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Sarah’s Blog: Our Scottish summer road trip

For those unfamiliar with my family, my husband Glenn and I have two boys, Hamish and Fraser – you may notice the Scottish connection!

Whilst we no longer have family in Scotland, we all still enjoy the occasional visit and this summer decided to base ourselves near St Andrews in the lovely St Andrews Forest Lodges.

Our preference is for quieter places and knowing the weather could be blowing a hooley, a hot tub is always on the list of ‘must haves’.

My travelling motto is always ‘you just never know’. As a parent it’s easy to presume what will interest your kids and I’ve had some surprises over the years – dragging Fraser away from the Terracotta Warriors always comes to mind - he was fascinated - whereas Hamish sat under a tree in the shade bored! I digress…

So, after departing our Lancashire home, we took a pit stop in Durham and found ourselves in a queue for the cathedral, me being the sole team member showing any enthusiasm to want to venture in.

Who would have thought that inside we’d find Luke Jerram’s touring artwork Gaia, with its illuminated globe installation cool enough, even for a 15-year-old!

We stayed for a couple of nights near the market town of Alnwick, Northumberland. Despite not being far away, we’ve never explored this part of the UK, and all had a great time.

Teen boys can be tough to please and I’ve always found a football and wide, open spaces suit them best. The beaches here are just stunning and whilst the boys braved the Baltic North Sea for a dip, I took a stroll to see the impressive Bamburgh Castle.

Onwards to the Motherland and after a quick brew stop in Edinburgh to see my lovely friend and colleague Gillian, we arrived in the tranquil Fife countryside.

Our incredibly spacious lodge was fully equipped for a self-catering stay and impressed everyone with its wonderful views.

A short drive over the Tay Bridge takes you to Dundee but as the weather gods were looking favourable, we bypassed the city to head to the small fishing town of Arbroath. A lunch date awaited with the local speciality, Arbroath smokies, but first we needed to work up an appetite.

Arbroath Cliff Trail is a stunning stretch of coastline, firmly ticking my open space/ you never know boxes. It’s an easy path, although you can veer off to explore the unique rock formations and scream at your kids to “be careful and don’t go down there”. Safe to say they loved it.

Back for a lovely lunch in the Old Brewhouse, one of the oldest pubs in town. Overlooking the harbour, this was the perfect spot to enjoy Cullen skink, a hearty soup made with Arbroath smokies.

We returned to Edinburgh on a day trip as the Fringe Festival was on and it's great fun to just wander the streets, enjoying the weird, wonderful, and hugely entertaining performers.

It’s a majestic city that never fails to impress me and the only place I can tolerate hearing bagpipes played as it doesn’t quite feel right without them.

We had some more great food at the Thai Express Kitchen and after the obligatory JD Sports shopping detour, everyone was ready for the hot tub and a return to some tranquillity.

Another highly enjoyable and successful family trip to Scotland was completed by the mandatory stop at Tebay services on the way home. If you know, you know... 😉


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