Cross the rattly Victorian bridge to Eriska and you immediately feel a sense of island zen. A little way up the Scottish coastline from Oban, this 350-acre private island hotel has views to Lismore and to mountains. There are seals on the shore, badgers coming to the door to be fed milk at night, fat sofas beside big fires and a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Which room? The Lismore Suite has views over the sea with the Highlands in the distance but, for ultimate escapism, book a self-catering ‘Hilltop Reserve’ and have a breakfast hamper delivered to your door.
What to pack: Bring wellies because the island has lots to explore – there’s a partly submerged Crannog (a fortified dwelling dating from the Bronze Age) – but also a book to curl up with by the fire while you wait for afternoon tea (included in the price).
What to order: The menu changes seasonally, but look out for Isle of Mull scallops, with brassicas, whipped yolk and roast chicken sauce, or roast Eriska pork belly with grilled gherkin, roast curd, roast pearl barley and ‘alcoholic’ gooseberries. For breakfast, try finnan haddock with a poached egg.
Don’t miss: The cheese trolley. Eriska has over 30 cheeses on offer including Isle of Mull cheddar, Ailsa Craig goat’s cheese and creamy Lanark Blue. Or take a whisky tasting and decide whether you favour a peaty Islay malt or a treacly Glenmorangie.
How to do it: stays at the Isle of Eriska Hotel cost from £195pp, including dinner, bed and breakfast (eriska-hotel.co.uk).
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