There aren’t many places I would be willing to get up at 4 a.m. after packing my car with my husband and kids.
But there is one in the UK – and that place is Brora.
I have been visiting the small coastal village in north-east Scotland since I was a child.
But it’s not just the nostalgic memories that keep me coming back year after year, now with my own children.
The place is a paradise of secret and wonderfully quiet beaches with sparkling blue waters that make it hard to believe that this is Britain and not the Caribbean.
After two stops and just over 12 hours later, we arrived at our lovely stone holiday home, Sona Di (Happy Days in Gaelic).
The sun seemed to have risen for our visit, and as soon as I caught a glimpse of the lapping sea from our cruise, I was immediately reminded of Brora’s unparalleled beauty.
With a four-year-old and a 17-year-old in tow, it can be a challenge to find a vacation that suits both children with a large age difference, but Brora ticks all the boxes.
Just five miles along the coast south of our holiday home is Golspie, home to the fairytale Dunrobin Castle.back to the early 13th century.
It is a great place for teenagers and adults, even if you are not a childEnthusiast.
The falconry that takes place here is a family favorite and takes place twice daily from April to October.
It fascinated the youngest of my daughters as much as she didThe majestic creature rises into the air and floats over the audience.
From Dunrobin Castle you can cross the road and enter the Big Burn Walk. This is the case at just 3 kilometersThe hike is suitable for amateurs like us and even for my four year old’s little legs.
This walk has become part of our annual routine and we do it at least once every visit, just becausein the breathtaking landscape. Walking through the rocky, jungle-like landscape, this trail takes you to a roaring waterfall – the perfect Instagram spot for my snap-happy 17-year-old.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, there’s really no better way to end the day than with a bite to eat at Sid’s Spice, voted the second best Indian restaurant in Scotland.
They have everything from classic tandoori dishes to the infamous Sids House Soecial with marinated chicken tikka, lamb tikka and tandoor king prawns.
When it comes to food, Indian cuisine isn’t the only cuisine Brora knows well.
Known for its diverse offering of sweet and savory waffles, Cocoa Skye is a must-try.
Another top spot for sweet treats is Capaldi’s of Brora. The shop has been making fantastic ice cream since 1959 and has the largest selection I’ve ever seen, from traditional favorites like rum raisin and raspberry ripples to the famous honeycomb and the seasonal “Barbie” flavor (again, a favorite among the children, of course).
The children were particularly excited about the “Barbie” waffle that was includedChocolate chips, raspberries and marshmallows all stacked on a pink wafer.
We had picked a good time to visitIt was lovely all week so there was plenty of time on the beach.
A cheerful local had told us that there were lots of seals that day in the village of Golspie, a 30-minute walk from our cottage.
As we approached Golspie Beach we were overwhelmed by the variety of creatures scattered along the shore, some bathing in the sand and others bobbing in the sea.
There were easily over 50 of them, but not a single other person was in sight, meaning we had this entire patch of sand to ourselves. My youngest was in awe as she watched the seals flutter back and forth between the sea and the shore.
However, it’s not just about the children, there is also a lot to experience for adults in this area.
High on our list was the Clynelish Distillery, also in Brora, which offers tasting tours or you can simply enjoy the first floor bar with its stunning views of the North Sea.
The whiskey cocktails, homemade cakes and super friendly staff made us want to go back three times during our stay.
On our last day, my husband couldn’t resist a round of golf at the golf clubLinks course so me and the kids went back to Capaldi.
As we walked down the road towards the harbor with our ice cream in hand and the sparkling blue sea before us, we could hardly believe we were still in the UK.
I wondered if we were in Brora or actually Bora Bora.