The Best Places to Elope in Scotland: Our guide to the most romantic Scottish elopement locations
If you’re planning a Scottish elopement and are looking for a romantic location for your elopement wedding ceremony, we’ve got you covered! As Scotland elopement photographers, we have explored the length and breadth of this beautiful county. Following on from our last guide post on how to elope in Scotland, we’ve put together a list of our all-time favourite elopement locations for an outdoor wedding ceremony. For couples who want their wedding to be a bit of an adventure: who want their day to embrace the beauty of nature and the great outdoors…this one’s for you!
1. GLENCOE ELOPEMENT
Glencoe is a stunningly beautiful valley. It probably epitomises what people think of if they close their eyes and imagine the Scottish Highlands. At 2 hours from Glasgow, and 2.5 hours from Edinburgh it’s reasonably accessible. But the moment you arrive there you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
It’s worth noting that Glencoe is a popular area for hill-walkers and tourists alike—particularly during the summer months (June-August). So you’ll need a photographer who knows Glencoe well, and can advise you on the best away-from-it-all location to exchange your vows. We can recommend a variety of spots that are absolutely stunning, don’t require a strenuous hike to get there, and will allow you to exchange your vows in peace—without a bus load of tourists looking-on. Just ask us for more info.
Read on for more . . .
Accommodation in Glencoe itself is quite scarce. But here are a few options that either in or within easy reach of Glencoe:
Dalness Estate is set amidst stunning scenery in Glen Etive, which branches off Glencoe, this characterful shooting lodge sleeps 14. It’s the perfect setting for a weekend house party with your nearest and dearest. There’s also a cottage sleeping two, for couples eloping alone.
The King’s House Hotel sits in the middle of the Glencoe valley, newly refurbished and with spectacular views.
Mhor 84 is a super-cool boutique hotel that does amazing food. Simple, stylish rooms and a cool Scandie-vibe. It’s a 45 min drive to Glencoe.
Ard Daraich is a super-characterful self-catering cottage set amidst beautiful gardens with views of the sea loch, which you can hear from the four-poster bed. We’ve stayed here ourselves and absolutely love it. This would definitely be our top choice were we eloping in Glencoe ourselves. The interior would make for wonderful ‘getting ready’ photos. It’s a scenic 45 min drive to Glencoe, via a 5 min car ferry at Corran, but so worth it!
Corrour Cottages are a really sweet collection of cottages in a beautiful setting sleeping between 2-10 people. About 2 hours drive to Glencoe. But it’s a very scenic route, and these places are worth it!)
2. ISLE OF SKYE ELOPEMENT
The Isle of Skye has gained the reputation for being one of the most wildly romantic elopement locations in the world – and with good reason. Its spectacular scenery draws visitors from around the world. The island is now accessible via a bridge and at 5.5 hours from Glasgow and Edinburgh it’s definitely worth the journey! Imagine exchanging your vows amidst scenery like this!
As with Glencoe, it’s worth noting that due to its incredible scenery, Skye is very popular. Locations such as The Quiraing, The Fairy Glen and the Fairy Pools all get very busy. If you are thinking of one of these as your elopement location, we can suggest ways to help you steer clear of the crowds! Alternatively, we can recommend some lesser-known ceremony locations that will be much quieter.
There is an old saying, ‘if you don’t like the weather in Scotland, wait 5 minutes’. Its usual in Scotland to experience ‘all four seasons in one day’—nowhere is this more true than on the Isle of Skye. So be prepared to wrap-up warm and embrace the elements! In our experience, the weather fronts pass through very quickly on Skye. We’re always ready to be flexible, go with the flow and alter timings for the day where necessary. If it’s pouring with rain one minute, the chances are that if you wait a wee bit, it will have blown-over!
Skye has so many awesome places to stay (and eat!) that it’s hard to know where to start. But here are a few of our favourites:
Kinloch Lodge is a boutique hotel in a traditional Scottish shooting lodge. Amazing food. Characterful bedrooms that make a great backdrop for morning preparation photographs.
Coruisk House sleeps up to eight in a small, family run boutique hotel tucked-away in a quiet part of the island. Amazing, locally-sourced food.
The Three Chimneys is an internationally renowned restaurant-with-rooms, sleeps 8.
The Mint Croft is a luxury self-catering accommodation, sleeping two in a super-cute traditional stone cottage.
Keep in mind that as Skye is an extremely popular destination with tourists, particularly between June-October, accommodation gets booked-up a good 6 months in advance. So plan ahead! Also, make sure the accommodation you are booking is not too far from your ceremony location – Skye is a big place!
Skye has probably the greatest concentration of amazingly photogenic locations in Scotland. If you want to make the most of these, and to really explore the island, it’s going to take time to get around: a lot of the roads are single-track and very narrow and winding…and you’re probably have to stop every few minutes for sheep. So allow space in your elopement day schedule for this. It’s really worth going on a bit of a road trip around the island with your photographer. – so that you can capture a few different locations – not just your ceremony spot. You’ll definitely want to take-in these amazing views!
3. ISLE OF MULL ELOPEMENT
If you prefer a softer, more gentle landscape then an eloping on the Isle of Mull could be just the thing for you! Think rolling hills, thick forests, hidden waterfalls and ruined castles. It’s got some stunning white sand beaches too—although the water is rather bracing if you fancy a swim!
At 4 hours drive from Glasgow and 4.5 hour from Edinburgh, Mull is accessed by ferry. You can check-out the Calmac ferry timetable here. Like Skye, Mull has a wealth of romantic accommodation options as well as amazing restaurants where you can sample locally sourced food. We love:
Pennygate Lodge is a beautiful small hotel that does amazing food created with fresh local produce.
Benmore Estate sleeps 10 at the Lodge and has an assortment of characterful cottages sleeping two.
Linndhu House is a beautiful bed & breakfast 2 miles from Tobermory that feels like a home-from-home.
Calgary Bay Cottages are a lovely assortment of cottages set around the island’s most beautiful beach.
Cnoc Deaghuinn is a beautiful light and airy self-catering cottage sleeping 6.
A great way to experience the best of the Isle of Mull is by boat. Why not hire your own traditional sailing boat and skipper for an afternoon an experience Mull and its neighbouring island, Iona, from a different perspective. You could even pack some provisions for a romantic sunset picnic on a deserted beach!
This stunning boat is a 1930’s Danish former fishing boat called the Berthe Marie hired from an experienced local company, Alternative Boat Hire Iona.
4. TORRIDON AND WESTER ROSS ELOPEMENT
This remote area in the very north of Scotland has a special place in our hearts, as it’s where many of Jim’s family live. At 4.5 hours drive from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, this part of Scotland is known as one of the best road trips in the UK. Check out the North Coast 500 route for details.
One of the things that we love about this part of Scotland is that it’s a bit more off the beaten track and less popular with tourists than places like the Isle of Skye and Glencoe. Loch Maree and Loch Kernsary are absolutely stunning elopement locations and you will hardly meet a soul there.
Being a little more off the well-trodden tourist trail, Torridon and Wester Ross have slightly less choice in terms of accommodations and eateries. However, we’ve tracked down some awesome places that we think you will love:
Shieldaig Hotel is a small, boutique hotel in a characterful old hunting lodge. You will be welcomed by roaring fires, fine whisky and delicious locally sourced food.
The Torridon Hotel and Boathouse has a similar vibe to Shieldaig Lodge, but with the option to stay in their romantic boathouse accommodation for two.
5. EDINBURGH ELOPEMENT
If you love to be surrounded by history, culture and amazing architecture, the city of Edinburgh is hard to beat. Scotland’s capital city offers a super-romantic backdrop for a Scottish city elopement—an alternative for couples who might not want to spend their wedding day tramping through wet heather!
In Edinburgh, your wedding day can be combined with some urban exploration—exploring the city’s characterful backstreets, dropping into cosy coffee shops, and perhaps whiling away an hour in one of the city’s internationally famous art galleries. Carlton Hill offers epic views across the city and Dean Village is one of the quaintest corners of town.
Arthur’s Seat is a popular spot to watch sunset over the city. Pack some drinks and nibbles, bring a rug to sit on, and watch the sun go down behind the city before you head to one of Edinburgh’s many award-winning restaurants to celebrate your wedding night in style. Then, if you’re in the mood, there are jazz bars and a host of clubs catering for all musical tastes, ideal for any party animals who want to end their wedding night with a swing.
Some of our favourite Edinburgh haunts are:
The Witchery—an Edinburgh institution: a Gothic/ Baroque interior that feels like you’ve stepped straight into a fairy tale.
The Dunstane, a classy, boutique hotel in a leafy area.
London Street Georgian Home is a Characterful airbnb in a beautiful part of town.
The Kitchin set in nearby Leith in a stylish waterfront location, Kitchin uses French techniques on Scottish produce in super-cool converted whisky warehouse.
Timberyard offers contemporary Scottish cuisine at its best in a beautiful, bright and airy warehouse setting. Our go-to place for a romantic meal in Edinburgh.
The Jazz Bar is exactly what its name suggests—where it’s at for sultry nights on the town.
6. CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK ELOPEMENT
The Cairngorms National Park is a 1 hour drive from Inverness airport, or 2.5–3 hours from Glasgow & Edinburgh. The Cairngorms are a slightly quieter and more contemplative landscape than the Isle of Skye or Glencoe. The landscape is characterised by ancient Caledonian pine forests which are lush and verdant and fringe peaceful lochs. There are some beautiful secluded spots, surrounded by trees and overlooking the mountains for a personal and private elopement wedding ceremony; a place where you can exchange your vows accompanied by just the sound of the birds and the wind in the branches.
We particularly love the Cairngorms in autumn, October and November, because the forests come alive with amazing autumns colours and there are often atmospheric mists hanging over the lochs.
The winter months can be really pretty, too with snow on the hills and really great, low light which makes for amazing photographs. You just need to make sure that you wrap-up warm with lots of layers!
Some of the best elopement accommodation options in the Cairngorms are:
Killiehuntly Farmhouse & cottages sleep 19 in total, but the separate properties can hired individually for smaller numbers. A beautifully restored farmhouse and steadings offering both self-catering and catered options.
Glenfeshie Lodge & Cottages sleep 28 in total. The Lodge itself sleeps 12 in a super-atmospheric and lovingly restored traditional Scottish shooting lodge.
Fife Arms Hotel has amazing and elegantly themed rooms, amazing food and whisky selection. Need we say more?
Dell of Abernethy is a lovely farmhouse and cottages set amid the forest. Sleeping 30 in total, its the perfect setting for a relaxed weekend house party.
Inshriach House is an Edwardian country house with a similar feel to the Dell of Abernethy, but sleeps 17. Beautiful interior with amazing light that makes for great ‘getting ready’ photos. It also produces a famous local gin.
Loch an Eilean Cottages are three super-sweet cottages in a stunning lochside location.
The Lazy Duck (Sleeps 6 in double cabins. In addition, there’s a family cabin sleeping 5. Amazing wooden eco-cabins tucked away in the woods with a hot tub where you can enjoy a glass of something under the stars)
7. SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS ELOPEMENT WEDDING
If you’re dreaming of eloping in the Highlands of Scotland, somewhere with a dramatic, mountainous backdrop but want a ceremony location that’s quiet, peaceful and away from the crowds, then Alladale Wilderness Reserve might be just the place for you!
Alladale is a 23,000-acre estate 1.5 hours north of Inverness, which conveniently has an airport! The team behind the estate are really committed to keeping their corner of Scotland truly wild, or ‘re-wilded’, by replanting indigenous forests and reintroducing Scottish highland plant and animal species. Arriving at Alladale is like stepping back in time—the whole valley is yours (without tourists or other visitors) and the dramatic landscapes, rich colours, and general sense of calm that completely takes your breath away!
The Alladale estate is comprised of the main Lodge, and two self-catering cottages—one sleeping 4, the other sleeping 6. In total, Alladale can sleep 26. While the cottages are self-catering, the lodge has its own chef – who is on-hand to cook-up all manner of delicious, locally sourced meals. We could not envisage a more perfect setting for an intimate elopement wedding celebration.
The team behind Alladale are amazing—really organised and on the case, but also extremely relaxed and friendly. This is one of our all-time favourite venues for an intimate elopement wedding. It really is a special place.
8. EILEAN SHONA ELOPEMENT WEDDING
Imagine having an entire Scottish island entirely to yourselves! Well, that’s exactly what you get if you choose Eilean Shona as your elopement wedding location. At 3.5 hours from Glasgow, 4 hours from Edinburgh and 3 hours from Inverness airport, it’s not too far from the big city. But once you set-foot on the island you will feel like you’ve entered another world.
The main Lodge sleeps 16, while the cluster of super-sweet cottages sleep between 2-8.
Eilean Shona is a car-free wilderness heaven. Your days here are filled with cooking and drinking around camp fires, crabbing, wild swimming, painting, reading, hiking, picnicking, kayaking, nature watching….Imagine an open air woodland ceremony, or an evening celebration on the beach drinking champagne as you watch the sunset over the sea.
If you are considering a Scottish elopement, do get in touch! We would love to help you with your plans to elope in Scotland.
We have a fuller and more detailed version of this blog that we share with couples who feel that we are the right photographers to accompany them on their elopement adventure and book us to capture their day.
It contains details of amazing places to stay in each of the elopement locations, as well as a load of info on other suppliers (celebrants, caterers, florists, caterers, hair & make-up artists). In short, it’s everything that you need to help you plan an awesome Scottish elopement wedding day that’s unique and special to you. For couples that choose to work with us, we’re here to help you in any way that we can and to fully support you as you plan your elopement in Scotland. We can’t wait to get to know you in person!
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