Visiting Aberdeen

Discover a variety of things to do in Scotland from vibrant city culture to its rich heritage. Explore vast landscapes from the epic coastline in beautiful Deeside. Here are five things you must see when visiting Aberdeen.

Wildlife lovers can find a varied selection of nature reserves across the area with many mammals and birds. Birdwatchers should take advantage of the National Reserve at the Sands of Forvie. You can spot varied habitats of river estuary and amazing sand dunes.

Aberdeen beachIf you are lucky enough to spot eagles up close and personal, the Muir of Dinnet is the place to be. In this upland reserve, you can catch a glimpse of birch woods, foxes, bats, and many birds of prey. Eagles and falcons can all be seen along the miles of sign posted trails.

Aberdeen is a region that is bursting with unique flavors. In the northeast, you will discover an amazing selection of world class produce including Angus beef steak and fresh seafood. With some of the finest fresh seawater fish in the world, you will find many dairy produce and quality meats in Aberdeenshire. Enjoy ales and whisky, made locally by taking the tour behind the scenes in breweries and distilleries.

For a truly foodie experience with a difference, learn how to prepare the perfect meal at Nick Nairn Cook School and enjoy your hard work at the end. All through the year, there are programmes for food lovers including festivals and markets in Shire. Whatever your personal taste, you are guaranteed to have a great time.

Aberdeen is home to the most treasured cultural attractions. Explore the art galleries, visitor centres and venues at world-class galleries. Visitors can take advantage of famous paintings and modern artworks that bring to life the rich cultural heritage. Discover the superb artistic talents of artists at a wide range of museums. The elegant 19th century building houses artists from Monet to Ramsey with some important collections.

Aberdeenshire has a varied landscape with attractive handcrafted arts. Uncover the innovative and original artworks that are designed by local artists. These can be seen in a number of galleries and shops that are scattered around the city and nearby towns.

Aberdeen shops

If you are a shopaholic who likes to follow the latest trends, then Aberdeen is the place to be. With a wealth of shopping malls waiting to be explored, you will find the biggest designer brands at high street shops. The shopping facilities are truly the hidden gems at the malls.

The city is also home to many vintage markets that let you shop until you drop. Once you start browsing the designer stores, you will not want to leave. Given its position as an important oil industry town Aberdeen has prosperous feel, and this is reflect in the choice of shops available. Aberdeenshire is certainly a shopper’s paradise.

Aberdeen University buildingNicknamed as the Granite City, over an acre of Aberdeenshire consists of open space, parks, and gardens. It is no wonder that so many young families love going for a stroll at the local parks. The most famous park is Duthie, spreading across 45 acres since 1800. This park has many exotic plants including the biggest collection of cacti in the UK. It is a perfect setting for a family day out, with so many activities from boating to playing cricket on the lawns.

With such a charming park, it is easy to see why Aberdeen has consistently won awards for being one of the top cities in Britain. Its garden has ponds, lakes, a bridge, and waterfalls that make you feel like you have stepped into the Secret Garden. This park is the perfect setting for brides and grooms as they can take many memorable photos in the gardens.

Another hidden gem in the very heart of the city is Union Terrace Gardens. This place used to be thought of as a natural amphitheater, but instead, the Victorians built it as a valley in 1800s. The grounds are used for summer concerts and many other leisure activities including New Year celebrations. It certainly provides a relaxation oasis in the city center.

One of the showpieces of this popular garden is the magnificent floral crest that can be seen at the south side. You can explore many unique floral displays that are present in this garden. But to take advantage of all the new sights and sounds of this beautiful city, you should consider staying here for at least two weeks in order to make the most of the local attractions.

5 Things You Must See When Visiting The Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands is the largest of more than a dozen regions in the Scotland. The ancient landscape has a dramatic history and the unsurpassed beauty of its gorgeous glens, spectacular beaches, and famous lochs draw visitors from around the world eager to explore all the Highlands have to offer. With a long list of fascinating things to do and places to see, this romantic region never ceases to amaze all who journey there. Here are 5 things you must see when visiting the Scottish Highlands.

Eilean Donan CastleScotland is home to numerous ancient castles but Eilean Donan Castle is among the most iconic of all and a photographer’s dream come true. This magnificent building sits on its own tiny island just off the Isle of Skye in Western Scotland and overlooks the point where three lochs come together and empty into the sea. The McRae family owns the castle, which is operated by the Conchra Charitable Trust, an organization established during the 1980s to preserve the majestic structure and its historic contents.

The original castle was built at the order of Alexander II during the 1200s and fell into ruin after a Jacobite uprising in 1719. The existing structure incorporates a good portion of those ancient ruins and was built as a family home by Lt Col John McRae-Gilstrap in the early 20th century. Inside its walls, knowledgeable guides introduce visitors to the castle’s fine displays of art and weapons. The Banqueting Hall doubles as a romantic wedding venue.

To many people, Loch Ness needs no introduction. Supposed home to the legendary Nessie, the freshwater loch covers 22 square miles of surface area, making it the second largest loch in the country. It is the largest by volume with its deepest point plunging 755 ft. The surrounding land contains high levels of peat so the visibility underwater is exceptionally low. The Nessie museum is located at Drumnadrochit chronicles the history of the loch and its most famous inhabitant. The first reported sighting of this mythical monster was during the 600s. Board a boat and conduct your own hunt if you dare.

The South Loch Ness Trail extends 28 miles between Torbreck Woods outside Inverness to Loch Tarff, just north of Fort Augustus. Along the way, the trail winds through Dores, Inverfarigaig, Foyers, and Whitebridge. Attractions include the ruins of an Iron Age fort and the General Wade Bridge, built during the 1700s.

Glen Coe Scotland

Anyone who appreciates fine whisky can hardly resist a visit to one or more of the famous Scotch whisky distilleries in the Highlands. Each distillery produces its own unique beverage and visitors are welcomed with open arms. Audio-visual presentations and guided tours offer fascinating insights into the creation of Scotland’s national drink. See, smell, and taste the finest whiskey the world has to offer. The Ben Nevis distillery sits at the foot of the highest mountain in the British Isles and is one of the oldest distilleries in the country. Other popular distilleries in this area include the Aberlour, Glengoyne, Glenmorangie, and Talisker distilleries. The town of Grantown-on-Spey makes a good base for exploring these distilleries.

The road to Applecross is a treacherous one and not for the faint of heart. Those who do brave the hairpin bends and the climb to 2,053 feet will feel like they have arrived at the edge of the Earth when they behold the spectacular views across the bay to Skye and Raasay. The peninsula in Wester Ross sits on land that historians believe is surrounded by the earliest settled land in the country. Visitors can stay at the historic Applecross Inn with its comfortable rooms, friendly staff and multiple award winning restaurant serving authentic Scottish cuisine.

InvernessThe city of Inverness is just a short drive from Loch Ness and to the Scottish, it is known affectionately as the Highland Capital. The city serves as the main administrative center for the region but with approximately 55,000 residents it is one of the country’s smallest cities by population. Inverness retains its market town personality to this day.

Visitors can explore the grounds of Inverness Castle and learn more about the Highlands’ history at the local museum and art gallery. The city’s oldest building, Abertarff House, dates back to 1592 and is another popular attraction. The Titanic Inverness Maritime Museum is an interactive learning center featuring a 1:10 scale model of the ill-fated Titanic.

To many people, the Highlands are the heart and soul of Scotland. The gorgeous countryside, ancient structures, and hospitality of its residents draw international travelers who want to explore its mysteries firsthand. Scotland is truly a destination with something for everyone to enjoy

Five Things You Must See When Visiting Edinburgh

In our last post we talked about visiting Speyside, but now it’s time to head South to The Athens of The North. Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and a place that has a rich medieval Celtic history. Its location in the country’s Central Belt is south of the Firth of Forth and north of the Pentland Hills. The current economy relies heavily on tourism, scientific research, higher education, and financial services. Its moderate climate and status as a World Heritage Site make the city a popular destination for international travelers. If you are planning a trip to Scotland, here are five things you must see when visiting Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Historic Edinburgh Castle dominates the city’s skyline from its perch high atop an ancient volcano. Some of the buildings at the site date back to the 12th century, including St Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest surviving structure in the city. During the 14th century, the castle was the epicenter for fierce battles during the Wars of Independence between the English and the Scots. Scottish solders led by King Robert the Bruce’s nephew recaptured the castle from the English in 1314.

Highlights of the castle tour include the spectacular crown, sword of state and scepter, which collectively make up the British Isle’s oldest set of crown jewels. King James V wore the crown for the first time in 1540 during the coronation of Queen Mary of Guise. Pope Alexander VI presented the scepter to King James IV in the late 1400s. The coronation of Mary Queen of Scots in 1543 marked the first time the Honours of Scotland were used together in a single ceremony.

The National Museum of Scotland is in central Edinburgh on Chambers Street. The facility consists of two buildings. Construction on the Victorian Romanesque revival Royal Museum building began in 1861. The second modern building opened for business in 1998. The museum houses national collections of medieval objects and archaeological finds of Scotland as well as artifacts found around the world.

Calton Hill

Calton Hill

One of the most popular exhibits in the museum is the massive Millennium Clock in the Discoveries gallery. The 10-meter timepiece is a kinetic art installation that marks the hour with music by Bach, twinkling lights, and figures in motion. The tower is divided into four sections called the Crypt, the Nave, the Belfry, and the Spire. Each section contains intricately carved figures symbolizing the best and worst of the past millennium. The Belfry contains a dozen figures, each one representing a different month.

Arthur’s Seat is an inactive volcano and the tallest peak in Holyrood Park. The summit is accessible from any direction and offers panoramic views of Edinburgh from 251 metres above sea level. The easiest route begins at the car park at Dunaspie Loch and travels eastward. The hike to the summit is a quick 15 minutes but the extreme elevation change increases the difficulty level. The most spectacular vista is to the west overlooking Edinburgh Castle and the city below it.

View from Arthur's Seat

View from Arthurs Seat Edinburgh

Travelers interested in seeing Scotland the way it used to be can visit Old Town. Many of the buildings in this area were built during the Reformation and the street plan retains its medieval design with narrow alleys, hidden passages, and underground vaults. Cobblestone streets wind their way past various landmarks including Parliament Square, St Giles’ Cathedral, and the Witches Well, a drinking fountain dedicated to the approximately 300 women executed for witchcraft on the spot from 1479 to 1722.

The Royal Mile goes right through Old Town and stretches a little more than a mile from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Abbey. The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre offers daily tours providing guests with fascinating insight into the process of brewing whiskey and the different techniques manufacturers use to blend malts. Every August, the streets come alive for the Edinburgh Fringe and Festival.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), near Holyrood Abbey is part of a scientific complex occupying four sites in Scotland. The three Regional Gardens are in Logan, Benmore, and Dwayck and each has its own unique collection of plants. The Herbarium contains more than three million specimens. Inverleith House was built during the 18th century and now serves as a contemporary art gallery curated by the RBGE. Popular collections include the Rock Garden, Woodland Garden, and Chinese Hillside.

From the fashionable Georgian New Town to the charmingly medieval Old Town, Edinburgh is a city that has something that appeals to travelers of all ages and from all backgrounds. World famous festivals during the summer months make this a popular vacation destination. Putting these five attractions at the top of your to do list is a great way to get the most from your visit.

What To See When Visiting Speyside

The Speyside region is in northeast Scotland between the North Sea and the Cairngorm mountain range. Dufftown, Kieth, Grantown-on-Spey, Rothes, and Aberlour are just a few of the settlements in this area. From the sandy beaches along the coastline to the riverlands, thick forests, and rolling foothills, the natural beauty is just one thing that draws international travelers to this part of the country. Visitors have many options when deciding what to see when visiting this beautiful part of the country and there are many hotels and guest houses offering traditional Highland hospitality to make you feel at home.

Glenfiddich Distillery

Glenfiddich Distillery

As home to more than half of Scotland’s malt whiskey distilleries, it is no wonder why scotch drinkers are drawn to the Speyside area. The Malt Whisky Trail meanders through the Scottish countryside past a cooperage and eight of the most famous working distilleries. Signposts lead visitors to Strathisla, The Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glen Moray, Glen Grant, Dallas Dhu, Cardhu, and Benromach.

Each distillery along the Malt Whisky Trail uses proprietary ingredients and techniques to produce a handcrafted nectar that is unique. Guided tours and audio-visual presentations offer visitors a fascinating behind-the-scene look at the magic that goes into making Scotland’s national drink. Guests have the opportunity to smell, see, and taste the finest spirits the region has to offer.

The annual Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival takes place in May and provides guests with full immersion into the area’s unique culture and history. The festival spans several days and features an opening dinner, live entertainment, archery, golf, tastings, and master classes. Some distilleries usually closed to the public join in the festivities by offering rare tours to select guests.

Visitors interested in medieval history will find a trio of castles worth seeing. Ballindalloch was built in the mid-1500s and has served continuously as the family home for the Macpherson-Grants ever since. A collection of Spanish paintings from the 1600s is among the vast amounts of family memorabilia stored in the castle. The massive property features a spectacular walled garden and the Grass Labyrinth and dog walk area. The castle is between Aberlour and Grantown-on-Spey. It is open for public tours throughout the summer.

Fly fishing on the River Spey

Fly fishing on the River Spey

Brodie Castle is a National Trust for Scotland property dating back to the 16th century. The main building houses art collections, French furniture, and porcelain pieces made in China and England. The estate consists of 71 hectares of land with a woodland walk, a walled garden, a nature trail, and an adventure playground. The castle offers overnight accommodation in the main building for up to 14 guests in the refurbished Laird’s Wing. The South Lodge and Cormack Lodge sleep up to four guests each and feature private gardens.

Balvenie Castle was built during the 1200s near Dufftown and stands mostly in ruins today. Its original name was Mortlach Castle and what remains today stands as a rare example of military architecture of its time. Notable guests over the centuries include the Marquess of Montrose, King Edward I, and Mary Queen of Scots.

This part of the country offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors. The Speyside Way is an 80-mile walking trail between Cullen and Forres and is one of four major long distance routes in the country. Most of the terrain is flat with just a few small hills, so any portion of the trail is suitable for hikers of all ages. Anglers with a valid permit can fish in one of the country’s best rivers for trout and salmon. The town of Buckie is at one end of this scenic trail. This small fishing village has a large harbor, beautiful beaches, and walking trails along the coast. Bow Fiddle Rock is a popular landmark visible from the northeast point the village. This area offers plenty of opportunity to spot wildlife, including dolphins. Observers on the beach can often catch sight of these playful creatures swimming near the mouth of Spey Bay.

As the birthplace of golf, Scotland offers plenty of wonderful opportunities for avid duffers to hit the links. The Golf Club in Abernethy is a moorland course between Grantown-on-Spey and Garten. The 9-hole course presents a challenge for amateur and experienced golfers alike. Towering pines surround the course, which offers spectacular views of nearby hills and the river.

With so much to do and see, Scotland has become a favorite vacation destination for travelers from around the globe. Steeped in history, the country offers visitors a chance to experience its culture through ancient structures and time-honoured traditions. From sampling the country’s finest malts to exploring the great outdoors, visitors are sure to have a fantastic time.

Recommended Accomodation For Visiting Speyside

Luxury

Culdearn House, Woodlands Terrace, Grantown on Spey, Morayshire, PH26 3JU Telephone: 01479 872106

Mid Range

Tannochbrae Guest House, 22 Fife Street, Dufftown, Banffshire, AB55 4AL Telephone: 01340 820 541

Budget

Pottery Bunkhouse, Laggan Bridge, Inverness-shire, PH20 1BT Telephone 01528 544231

Best Places to Visit in Scotland

Some people like to visit exotic places that offer them beaches with fine sand, clear water and sun all day travel-to-scotlandround. For a more beautiful experience, one that is richer in history and mystery, the best place to visit is a country called Scotland.

You can’t say you’ve been to Europe until you have visited one of the most beautiful countries in the eastern part of the continent. Scotland borders Great Britain, but its landscapes cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

The green that covers the country is unique and wonderful and it’s something that has frequently appeared in different movies. The Celtic heritage is unique and the local authorities have managed to preserve it as best as they could. Visiting this place will only bring you closer to a part of the world that has unique features, vibrant colors and places worth visiting at least once in your lifetime.

Scotland_Countryside_PeterMagor_Jun2006Here are some of the best places to visit in Scotland.

Museums

One of the most beautiful museums in Scotland is the National Museum of Scotland, it stands in top 20 in the most visited museums from all around the world. You will find there more than 20,000 artifacts, which are fascinating for everyone, no matter where you com from. You will take a journey through the history of this country, you’ll see wonders of the nature, some cultures from all around the world and different exciting things from discoveries and science.

Apart from this, you will also find other interesting museums and galleries all around the country, and with a map in your hand, you will be ready to learn more about the world and the local history.

Castles

Scotland_sphereIf you want to see the oldest castles in this part of the world, then you should see what this country has to offer. The Edinburgh Castles is actually an icon of Scotland, and it has seen centuries of history from the height that he stays upon. This is near the capital of the country, built on an extinct volcano and it is the attraction most visited by tourists all year round. Since the 12th century when it was build, its destination is now changed. It houses the Crown of Jewels of Scotland, the famous gun Mons Meg from the 15th century, the Stone of Destiny, the One O’Clock Gun but also the National War Museum of Scotland. The Stone of Destiny is an interesting piece, as it is said that it was used for the coronations of the kings of Scotland.

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Art Galleries

One of the most famous art galleries from here is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. It’s placed in a beautiful Victorian park in Glasgow, in the east part by the River Kelvin. It is extremely large, as it house

Highland bagpiper in kilt

more than 8000 items and more than 22 galleries. To visit this museum, you don’t have to pay anything, and it is one of the most visited free attractions in this country. It has different items for display, one of which is the famous painting of Salvador Dali, named the Christ of St John of the Cross. It’s a beautiful place to teach your children how history was made, as the building and the galleries were designed so that the children would have an easier access to it.

There are so many more things that you can visit in this country – the cathedrals are old, beautiful and represent a vivid image of the history. Other galleries house art collections from a more recent history, like the Scottish National Gallery, while the Zoos offer you more than 1000 animals for display from all around the world.