Scotland

Scotland Travel Guide

There are many things to do in Scotland, but if you like festivals, this is the country to visit. The most famous of these is Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. It takes place during the entire month of August and features entertainment such as theater, dance, and music. The last day of the festival is capped by a brilliant display of fireworks at Edinburgh Castle. Another famous festival, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, starts up in October and is an annual celebration of traditional and modern methods of storytelling.

If you go during the winter and want to ski, Scotland also has five mountain ski resorts. You might not think of Scotland as a site of great athletic potential, but skiing is truly one of the best things to do in Scotland. The great thing about the country's mountain ski resorts is how long the season is—there is usually snow from December to as late as April.

If you still find yourself wondering what to do in Scotland, indulge in the country's rich historical legacy by embarking on an architecture tour. One famous relic is Kisimul Castle, the only surviving medieval castle in the Western Isles. The locals refer to it as the Castle in the Sea because of its precarious location atop a rock in the bay. At times, Kisimul Castle appears to be built atop the water itself. You can access this castle by boat any time between April and the end of September. Cap it all off with a visit to one of Scotland's many whiskey distilleries. Such a trip belongs on any list of what to do in Scotland.

Check out the first hole, where a public path crosses the famous fairway where golf was born.

Formerly the reception room of the Scotsman, one of the country's national newspapers, this galleried, oak-paneled space is now a civilized hotel bar. Order a French martini with Hendrick's gin beneath the two-story marble pillars.

Tour this warren of recently opened underground alleyways for a fascinating account of the city's past (victims of the 1644 plague died here) and a firsthand look into restored 17th-century town houses.

At Peter Scott, a label most associated with golf sweaters customized with club logos, signing up for a factory tour is as straightforward as entering the outlet shop in the heart of town and asking to see the adjacent mill. One doesn’t so much join a tour as generate one.

Best for live music, especially during the Celtic Colours Festival.

The glass cases in this boutique are stocked with notable estate pieces like vintage square-cut emerald necklaces and antique gentlemen's pocketknives; the shimmering tourmalines, black opals, and mother-of-pearl items range from astronomical to within reach.

Every summer, en route to Balmoral from Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II stops at this spectacular, if lesser-known, 16th-century royal residence to host an annual Garden Party.