The Scottish Highlands boast a majestic landscape of craggy peaks, meandering rivers, and quilted hillsides. Outputs range from Glenmorangie (no trip to The Highlands is complete without a single-malt souvenir) to melt-in-the-mouth shortbread, and now… Petra Palumbo homewares.
Based in the Scottish Highlands, the eponymously named Petra Palumbo are a sustainable homeware company that designs long-lasting, high-quality products with an environmental conscience. Weaving influences from Petra’s Lebanese ancestry and Scotland’s rich heritage of textiles and craft, the end result is an exquisite collection of glass homewares – think tumblers, jugs, and tealight holders – adorned with painterly floral motifs, as well as ceramics and soft furnishings.
We caught up with the Highlander herself to ask her advice on tackling The Highlands. From where to sip the perfect whisky sour to antiques hunting and early morning escapades, Petra’s guide is all you’ll require to ensure a bonnie time is had by all.
Essential items to pack?
Walking boots, jumpers, a waterproof jacket, a camera, and a good sense of adventure.
The best time to visit The Highlands is…
I love the month of May because the yellow gorse and lilac is in bloom, every other field is ablaze with colour. Mid-summer is special because we’re so far up north, it never really gets dark, you can read a book outside with no difficulty at 10.30PM! Also, October – for the autumn leaves – is stunning.
Our first pitstop should be…
With there being such a rich history in the Highlands, I’d say visiting Culloden Battlefield and its newly renovated museum (which is only a 15-minute drive from the airport) is important to see – it was the last ever battle to be fought on British soil. The 1746 battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising – an attempt to reinstate a Stuart monarch on the throne of Britain – and is today considered one of the most significant clashes in British history. Following that, head to the Culloden House Hotel for a delicious breakfast, lunch, tea or dinner.
Your favourite hotel to check-in at is…
For an early morning workout head to…
Reelig Glen, where you can exercise under some of the tallest trees in Europe!
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Where should we go for breakfast?
Castle Street Restaurant in Inverness for a proper, traditional Scottish breakfast.
How about for a long, lazy lunch?
IV10 in Fortrose, they have an extensive menu serving food made from locally sourced produce followed by a walk along Rosemarkie beach OR you can go further afield to Cromarty for lunch at Sutor Creek, they often serve fresh mussels and other seafood. The town has lots of great shops to peruse too.
And for dinner with friends?
Rocpool in Inverness, it’s always delicious with a lovely lively atmosphere.
A must-try spot for date night?
Black Isle Brewery in Inverness for pizza and local beer.
Your favourite restaurant in town?
Budget: Castle Street Restaurant.
Blow Out: Rocpool.
Where should we head post-dinner?
Hootananny in Inverness for some live music and lots of dancing.
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The drink to order at the bar…
Whisky sour in Hootananny’s whisky bar on the top floor.
The culture spot to rave about…
Leakey’s, a second-hand book shop in Inverness. I could spend hours in there – it’s sprawled over two floors and you can find books on just about anything.
For great antique shopping head to…
Iain Marr Antiques in Beauly, Objet d’Art in Dingwall, Castle Close Antiques in Dornoch, Gardiner & Gardiner in Cromarty, The White Rabbit in Ullapool…
To pick up some great homewares try…
Petra Palumbo, my homeware shop set in the old bank in Beauly on the high street (which should be open to the public in April/ May this year).
Your favourite neighbourhood(s)…
Beauly, Tain, Dornoch, and Ullapool.
For the best views head to…
Glen Strathfarrar, or if you’re going to Skye, head to Quiraing.
[IMAGE: Photography by Basia Wright]
For a change of pace try…
Climb a Munro nearest you! Or jump in the car and drive around the North Coast 500.
Great day trips include…
Cawdor Castle and its beautiful garden or Gordon Castle’s walled garden.
A book to read before we go (or while we’re there)?
The Last Highlander by Sarah Fraser.
How should we spend the final day of our trip?
It depends how far you want to travel but head to Loch Noss on a lovely day and visit Urquhart Castle or Glenmorangie whisky distillery for a guided tour and tasting.
What’s your Highland secret?
It wouldn’t a secret if I told you!
In a word, The Scottish Highlands are…
[FEATURE IMAGE: Photography by Jacquetta Wheeler]