Edinburgh is where you’ll discover stunning scenery, striking architecture and fine food. Visit the arts and culture attraction of Edinburgh & The Lothians, including brilliant galleries, fantastic art centers and entertainment venues, or take in a theatre show or drop by a comedy club. Explore Edinburgh’s Old Town, a labyrinth of cobbled streets, narrow alleyways and hidden courtyards, steeped in the city’s history. In elegant contrast is the neat ordered grid of the New Town. Its broad streets boast spectacular neoclassical and Georgian architecture, perfectly preserved since the 18th and 19th centuries.
Most of all, Edinburgh is known for its proliferation of festivals, the most famous of which is the Edinburgh International Festival, a celebrated arts festival that is three jam-packed weeks full of theatre, classical music, opera, dance and art. It takes place each August alongside the Festival Fringe, a huge and varied program of comedy, cabaret, theatre, music, dance and art. This is what most people mean when they think of the Edinburgh festival, and it is still the one to focus on for a quick cultural fix and the widest and weirdest variety of entertainment. Other festivals taking place at the same time are the Art Festival, Book Festival, Military Tattoo and more… making Edinburgh one of the most vibrant and exciting places to visit during the summer.
Edinburgh – Suggested Attractions
Edinburgh Castle – A major defence structure for the city involved in many ancient battles and also the Scottish Royal Residence until 1603, it remains an important historic monument, and receives over a million visitors every year.
National Museum of Scotland – Named the most popular UK tourist attraction outside London, its galleries display over 8000 treasures covering the natural world, world cultures, science and technology, art and design, and the story of Scotland past and present.
Scotch Whiskey Experience – A one-hour journey through the amber nectar’s 300 years of history, including a whisky barrel ride to the illicit stills of the Highlands and the royal drawing rooms of London, and an introduction to the art of nosing the usige beatha (gaelic for “water of life”). The tour includes a free dram or soft drink.
Edinburgh Dungeons – A chilling insight into Edinburgh’s dark and gruesome history through theatrical performance, storytelling, special effects and thrilling rides. Unique and exciting, you’ll be laughing and screaming your way through this 80-minute walk-through tour based on Scotland’s real history and legends.
The Scottish Highlands has much to offer…. spectacular mountains, waterfalls, tumbling rivers and mirror-like lochs are bounded by crystal-clear seas scattered with magical islands. You will find castles, museums, steam trains, boat trips, gardens, whisky, ancient monuments, arts and crafts galore and visitor centres featuring subjects as diverse as wildlife, history, heritage and even monsters!
Inverness – Suggested Attractions
Castles – The Highlands’ castle heritage is at least in part royal and baronial, the result of the Scottish kings’ efforts to bring order to an area noted for its unrest and skirmishing. The earliest stone castles date from the 13th century, such as Urquhart Castle by Loch Ness, and Lochindorb north of Grantown-on-Spey.
Gardens in the Highlands – Inverewe Gardens at Poolewe is a place of pilgrimage for thousands of gardeners, who come to marvel at the range of species from the temperate zones of the world gathered here. There are other gardens from Loch Ness-side right up to Caithness, including Kerrachar Garden in the north-west that is only accessible by boat!
Archaeology – Cairns and standing stones are some of the earliest evidence of people in the Highlands, notably the unique hillside arrangements of rows of small stones found in Caithness and East Sutherland.
Hillforts too belong to these ages long ago, and there are several to explore with their unique circular and hollow stone walls.
Whisky – Far more than just a Highland icon, whisky is one of the most important and characteristic Highland exports. There are distilleries throughout the Highlands to visit, from Ben Nevis Distillery in Lochaber to Pulteney Distillery in Wick (the most northerly on the Scottish mainland), and even an “illicit still” at Drumchork Lodge Hotel in Aultbea – all making it easy to find out more about Scotland’s national drink.
“The Flower of Scotland” due to its numerous parks and gardens, Aberdeen is also a tale of two cities, whose modern role sits comfortably with its medieval past, and it prides itself on having an endless list of attractions and activities covering the rich heritage and vibrant city culture. Away from the hustle and bustle, explore inspiring natural landscapes from the epic north east coastline, to the beautiful Royal Deeside and the stunning Cairngorms National Park.
Aberdeen – Suggested Attractions
Art – Aberdeen Art Gallery is particularly attractive example of late 19th century architecture, and one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. It houses one of the finest art collections in Britain with paintings, sculpture and graphics from the 15th century to the present day.
Food and Drink – Aberdeen City is a region bursting with flavour and unique tastes. Discover an excellent selection of world-class local produce including Aberdeen Angus beef and some of the finest seafood in the world freshly caught just off the Aberdeenshire coast, or purchase ingredients direct at farmers’ markets, fish markets and country fairs. Dining out is always an experience, with a wonderful range of restaurants, cafes and bars to choose from. You can also enjoy the beers, ales and whiskies unique to the region and find out more during a behind the scenes tour.
Nature – Aberdeenshire is inundated with Nature Reserves, like Glen Tanar Natural Nature Reserve, situated in a beautiful glen at the heart of Royal Deeside. Further north, the Sands of Forvie National Nature Reserve is a beautiful spot with endless sand dunes and plentiful birdlife. There is even a special site for history enthusiasts as with the constant shifting of the dunes, layers of the past have come and gone, revealing the half-buried remains of a twelfth century church.
Shopping – The West End is individual charm, independent character and intriguing charisma. Only 10 minutes’ walk from Union Square off Aberdeen’s main street, a different world await with an eclectic mix of specialist shops, fashion and jewellery stores, quirky tea-rooms and coffee shops, and a range of restaurants from Scottish to International. You’ll find the West End full of surprises, all year round.