Scotland

Spotlight on Scotland

Scotland's people are feisty, opinionated and fiercely loyal. The countryside is a wild, beautiful tumble of raw mountain peaks and deep glassy lakes. There's a plethora of tartan 'n' bagpipe beaten tracks across this land, but even in popular tourist hubs like Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Isle of Skye it's easy to veer off into one-of-a-kind adventures, usually involving extroverted locals. Scotland is a place where you can watch golden eagles soar over the rocky peaks of the Cuillin and play golf on some of the world's most hallowed courses. The landscape is evident of the past: a moor that was once a battlefield, a beach where Vikings hauled their boats ashore, a cave where Bonnie Prince Charlie once sheltered. Like a fine single malt, Scotland is a connoisseur's delight - it reveals its true depth and complex flavors only to those who savor it slowly.

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest city and major tourist destination, possessing some of Britain's finest architecture and hosting a variety of cultural events and attractions. Glasgow has been described as the finest surviving example of a great Victorian city. Of particular interest is George Square - lined by several buildings constructed in the Italian Renaissance style. Few buildings pre-date 18th century. The most prominent of these are Glasgow Cathedral, and Provand's Lordship, which is the city's oldest house (c. 1471) and now a museum. The cathedral, situated on high ground to the east of the city and dating in parts from 12th century, is an outstanding example of Gothic architecture. The city has numerous parks and ornamental open spaces, including the Botanic Garden and zoological gardens. Glasgow grew around a church built in the 6th century by St Kentigern, who converted Scots to Christianity. The commercial growth of the community dates from the union of Scotland and England in 1707 and the opening up of trade in the 18th century when Glasgow became a major port and shipbuilder.

Dundee is a City of Discovery. The city's textile heritage provides inspiration for one of its principal tourist attractions - Verdant Works. Its clean air renowned to be low in pollution and "sunshine hours" way up on many areas in the south - provides a breath of fresh air for visitors. The city center is a shopper's paradise, where major department stores co-exist with specialist shops tucked away in side streets. The high percentage of students in the city make Dundee a buzzing place to be by night, with a lively pub and club scene. Sport remains an activity close to the heart of many Dundonians. The city has a close association with the sea and is home port of the Royal Research Ship Discovery, today a floating museum. Stroll along the quayside from Discovery Point to come across the HM Frigate Unicorn, the oldest British-Built ship afloat. Discover Dundee - one of Scotland's best kept secrets, and you will find an exciting city which really is "The City of Discovery".

Aberdeen- An extraordinary symphony in grey, almost everything in Aberdeen is built of granite - even the roads. When drenched with sun and rain, the silvery stone has a fairy-tale shine; when under a cloud it can be a wee bit depressing. Brimming with civic pride, Aberdeen services one of the world's largest offshore oilfields.

Edinburgh - Dominated by the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, this picturesque city offers shopping on Princes Street, the grandeur of the Royal Mile, St. Giles Cathedral and historic Palace of Holyrood House, where Queen Mary lived and many Scottish kings were wed. Or you could venture across the moors to marvel at the scenic Highlands.

Inverness is an excellent tourism destination. With its suspension bridges across the River Ness and old stone buildings, it is a pretty place well-known for its floral displays. Walk along the river banks and to the Ness Islands for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the shops. Cross the river on little bridges and visit Bught Park. The Floral Hall has a sub-tropical horticultural extravaganza with a small waterfall, fish and all sorts of plants and trees. Walk up the river in the other direction and see Ben Wyvis on the skyline. Inverness has an excellent museum and art gallery. Local history talks take place here. Eden Court Theater, situated near the cathedral, has events listings and incorporates part of the old Bishop's Palace and is said to be haunted by the 'Green Lady' ghost of a wife of one of the bishops who hanged herself there. Also check out art.tm which is an art gallery and studio. The Spectrum Centre has a cafe and is the meeting place for local clubs and education classes. Look out for Scottish Showtime music and dance performances during the summer.

St. Andrews – Today, St Andrews is known worldwide as the "home of golf". This is in part because the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754, exercises legislative authority over the game worldwide (except in the United States and Mexico), and also because the famous links (acquired by the town in 1894) is the most frequent venue for The Open Championship, the oldest of golf's four major championships. Visitors travel to St Andrews in great numbers for several courses ranked amongst the finest in the world, as well as for the sandy beaches. The town is also home to the University of St Andrews, the third oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of the UK's most prestigious. The University is an integral part of the burgh, and during term time students make up approximately one third of the town's population.

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Agents who have been to Scotland...