8 Must-Do Experiences in Scotland
The Scottish Highlands offer a wide-range of beautiful scenery and unique opportunities. Great heather-covered moors roll into a broad, blue horizon. Ruined castles stand watch over silvery lochs. There’s a wonderful wildness to it all. But for all of that sweep and solitude, it’s the close-ups of local life that we remember the most. You’ll meet the shepherd whose choreographed collies steer a flock with fluid grace. We walk with a naturalist along a windswept North Sea Estuary famous for its salmon runs. And we’ll also introduce you to fascinating folks like the cashmere weavers of Elgin…the whisky aficionados at an artisanal distillery… and the groundskeepers who manicure a 600-year-old golf course to within a micron of perfection. Throughout, you’ll spend your nights in lovely country house hotels, and enjoy a wide range of walks from canal towpaths to Edinburgh’s lively High Street. We suspect you’ll join our honorary clan of travelers who count the Scottish Highlands as one of their favorite destinations ever.
Start in Glasgow, and head right out into the Scottish Highlands for a walk in the village of Luss on the sandy white shore of Loch Lomond. Visit the impressive Inveraray Castle and take a guided walk through the 18th-century castle and 50,000-acre estate surrounded by great hilltop views and mountains of green.
#2 LOCH NESS
Visit the famous ruins of Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness and then board a cruise on the loch’s deep blue waters, Keep your eyes wide open, as the ruins sit on a fine headland near the stretch of the loch where many of the reputed Nessie sightings occurred.
#3 CULLODEN MOOR/SPEY BAY
Visit the Battle site on Culloden Moor where a one-hour battle occurred that changed highland life forever. On the way out, make sure to stop in Elgin at a woolen mill where raw cashmere is dyed, teased, carded, spun and hand-finished into luxurious woven fabrics. It’s a must-see, as it’s a rare look at one of the country’s most storied crafts.
#4 CAIRNGORMS N.P.
Enjoy a fantastic walk in the crystal clear air through the Cairngorms National Park. Afterward head to a nearby farm, where you can watch a Scottish shepherd and his sheepdogs herd their massive herds of sheep on beautiful, steep green pastures that are so well known in this region.
#5 FALKLAND PALACE
The gardens at Falkland Palace, the country residence of Mary, Queen of Scots, are some of the best anywhere. Full of vivid flowers, beautiful plants, and a wildflower meadow that carpets the estate’s orchard, this is a place you should not miss.
#6 WHISKEY DISTILLERY
After 5+ centuries, Scotland’s whiskey distilleries remain one of the most characteristic crafts in the country. Visit one of the best and see how the single malt is produced, and participate in a “nosing” and tasting session.
#7 ST. ANDREWS OLD COURSE
Even if you’ve never held a golf club, you’ll know that St. Andrews is the home of the world’s most fabled links where the game was first played around the year 1400. If you are a golfer then take advantage of the once in a lifetime opportunity to play a round of your own on the Old Course or one of the many remarkable courses in and around St. Andrews.
The historic capital is a beautiful blend of medieval Old Town, Georgian New Town, and Victorian Lanes, all over-lorded by the ancient Edinburgh castle. Take a stroll along the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s main thoroughfare and explore the sloped streets, lined with shops, medieval buildings, and landmarks.
If you’d like to do all these activities, plus a little more, without the hassle of logistics—join a Classic Journeys Culture + Walking trip to Scotland. You’ll have the trip of a lifetime!