Scotland

Scotland Travel Guide

Scotland is a tiny nation that has had an enormous cultural impact on the world. When you think of Scotland, you think of many things: kilted bagpipers, Scotch whiskey, haggis, lamb's wool clothing, and so on. And although Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, its culture is markedly different from its neighbor, England, to the south.

Glasgow and Edinburgh are Scotland's two biggest cities, and any Scotland travel plans should make ample time to explore the craggy alleyways, historic castles, and centuries-old pubs both offer.

Things Not to Miss in Scotland

• The Royal Botanic Garden, located in Edinburg, was founded in 1670, and has assumed a hugely important role in biodiversity research worldwide.
 • The Scottish Seabird Centre is much newer—it was opened by Prince Charles in 2000—and houses an abundance of local birds, including puffins and gannets. Sir David Attenborough has called it one of the “Twelve Wildlife Wonders of the World.”
 • No Scotland visit is complete without taking a tour of some of the numerous castles left behind by historic royalty. Two of the most stunning are Edinburgh Castle and Eilean Donan Castle.
 • The Orkney Islands are a stunning archipelago off the northern coast with Neolithic ruins from the Bronze and Iron Ages.
 • Take a Scotch tour to find out what all the fuss for the smoky, peaty whisky is all about.

When to Go to Scotland

Scotland's landscape and climate? They are unmistakably British, but don't be fooled. If you travel to Scotland, you should certainly visit the North Sea gently lapping the beautiful coastline, shack up in the mountains buried in snow, or venture into the forests to see the wildlife.

When you go to Scotland should depend on what you want to do. Edinburgh tends to become crowded during the tourist season, which starts in April and is over by September. You might expect Scottish weather to be quite cold due to its northern location, but that is not the case—winters are milder due to the warming effect of the Mid-Atlantic Drift.

The weather is best from May through September, although the rainiest days of the year take place in July and August. The eastern coast of Scotland tends to be drier than the west and is also the warmer place to visit, should you desire to lodge near the coastline.

Articles about Scotland

A man who has spent the last 24 years searching for the Loch Ness monster says it is probably just a catfish, after all. Steve Feltham, 52, apparently gave up his job, home and girlfriend more than two decades ago to track Nessie, but now he’s ...
Open-pit coal mining has turned parts of rural Scotland into desolate, denuded eyesores. The collapse of the industry and the ensuing economic downturn has also made it hard for local governments to justify spending millions to redevelop these sit...
Open-pit coal mining has turned parts of rural Scotland into desolate, denuded eyesores. The collapse of the industry and the ensuing economic downturn has also made it hard for local governments to justify spending millions to redevelop these sit...
Open-pit coal mining has turned parts of rural Scotland into desolate, denuded eyesores. The collapse of the industry and the ensuing economic downturn has also made it hard for local governments to justify spending millions to redevelop these sit...
Open-pit coal mining has turned parts of rural Scotland into desolate, denuded eyesores. The collapse of the industry and the ensuing economic downturn has also made it hard for local governments to justify spending millions to redevelop these sit...
Open-pit coal mining has turned parts of rural Scotland into desolate, denuded eyesores. The collapse of the industry and the ensuing economic downturn has also made it hard for local governments to justify spending millions to redevelop these sit...
No one heads to the airport in search of an out-of-this-world meal. But a recent Reddit post alerted us to a new level of incredibly sad airport eats. Above is the (open) face of a bacon and egg sandwich that costs $5.47 at a restaurant in the Edi...
Seventy percent of the U.K’s gin is produced in Scotland—including such big names as Tanqueray, Hendrick’s and Gordon’s—and over the past five years, the trend for hand-crafted small-batch gin has exploded. Scottish producers are making the mos...
Winterfell is much more than just the home of House Bolton from Game of Thrones. Doune Castle—the real fortress located in central Scotland near the Stirling district where the Winterfell scenes are filmed—brings in more than 25,000 visitors every...
In the last few years, old family estates in the English countryside have been reveling in the Regency craze spurred by Downton Abbey. Scottish film producer Andrew MacDonald, who has filmed in England’s Mapperton House for his Far from the Maddin...