Meet the Boss: Robert Kidd, See Scotland Differently

Robert Kidderi-sunsetvsp-2

Robert Kidd, with his wife and business partner Heather McKinlay, started the travel company McKinlay Kidd in 2003, having had over 20 years experience working for some of the biggest names in the UK travel industry. Their holidays offer tailormade self-drive, independent holidays and experiences the length and breadth of Scotland and the islands. They live in Glasgow, but spend as much time as possible exploring Scotland to find new, authentic experiences. Robert is from Northern Ireland and is looking forward to the launch of See Ireland differently in 2010.

• Where did you go on holiday last summer, and why? Any plans for next summer?

We started the year with a week’s escape to Tobago, staying in the very relaxed village of Castara, catching some winter sunshine (and some unseasonal rain). Of course we travel frequently at weekends in Scotland, combining business with pleasure – it’s a real privilege to have some much glorious scenery on tap. Our main holiday this year was to Italy, where we stayed for a week in an apartment in Venice, researching family history, enjoying the Regatta Storica and Venice Film Festival, then to Bergamo, which we used as a base to take in the Italian Grand Prix.

Next year we will  be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in our favourite inn in the truly remote north of Scotland, in Sutherland. For our main holiday in November we hope to visit friends in Tanzania and also stay on Zanzibar – we lived in Kenya for a couple of years in the 1990s and look forward to our “Africa fix” every 2-3 years if possible.

• What is your favourite bolthole in the UK, and why?

We bought a cottage near the Mull of Kintyre nine years ago and recently had it fully modernised. It is five minutes’ walk from some glorious empty beaches, and we try to be there as often as possible, just about every weekend through the summer.

• If you could spend a long weekend in any city abroad, which would you pick, and why?

Chicago – all the buzz of New York, with much less hassle, and I enjoy the live music scene there.

• Please tell us three items that are always found in your luggage.

A camera – we take most of the pictures on our websites ourselves, a sunhat (due to my receded hairline!), and a waterproof – I never let the weather stop me getting out there.

• What one thing would most improve people’s overall holiday experience?

Making the most of local knowledge. At McKinlay Kidd we pride ourselves in helping people to find the places you think you might stumble across, but somehow never do. It’s the authentic local experiences that make a holiday special.

• What has been your worst holiday experience?

My only visit to Egypt will be forever tainted by being horribly ill for three days on a Nile cruise ship. However, a weekend in Blackpool a couple of years ago, was absolutely horrific from beginning to end, despite staying in a highly-rated B&B and eating in the so-called best restaurant in the town. All not helped when my football team (Charlton Athletic) were hammered 5 –3.

• Tell us your favourite hotel: in the UK; in mainland Europe; in the rest of the world.

Several in Scotland, probably the Isle of Eriska; the Hotel New York in Rotterdam and Shompole Lodge in the Rift Valley of Kenya.

• What is the most exciting project your company is working on right now?

The launch of See Ireland Differently, which will include holidays in Northern Ireland, where I was born and brought up.

• Thank you, Robert.

* See the McKinlay Kidd review.

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