Scotland is the second largest country in the United Kingdom coalition formed in 1707 and is located north of England. Scotland is endowed with natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, making it a very popular tourist destination. It is known for friendly and lively cities and millions of people world wide have Scottish roots as their ancestors migrated from Scotland in the 18th and 19th centuries due to conflicts. The famous game of golf was created by Scots and Scotland boasts of owning some world class golf courses.Scotland has three different types of terrain, the highlands, the lowlands and the flat lands.
While Scottish highlands are the famous tourist destinations, the lowlands and the flatlands are equally beautiful. It offers a plethora of outdoor activities that include hiking, wildlife and winter sports. Scotland’s weather is very unstable and can change from a good summer morning to a wet afternoon within minutes. A trip for two to the Scottish Highlands will cost an average of £95 per person per day, but you could grab some discounts on accommodation for 2 people as low as £65 for a night on Hotels.com. We bring to you, a list of things that you must absolutely not miss in Scotland.
1. Lochs of Scotland
Scotland is famous for its lochs or lakes that are standing fresh water bodies which are widespread throughout the country. According to an estimate, there are 31460 freshwater lochs in the country and the biggest is the Loch Ness. Loch Ness covers an area of 56 sq. Km. and is 132 m deep on average. Loch Ness is located to the south of Iverness and can also be reached by River Oich. Nessie, an alleged lake monster, is supposed to be an inhabitant of Loch Ness but there is no evidence of the same.
Loch Lomond is the second largest lake in Scotland with the surface are of 71 sq. Km and average depth of 32m. Although, it occupies a larger surface area as compared to Loch Ness, it is second big lakes Loch Ness is deeper and hence, has higher volume. Since 2002, Loch Lomond is part of The Loch Lomand and The Trossachs National park. Loch Lomand and the Trossachs national park, both are natural reserves and home to a variety of bio-diversity. Things to do in this reserve include strolling across the lake shore, hiking, cycling and camping among other activities.
2. Scotland’s Gardens
Scotland is home to many gardens especially on the western coast which has milder temperatures, thus favouring the blooming of many varieties of flora like the rhododendrons and magnolias. The Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh is a very famous one and is a centre of study for diversity and conservation of plants. This garden was founded in 1670 to grow medicinal plants and today, it occupies 4 sites across Scotland; Edinburgh, Dawyck, Logan and Benmore;each famous for its own specialist collection. The garden consists of some 13,302 plant species and an approximate 3 million preserved species of herbs. Other famous Scottish gardens include The Inverewe Garden, The Crarae Garden and The Branklyn Garden.
3. Scotland’s Palaces
Scotland has a rich cultural history and has also been a strong feudal kingdom in the past. As such, it boasts of many castles and palaces that include the Urquhart Castle, Edinburgh castle, Holyrood Palace, Stirling castle, Dunnottar castle and Culzean castle to name a few. Dunnottar castle lies about 3 km south of stone haven and is believed to be built in the early middle ages, however, the surviving buildings are of the 15th and the 16th century. It proved to be a major strategic point in the 18th century Jacobite uprising and was also a place where Honours of Scotland, the Scottish crown jewels were hidden from Oliver Cromwell’s invading army.
4. Scotland’s Art Galleries
With historical heritage, art also flourished in Scotland and this can be witnessed by the many art galleries present in Scotland. Some famous art galleries include Scottish National gallery, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, Perth Museum and Art Gallery and Burrell collection. The Kelvingrove art gallery and museum is located in Glasgow, is adjacent to Kelvingrove Park and is located near the main university campus. It is a free destination featuring 22 galleries and about 8000 themed objects.
5. Scotland’s Cathedral
In the medieval Europe, religion flourished in Europe and many cathedrals were built in Scotland. A cathedral is a bishops’ seat and since reformation, as there are no bishops in Scotland, these cathedrals are now known as kirks and are a major tourist attraction. Some of these cathedrals include Aberdeen Cathedral, Glasgow Cathedral, Dundee Cathedral, St. Giles Cathedral and Edinburgh cathedral. The St. Giles Cathedral located in Edinburgh has been a religious focal point for almost 900 years. The building that now remains was built in 14th century and was restored in the 19th century. St. Giles was cathedral formally for two periods during the 17th century and was backed by the crown.
Historical richness and natural abundance is what makes Scotland unique and hence, a part of my bucket list. What about you?