HOW many times have you heard friends and family say they’re off to Angus for a holiday?
YOU could argue that it’s only in more recent years that Fife has come into its own and started to realise its potential as a great place for a break.
Makars Gourmet Mash Bar, Edinburgh It’s not particularly well-known in Edinburgh yet, but we reckon it won’t be long before Makars is one of the most talked-about restaurants in the capital. Two words. Mashed potato. As the owners themselves say, it’s the king of comfort foods. They’ve taken their love of this great classic and come up with several variations of mash to go with their main dishes. We can’t decide whether to recommend the black pudding mash or the spring onion and smoked ham mash. Both are equally creamy and delicious. There are also plenty of great main dishes to go with them. Service is good, too. It’s different but down-to-earth. What’s not to love?
1. Jupiter Artland, Wilkieston A little out of town. Worth finding, though, because this sculpture park is so unusual, you’ll find it endlessly fascinating. It’s unique, restful and great fun to climb the pyramids. We love the healthy cafe, too, which is run by Edinburgh institution Milk.
1. Edinburgh Castle Walking along Princes Street, you can’t help but gaze at the imposing sight of the castle. Since last April, 1.7 million people have visited. Those people aren’t wrong and a day out at the castle is indeed one of our top essential visits in a city packed with essential visits! Entry of £16.50 (adults) may seem steep. But there’s so much to do. We love St Margaret’s Chapel, which always has fresh flowers. They’re provided by St Margaret’s Chapel Guild, whose members are all called Margaret and live in Scotland. It’s those fascinating facts and years of history that make this a great day out.
The Eagle Barge, South Laggan Fancy going Dutch? Then try the Eagle. This converted Dutch barge – once a Second World War troop carrier – is now a floating restaurant and pub on the Caledonian Canal. It is fabulously located for walkers, cyclists and sailors exploring Loch Ness and the Great Glen. It offers a variety of food choices, along with a selection of ales and whiskies. Diners can choose lunch and bar meals, but evening meals – which are cooked to order – need to be pre-booked. We recommend the seafood platter which usually includes langoustines and lobster. This is a cash-only restaurant, so don’t forget your wallet.
Sand Dollar Cafe, Aberdeen This eatery has a New England-style interior and offers good food. Live jazz on certain nights.
1. Glenfinnan Viaduct and Station Museum, Glenfinnan All aboard the Hogwarts Express! Two Harry Potter movies were shot on Glenfinnan Viaduct which is 100ft above the ground. You can cross it on the Jacobite steam train
1. Highland Wildlife Park, Kingussie Come and meet Victoria, the UK’s only female polar bear. She and her buddies Walker and Arktos are quite at home in the Highlands and they’ll thrill you with their antics as they dive into their pool or wrestle a hard hat. And they’re not the only animals who originate far from Scotland’s shores. The Highland Wildlife Park also has amur tigers that will leave you spellbound. The park, set in spectacular scenery, has a drive-through reserve and walk-around area. It’s just a great day out for all the family.
1. Marischal College, Broad Street It’s best known as the Aberdeen Council HQ, but few realise that historic Marischal College is the world’s second largest granite building after El Escorial Palace in Madrid. You can peek inside during the city’s Open Doors Day events.
Fun Beach This glorious beach will take your breath away.