Scotland may be a small country within the United Kingdom but it has a clear identity and culture (and accent!) of its own. From its historic cities to its natural beauty of the island and highlands, there is a lot to see. There are lots of great hotels in Scotland to choose from as well, ranging from B&B’s to luxury resorts.
The following locations are some of the top places to visit in Scotland, especially for those that have never been before.
The first location in this list is perhaps the most obvious, but for good reason. Scotland’s capital is a unique place. While major cities in the UK modernised, urbanised and lost some of their old charm, Edinburgh stayed true to its roots. The New Town isn’t new at all. It just seems that way when comparing the Georgian architecture to the Medieval Old Town. The castle is still a prominent part of the landscape and popular attraction. Visit in August to enjoy the Fringe arts festival or in December for Hogmanay.
Glasgow may be the second city, and often the second choice for tourists, but it is an interesting contrast from Edinburgh. This city is more modern and diverse in its architecture. You can explore Victorian buildings like the Kelvingrove Museum and then find yourself in the among the industrial architecture on the banks of the Clyde. The city is also perfect for culture with the different museums, Glasgow School of Art and more. A bonus for tourists is the metro system – one of just 3 underground rail services in the UK.
The Scottish Islands
It really is difficult to choose one island over the others. There are so many around the coast of Scotland. Some are remote and offer an interesting look at Gaelic culture. Others are more accessible for day trips. You can rent traditional cottages, sail around the shores and take in the breathtaking scenery. These islands are also perfect for those that want to spend a week wildlife watching. Shetland and Mull are particularly popular because of their seabirds, raptors, seals, otters, whales and dolphins.
The Cairngorms National Park
If you want to head into the wilderness of Scotland, but don’t fancy the boat trip to an island, you could go further inland. The Scottish landscape is famed for its dramatic peaks, moorlands and vast lochs. The Cairngorms contains a vast selection of habitats to explore – from some of the highest Scottish peaks to lochs, forest and more. You can trek with guides to search for golden eagles, red squirrels, mountain hare, red deer and other incredible species.
St Andrews is famous for two things: golf and the university. This means that any keen golfers can be sure of a game in one of the prettiest, most cultured settings in the world. The town is picturesque with the university buildings, the case and the dramatic coastline. This adds a sense of grandeur to the game. This is one of those courses that golfing enthusiasts need to play at least once. There is even the British Gold Museum nearby.
This is just a small taste of what Scotland has to offer. The highlands are full of interesting places to explore. The coastline has a surprising amount of spot for a break by the beach. There are whisky distilleries to visit. There are also plenty of smaller towns like Inverness, Aberdeen and Dundee with their own history, culture and charm.