Centuries of rich and at times turbulent history are packed into an area not much bigger than Tasmania: Scotland is a destination that has much to offer in such a compact space. Whether you’re lured by the cosmopolitan buzz of Glasgow and Edinburgh or the peaceful splendour of its lochs and glens, these are our five favourite reasons to visit Scotland.
The same stunning landscapes that have made Scotland a beloved tourist destination have also achieved Hollywood star status. From the Glenfinnan Viaduct made famous by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express, to awe-inspiring Glen Coe which was revealed as the location of James Bond’s family home in Skyfall, you could easily spend your entire time in Scotland following in the footsteps of your favourite onscreen characters.
From the ceremony of Burns Night to the theatrics of the Edinburgh Festival; experiencing the military pomp of the Edinburgh Tattoo or the showcase of rural life at the Royal Highland Show, there are plenty of opportunities to experience Scottish culture at its finest. Attend a Highland Games and test your strength and skill in traditional events like caber tossing and highland dancing or spend an evening at a ceilidh, drinking whisky and learning to dance a reel.
Walk the battlefield at Culloden, climb the walls of Stirling Castle, puzzle over the Neolithic standing stones on the Isle of Lewis: every corner of Scotland has another story waiting to be told. Spend an evening beneath Edinburgh’s Old Town learning the tales of Mary King’s Close, visit the fairy-tale castles of Dunrobin and Kilchurn or explore the interactive exhibits of Glasgow’s People’s Palace museum.
Don’t expect to exist on a diet of haggis, neeps and tatties – Scottish cuisine has so much more to offer: tender Aberdeen Angus beef and melt-in-the-mouth Shetland salmon followed by creamy Cranachan, all washed down with a few drams of finest whisky. You can even follow a specialised food trail, working your way through the Scottish countryside on a heavenly diet of artisan cheese, freshly-caught langoustines, and even specialty chocolates.
Mainland Scotland has close to ten thousand kilometres of coastline, dotted with more than 700 islands, of which fewer than 90 are inhabited. They include the Hebrides (Inner and Outer) to the west, and the Orkneys and Shetlands to the north. Whether it’s walking the stunning, deserted beaches of the Shetlands, sampling whisky on the Isle of Skye or seal- and puffin-spotting in the Orkney Islands, Scotland’s islands are sure to fill you with both surprise and delight.
These are just a few of the highlights you can expect to enjoy during your stay in Scotland – there are plenty more for you to discover for yourself. Your personal travel manager can help you create your ideal Scottish itinerary.