoes and perfectly buttered granary toast. Come suppertime, Highland beef tartare, crab toast, pan-fried cod, cheese boards and foraged delights come out to play. Looking for something a little more relaxed? The pared-back dining set-up at Red Skye Restaurant delivers.
Shelves brimming with spirits, left, alongside a dish of fresh loch mussels. | Photo credit: Adam Wilson / Unsplash.com / Kinloch Lodge.
And for a drink…
You don't need us to tell you that Scotland is home to the greatest density of whisky production in the world. But, what we will tell you is that your drinking den of choice should be Talisker - Skye's oldest working distillery. Set on the scenic shores of Loch Harport, the distillery follows an old-school method of serving your dram without the addition of an ice cube - a more warming prospect in Scotland's sometimes-harsh temperatures. Insider tip: spirit lovers should book to go on the multisensory tasting tour.
Who to take with you?
Your friend who hosts a popcorn party every time Attenborough takes to the screen - they'll already have taken note of Skye's shoutout in the new series.
Essentials to pack
To pack like a proper glamping pro, and for on-the-go hot and cold drinks, snag an award-winning Ocean Bottle. The sustainable warriors behind it promise that every purchase pays for 1,000 ocean-bound plastic bottles to be collected, meaning you can enjoy each sip and slurp knowing that you're both reducing plastic waste and helping to clear it up, too. Loving the gorpcore trend? Grab this Patagonia down sweater vest. A lightweight and windproof jacket crafted from recycled fishing nets, it makes for a functional and stylish staple.
How to get there
We suggest taking a direct flight from London Heathrow to Glasgow International Airport, then making the five-hour train journey from Glasgow to Mallaig, from where it's a 30-minute ferry crossing to Skye.