Scotland must be visited separately from England. This is a country (the language does not dare to call it a province of Great Britain) of an amazingly rich history, bewitching nature and thousand-year traditions. And if the names of Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson and Rob Roy may sound like an empty phrase to some, then the majestic castles, rocky shores and proud spirit of William Wallace (“The Brave Heart”), living in the Scots to this day, will impress anyone. Whom they don’t make, those will be finished off by golf (a Scottish invention) and whiskey.
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The first thing Scotland is associated with is the Highlands and the Highlands. But in fact, the “lowlands” are no less interesting – especially the islands and plains in the northwest. Speaking of highlanders: a resident of Scotland can be called “cattle” or, who hate to say so, “Scottish”, but not “Scotch”. The last option is applicable only to items: for example, whiskey, scrambled eggs, beef. And it’s certainly better to refrain from calling a Scot an Englishman – he won’t forgive you for that.
How to get to Scotland
There are no direct regular flights from Russia to Edinburgh. You can get there with a change somewhere in Europe: via Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt with the help of KLM, British Airways or Lufthansa. The cheapest option is to fly via Prague with CSA.
In addition, you can always fly to London, and from there get to Scotland by trains of the Intercity system – this is quite comfortable and not very expensive. There are also buses from London Victoria to Edinburgh. The journey is much longer than by train, but the ticket costs several times less. On a domestic flight, Edinburgh and Glasgow are about an hour’s flight from London. By train from London to Edinburgh can be reached in 4 hours and 20 minutes.
There are no direct flights from Kyiv or Minsk to Edinburgh either; tourists from these cities can get there via London. Citizens of Kazakhstan are more fortunate: British Midland flies from Alma-Ata not only to Edinburgh, but also to Glasgow and Aberdeen.
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The Scottish railway passes only through the main cities of the region – where there are no rails, you will have to use local buses (for example, to get to the Highlands). As in Wales, many outlying towns and villages can be reached by Royal Mail Postbuses (usually no more than 4 seats). The Postmen usually follow detours that (bonus for the long journey!) often wind through some of the most beautiful parts of Scotland. These buses do not have official stops, so they are usually just caught on the road. The fare in them costs from 1.60 to 5.50 GBP one way. Prices on the page are for July 2021.
Macbackpackers tour mini-buses run from Edinburgh to Inverness, Skye, Fort William, Glencoe, Oban and Stirling from April to September.
What to bring from Scotland
Scotland leaves a piece of itself in the heart of every traveler who has visited its harsh and picturesque lands. This, of course, is great, but I also want something more material, if not for myself, then for friends and relatives – for this brethren, stories alone are always not enough. When you think about how to please your loved ones and indulge your passion for collecting curiosities from all over the world, various literary and cinematic stereotypes about Scotland come to mind: whiskey and ale, bagpipes, heather, kilts, plaid blankets. Everything is true, this is exactly the case when stereotypes are the best answer to the question ” What to bring from Scotland “.
Cuisine and restaurants in Scotland
Scotland is famous primarily for beef and lamb dishes, as well as excellent fresh fish (especially salmon), shellfish and crustaceans. Game dishes (partridge, pheasant) are very lean and healthy, often cooked with Scottish raspberries, blackcurrants or blueberries.
One of the world famous traditional dishes of Scotland is “haggis” (haggis). This is an amazing mutton tripe stuffed with oatmeal and offal with lard and spices. Soups are also an integral part of the Scottish diet. Delicious Cullen skink of smoked haddock with potatoes is their traditional dish.
The love of the Scots for sweets (as well as strong ones, by the way) is legendary. It is worth trying their “cranachan” (cranachan – fried oatmeal with whiskey, cream, berries and honey), “cloutie dumpling” (cloutie dumpling – pudding with dried fruits and spices) or simply delicious ice cream made from Scottish milk.
Entertainment and attractions in Scotland
Loch Ness is one of the most famous sights in Scotland and around the world. The glory of the lake was brought by the legend of the monster, nicknamed “Nessie”. Visiting the village of Drumnadrouchit, you can see two exhibitions dedicated to the elusive creature at once, and look at the statue of the monster, which is allegedly made in life size. The surroundings of the lake are no less interesting: these are Alduri Castle and the ruins of Urhard Castle, from where a wonderful view of the lake opens. And nearby is Inverness – a small town 260 km north of Edinburgh; it is believed that it is from Inverness that most of the old Scottish families come from and that this is the real birthplace of oatmeal, whiskey and bagpipes.
The Shetland Islands is home to a marine park rich in walruses and fur seals. Another zoological feature of the islands is the miniature Shetland ponies.
Western Islands: South Yust Island – unique Calanish Standing Stones, Lannther Exhibition Center, Harbor View Gallery, Calandis Visitor Center, where the history of ancient stones is presented, the ruins of Gaelic castles. The island of Barra is famous for Kismool Castle, on the Isle of Skye you can see the ruins of Knock Castle in Armadale, Maol Water Castle and the very spectacular Eilean Donan Castle.
The Orkney Islands have a colorful history, influenced by the fact that for many centuries the islands belonged to Norway. To the west in the West Mainland at Skara Brae is a 5,000-year-old prehistoric village and the ancient Standing Stones that stand in a circle. Particularly interesting is the Ring-ov-Brogar – a circle with a diameter of 104 m from vertical boulders, approximately the same in shape and size. Also here you can visit the Maes Hove tomb, built 3 thousand years BC, and the Mine Hove catacombs (2 thousand years).
On the northeast coast of Scotland is the historic Aberdeen. This city is mentioned in medieval chronicles back in the time of William the Conqueror, and even then it was known throughout Europe, and in the 12-14 centuries. it was the residence of the Scottish kings. But the largest city in Scotland – Glasgow – is considered the center of the arts and the venue for numerous festivals.
Trosachs National Park (Loch Lomond) was created to protect the local nature, which has about 200 bird species and 25% of the country’s wild plant species.
Inverary Castle is a fabulous gothic building, standing on the shores of Lake Fine near Glasgow, one of the main tourist centers of Western Scotland. In the castle you can see the armory, the tapestry hall, the Victorian hall, the guest salon and the magnificent dining room. Also nearby is the Inverari Museum and the Wildlife Park. Stirling Castle, Scone Palace and Blair Castle are just a small part of the architectural wealth of Scotland.
Deep Sea World is an aquarium entertainment center 12 miles west of Edinburgh city center offering aquatic entertainment for visitors. This is the only aquarium in the world where you can swim with sharks. And also – to make an exciting journey through the world’s largest underwater tunnel (112 m).
The beaches of Scotland are some of the best beaches in the world. The length of the coastline is 16,491 km. West Coast beaches with white sand and crystal clear waters are often photographed as Caribbean beaches for travel brochures.
Scotland is the European capital of adventure tourism and the top wildlife viewing destination in Europe.
Events in Scotland
November 30 is the patron saint of Scotland, Saint Andrew. Mid-January-February is Robert Burns’ birthday. August 6-28 – Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Every year, the walls of the ancient Edinburgh Castle host a parade of Scottish bagpipers – a vibrant folk show.
Weather in Scotland
The Gulf Stream has endowed Scotland with a mild, humid climate. In summer it is usually around +25 °C, in winter the temperature rarely drops below zero. Snow on the slopes lies from November to April-May.
The best time to travel is from May to September, but Edinburgh can’t avoid rain even in summer. In winter, the city is also very beautiful, but it gets dark quite early. In August, during the festival, the city is very crowded; those wishing to visit Edinburgh at this time should take care of booking a hotel in advance.