Melanie Grandidge January 11 2024

2024 is a big year for Absolute Escapes. We’re celebrating 20 years of providing award-winning walking holidays and self-drive tours across the UK & Ireland.

To commemorate this milestone, we’ve put together our most popular holidays and travel trend predictions to bring you 20 exciting holiday ideas. Ideal inspiration for your 2024 holiday plans, and beyond!

Read on to discover our holiday ideas, or jump into your favourite theme using the links below.


Unique Experiences

Shetland & Orkney

Last year, we saw enormous demand for trips to Shetland & Orkney. We believe that it’s only going to get bigger in 2024! As destinations like nowhere else on earth, it’s no surprise that this wild and remote corner of northern Britain has been so popular.

These islands may seem unassuming on a map, but make the journey and you’ll be blown away by the diverse mixture of Scandinavian history scattered across a dramatic Scottish landscape.

Our Marketing Manager, Scott, recently visited these beautiful archipelagoes and had an unforgettable experience exploring the world-class scenery and some of the finest historic sites in Europe. Find the answer to all your questions and tap into his expert knowledge in our blog: Ultimate Guide to Visiting Shetland & Orkney. If you’re interested in exploring Shetland & Orkney, enquire soon as accommodation is filling up very fast for 2024.


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Hebridean Island Hopping

An archipelago full of extraordinary experiences, the Outer Hebrides is another incredibly unique destination. We’ve sent many happy clients to the Outer Hebrides over the years and they’ve loved the one-in-a-lifetime experience. Don’t just take our word for it – read our latest reviews that led us to win AITO’s Tour Operator of the Year Gold award.

With some of the friendliest locals, the most pristine white sand beaches, and the most mysterious stone monuments around, Scotland’s Western Isles will have a special place in your heart long after you have returned home.

Learn from our first-hand knowledge in our Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Outer Hebrides.


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Stay in Scottish Castle Hotels

There’s nothing more unique than staying in a real Scottish castle!

On this itinerary, you can immerse yourself in history while spending the night in a majestic castle surrounded by a stunning Scottish landscape. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a luxury-seeker, or simply looking to step into a fairytale world, our castle-hopping journey could be perfect for you.

Discover some of our favourite castle hotels in our blog: The 9 Best Scottish Castle Hotels.


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Immersive Road Trips

North Coast 500

Renowned as one of Europe’s most scenic road trips, the North Coast 500 promises a once-in-a-lifetime journey through Scotland’s rugged far north.

Despite its popularity, this route offers vast stretches of quiet coastal roads and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

For those keen to experience this epic road trip in 2024, enquiring well in advance is highly recommended due to the limited accommodation available along the route.


Great British Road Trip

After launching multi-country road trips in 2022, we were delighted to see our Great British Road Trip become one of our most popular self-drive itineraries.

This 20-night adventure packs in plenty of Britain’s most iconic destinations, including York, the Lake District, Loch Lomond, the Isle of Skye, Inverness and Edinburgh. This itinerary showcases just how diverse Britain is, from the energetic capital city of London to the serene and rugged Scottish Highlands.


Sun, sea and relaxation

Devon & Cornwall Road Trip

Nestling in the southwest corner of England, the twin counties of Devon and Cornwall offer the perfect recipe for a scenic and unforgettable holiday.

The combination of scenic national parks in Devon and first-class beaches in neighbouring Cornwall has created an ultimate travel destination (with a cracking traditional cream tea as the cherry on top!). The only problem with this is that, naturally, everyone wants to visit!

Fear not, at Absolute Escapes, our team regularly revisits the holidays we offer to continuously enhance our first-hand knowledge and keep our information up to date.

We regularly discover wonderful hidden gems away from the tourist hotspots. Just take a look at our Assistant Operations Manager Daisy’s blog 10 Stunning Secret Beaches in Devon & Cornwall for some of our favourite lesser-known beaches.


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Coll & Tiree

Did you know that the Isle of Tiree receives the highest sunshine hours in the UK due to its position in the Gulf Stream? Perhaps not what you’d expect from a Scottish island!

The peaceful twin islands of Coll and Tiree are perfect for a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. With pristine, sandy beaches and crystal-clear blue waters, you’re sure to feel rejuvenated after your visit.

What makes these islands so special is their strong sense of community. Despite having a combined population of less than one thousand, they are rich in culture and have a proud musical heritage. Moreover, a significant proportion of the locals are Gaelic speakers (one of Scotland’s ancient languages). Coll and Tiree provide a wonderful opportunity to experience an authentic slice of Scottish island life.


As seen on screen

Scotland on Screen

Harry Potter, Outlander, Braveheart, The Da Vinci Code, James Bond’s Skyfall. That’s to name just a few! With our country’s breathtaking landscapes, quaint villages and historic castles, Scotland is a popular choice among TV producers and film directors.

Scotland’s allure as a filming hotspot continues to grow. 2023 saw Glasgow transformed into New York for the Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. The beloved Jacobite Steam Train, known for featuring in the Harry Potter series, gained renewed attention in The Traitors – captivating over three million viewers as it ferried contestants to the stunning Ardross Castle, a nineteenth-century gem near Inverness.

The Netflix sensation, The Crown, used the seaside town of St Andrews as the backdrop for the love story of Prince William and Kate Middleton in its final series.

2023 also saw the release of another brilliant series of Outlander. To celebrate, we sent our Travel Specialists, Katie and Jo, to discover the stunning historical sites featured in the show. Read more in their blog: Top 10 Outlander Filming Locations in Scotland, or experience them for yourself with our Outlander Tour.


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London & The Heart of England

It’s no surprise that the star-studded capital city of London is the ideal destination for film lovers. It’s home to thousands of filming locations, including Harry Potter, Notting Hill, and numerous James Bond films. In this buzzing city, there are boundless things to see and do!

Venture further afield and you’ll find endless delightful villages and quintessential English countryside. Discover the charming town of Stratford-upon-Avon, which is the birthplace of William Shakespeare and home to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

In Oxford, a range of historic buildings have been featured in productions like The History Boys but most famously in the Harry Potter series.

Period drama fans should head to the historic city of Bath where Jane Austen once lived and wrote. Its stunning Georgian architecture and surrounding manor houses and countryside make it the perfect spot for recent shows like Bridgerton, The Pursuit of Love, and Persuasion.

With charming locations and close proximity to London, our London & The Heart of England itinerary candidly passes through more famous filming locations than we can list!


Reconnect with nature

Cairngorms National Park & North West Highlands

At Absolute Escapes, we are firm believers in immersing ourselves in nature to improve our well-being. There are few better settings to do this than Scotland’s magnificent Cairngorms National Park and stunning Wester Ross.

This brand-new multi-centre holiday was created specifically for 2024 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Absolute Escapes. The awe-inspiring hikes and exceptional accommodation come highly recommended by our Directors, Andy and Sheila. These regions are their favourite outdoor destinations in Scotland (and they sure know Scotland!).

By staying in one accommodation longer than our standard walking holidays, you can explore a variety of nearby trails and adapt your experience based on how you feel that day.

Looking for an idyllic place to stay to complete that rejuvenating effect? Take a look at these 9 remote hotels in Scotland to unplug and unwind.


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 The Lake District

With millions of visitors every year, the Lake District is one of the most popular destinations in the UK to reconnect with nature. Despite its popularity, you can easily find a sense of remoteness while knowing that a warm welcome at a friendly coffee shop or cosy pub is never too far away.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site has a strong outdoor community spirit, and you’ll always be greeted with a “Good morning!” on your walks. As a vast national park, there are more than enough lakes, mountains, and forests for everyone. This allows you to walk across the fells or climb crags and embrace the tranquillity of the fells, valleys and lakes and then reward yourself with a coffee or pint afterwards! Book with Absolute Escapes, and we’ll reveal our favourite hidden gems with you!


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Mindful adventures

Scotland by Train

Travelling by train emits 10 times less carbon than by car, making our Scotland by Train itinerary the ideal sustainable alternative to exploring the best highlights and attractions of Scotland. Board the magical Jacobite Steam Train, tour the volcanic Isle of Skye, and explore the Highland capital of Inverness – all without driving a car.

69% of travellers are proactively seeking sustainable travel options, as highlighted by a 2023 report from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Group, indicating a sustained and growing trend. Join the trend and choose an environmentally-friendly holiday, travel stress-free in comfort, and enjoy awe-inspiring views.

Discover more about the most impressive railway journeys in Scotland in our blog: All Aboard the 5 Best Railway Journeys in Scotland.


Eryri Snowdonia & Pembrokeshire Coast National Parks

This multi-centre walking holiday is a haven for nature lovers, boasting towering mountains and pristine beaches across two stunning Welsh national parks, Eryri Snowdonia & Pembrokeshire Coast.

Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbours, Wales remains a well-kept secret, attracting fewer international visitors. However, its charm lies not in numbers but in its natural beauty, unique culture, and its commitment to sustainable tourism.

Visit Wales has fantastic responsible tourism initiatives in place, focusing on environmental conservation, social and cultural enrichment, and health benefits for both locals and visitors. If you want to be a more eco-conscious traveller, or if you simply want to get away from it all, Wales offers the perfect idyllic escape for you.


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North East 250: Scottish Winter Road Trip

Travel through beautiful snowy landscapes in Aberdeenshire, Speyside and Moray, get cosy by a roaring fireplace and stargaze under the night sky. Experience Scotland in a whole new light with a winter escape on the North East 250.

The North Coast 500 was our second most booked self-drive holiday of 2023 and the majority of these trips took place in Scotland’s high season with the most popular summer months filling up very quickly. The North East 250 may just be Scotland’s best-kept secret and is a fantastic alternative to its popular neighbour. While the immense popularity of the North Coast 500 has brought significant economic benefits to the region, it has also raised concerns about the sustainability of its growth. By exploring less popular regions of Scotland or travelling between November and March, you’ll be doing your bit to support local communities.

Not convinced about winter travel? Check out our blog: 9 Surprising Benefits of Visiting Scotland in Winter.


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Journey through time

Cotswolds & Jurassic Coast

With 185 million years of Earth’s history embedded within 95 miles of rugged coastline, imagine what could you discover in Dorset’s Jurassic Coast.

And that’s just half of this amazing itinerary! You’ll also discover the picturesque North Cotswolds. From prehistoric tombs and stone circles to Roman villas and medieval churches, historic Cotswolds’ residents have left their mark over thousands of years, leaving a fascinating ingrained history to explore.

The beauty of a multi-centre holiday is that their relaxed style of self-guided walking holiday involves staying in two (or more) locations and getting to know the areas in depth. Our multi-centre holidays include (optional) car hire so that you can cover a wider area, experience a greater variety of terrain and scenery, and fully absorb the region you are visiting.


Eryri Snowdonia 360

Did you know that Wales has more than 600 castles? That’s more per square mile than anywhere in the world.

Embarking on the Eryri Snowdonia 360, you’ll explore medieval towns and castles, take in the beauty of pristine white sandy beaches, and immerse yourself in a region steeped in history, uniquely shaped by Welsh language and culture.

Not sure which castle to discover first? Learn more about some of our favourites in our blog, The 10 Most Beautiful Castles in Wales.


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Historic Borders of Scotland & England

Embark on an inspiring self-drive tour through the captivating landscapes of the Scottish Borders and Northumberland. These enchanting regions are dotted with historic castles and ancient abbeys.

Discover four splendid medieval abbeys – Melrose, Jedburgh, Kelso, and Dryburgh – in the Borders. Immerse yourself in Roman history at the Housesteads Roman Fort in Bardon Mill, witness live excavations at the Vindolanda archaeology site, and delve into the past at the Roman Army Museum.

Experience a full day of adventure along the pristine Northumberland coast, featuring the iconic Bamburgh Castle, an unforgettable boat trip to the wildlife-rich Farne Islands, or a journey across the sand causeway to the mystical Holy Island of Lindisfarne.


Food & drink experiences

Scottish Seafood Trail

Do you decide where to travel based on the restaurants and local food you want to experience? We’re exactly the same – and we’ve got you covered.

Discover the culinary delights of Scotland’s west coast, where you can indulge in mouth-watering seafood dishes amidst breathtaking landscapes. From tasting seafood fresh from the boat at Oban’s Seafood Shack or savouring the experience at a fine-dining restaurant in the incredible Isle of Skye, this culinary adventure is a feast for the senses.


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Discover Cornwall’s Classic Coastline

This itinerary is perfect for discovering the flavours of Cornwall. Think tasty seafood, traditional cream teas, and, of course, delicious Cornish pasties.

For an extraordinary dining experience, visit one of Cornwall’s three Michelin-starred restaurants. Enjoy the delightful ambience and culinary excellence of Outlaw’s restaurants in the picturesque Port Isaac or savour the exquisite dishes at Paul Ainsworth at No.6 in Padstow.

Looking for the perfect hotel to complement your next foodie adventure? Check out our list of 10 of the Best Hotels for Foodies in the UK.


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Islay & The West Coast Whisky Trail

Embark on an exciting whisky tour in Scotland, exploring famous distilleries amidst breathtaking landscapes, stunning coastlines, and historic sites. Immerse yourself in the exquisite flavours of single malt whiskies, produced in the most extraordinary locations.

Tour renowned distilleries on the beautiful island of Islay, including Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Lagavulin. On the beautiful Isle of Arran, you can sample the legendary Arran Malt, then travel to the Isle of Mull to enjoy a tasting at the Tobermory Distillery. Slàinte Mhaith!


Personalised to you

Your Perfect Tailor-Made Escape

Where will 2024 take you?

As well as a trend in visiting specific destinations like Shetland & Orkney and the Scottish Highlands, there has been a growing demand for personalised experiences since the pandemic. This trend is fueled by a desire for more authentic, meaningful, and tailored experiences, rather than the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to travel. That’s where Absolute Escapes can help.

Think of these ideas in this blog as a starting point which can be tailored into something entirely unique to you by our award-winning specialists.

We love the opportunity to use our first-hand knowledge and experience to design and deliver the perfect, bespoke holiday experience for you. Get in touch with one of our friendly Travel Specialists today to make your 2024 holiday dreams come true.

Melanie Grandidge

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