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Experience Scotland

Introduction to Scotland

Scotland is a country of stark contrasts. On the one hand, there is the Scotland of myth and legend; its wild countryside teeming with crumbling castles and stone-age circles, all quilted in ancient tales. Then there is modern Scotland: a country brimming with sleek and cosmopolitan cities.

The country also has a vibrant artistic edge to it, perhaps best encapsulated in the world-famous Edinburgh Festival. During this time, the entire city is transformed into a circus of surprises, sights and sounds – the latter usually being cries of laughter. Whatever you want from holidays in Scotland, you will not have to travel far to find it.

Best Places to Visit

If there isn’t a law stating that all Scotland breaks should feature a visit to Loch Ness – there really should be! Apart from the lure of the loch itself and the chance to spot its monstrous denizen, there is a lot see in this area. The loch, itself, covers around 23 miles. Surrounding it you will find a quaint and characterful village, jagged mountains and the romantic ruins of Urquhart Castle. Loch Ness is also home to the Lovat: a spring festival featuring local artists and craftsmen, live music, and stalls selling local food and drink.

Similarly, holidays to Scotland ought to spare some time for a visit to Edinburgh Castle. This imposing royal castle dominates the skyline, keeping watch over those below from Castle Rock. It stands at the head of the Old Town and has done for 800 years, commanding panoramic views of Arthur’s Seat, Carlton Hill and Salisbury Craggs. Wander up the Royal Mile to the Castle’s Esplanade. The castle is simply enormous and there are guided tours to take you through a labyrinth of opulent rooms. The most popular area of the castle is the Royal Palace, where Scotland’s Crown Jewels are housed. It’s here that you will also find the sacred Stone of Destiny. Make sure to gather at the Mills Mount Battery during your visit, as this is where the daily firing of the One O’Clock Gun takes place. If you have managed to schedule your package holidays to Scotland during Festival time, you will experience the full tartan splendour of the Edinburgh Tattoo, which takes places in the castle grounds.

 

Northern Lights Holidays in Scotland

The North also provides access to the beautiful northern lights in Scotland, with the ‘Aurora Borealis’ being visible from destinations such as Shetland, Orkney, Caithness and many others.

See Also: Weekend & City Breaks in Scotland

Top Attractions

Scotland deals give you the chance to explore attractions like the Callanais Standing Stones. Piercing the sky like an ancient claw, these stones are thought to be over 5,000 years old and were the site of bloody rituals. They are still visited by pagans today, particularly during the summer solstice and winter equinox.

The Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow is the place for those in search of art and culture. This beautiful museum houses one of the biggest art collections in Europe, with works from Old Masters, Impressionists, Surrealists and local artists. You will also find ancient weapons, suits of armour and hands-on exhibitions where younger visitors can get to grips with history.

Entertainment in Scotland

A cultural kaleidoscope, Scotland packages offer you a wealth of entertainment in a variety of different shapes and sizes. For a night out at the theatre, you might fancy taking in a new play at the famous Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. Alternatively, theatres such as the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh produce some of the biggest and best theatrical productions outside of London.

Scotland package holidays aren’t complete without a visit to a whisky distillery. The Ardberg distillery, in Islay, is more of a pilgrimage than a visit for lovers of the ‘water of life’.

Our best deals in Scotland

Need to know

Language

The predominant language spoken in Scotland is English. If you’re not from the UK, you might find the dialect a little daunting, depending on where in Scotland you choose to visit.

The Scottish are fiercely proud of their Celtic heritage so, fly to Scotland and you might be lucky enough to hear some of the locals speaking in Scottish Gaelic. However, it’s definitely a language in the decline. The 2011 census of Scotland recorded only 57,375 people (1.1 per cent of the Scottish population aged over three years old) as being able to speak Gaelic.

Currency

The official currency of Scotland is the pound sterling. If you’re travelling to Scotland from outside the UK, you might want to change up your national currency before you arrive. Alternatively, there are plenty of ATMs where you can withdraw money. If you can’t get to an ATM, most Scottish banks will have a bureau de change. Alternatively, you can walk into a travel agent and convert your cash there, although the exchange rate might not be quite so favourable.

Visas

UK residents don’t need a visa to visit Scotland. If you are a British citizen, you don’t need a passport, either. However, you are required to carry some sort of photographic ID, such as a valid driving licence.

Climate

Scotland isn’t famed for its warm weather, however, there are still bouts of sunshine to be had throughout the year. The warmest months tend to be June, July, and August. From September, temperatures start to drop and the Highlands are often quilted in snow. If you’re looking to get some sun, the summer months are the best for holidays in Scotland.

Main Airports

If you are flying to Scotland for your holidays, you will likely land in one of the six main airports: Edinburgh Airport, Glasgow Airport, Prestwick Airport, Aberdeen Airport, Inverness Airport, or Dundee Airport. From each of these, you can catch connecting flights to one of the many smaller airports scattered across the country, including the Hebrides, Shetland and Orkney.

Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest, serving over 12million passengers each year. It has one terminal and, if you find yourself with some time on your hands, there are plenty of restaurants, cafés and bars to enjoy. For shoppers, the duty-free shops are something of a paradise, offering everything from designer brands to electrical goods at a snip of retail prices.

Flight Options

With six international airports, Scotland is well connected to the rest of the world; serving direct flights to many of the UK’s major airports. Typically, flying to Scotland from England will take less than an hour.

Other Advice

Edinburgh Airport is located just half an hour’s drive from the city centre. There are always plenty of taxis at the airport but, should you wish to drive yourself, all of the major car hire companies are represented. Alternatively, there is a tram service, which takes you from the airport and straight into the heart of Edinburgh.

Although there are no train services directly to the airport, buses do run regularly from the city centre.

Bus

Scotland is well served by an extensive bus service that links all the major towns and cities. Even some of the smaller towns have buses running through them, providing a cost-effective and convenient method of travelling relatively small distances. Scottish buses are clean, comfortable and dependable.

For long-distance travel, there are various coach services available throughout the country.

Taxi

There are plenty of taxis in Scotland, ranging from large fleets of luxury cars to owner-driven vehicles. If you’re hailing a taxi in one of Scotland’s major cities, look for a black cab; these are licensed and regulated.

If you’re booking a taxi in advance, use the Internet to find a local service and book in advance. Using Scottish taxis to get from A to B is quick and convenient, although not always cheap.

Tram

Edinburgh has a fantastic tram system. They are reliable, wheelchair-friendly and an excellent way to take short hops across the city, stopping at major attractions along the way.

You will find ticket machines at every tram stop, where you can purchase single, return and day tickets. It’s important that you have as close to the exact fare as possible, as many machines don’t give change.

Rail Services

If you really want to soak up the scenery as you travel, taking the train is a superb way to see what Scotland’s has to offer. While each of Scotland’s cities are connected by rail, there are further services to the smaller towns and villages.

You can buy tickets at train stations, through travel agents or in advance, online or over the phone. Tickets must be presented to the ticket inspector when requested.

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FACTS

  1. The Unicorn is Scotland’s national animal.
  2. St. Andrews, in Scotland, is widely known as “the Home of Golf” .
  3. Scotland is surrounded by almost 800 islands.
  4. Loch Morar is the deepest Loch in Scotland, reaching depths of around 310metres.
  5. It is estimated that there were once up to 3,000 castles in Scotland – nearly one for every 100 square miles.

FACTS

  1. The Unicorn is Scotland’s national animal.
  2. St. Andrews, in Scotland, is widely known as “the Home of Golf” .
  3. Scotland is surrounded by almost 800 islands.
  4. Loch Morar is the deepest Loch in Scotland, reaching depths of around 310metres.
  5. It is estimated that there were once up to 3,000 castles in Scotland – nearly one for every 100 square miles.

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