"Sing me a song of a lass that is gone...Say could that lass be I?" If those lyrics mean nothing to you, move along. If they strike a pang in your heart of excitement for Outlander season three, you've come to the right place. Forget Romeo and Juliet, there's no story more romantic than that of Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser and James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. World War II nurse Claire Randall travels back in time to 18th century Scotland and falls in love with a Highlander. It's a tale as old as time. While we wait with baited breath for season three of Starz's steamy adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, maybe it's time to think about taking a trip to Scotland of our own. A Scotland honeymoon, to be exact.
Of course there's a lot more to Scotland than the Frasers of Lallybroch. Eighteenth-century lodges nestled in the countryside and fairy tale–inspired castles perched over the sea are just the start to a road trip–themed honeymoon through the northernmost country in the U.K. Sitting at the same latitude as Stavanger, Norway, and Alaska’s Nunivak Island, Scotland even offers prime views of the Northern Lights right from the center of cities like Edinburgh. From whisky tastings and golf (this is the home of the legendary St Andrews course, after all) to craft cocktails and haute pub cuisine, Scotland serves up the perfect compromise for couples heading on a honeymoon to Europe. Here, six reasons to book a romantic Scotland honeymoon inspired by our total obsession with Outlander. Sorry, Jamie Fraser not included.
You Can Go Castle Hopping & Craft Cocktail Tasting—All in a Day
Start your honeymoon in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh (with new direct flights from Providence and Hartford on budget liner Norwegian), which really comes to life during the summer festival season. You don’t have to stray too far from the city to see your first castle, either. Edinburgh Castle sits right at the top of Royal Mile—the main drag through the Old Town—crowning the city’s skyline. Stretch your legs after that international flight on a hike up Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano in Holyrood Park, where you can get your bearings by taking in 360-degree views of the city below. After snapping a selfie with your beau, make your way back into town and toast to your first night with the most whimsical craft cocktails at the Devil’s Advocate, set inside a former Victorian pump house. You can’t go wrong here with cocktails like the intriguing Encore, a blend of Japanese whisky, French strawberry vermouth, and balsamic glaze. If you wanted the perfect intro to whiskey, this is your place, with over 200 bottles lining the shelves.
Dine at Classic British Pubs
Pub fare gets a bad rap, but Scotland is quickly transforming these hearty staples into gastronomic masterpieces. Take the Scran & Scallie in Stockbridge, a neighborhood slowly transforming into the city’s gastronomic quarter. At the low-key gastropub, you can sample some of the best Scottish cuisine, or scran, from the same team behind Edinburgh’s Michelin-starred the Kitchin. Exposed bricks, custom-crafted wallpaper, and reclaimed furniture dressed in tartan and tweed add a rustic yet chic feel to the cozy space. Be sure to try modernized versions of classics like fish pie, as well as some of the forgotten favorites like chicken liver parfait. For a more traditional pub experience, pop into any one of the establishments lining the popular Rose Street, such as the quirky Dirty Dick’s (a craft beer fave) and the Kenilworth, a Victorian spot named after a Sir Walter Scott novel.
Sleep Like Royalty
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Prince Charles out for a morning stroll on the 2,000-acre estate home to the 18th-century Dumfries House. Commissioned by the fifth earl of Dumfries, this mansion in the countryside of Ayrshire fell into disrepair and was almost auctioned off a decade ago. Luckily, the Prince of Wales stepped in to save Dumfries and restore it to its regal glory. Now you can tour the house that still serves as a royal residence when the prince is in town. If you want to sleep on the grounds, Dumfries House Lodge is just a five-minute walk away. Known as the Garden Cottage 200 years ago, the lodge is now home to 22 elegant cottage-inspired rooms decorated by the prince’s sister-in-law.
Sip Whisky at the Source
The national drink—and country’s largest export—is a must-try while touring Scotland. Over 100 distilleries dot the country’s five whisky regions, but that’s just half the amount that existed over a century ago before World Wars and Prohibition took place. Newcomers like the Lost Distillery Company are working with archivists to revive some of these lost whiskies, drawing inspiration from historical documents and distilling techniques gathered around Scotland. Get a crash course on the history of one type of whisky in particular cruising along the Malt Whisky Trail in Speyside, also known as Malt Whisky Country. On the three-day drive, you’ll come across some of the country’s most famous distilleries, from Glenlivet to Glenfiddich, one of the last independent distilleries in Scotland, where you can take part in a tasting and masterclass with the pros.
Play Legendary Golf Courses
Whether you’re a newbie or golf aficionado, Scotland provides plenty of opportunities for couples to improve their swing with some of the most legendary courses on the globe. Home to the Open Championship and the Ricoh Women’s British Open, Scotland has long attracted golfers to its 550 greens (Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus are just a few of the big names who have played here). In fact, Scotland is home to the oldest golf course in the world, the Links at St Andrews. Make a day out of it playing a round at the Old Course in the seaside town of St Andrews before strolling along the thousand-year-old city’s streets. Make the walk up to the top of the 12th-century St Rule’s Tower at St Andrews Cathedral—once the largest cathedral in Scotland—for some of the best panoramic views over the North Sea. After working up an appetite, take a seat in town and indulge in another tradition, Scottish fish and chips, at family run restaurant and fishmonger, Tailend. The hardest choice you’ll have to make: Do you want your fish battered or breaded?
Live Out Your “Outlander” Fantasies
Fans of Outlander can step right on the set of the show visiting the filming locations that already inspired one honeymoon. For the full whirlwind tour, set out to conquer 28 cities in 13 days on Trafalgar’s Highland Trail, where you’ll visit Blackness Castle (a.k.a. Fort William prison) and Culross, better known as Cranesmuir in the show. Here you can wander through the 16th-century town that served as inspiration for Claire’s herb garden and Geillis Duncan’s home. Of course, a visit to Doune Castle, a.k.a. Castle Leoch; and Midhope Castle, Lord Broch Tuarach's Lallybroch, are in order. You’ll even have the chance to go island hopping over to the Orkney Islands, where the legend of the mythical Scottish selkie got its start. Even if you’re new to the novels (or series), this two-week tour is sure to give you and your new spouse just the right mix of adventure, history, and romance as you trace Claire and Jamie’s steps around Scotland.
See More: 10 Unexpected Honeymoon Destinations