There’s more to Scotland than haggis and kilts – much, much more. Most people outside the country aren’t aware of its long and proud history. Not only does Scotland have the world’s oldest national flag that’s still used (dating from the 9th century, if you’re interested) but it was an independent kingdom till the early 18th century. Signs of that history are all around you as you visit the country’s many famous castles and explore the Uplands, Highlands and Islands and Lowlands.
1. Natural Beauty
Let’s start with the great outdoors – something for which the country is justifiably famous. Scotland has lots of dramatic landscapes that will delight any nature lover. Some of the best places to visit include the rugged mountains and green valleys of Glencoe, which will also give you the chance to explore some history. Older still are the Torridon Mountains, offering some stunning views. You also won’t want to miss the Cairngorms National Park which gives you a real snapshot of all the natural beauty Scotland offers.
2. Animal Attractions
Scotland’s untamed landscapes provide another of its major attractions – the wildlife. While it’s not as varied as it was – the elk, brown bear, lynx and walrus have all moved to other pastures – there’s still plenty to see while you’re roaming the hills. Look out for red squirrels, pine martens and hares on the ground or look up to see ptarmigan, golden eagles, gannets, a wide range of seabirds and the famous Scottish Crossbill. And if you’re near the water you will spot seals and fish aplenty.
3. Scottish Cuisine
This leads to another important Scottish asset – the cuisine. There are plenty of delicious, traditional Scottish dishes with enough variety to tempt every palate. The natural landscapes are a breeding ground for game, and the well provisioned table in Scotland may feature roast partridge, pheasant and venison, as well as mutton ham, square sausage, Scotch pie and of course mince and tatties. Seafood is also plentiful so you can enjoy salmon and smoked salmon, herring and kippers. Let’s not forget Cock-a-leekie soup and Scotch broth as well as shortbread, Dundee cakes and oatcakes. Yum!
4. Music and Dance
Once you’re replete, then it’s time to enjoy some traditional Scottish music – and we’re not just talking about bagpipes, accordions, harps and fiddles, not to mention Gaelic singing and folk songs. Scotland today has excellent musicians from every genre, with some artists who are known worldwide such as Amy Macdonald and KT Tunstall. If you’re in Scotland at the right time check out events like Rock Ness, The Worlds and Celtic Connections for a thoroughly good time!
Want to take a piece of Scotland home with you? Sharon invites you to check out the gift hampers from Scottish Hampers.