A trip to Scotland offers a chance to explore historic cities, enjoy spectacular scenery and immerse yourself in some of the local culture. Visit the Scottish Parliament, discover the Gaelic language and enjoy a wee dram of Scottish whisky along the way. Scotland might be a small country but there is plenty to see and do.
Edinburgh and Glasgow
Edinburgh and Glasgow are Scotland’s two biggest cities and both are worth a visit. Edinburgh, the capital, has popular attractions such as St. Giles Cathedral and the new Scottish Parliament building. A walk up the city’s Royal Mile towards Edinburgh Castle gives a real flavour of its history with traditional pubs backing onto winding alleyways that are central to the popular ghost walks. The new National Museum of Scotland (nms.ac.uk) in the Old Town is also well worth a visit.
Glasgow is a more modern city, famous for the footballing rivalry between Celtic and Rangers. Take in a game if you get the chance. Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art is a cultural highlight and you can also enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife. Try Sauchiehall Street for more traditional pubs and the West End and Merchant City for upmarket bars and restaurants.
The Scottish Highlands cover a large area to the north of Scotland and are synonymous with legends such as the Loch Ness monster, Rob Roy and William Wallace. The Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in the UK and home to rugged landscapes, diverse wildlife, and unique villages and communities. You can walk, sail, climb, ski and play golf in different parts of the park. Other highlights of the Highlands include Loch Ness and Loch Lomond, Moray Speyside and the picturesque town of Inverness.
Scotland’s islands provide a perfect retreat from the stresses of modern life. To the north, the Outer Hebrides offer tranquillity, beautiful scenery and a chance to explore history dating back to the 5000 year old Calanais Standing Stones, and the ruined churches and monasteries from the 6th century. On the west coast, Argyll and the Isles have rugged coastlines, beautiful beaches and the chance to spot some of Britain’s rarest birds.
The Scottish Borders is a region that receives less acclaim than other parts of Scotland but has its own enthralling history, plush forest lands and a lively cultural scene. The Borders have been the scene of great battles in the past as the Scots sought to repel English raiders, and buildings such as Kelso Castle and Hermitage Castle all have fascinating histories to explore. Medieval abbeys at Melrose and Jedburgh are also worth a visit and you can base yourself in one of the area's impressive small towns such as Peebles on the banks of the River Tweed.
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