The culture of Scotland is so different than its neighbor, England. Though they are both part of the United Kingdom, each country has its own unique heritage, culture and history. One thing that many think of when planning a trip to Scotland is experiencing the Scottish-lifestyle firsthand. This includes everything from kilted bagpipers to haggis and lamb’s wool sweaters to Scotch whiskey. These unique features are what make Scotland a must visit destination.
Those visiting Scotland will not be at a loss for things to do. Travelers can enjoy everything from camping to hiking and tours to relaxation when exploring the big and small cities of the country. When visiting Scotland, make sure to include visits to Glasgow and Edinburgh. These are the country’s biggest cities and offer a ton of things to see. You will want to include the historic castles and pubs that date back centuries when visiting these cities. When Edinburg, you will want to save time to explore the Royal Botanic Garden, which was founded in 1670. This garden has taken on a huge role in the world’s research in biodiversity.
Other must-see sites in Scotland include the Scottish Seabird Centre, the Edinburgh Castle, the Eilean Donan Castle, the Scottish Highlands, Glasgow University, Rossyln Chapel, the Cathedrals, local farmers markets, Loch Ness, Melrose Abbey and the Orkney Islands. There are also plenty of museums offering free admission and walking tours available in most of the major cities in Scotland.
You’ll find it to be rather easy to get around Scotland. Buses are very inexpensive, making it possible to backpack around the country. However, walking doesn’t only save you money, it is the best way to see the country. By walking, you can approach those historic sites you would only see in passing if you were riding a bus. Renting a car is another great way to get around Scotland. By doing so, you are on your own schedule and can travel to and from attractions, historic sites and restaurants when you want to.
Those wanting to travel by plane can travel with both major airlines and private charters. The four main airports in Scotland include Aberdeen, Glasgow, Glasgow Prestwick and Edinburgh. Train service is also available to those wanting to travel across the country and still enjoy the beautiful landscape.
Places To Eat
Dining out in the big cities of Scotland can be affordable, especially if you stick to the pubs. Though if you have accommodations with a small kitchen, you can save money on mid-day meals and snacks by picking up some groceries. You can also pack your own lunch and go picnicking next to a beautiful lake, river or castle. These are just some of the more casual dining options available in Scotland. Those wanting to dine in a restaurant will enjoy The Kitchin, Crabshakk, Frankie’s Fish & Chips and Butchershop Bar and Grill.
In addition to having a quiet picnic on a grassy hill, you can also enjoy a more luxurious table-service meal at one of Scotland’s finest restaurants. Those dining at some of the more luxurious restaurants in Scotland will be able to select from an assortment of Aberdeen Angus beef, venison, lamb, salmon and other fresh seafood options. Some popular restaurants in Scotland include 21212 Restaurant, Airds Restaurant, Martin Wishart’s at Loch Lomond, The Strathearn at Gleneagles and The Seafood Bar at Crinan.
When visiting Scotland, you will find a variety of accommodations including hostels, apartments, hotels and resorts. Prices vary among different sleeping quarters, which makes it possible to visit this country on just about any size travel budget. Some accommodations can be found nestled in the mountains or along a loch. Some popular places to stay when traveling through Scotland include the Inn at John O’Groats, Fonab Castle and the Flagstone Cottage. Some of the best hotels in Scotland also include Prestonfield, B+B Edinburgh, Blythswood Square and ABode Glasgow. Those traveling on a budget may want to stay at the Craigatin House, Yann’s at Glenearn House or the Barley Bree. These all offer comfortable and affordable accommodations for those on a small travel budget.
As you can see, Scotland offers travelers plenty of things to see and do. You are sure to fall in love with the historic castles and pubs, just like you are sure to fall in love with the beautiful coastline and landscape. Remember, if you want to miss the heavy crowds associated with tourist season, make plans to visit Scotland during the months of September through March. It may be cold, but winters are rather mild in this region of the world.
Heather Landon (Heather Leigh Carroll) is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.