15 Best Things to Do in Scotland – 2024 Guide

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Planning a trip to Scotland and wondering what are the best things to do? Look no further! In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the top attractions and activities that should be on your Scotland itinerary.

First up, let’s talk about Glasgow. This vibrant city is known for its unique style and culture, from its stunning architecture to its thriving music scene. Be sure to explore all that Glasgow has to offer during your visit.

Of course, no trip to Scotland would be complete without a visit to one of its famous whisky distilleries. Taste some of Scotland’s finest whiskies and learn about the history and process behind this beloved drink.

For those seeking adventure, head north to Shetland where you can experience the rugged beauty of its stunning landscapes. From hiking trails to scenic drives, there’s plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in Shetland.

With so many things to do in Scotland, from cultural experiences to outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Scottish getaway today!

Have questions about what not to miss in Scotland or where you should visit? Wondering what Scotland is best known for or when is the best time of year to go? We’ve got you covered with all the answers you need.

Adventure Around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Trossachs National Park
Trossachs National Park

If you’re looking for an adventure in Scotland, then Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is a must-visit destination. This stunning national park is located just a short drive from Glasgow and offers visitors breathtaking scenery, plenty of outdoor activities, and a chance to explore some of Scotland’s most historic sites.

Nature Lovers’ Paradise

For nature lovers, this national park is a paradise. The park is home to over 20 lochs, including the famous Loch Lomond and Loch Ness. You can take a boat tour or rent your own boat to explore these beautiful bodies of water.

The Cairngorm Mountain range in the eastern part of the park is also popular among hikers and climbers. Ben Lomond, one of Scotland’s most famous mountains, offers stunning views over Loch Lomond from its summit.

Outdoor Activities Galore

Adventure seekers will love all the outdoor activities available in this national park. The Cairngorms are perfect for mountain biking, with trails suitable for all levels of experience.

Perthshire also has great opportunities for hiking with numerous trails ranging from easy to difficult levels. For those seeking more adrenaline-pumping activities such as white-water rafting or bungee jumping, there are several companies offering such experiences on River Tay.

Road Trips & Day Tours

A road trip or day tour around the national park is also highly recommended. You’ll be able to see some of Scotland’s most beautiful glens and lochs while driving through picturesque villages along the way.

One popular route takes you through Glencoe where you can see some of Scotland’s most iconic landscapes including Buachaille Etive Mor – an impressive mountain peak that towers over Rannoch Moor.

History & Culture

History buffs will enjoy visiting New Lanark – a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in South Lanarkshire. This historic village was founded in the 18th century and is a great example of early industrialisation.

Aberdeen, known as the “Granite City” due to its many granite buildings, is also worth visiting for its rich history and architecture. St Andrews is another popular destination for golf enthusiasts who want to play on some of Scotland’s most famous courses.

Loch Ness

No visit to Scotland would be complete without trying to spot the elusive Loch Ness monster! Loch Ness is one of Scotland’s most famous lochs and attracts visitors from all over the world hoping to catch a glimpse of “Nessie.” You can take a boat tour or walk along the shores of the loch looking for any signs of movement in the water.

Spend the Night in a Scottish Castle

Looking for a magical place to spend the night in Scotland? Look no further than one of the country’s many stunning castles. Whether you’re a history buff, a Harry Potter fan, or just looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, spending the night in a Scottish castle is sure to be an adventure you’ll never forget.

Edinburgh Castle

One of Scotland’s most famous castles, Edinburgh Castle is perched atop an extinct volcano and offers stunning views of the city below. Dating back to the 12th century, this castle has played a key role in Scottish history and was even used as a military stronghold until as recently as World War II. Today, visitors can explore its many rooms and exhibits during the day before settling down for an unforgettable night’s sleep within its ancient walls.

Stirling Castle

Located in central Scotland, Stirling Castle dates back to the 15th century and was once home to some of Scotland’s most famous royals, including Mary Queen of Scots. Visitors can tour its grand halls and learn about its rich history before retiring to their own cozy chambers for the night. And if you’re lucky enough to visit during one of Stirling Castle’s popular ghost tours, you might even catch sight of one of its legendary spectral inhabitants!

Balmoral Castle

For those looking for something truly royal, Balmoral Castle is hard to beat. This sprawling estate has been owned by the British royal family since 1852 and boasts stunning gardens, scenic walks, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Guests can stay in one of several charming cottages on the property or opt for more luxurious accommodations within the castle itself.

Other Castles Worth Visiting

Of course, these are just three examples out of many incredible castles worth visiting throughout Scotland. Other notable options include Holyrood Palace (once home to Mary Queen of Scots), Skara Brae (a prehistoric village located in a seaside cave), and the Highland Folk Museum (an open-air museum that offers a glimpse into traditional Scottish life). And for those looking to explore Scotland’s rugged outdoors, Glencoe is home to some of the country’s most breathtaking natural scenery.

No matter which castle you choose, spending the night in a Scottish castle is sure to be an unforgettable experience. So why not make your next trip to Scotland truly royal by booking a stay in one of these incredible historic properties?

Island Hop Your Way to the Outer Hebrides

If you’re looking for a unique island experience in Scotland, look no further than the Outer Hebrides. This chain of islands off the west coast of Scotland is known for its rugged beauty and stunning landscapes, as well as its rich history and culture.

Explore the Rugged Beauty of the North Coast

The North Coast of Scotland is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. From rugged cliffs and rocky outcrops to sandy beaches and turquoise waters, this area has it all. One of the best ways to explore this area is by taking a ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway on Lewis, which is the largest island in the Outer Hebrides. Along the way, you’ll pass by some of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks, including Cape Wrath and the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse.

Once you arrive on Lewis, be sure to take some time to explore its stunning landscapes. The Callanish Standing Stones are one of Scotland’s most important prehistoric sites, while Luskentyre Beach is consistently ranked as one of Europe’s best beaches.

Discover the Rich History and Culture of Scotland’s Islands

The Inner and Outer Hebrides are home to a rich history and culture that spans thousands of years. From ancient stone circles and standing stones to medieval castles and Viking settlements, there’s something for everyone here.

One must-visit destination is Skara Brae on Orkney Islands – an incredibly well-preserved Neolithic village that dates back over 5,000 years. You can also visit Maeshowe – another impressive Neolithic site that features a massive burial chamber that was built around 2800 BC.

Finally, no trip to Scotland would be complete without visiting Shetland Islands – an archipelago located north-east from mainland Great Britain with dramatic coastline cliffs that offer fantastic views over the North Sea.

Island Hopping in Scotland

Island hopping is a great way to explore the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Orkney Islands, and Shetland Islands. You can take ferries or flights between the islands, depending on your preference. Some of the most popular routes include:

  • Ullapool to Stornoway (Lewis)
  • Leverburgh (Harris) to Berneray
  • Oban to Castlebay (Barra)
  • Scrabster to Stromness (Orkney)

Each island has its own unique charm and attractions, so be sure to do some research before you go. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking, there’s something for everyone in Scotland’s islands.

So why not add island hopping in Scotland to your bucket list? With its stunning landscapes, rich history and culture, and unique island experience, it’s sure to be an adventure you’ll never forget.

Hike the West Highland Way

Looking for an adventure that will take you through some of Scotland’s most breathtaking scenery? Look no further than the West Highland Way, a 96-mile trail that runs from Milngavie to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a new challenge, this trail has something to offer everyone.

Trail Highlights

The West Highland Way is known for its spectacular views, and it’s easy to see why. Along the way, hikers will be treated to stunning vistas of rolling hills, sparkling lochs, and rugged mountains. Some of the highlights of the trail include:

  • The famous Wallace Road: This ancient military road was once used by Scottish warriors such as William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Today, it offers hikers a glimpse into Scotland’s rich history.
  • The Royal Mile of the Highlands: This section of the trail takes hikers through some of Scotland’s most picturesque towns and villages, including Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy.
  • Harris Tweed production: For those interested in traditional Scottish crafts, a visit to one of the many tweed mills along the way is a must.

What to Expect

The West Highland Way is a challenging hike that requires good physical fitness and some prior experience with hiking. The trail covers 96 miles over varied terrain, including steep ascents and descents.

Hikers typically take between five and nine days to complete the entire route. There are plenty of places to stop along the way for food and drink, but it’s important to pack enough supplies to last between stops.

Tips for Hiking the West Highland Way

scotland travel guides
scotland travel guides

If you’re planning on hiking the West Highland Way, here are some tips to help you make the most out of your trip:

  1. Wear appropriate clothing: Scotland’s weather can be unpredictable at any time of year. Make sure you bring plenty of warm, waterproof clothing to keep you comfortable on the trail.
  2. Pack light: You’ll be carrying all your supplies with you, so it’s important to pack as lightly as possible. Stick to the essentials and leave non-essential items at home.
  3. Book accommodation in advance: Accommodation along the trail can fill up quickly, especially during peak hiking season. Make sure you book your accommodation well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  4. Train beforehand: The West Highland Way is a challenging hike that requires good physical fitness. Make sure you train beforehand by going on shorter hikes or walks to build up your stamina.

Explore This Map of More Than 3,000 Scottish Witches

Scotland has an eerie and fascinating history. The country is home to many famous witches who have left their mark on history, including Isobel Gowdie and Janet Horne. But did you know that there are over 3,000 recorded cases of witchcraft in Scotland dating back to the 12th century?

Thanks to a map created by the University of Edinburgh, you can now explore these stories from the comfort of your own home. The map plots out each case of witchcraft in Scotland and provides information about the accused witches and their alleged crimes.

Discovering Scottish Witchcraft History

The earliest recorded cases of witchcraft in Scotland date back to the 12th century when King Malcolm III passed laws against sorcery and divination. However, it wasn’t until the 16th century that witch hunts became widespread throughout Europe. In Scotland, this led to thousands of people being accused of practicing witchcraft.

One famous case was that of Isobel Gowdie who claimed she had met with fairies and made pacts with them. She confessed to using her powers to harm others but later recanted her confession stating that she had been tortured into making false statements.

Another well-known case is that of Janet Horne who was accused along with her daughter of turning themselves into hares and causing mischief in the town. They were both burned at the stake for their alleged crimes.

Persecution of Witches

The persecution of witches continued well into the 19th and even early 20th centuries in Scotland. Many women were accused simply because they practiced herbal medicine or were seen as outsiders within their communities.

One example is Helen Duncan who was arrested during World War II for claiming to have received information about a naval disaster through spiritual means. She was convicted under an outdated Witchcraft Act from 1735 and sentenced to nine months in prison.

Using the Map

The map of Scottish witches allows you to explore these stories and learn more about the history of witchcraft in Scotland. You can search for specific cases or browse through the different regions to see where witch hunts were most prevalent.

Each case provides information about the accused witch, their alleged crimes, and what happened to them. Some even include transcripts from court proceedings or contemporary accounts of the trials.

If you’re interested in visiting some of the sites associated with Scottish witchcraft, the map also includes information about locations such as stone circles and other places that are said to be haunted by witches.

Eilean Donan Castle: A Must-Visit Destination in Scotland

Eilean Donan Castle is a stunning fortress located on an island where three sea lochs meet, making it one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. This iconic castle has been featured in several films, including Highlander and James Bond’s The World Is Not Enough. Here are some interesting facts about Eilean Donan Castle that make it a must-visit destination when you’re in Scotland.

History

Eilean Donan Castle was built in the 13th century as a stronghold for Clan Mackenzie and Clan Macrae. The castle played an important role in the Jacobite uprising of 1719 and was destroyed by British naval forces. It lay in ruins for almost two centuries until Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the island and began restoring the castle to its former glory. Today, visitors can explore the castle’s interior and learn about its fascinating history.

Architecture

The castle’s architecture is a unique blend of different styles from different periods. The original structure was built during the reign of Alexander II, but over time, various additions were made to accommodate changing needs. The castle features a distinctive arched bridge that connects it to the mainland, while its walls are adorned with turrets and battlements that give it a medieval feel.

Location

Eilean Donan Castle is situated near the village of Dornie, on the west coast of Scotland. It is easily accessible by road and can be reached via a scenic drive along Loch Duich or by taking a boat tour from nearby Kyle of Lochalsh. Visitors can also enjoy panoramic views of Skye and surrounding mountains from this beautiful location.

Nearby Attractions

If you’re planning to visit Eilean Donan Castle, there are several other attractions nearby that are worth checking out as well. Culzean Castle, Urquhart Castle, and St Kilda are all within driving distance and offer unique experiences. The Caledonian Canal is also a popular destination for boating enthusiasts, while the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow is a must-visit for art lovers. The Antonine Wall, which was built by the Romans in AD 142, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and provides an insight into Scotland’s rich history.

Traveling to Scotland: Flight Prices, Safety Tips, and More

Scotland is a beautiful country with breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. If you’re planning a trip to Scotland for the first time, there are a few things you should know before you go. In this article, we’ll cover flight prices to Scotland, safety tips for first-time travelers, and some of the best ways to explore this incredible country.

Flight Prices

prices can vary depending on the season and airline. The peak tourist season in Scotland is from June to August when the weather is warmest and schools are out for summer vacation. During this time, flights can be more expensive than other times of the year.

To get the best deal on flights to Scotland, it’s important to book your tickets well in advance. You may also want to consider flying during off-peak months like September or October when prices tend to be lower.

If you’re flying from outside Europe, there are several major airports in Scotland that you can fly into including Glasgow Airport and Edinburgh Airport. From there, you can easily travel around the country by car or public transportation.

Safety Tips

Scotland is generally a safe place for tourists, but it’s always important to take precautions when traveling abroad. Here are some safety tips for first-time travelers:

  • Be aware of your surroundings: Always pay attention to what’s going on around you and trust your instincts if something feels off.
  • Avoid unlit areas at night: Stick to well-lit streets and avoid dark alleys or side streets where muggings or other crimes could occur.
  • Keep your valuables secure: Use a money belt or keep valuable items like passports and credit cards locked up in your hotel room safe.
  • Know emergency numbers: Make sure you have access to emergency numbers like 999 (police) or 112 (ambulance) in case of an emergency.

Best Ways to Explore Scotland

Now that you know a bit about flight prices and safety tips, let’s talk about some of the best ways to explore Scotland. Here are a few ideas:

  • Spot the Loch Ness Monster: Take a boat tour of Loch Ness and see if you can spot the legendary creature said to inhabit its depths.
  • Visit Edinburgh Castle: This iconic castle sits atop a hill overlooking the city and offers stunning views of Edinburgh.
  • Hike in the Highlands: The Scottish Highlands are home to some of the most spectacular landscapes in Europe. Lace up your hiking boots and hit one of the many trails for an unforgettable adventure.
  • Try Scottish cuisine: From haggis and neeps to fish and chips, Scotland has plenty of delicious dishes to try. Be sure to sample some local fare while you’re there.

Fort William & Ben Nevis: Climb Scotland’s Highest Mountain

Fort William is a historic town located in the Scottish Highlands, and it is known for its stunning natural beauty. The town sits at the base of Ben Nevis, which is Scotland’s highest mountain. Standing at 1,345 meters, climbing to the summit of Ben Nevis offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Highlands.

The History of Fort William

Fort William has a rich history that dates back to the 17th century when it was established as a military fort. It was named after King William III and served as an important stronghold during various conflicts throughout Scottish history. Today, visitors can explore the remains of the fort and learn about its role in shaping Scotland’s past.

Climbing Ben Nevis

Climbing Ben Nevis is an unforgettable experience that requires proper equipment and preparation. The climb to the summit can take between 7-9 hours depending on your level of fitness and experience. Hikers should be aware that weather conditions can change rapidly on the mountain, so it is essential to check weather forecasts before starting your climb.

Proper Equipment

To climb Ben Nevis safely, hikers must have proper equipment such as sturdy hiking boots, warm clothing layers, waterproof jackets and pants, gloves, hats, sunglasses, sunscreen lotion or cream with SPF protection factor 50+, enough food and water supplies for your journey ahead (at least two liters per person), head torch with spare batteries (in case you get caught out after dark), map and compass or GPS device (for navigation purposes), first aid kit including plasters/band-aids for blisters/cuts/scrapes etc., whistle (to signal for help if needed).

Preparation Tips

Before attempting to climb Ben Nevis, hikers should ensure they are physically fit enough to tackle this challenging hike. They should also research their route thoroughly using maps or online resources. Hikers should inform someone of their plans before starting the climb and carry a mobile phone in case of emergencies.

William Wallace

Fort William is also famous for its association with Scotland’s national hero, William Wallace. Visitors can explore the Wallace Monument, which commemorates his life and achievements. The monument offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside and is an excellent place to learn about Scottish history.

The 10 Best Things to Do in Scotland

If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, Scotland is the place to be. From hiking in the highlands to exploring historic castles, there are countless ways to experience the beauty and culture of this incredible country. Here are ten of the best things to do in Scotland:

  1. Adventure Around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park: With stunning views and endless outdoor activities, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is a must-visit destination for any nature lover.
  2. Spend the Night in a Scottish Castle: For a truly unique experience, spend a night in one of Scotland’s many historic castles. You’ll feel like royalty as you explore these magnificent structures and learn about their fascinating histories.
  3. Island Hop Your Way to the Outer Hebrides: The Outer Hebrides offer some of Scotland’s most breathtaking scenery, with pristine beaches, rugged cliffs, and charming villages waiting to be explored.
  4. Hike the West Highland Way: This iconic trail takes hikers through some of Scotland’s most stunning landscapes, including lochs, mountains, and forests.
  5. Explore This Map of More Than 3,000 Scottish Witches: For history buffs interested in witchcraft trials from centuries past, this map offers a fascinating glimpse into Scotland’s dark past.
  6. Eilean Donan Castle: One of Scotland’s most famous castles, Eilean Donan is located on its own island and offers spectacular views of its surroundings.
  7. Traveling to Scotland: Flight Prices, Safety Tips, and More: Before embarking on your Scottish adventure, make sure you’re prepared with tips on flight prices and safety precautions.
  8. Fort William & Ben Nevis: Climb Scotland’s Highest Mountain: For experienced climbers looking for a challenge (and incredible views), climbing Ben Nevis is a must-do activity.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a history buff, Scotland has something to offer everyone. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure you’ll never forget!

Note: All information provided is based on personal experience and research. Please follow all safety precautions and guidelines when traveling.