Things to do in Scotland

Leisure activities in Scotland
Updated 2018-10-08 15:01

Scotland is a rich country in terms of nature, history and culture. From historical monuments, impressive architecture and a vibrant nightlife, to abundant nature, there is so much to discover and explore during your stay.

Experience the nature

Scotland is like an enchanted fairytale come to life. If you enjoy being out in nature, then you can take your pick from lush forests, towering mountains (bens), calm lakes (lochs) and all the endless farmland in between.

Scotland is home to seven of the UK's largest forests, the largest being Galloway Forest Park. You can hike, mountain bike or just walk calmly in the woods and contemplate. If you like hillwalking, Scotland has 282 Munros (hills named after Sir Hugh Munro) that many hikers consider a challenge visiting them all. If you prefer higher peaks, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK, followed by the Cairngorms. The impressive alpine-style route on the Cuillin ridge in Skye is also an unforgettable experience.

Scotland has a lot of water too. Apart from the famous Loch Ness and the dozens of over lakes, Scotland is also home to five big canals that you can sail, kayak or cycle next to.

Experience culture

Culture and history is everywhere you look in Scotland ' just pick a castle, there are over two thousand of them. Set amongst breathtaking landscapes, Scottish castles have something to offer to everyone, from the history geeks to those who appreciate a good ghost story, to the romantic souls that love the vistas from the towering heights.

You can take one of the country's many castle tours, to explore.

Apart from castles, theatre, traditional dance, music and festivals are also ever-present. Scotland's diverse musical scene includes several classical and pop music artists. You should definitely take the time to discover the Celtic Connections in Glasgow, the Frenzy Fiddle Festival, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

In fact, there is always something going on in Scotland. Whether in summer or in winter, people do not leave a single opportunity to go out. Some of the most unique cultural events include:

  • the Burns Night Celebrations commemorating the birth of national bard Robert Burns
  • the Glasgow Film Festival that takes place for 10 days showing 100 films
  • the Fort William Mountain Festival dedicated to art, music, theatre, exhibitions and conferences.
  • the Glasgow Art Fair which is one of the United Kingdom's biggest and most prestigious contemporary art fairs
  • the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
  • the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival celebrating music, the local cuisine, whiskey and Scottish culture
  • the Beltane Fire Festival celebrating summer in Edinburgh
  • any of the 60 Highland Games taking place throughout the year
  • the celebrations for St Andrew's Day in November

Experience everyday life

The country is also famous for shopping. In Glasgow, for instance, you will find many shops and boutiques that are quite similar to those you can find in London. Indeed, most Scottish cities host both upscale and low-cost shops where you can spend hours shopping.

The Scottish cuisine is not just about haggis and a lot of whiskey. Indeed, the local farms, as well as restaurants, will allow you to discover cuisines from various backgrounds. You can thus enjoy various types of products, including seafood. You will be delighted by the local chefs' simple but extraordinary seasonal and healthy meals.

The Scots are also very keen about sports, especially outdoor activities such as ski, walking, hiking, biking, fishing, football, golf, shinty, curling, as well as water and extreme sports. So if you like sports, you can truly take your pick.

Useful link:

Scotland events

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