Mike Cantlay is chairman of VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourism organization and one of the world’s most highly regarded public sector marketing outfits. Mint Indulge asked Cantlay what his favourite destinations in Scotland were for the indulgent traveller. Here’s his top five:


Photo: Getty Images

I am a golfer, and I have never played at a golf course in Scotland. So that makes it very difficult to choose. But I am a member at Gleneagles. And it is just spectacular. My favourite golfing experience is to go out on a summer evening. We have these long nights. Go out at around seven, half past seven, and play on the magnificent King’s Course at Gleneagles. There is nobody there. Just you, the deer and the peasants.

Port Ellen. Photo: AFP

There are only 3,000 people on Islay. But there are 10 distilleries here. The perfect stay is playing a little golf, then going down to the beach for dinner at the Harbour Inn in Bowmore. For some nice seafood and some white wine. And obviously a dram to finish.

The Balmoral Castle. Photo: WIkimedia Commons

This is where the Queen has her house in Balmoral. Granite and heather and cold and wonderfully…highland. Everything is rustic. The air is thick and pure and of the highest quality. The stretch between Aboyne and Braemar is just absolutely magnificent.


Edinburgh is the top destination in Scotland, of course. There is the castle, of course. But also some excellent hotels, great restaurants and lots of culture. You can’t say you’ve been to Scotland without passing through Edinburgh.

Lord Foster’s Clyde Auditorium, colloquially known as the Armadillo. Photo: WIkimedia Commons

Before you leave Scotland, to finish things off, you have to go to Glasgow. Glasgow is where the fun is. It is a fun city, it has a happening vibe. There are great nightclubs and it is a great high-end shopping destination as well.