The mother of golf cannot be missed in any dedicated golfer’s most wanted travel destinations. The Scots started playing as far back as the 15th century, and the old course at St. Andrews still has the prestige and atmosphere of a pilgrimage site. You will find close to 600 courses to choose from, which makes it the highest course rate per head of population worldwide.
As rough-edged as the Scots may seem, this, too, is reflected on the green. Gusty winds and heavy rain may spoil the game of those used to playing under the blue skies of California or in the Pacific. However, according to the Scots, weather conditions have always been part of the game and will add just the right kind of challenge for the keen golfer. And don’t be mistaken. Underneath it all the Scots are a bunch of merry people always good for a laugh – and a drink.
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Scotland’s capital is literally built on hills and if you explore it on foot you will get a great full body workout. Towering on one of them, an extinct volcano, is Edinburgh Castle. The iconic stone structure has dominated the city since the 12th century and has been involved in many wars and sieges, with historians claiming it to be the most besieged place in Great Britain.
Leading away from the castle is the Royal Mile, a network of medieval streets forming Edinburgh’s Old Town which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the other end of the Royal Mile is Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland since the 16th century. Parts of the historic palace are open to the public unless a member of the Royal Family resides within.
Does Nessie exist or not? Rumours and alleged sightings of the monster deep down within Loch Ness have been around since 1933. Views of the loch are best enjoyed from Urquhart Castle. Though there is nothing left but ruins, this once was the greatest castle in The Highlands and you can still get a sense of medieval life when you climb the stairs to the Grant Tower or peek inside former prison cells.
Ever since Mel Gibson starred as Braveheart, The Scottish Highlands have regained their international fame. The landscape reflects the area’s history: rugged, untamed and beautifully romantic. Witness traditional Highland Games, spent a day in tranquil solitude at Moray Firth or go sightseeing in Inverness.
With 1345 metres Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK. You can climb its majestic summit and enjoy dramatic views over countless lochs and deep glacial valleys. Locals refer to it as the ancient giant of the land, as Ben Nevis once was an active volcano that exploded and collapsed into itself millions of years ago. You can still find evidence of this pre-historic event in the form of light-coloured granite at the top.
Isle of Skye
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, the Inner Hebrides are your perfect holiday destination. Skye being the largest of the isles is particularly popular among nature lovers, offering magnificent scenery from sandy beaches and lonely glens to mysterious caves, rushing waterfalls and dramatic mountain ranges. There is also an abundance of wildlife including otters and seals, and the isle is easily accessible by car as it connects with the mainland via bridge.
One of the best-preserved Renaissance buildings in the UK also used to be a favourite with the Scottish Royal Family. Stirling Castle used host anything from christening of future kings and queens to their coronation ceremonies, including that of the infamous Mary Queen of Scots in 1542.
The Falkirk Wheel
Did you know that Scotland houses the world’s only rotating boatlift? The construction is a 21st century mechanical piece of art which connects two canals in central Scotland. Book yourself a roundtrip and admire Scottish ingenuity at its finest.