Scotland

Why go there?

Scotland is renowned for its stunning scenery – with 40 designated National Scenic Areas from mountains to islands and gentle countryside. Beyond this natural beauty, Scotland’s cities offer a wide range of cultural attractions, including a wide range of castles and museums, as well as some of the best shopping and dining in the UK.

Key gateways

Airports:
Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow

Ports:
Aberdeen, Newcastle

Cities

Edinburgh

From the many medieval charms of the Old Town to the elegant Georgian facades of Princes Street and the New Town, there’s a wonderful array of history, culture, art and Scottish eccentricities to discover in Scotland’s capital city.

Learn more

Key attractions

The Highlands

This corner of Britain is as beautiful and atmospheric as it gets – from the islands of the West Coast, to the peaks of the Cairngorms. Home to two National Parks, and Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK (1344m above sea level), there are few better places to enjoy the great outdoors.

Book on the Visit Britain shop

Website: visitscotland.com

Iconic castles

It is estimated that there were once up to 3,000 castles in Scotland – nearly one for every 100 square miles. Of those still standing, castles such as Balmoral, where the Queen and her family spend their summers, or 13th century Eilean Donan are just two of Scotland’s many iconic castles. Most of them are open to the public for all or part of the year.

Book on the Visit Britain shop

Website: balmoralcastle.com

Website: eileandonancastle.com

Whisky distilleries and visitor centres

Visitors can visit just one or two distilleries or visitor centres across the Scottish Highlands, or follow The Malt Whisky Trail. The route follows the “Whisky Coast”, from Islay to Campbeltown and from Mull to the Isle of Skye, and includes 14 distilleries open to visitors.

Book on the Visit Britain shop

Website: maltwhiskytrail.com

Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia was home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family for over 40 years, sailing over 1,000,000 miles around the world. Now berthed in Edinburgh, visitors can follow in the footsteps of royalty to explore this special royal residence.

Book on the Visit Britain shop

Website: royalyachtbritannia.co.uk

Still to be discovered

For those who have visited Scotland before, here’s a selection of attractions that they may not yet have discovered:

Scottish Islands

Scotland is home to almost 800 small islands grouped into four main clusters: Shetland, Orkney, the Inner Hebrides and Outer Hebrides. With wind-swept beaches, unspoilt scenery, and unrivalled wildlife, these idyllic isles are a dream come true for those seeking the escapism of the great outdoors.

Website: visitscotland.com

Edinburgh’s festivals

In August each year, Scotland’s capital hosts thousands of events as part of its festivals. Tickets are available online for the wide range of shows that make up the following:

  • The Edinburgh International Festival – established in 1947 after World War II to create “a flowering of the human spirit” in the Scottish capital. It now has more than 3,000 events every year with more than 25,000 performers.
  • The Edinburgh Festival Fringe – now the largest arts festival in the world, which takes place every August for three weeks. Thousands of artists perform across the city and present shows for every taste. The festival includes theatre, comedy, dance, musicals, operas, music, exhibitions and events.

Website: www.eif.co.uk

Website: www.edfringe.com

Glasgow’s museums and galleries

Glasgow, situated on the west of Scotland and just an hour’s train ride from Edinburgh, is home to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – one of Scotland’s most popular free visitor attractions. It has 22 themed galleries, displaying 8,000 objects and highlights include a real RAF spitfire aircraft built in 1944, and Sir Roger the stuffed Asian elephant, one of Kelvingrove’s oldest and best-loved exhibits.

Website: www.glasgowlife.org.uk

World famous golf courses

Scotland boasts over 550 fantastic golf courses, including everything from links courses to parkland courses and heathland courses – and with famous names such as the Old Course at St Andrews and Carnoustie. Visitors can either enjoy a round of golf themselves, or watch some of the world’s most prestigious tournaments such as The Open Championship and the Ricoh Women’s British Open, which are regularly hosted in Scotland.

Website: www.visitscotland.com

The Highland Games

Every year more than 80 Highland Games meetings take place – a uniquely Scottish mix of culture, sports, music and community. With traditional heavy athletic events like tug-o-war and the caber toss, as well as Highland dance competitions, track and field events, and piping, the games are a spectacle like no other.

Website: visitscotland.com

Useful websites