Overview of Scotland
Scotland makes up the northern part the British Isles, and enjoys some of the most dramatic scenery of all the countries. With well over 6,000 miles of coastline, several hundred islands and almost as many snow-capped mountains, it’s little wonder that travellers find themselves yearning for a taste of this remarkable country. In fact, travel in Scotland is big business, with Scottish holidays regularly topping the list of ‘must-do’ destinations.
It’s a fascinating place, rich in history and intrigue. In the old days, around the time of the Romans, Scotland was known as Caledonia. It’s been fought over for years, by Norsemen from the north and the English from the South. Walls were built to separate it from the rest of the UK, and were promptly destroyed again, and some of history’s most colourful characters have hailed from this part of the world – we’re talking Robert the Bruce and William Wallace, of course. The people are every bit as colourful today, and whichever part of Scotland you travel to, whether it’s the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, the cultural capital city of Edinburgh, or vibrant and lively Glasgow, you’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome.
Traditions and Culture in Scotland
There are a few traditions and cultural anomalies that make Scotland famous. The bagpipes are possibly the most famous of traditional musical instruments, and although they originated in Scotland they now have a place in many other cultures who ‘borrowed’ the idea. Tartan is also symbolic with the country – they were once worn to identify individual clans at a distance, much like sporting teams have their own strips. Fashioned into kilts, a heavy pleated skirt worn more often by men than women, the Scots were considered to be hardy opponents. After all, it takes a brave man to wear a kilt in freezing conditions, particularly when minus any underwear. You won’t find kilts worn much these days, except for weddings, Highland Games and on Hogmanay, the Scottish term for New Year.
From the historic capital city of Edinburgh, with it’s iconic castle perched upon a dormant volcano and its world famous New Year party, through to the larger city of Glasgow hugging the Clyde River in the west, this fabulous country has something special everywhere you look. In the north, Inverness is a gateway to the northernmost Highlands where snow and wind ravaged mountaintops create a an impressive barrier to the North Sea, while in its centre, the picturesque city of Perth is a tourist attraction in itself. From remote lodges ideal for breaks away to the most exclusive luxury hotels, Scotland is the perfect location for a vacation.
Scotland has a reputation for some more unusual delicacies, including black pudding and haggis, both made from leftover animals parts and often a large amount of blood, and then there’s the deep fried Mars bar to consider as well. But that’s only for travellers who don’t venture any further than a chip shop in Glasgow’s city centre. In reality, Scotland is an abundant natural larder, with any manner of wonderful home-grown, fresh and seasonal ingredients available on it’s doorstep. And with so many miles of coastline to draw upon it’s no surprise that its seafood is considered to be some of the best there is.
Attractions in Scotland
From ruined, or intact castles and elaborate architecture, to towering mountains and low glens, Scotland has it all here. Head northwest on a trip to Fort William, the outdoor capital of the UK, and go further still, if you dare, to Mallaig, where the freshest, juiciest King Prawns can be found. Turning east takes you St Andrews, the perfect place for a golfing holiday in Scotland, where you’ll soon be rubbing shoulders with the best golfers in the world and enjoying the traditions of the Old Course, or vanish into the furthest north, where the lofty peaks of the Highlands threaten to engulf you in solitude and walking holidays are a popular choice. Travellers who want something a bit livelier tend to head to the cities, understandably, and Edinburgh and Glasgow can rival the best in the world for entertainment, dining and choice of Scottish luxury hotels. The list of things to do here is endless, but don’t take our word for it. Come and see for yourself…
If you’re looking for inspiration for your holiday in Scotland, have a look at our recommendations for hotels and restaurants around the country.