Scotland….a dream come true!
So, this is the third and my favorite post of the UK travel series. I remember when I first watched the famous movie Brave Heart in which Mel Gibson portrayed the role of the legendary Scottish patriot Sir William Wallace. This movie introduced me to Scotland and their epic past. Ever since then, I dreamt of visiting this beautiful country. And thankfully, I was able to explore much of Scotland during my visit to the UK.
Unfortunately, due to the shortage of time, we could only see a few of these places, but all of the ones mentioned are are a must-visit if you have time on your hands.
Here are the top 7 most recommended places to visit in Scotland.
If you are short on time, make sure you visit Edinburgh. The capital of Scotland is home to beautiful architecture (dating back to medieval times), fantastic history, galleries, cafés, and events that take the world by storm!
At the same time, Edinburgh is a famous cultural destination. For instance, the city holds notable events such as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Moreover, the city has a lot of fun things to do. You can visit the Royal Yacht Britannia and the bustling markets. If you are looking for a real British treat, consider booking a table at the Royal Deck Tea Room for the real high tea experience.
In the past few years, the city of Glasgow has established itself as a center of culture in Europe. All of this was achieved with the help of its excellent museums, festivals, and art galleries. Tourists can quickly move around the city because of its pedestrian-friendly streets and lovely parks.
After visiting the city center, most people head down to the Riverside Museum since it is one of the top free things to do in Glasgow. The museum has a vast collection of engines, cars, buses, and maritime vessels.
If you are an arts and culture enthusiast, consider watching a play at the King’s Theatre. You can also head down to the Theatre Royal for the Scottish Opera or even enjoy a classical concert at the Royal Scottish Opera in the Theatre Royal.
3. The Scottish Highlands
There are a few travel destinations in the United Kingdom, or even the world, whose beauty could be compared to that of the Scottish Highlands. From the rugged east coast to John O’Groats in the north, this area offers picturesque views that leave you spellbound. These highlands are a regular part of the pop culture and have served as the backdrop to hit movies and TV shows including the Outlander series.
Around the Highlands area, you’ll find Dornoch, a great place to visit if you like old ruins and Aviemore, a popular destination for skiers. During the summer season, it serves as a hiking and biking track and is included in the Cairngorms National Park. The thinly populated area also offers water activities such as water rafting, fishing, and gorge walking.
4. St. Andrews
If you are a golf lover, you might have heard about this place. St. Andrews has the oldest golf course – the par-72 course – and it attracts all the top golfers from all around the world. Founded in 1754, St. Andrews is the golf mecca where you have to book your tee time six months in advance!
While visiting this beautiful place, consider paying a visit to the nearby British Golf Museum. This museum holds all the golf relics and details the history of the sport over the centuries.
For people who aren’t that enthusiastic about golf, St. Andrews has still a lot in store for them. The town is home to the famous University of St. Andrews. The best free activity most people enjoy is wandering around the university grounds. Most people also like exploring the ruins of St. Andrews Castle and the town’s old cathedral.
5. Loch Ness
I remember watching hour-long documentaries on National Geographic about the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. The Loch Ness is one of Scotland’s most beautiful and visited places. Although no evidence of the existence of the famous sea monster, Nessie, is found, most tourists still glance the horizon to see if they might see something!
But even though you might not see any monsters here, the journey to the Highland is worth it. On your way, you’ll see the Urquhart Castle which is standing tall since the 1100s. If you choose to visit this place, consider exploring the surrounding attractions such as the Fort Augustus, the Caledonian Canal, and the Benedictine abbey.
6. Loch Lomond
Located on an easy drive from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Loch Lomond is a place for those who seek to explore Scotland’s most romantic scenery. Labeled as the Queen of Scottish Lakes, the Loch Lomond is the largest water body in the entire UK. Most people go out on boat tours and cruises on this location visit attractions such as Lomond Bird of Prey Centre or even shop at the Loch Lomond Shores complex. There’s also a Sea Life Aquarium in the area.
Most people visiting Loch Lomond try out different outdoor activities. These activities are mostly carried out in the Trossachs National Park which spans over 1,864 square kilometers. The park is known for various activities like hiking, biking, canoeing, and fishing.
The trail of the park includes some part of the Western Highland Way. This way leads to the Fort Willian, which is also another major tourist attraction in Scotland. If you want to start hiking in the park, the best way to start is at the National Part Centre in Balmaha.
7. Isle of Skye
The lovely Isle of Skye is a Scottish island every visitor needs to explore. It holds a little of everything and is convenient to reach – because of a road bridge. The 80-kilometer island is home to seabirds, seals and other native wildlife which makes it a paradise for nature lovers.
You can find a lot of hikers and hillwalkers wandering around the island because of the convenient trail networks. At the same time, you’ll also find some human-made attractions on this island. These attractions include ferry port of Mallaig, the Museum of the Isles and the Dunvegan Castle.
Escape to Scotland
If you’ve ever dreamed of a trip to Scotland, as I had, I can promise you. It is worth the wait. Needless to say, it will not disappoint! No regrets, but one–that my time in this magical land was far too short!