After witnessing the ambiguous secrets of Rosslyn Chapel, made ever so famous by The Da Vinci Code, a walk around Roslin Glen is just the place to start pondering, with the hope of reaching that epiphany. The woodland walk and castle ruins make the area all the more enchanting and the sounds of the River Esk are verging on therapeutic. The lack of way-finding markers makes it that bit more exciting.
One of the many positive things about Scotland remains that, wherever you are, a castle never seems to be lurking too far away. A pleasantly arduous journey, those dead-set on witnessing both Borthwick and Crichton castles will delight at the walking in store. Beware of marshy terrain and rough paths, made all the better by exploring the old railway line and determined River Tyne. Crichton Castle played host to the likes of the third husband of Mary Queen of Scots. Don’t let the vegetation – which undeniably has a mind of its own – get the better of you.
The kind of place that inspires fairytales, Dawyck Gardens is an extension of Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden – and is just as impressive. Pinned as one of the world’s finest arboreta, the colours never fail to enchant during every season. From the Dutch Bridge, which is riddled with intrigue, and the majesty of The Azalea Terrace, to the sporadic 19th-century stonework, curious shrubbery, Himalayan poppies, and armies of beech trees, Dawyck Gardens are truly something special. Those in need of clearing the mind or getting away from it all will no doubt find sanctuary here.
Absolutely worth the miniature road trip, Cardrona Forest is a mystical woody walk near Peebles. Guarded by the Forestry Commission, those who get the heebie jeebies from ever-watching trees may not be in their element. From Scots pine and firs to deciduous trees, this forest appears truly magical. It is easy to see why avid cyclists and dedicated walkers flock to this spot like ducks to water. Those with a penchant for raising the stakes can meander off to Gypsy Glen, a walk that comes hand in hand with a brisk climb at the finish line.
A snippet from a Monet painting or a Jane Austen novel, Gosford Estate is a truly transformative and sensory experience. From the lily pond with the trickling waterfall and the graceful swans resembling paintings to the rickety bridges, over arching trees, inquisitive herons, the curling hut comprised of sea shells, oh, and the stately home exuding ineffable charm, Gosford Estate is the kind of spot that sparks a reluctance to share it with anyone else. The Bothy, which won the hearts of Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth when they were filming in East Lothian, is a fine spot for local produce and hearty soups.