Guid mornin or guid efternuin!
Do you love a Scottish accent? Seriously, who doesn’t? And who wouldn’t love to visit the green, lake-covered northernmost country in the UK? I’ve got some clients headed to Scotland this year, so for their sake, and also for everyone who WANTS to get there, I’ve put together a list of recommendations of some of the best places to visit. Nobody wants FOMO (fear of missing out)—so here you go.
This is the oldest building in Edinburgh (pronounced ed-in-burra or ed-in-bra, in case you were wondering). It’s also the most-visited paid tourist attraction in Scotland, with good reason! Construction started in the 12th century, and expansions continue in the 21st!
Loch Ness & Loch Lomond.
“Loch” is the Scottish word for lake. Loch Ness, home to the famous Loch Ness Monster, is the second largest lake in Scotland. The monster tales began probably because the waters are very murky, due to high concentrations of peat. Loch Lomond, the largest lake in Scotland and home to 22 islands, is located in the Trossachs National Park.
Other Castles & Palaces.
The must-visits are the Holyrood Palace (official residence when the British monarch visits Scotland but open to the public most of the year); Balmoral Castle (the private residence of the British monarch, located in the Cairngorms National park; gardens and ballroom open to the public); Stirling Castle (the site where William Wallace helped secure Scottish independence); and Urquhart Castle (located on the edge of Loch Ness; great scenery from these castle ruins).
The Isle of Skye.
Known as “Cloud Island” because of heavy mists, this 50-by-15 mile island is home to quaint villages, mountain scenery, lush green caves, waterfalls, and beaches. To get here, you can take a ferry or drive across a bridge.
You won’t see Harry, but you can definitely have some of your own HP experiences! I’d recommend the Harry Potter walking tour and taking a ride on the Jacobite train, which they really should re-name the Hogwarts Express.
St. Andrews Golf Course.
Did you know that golf was invented by the Scots way back in the 15th century? The Old Course at St. Andrews is just one of 10 unique courses at St. Andrews and the only one that requires a handicap. It’s a public golf course, so you could golf there if you’d like. In the area, there are other very old courses, modern ones, and even Kingarrock, where you can try your hand at playing with traditional hickory golf clubs.
Chapels, Cathedrals, & Museums.
There’s a huge variety of these in Scotland! Some examples are: the National Museum of Scotland (free), the Scottish National Gallery (free, but reservation required), St. Giles Cathedral (filming location for Avengers: Infinity War, and built in 1130), and the Rosslyn Chapel (made famous by the DaVinci Code because it has links to the Holy Grail & the Knights Templar).
King Arthur’s and Sir Walter Scott’s Monuments.
King Arthur’s monument is called Arthur’s Seat and is located in the hills of Holyrood Park, a popular spot for hiking & climbing. The Abbotsford House was once the home of author Sir Walter Scott. The home and the Scott Monument are open to the public. They showcase exhibits of 68 other authors as well.
Princes Street In Edinburgh.
This street pays tribute to the male heirs (it’s not supposed to be Princess), and is home to some amazing shops. It’s mostly open just to foot traffic and provides excellent views of Edinburgh Castle and Old Town. If you are lucky enough to be there on Aug. 31 every year, you can get a fantastic view of Edinburgh’s Festival fireworks.
Scotland has something for everyone, and is a delightfully fun place to visit. The accent may have you wondering if they speak your same language, but you’re sure to love hearing the quirky sayings in their rich brogue. Scotland is “pure dead brilliant,” and as the Scots say in farewell, “Haste ye back!”