Scotland

Things to do in Scotland

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.

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.

Three-day course at a seaside distillery on the Isle of Islay that also includes evening trips to the pub, live folk-music performances, and informal talks on local history. Face time with the operators in charge of each step of the whisky-making process is a main thrust of the program.

Established in 1842, this bottler deals in fine aged single-cask whiskey from distilleries like Banff, Glenlivet Minmore, and Royal Brackla; the naturally caramel-colored, concentrated liquors are of a rare quality.

Rent a Mini Cooper S—a sporty classic that hugs the winding Scottish roads nicely.

Top fashion houses commission Rohde's cashmere handiwork. The designer, who only works with the finest yarns from Scotland in her town-house atelier sells discounted elbow-length gloves and sweaters in candy colors. Call ahead for an appointment.

Weeklong program at a still-operating 1828 distillery in Campbelltown, a historic whisky town (it was home to more than 30 distilleries in its 19th-century heyday) on the Mull of Kintyre. Unlike most producers, Springbank malts all of its own barley, and it also does all of its bottling on-site.

Catalonian architect Enric Miralles went $767 million over budget on his 2004 architectural masterpiece, which won the U.K.'s most prestigious architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in 2005.

 Producers of a rare triple-distilled whisky; tours available.

Behind a narrow red storefront on Victoria Street, this self-proclaimed “liquid deli” is a cross between a liquor store and an old-fashioned apothecary shop. Inside, the open wooden shelves are lined with row after row of Italian glass demijohns in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Four-day course on one of Scotland's most remote islands (Jura is a two-hour ferry ride from the mainland town of Kennacraig).