Lower Foyers, Loch Ness, Inverness, IV2 6XU, 01456 486 400
Loch Ness is one of Scotland’s most popular destinations, so naturally there are plenty of watering holes by the water. But Craigdorrach Inn seems better placed than most: located about halfway up beside the loch in the village of Foyers, it offers a panorama of the area’s verdant landscape that its rivals do not. A family-run establishment with a family-friendly atmosphere, the Craigdorrach Inn offers one of the most photogenic vantage points you could hope for.
Inverie, Mallaig, Inverness-Shire, PH41 4PL, 01687 462267
If you pass the door of the Old Forge on the Knoydart peninsula, you’ve probably gone to some effort to get there. Unless you take a boat from Mallaig, the Inverie pub is only accessible by foot – the shortest route there is a 17-mile footpath. The Old Forge, which looks out to Loch Nevis, is surrounded by nature, and the pub’s traditional vibe and famously friendly welcome make it a hit with its regular stream of visitors, however exhausted they might be.
Badachro Inn, Badachro, Gairloch, Ross-shire, IV21 2AA, +44 (0)1445 741255
The Badachro Inn is perched on the edge of wilderness. On either side of the whitewashed building are gentle tree-topped hills, where hikers, fauna and flora often mingle. With views of the Gairloch coast, pub regulars will typically watch boats idle by in the calm waters. The inn is also a bed and breakfast, so you can stay a while if the village’s numerous activities take your fancy. Golf, yachting, hiking, swimming, and whale cruises await.
Harvey Nichols, 30-34 Saint Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2AD, 0131 524 8350
A change of scene, now. Harvey Nichols’ Fourth Floor bar and restaurant is one of many spots that offer fantastic panoramas of Edinburgh, but it has a distinct advantage over, say, Calton Hill – you can order a martini at it. Aside from the cocktails, the food is also commendable, but the views out to St Andrew Square and the Firth of Forth are what makes the Fourth Floor, from an aesthetic standpoint, pretty unbeatable.
Glencoe, Argyll, PH49 4HX, 01855 811252
If you’re only staying in the north of Scotland for a day or two, the Clachaig Inn seems like one of the safest bets for an authentic slice of Highland hospitality. The Glencoe pub is circled by weather-scarred cliffs and postcard-baiting hills that dominate the landscape, but inside the pub couldn’t be cosier. In the main bar – there are three in total – there’s a fireplace set against a wall with exposed stone and log-lined walls, and it serves an extensive range of real ales and whiskies. Another bar, The Snug, is located where the cellar used to be, and the quieter Bidean Lounge offers a spectular sight of the West Face of Aonach Dubh.