Photograph courtesy of Gleneagles Hotel
If the modern game of golf was born in Scotland, what better place to play it than this storied northern island? When people talk about rolling green hills and gothic splendor, the grounds of Gleneagles Hotel is what they must have in mind. For over 90 years, it has been one of Europe’s gems, around 90 minutes north of both Edinburgh and Glasgow, and replete with its own charming country railway station. It’s famous for its three 18-hole golf courses, a “Wee” nine-hole course and its PGA National Golf Academy, and it was the site of the 2014 Ryder Cup and is hosting the 2019 Solheim Cup. But even if you’re not a putting enthusiast, there is reason to stay for the luxury and outdoorsy types alike. The grounds are home to the British School of Falconry, as well as archery and the Gundog School (think Downton in its heyday), all of which are open to guests. Heated pools, tennis and a modern gym are wonderful, but more fun are the fly fishing, Scottish ponies, meticulously-kept maze and petanqué courts. The ESPA Life spa takes wellbeing to a new level, with personalized programs covering diet and fitness during your stay. Meanwhile, Chef Andrew Fairlie’s mix of Scottish and French fare have won him two Michelin stars consistently for years in one of Gleneagles’ four restaurants.