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Scotland's Alternative To Route 66 Is The Perfect Way To Travel Close To Home This Summer

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Scotland's Alternative To Route 66 Is The Perfect Way To Travel Close To Home This Summer

Although the roadmap out of lockdown has now been laid out by the UK Government, there's still plenty of caution about going ahead and booking holidays abroad.

That's not such a bad thing, though, if you consider the riches that Britain itself has to offer. Don't believe us? Look no further than this ultimate Scottish road trip.

Billed as 'Scotland's answer to America's Route 66' by VisitBritain, the North Coast 500 (NC500) touring route runs circular, starting at Inverness Castle and traversing the northern part of the Highlands.

It's a journey that takes in looming mountains and deep water lochs, as well as beaches, castles and all manner of other geographic and historic delights.

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Inverness Castle. Credit: PA
Inverness Castle. Credit: PA

The 516-mile scenic route takes in coastal roads through seaside villages, pretty towns like Ullapool and even John O'Groats, Britain's favourite (almost) most northerly point.

Among the highlights are Wester Ross, where you can drive along Bealach na Ba - a stretch of road that gives you views out as far as the Outer Hebrides. The pass dates back to 1822 and weaves its way through the Applecross peninsula.

There's also Caithness on the north east coast, where you can pass a certain royal holiday home called the Castle of Mey, as well as fishing ports and thriving local food and drink scenes, including several nationally renowned restaurants.

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Fans of Outlander will find something to love on the journey too, with Culloden Battlefield in Inverness featuring a a visitor centre that details the last battle to take place on British soil - including a wealth of artefacts and an enthralling 360-degree immersive theatre experience.

The Prince of Wales chilling at the Castle of Mey. Credit: PA
The Prince of Wales chilling at the Castle of Mey. Credit: PA

The route takes around to five to seven days to complete if you want to stop off on the way to see the sights, and if you're worried about accommodation, there's plenty of different options - from castles, to B&Bs, guesthouses and grand hotels. There's truly something for everyone.

Speaking on the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme earlier in the month,Transport Secretary Grant Shapps Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had warned people not to book holidays abroad.

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He said: "First of all, I should say, people shouldn't be booking holidays right now - not domestically or internationally."

Shapps went onto point out that the ability to ease restrictions around international travel was down not just to the success of the UK's own vaccination programme, but also those of countries abroad, stressing that travel would depend on those two factors.

"Please do not go ahead and book holidays for something that at this stage is illegal at home or abroad," he reiterated.

Featured Image Credit: clementp.fr (Creative Commons)

Topics: UK News, travel, Scotland

Simon Catling
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