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Self-catering holidays in Scotland prove increasingly popular

HOLIDAYMAKERS are turning their backs on typical beach getaways in favour of self-catering staycations at some of Scotland's most scenic destinations.

According to figures released by one holiday lettings company, the popularity of 'do it yourself' breaks have climbed steadily in recent years.

And with the lure of traditional Scottish scenery proving to be influential, many holidaymakers have been opting for stays in more rural luxury.

Places such as Perthshire, Argyll, Sutherland, Wester Ross and Speyside have seen the most notable increases in self-catering trips and mini-breaks.

Indeed, the number of short breaks taken in 2013 has increased by 35% when compared to figures over the past two years, according to Cottages & Castles.

And with a self-catering holiday at home becoming a more affordable option, the firm predicts a continuing increase in bookings for 2014.

One of the most popular destinations for holidaymakers this year has been Miss Ballantine's Cottage, which is based on the banks of the River Tay, near Dunkeld. Other notable hot spots included the nine-bed highland lodge Balnakeil House, Scourie, and Lower Burnside, Aviemore, which sits on the Ballindalloch Castle beat of the River Spey.

Achnasmeorach House, Loch Awe, in Argyll, was also a popular let, along with the Beul na Mara guesthouse, near Ullapool.

Sue Bourne, manager of Cottages & Castles, said there has been a swelling interest self-catering breaks at many of Scotland's premier lets. She added: "One of the growing trends we have experience throughout the year is the increase in popularity for short breaks with people waiting to assess weather conditions.

"Another interesting trend this year has been the level of demand for top quality self-catering properties offering luxury accommodation in some of the most stunning settings.

"The draw of Scotland, steeped in history, is evident with its numerous castles, beautiful scenery and fantastic outdoor activities for all ages to enjoy."

The tourist industry in Scotland has 'gone from strength to strength' over the last few years with the Office of National Statistics recording a 1.6% increase in visitor numbers for the first half of the year.

Furthermore, staycation holidays have become particularly popular, with domestic holidays rising by 2%.

Historic Scotland has reported a record-breaking summer for Scotland's visitor attractions.

At the time, the tourism minister Fergus Ewing MSP, described the boost as a 'resurgence' and hoped for further increases to tourism in Scotland ahead of next year's Commonwealth Games.

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