Mallaig, Scotland, UK

Though it’s best known as a gateway to Skye, the bustling port town of Mallaig makes a great staycation pit stop in its own right. Expect hot tubs overlooking the northern lights, fresh seafood restaurants and Scotland’s west-coast beaches that rival the Mediterranean.

Where?

Mallaig, Scotland

Why now?

Considering planning an abroad holiday right now is like trying to avoid the banana skins on a game of Mario Kart; we're playing it safe and heading to the bonny beaches hidden in the Scottish Highlands.

Though it's known as the launch point for trips across the Isle of Skye, the port town of Mallaig shouldn't be overlooked as a destination in its own right. Mornings are best spent watching fishermen haul in their catch before taking the easy walk along the Mallaig circuit - you'll enjoy views over the harbour and Loch Nevis.

Don't miss

… visiting the Silver Sands of Morar. The beachscape will trick you into thinking you've flown to the Med. Why did you even consider boarding a plane in the first place?

Where to stay

Knoydart Hide has all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a design-driven cabin in the middle of nowhere. We're talking: hot-tub with views of the northern lights, a sauna and a freestanding bathtub overlooking the forest. It's as romantic as it gets. For something a little more rustic, try this bothy at Kylesmorar. It's only accessible by boat and is so remote you'll be given a walkie talkie to communicate

Where to go for dinner

The Cornerstone. Not to be confused with the hit Hackney outpost that shares its name, this tiny seafood restaurant serves up platters of langoustines, monkfish and sole that have been caught just across the harbour. If chef Cameron's sticky toffee pudding is on the menu, order it. And don't even think about sharing.

And for a drink…

Hunker down next to the roaring fire at the Chlachain Inn. If local ale isn't your thing, you'll be impressed with the small-batch gin on offer.

Who to take with you

Someone with great taste in music. You'll be stuck in a car with them for hours.

When to go

Sure, the Silver Sands might conjure memories of summers spent pootling around the Mediterranean, but blustery beach walks in October and November are our jam.

Essentials to pack

Aside from a brolly? These Chloé Franne ankle boots make for a chic walking companion.

How to get there

If you're combining a pit stop in Mallaig with a Highland road trip then it's merely an hour's detour from Fort William. Otherwise, take a direct train from Glasgow to Mallaig station where you can pick up a bike to pedal across the sands.

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North Berwick, Scotland, UK