Dark, mysterious lochs. Soaring mountains and heather-clad glens. Rugged islands and vast open spaces dotted with idyllic towns and villages. Vibrant cities where historic buildings sit easily alongside modern bustle and vibrant centres of culture and commerce. Scotland is stunning.
For a country so small and with so much open countryside, Scotland has a huge amount to offer and has had a huge impact on world culture. It's great cities - Edinburgh (with it's ever-popular Festival and Edinburgh Military Tattoo), Glasgow and Dundee - in particular were powerhouses of the British Imperial commerce, scientific discovery and exploration, culture and learning, and remain some of the most popular destinations on holidays to Scotland. Its natural wonders, too, attract visitors from around the globe. Just their names - Glen Coe, Ben Nevis, The Old Man of Storr, the Cairngorms, the Mull of Kintyre, Loch Ness - call up visions of unspoilt scenery, timeless beauty and unresolved mystery.
Historic tales of valour, romance and rebellion are another huge draw on Scottish holidays. Explore the Scottish Highlands, or head to the Trossachs, an outstandingly beautiful area of mountains, lochs, rivers, castles and woodlands that has inspired Scottish poets and writers for generations, and that will be forever associated with William Wallace, Rob Roy MacGregor and Mary Queen of Scots.
Scotland's natural and historic treasures aren't confined to the mainland, though. Around 800 islands lie scattered off its coast, islands like Skye, Mull, Arran, or beyond them the Outer Hebridean isles of Lewis and Harris, North Uist, South Uist, Benbecula and Barra offer their own beguiling mix of magnificent scenery, myths and legends. Head "over the sea to Skye", and to the island’s main town, Portree, to discover a port filled with white- and colour-washed buildings, a pretty harbour and tales of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Further out into northern waters, Orkney and remote Shetland are filled with rugged charm and fascinating traces of their ancient inhabitants like Neolithic Skara Brae on Orkney and the astonishing Bronze Age settlement at Jarlshof on the Shetland mainland.
Scotland is also home to some of the UK's most scenic railway lines. The West Highland Line from Fort William to Mallaig, or past Loch Lomond and over the vast wilderness of Rannoch Moor; the charming Strathspey Steam Railway; and the breath-taking run from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh. Sit back and enjoy a train journey along any of these spectacular pictures and routes for a unique and unforgettable twist on a Scottish holiday.
Things to see and places to visit on your escorted tour of Scotland
Vibrant culture, quirky shops and world-class dining nestled against an enchanting backdrop of winding cobbled streets and historic architecture; it's no wonder that Edinburgh remains a firm tourist favourite.
Scotland has so much to offer it can be hard to know where to start. So, here are a few ideas to consider for your next Scotland trip.
Scottish cuisine takes some influences from British and European cuisine, but still possesses its own distinctive tastes and recipes.
Your holiday to Scotland would not be complete without trying their national dish - haggis. The savoury pudding combines sheep’s ‘pluck’ with oatmeal, onions, salt and spices. Bursting with flavour and a soft but crispy texture, haggis makes a tasty, fiery and moist meal.
With over 6,000 miles of coastline, Scotland has abundance of traditional seafood recipes, and with an emphasis on top-quality local produce, you can feast on fresh seafood just a few hours after being caught. Try the Arbroath smokie, a specially smoked type of haddock originating from of Arbroath in Angus. Only the finest haddock can be used to produce an authentic smokie – making this a very special treat on your Scotland holiday.
Taste the true flavour of Scotland – Scotch whisky. Enjoy (responsibly) Scotland’s national drink – as you discover your whisky palate. With more 100 active distilleries across Scotland, there are plenty of flavours to discover the right pour for your taste. Whatever pleases your taste buds, Scotland is bound to please, from meat and fish to puddings and drinks.
Here are some questions you might have about Scotland.
Scotland is known for its rolling highlands, whisky, ancient castles, and arts scene involving bagpipes, rock music and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
As most of you know, the currency of Scotland is the GBP, so you won’t need to change your money. It always helps to get cash out in advance, as small Scottish towns may have limited cash machine facilities.
August is a very popular month for tourists to visit Scotland, due to the calendar of events including the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Edinburgh Festival Fringe. However, Scotland is beautiful year-round, particularly in the spring when the colourful natural sights burst to life. The weather is similar to other areas in the UK, however, Scotland tends to be a bit colder and wetter.
Due to the country’s abundance of rural land, it produces incredible fresh produce. Some highlights include Aberdeen Angus steaks, wild trout, and salmon. Scotland's national dish is haggis, a meat pudding typically served with mashed potato and turnips.
With a rich history in distilling, Scotland is also famous for its whisky.
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