Scotland is the land of the brave, where rugged landscapes meet wistful tales of warriors, and the sound of bagpipes fills the air. It’s a popular destination for a diverse range of travelers: adventure seekers, couples on romantic getaways, history buffs, nature enthusiasts, and anyone looking to explore Scotland’s fascinating culture.
My husband and I recently returned from an amazing 17-day trip to Great Britain. We explored England, Wales, and Scotland and had a wonderful time. I can’t possibly write about everything in one article, so England and Wales will have to wait for another time.
Here are 6 places that I think my clients might like to visit in Scotland.
1. Gretna Green
Close to the border between England and Scotland, lies Gretna Green, a lovely village steeped in history and romance. A law passed in 1753 prevented couples under the age of 21 in England and Wales from marrying without their parents’ consent. Since the law didn’t apply to Scotland, couples began crossing the border to tie the knot. Gretna Green was the first village they came to. Scottish law didn’t require clergy, just witnesses, and so the historic Old Blacksmith’s Shop turned into a wedding venue.
Gretna Green is still a popular wedding venue today. You might compare it to Las Vegas wedding chapels. In fact, when we arrived in London, our taxi driver told us he was going to Gretna Green that weekend to get married.
The reason I wanted to visit is its connection to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Lydia Bennett wrote to her family that she is going to Gretna Green to elope with Mr. Wickham (though they really went to London). Even if you aren’t a fan of Jane Austen or historical romances, it’s still an interesting place to stop if you are driving from England to Scotland. You can view the exhibits, shop, dine, and even wind your way through a hedge maze to unite with your beloved.
2. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is located in Scotland and is one of the most visited parks in the United Kingdom. The park is full of mountains, lochs, and forests which provide a stunning landscape for anyone who visits. One of the most popular activities in the park is hiking. Visitors can also enjoy water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding on Loch Lomond or take a scenic drive through the park.
We had only enough time for a scenic drive, which we really enjoyed.
Glencoe is a famous Scottish glen (valley) located in the Scottish Highlands. It’s known for its stunning natural beauty comprising dramatic mountains, glacial valleys, and sparkling lochs (lakes). It gets my vote for the prettiest place we visited in Scotland. If you’re a fan of Outlander and have wondered where the opening scenes were filmed, it’s Glencoe.
It’s also steeped in history, with the Glencoe Massacre of 1692 being a significant event, where the Campbell Clan murdered members of the Macdonalds clan. It’s also perfect for lovers of outdoor activities. We did some hiking. I would love to go back for more.
4. Sleep in a castle
There are several castle hotels in Scotland. IMHO, I think you should stay in at least one of them. We stayed in Tulloch Castle, a 12th-century castle located in the town of Dingwall, in the Scottish Highlands. The castle was the ancestral home of the Clan Davidson for over 700 years before being converted into a hotel in the 1990s. We found it to be a perfect blend of a historic ambiance and modern comfort. Each room is different and uniquely decorated to reflect the castle’s rich culture and unique elegance.
5. Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle is located in Aberdeenshire, in the Cairngorms National Park, and is the private residence of the Royal Family. The castle was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852. How cool is it that they let people visit?! Visitors can explore the magnificent gardens and stroll through the woodland walk with an audio guide. We got to go into the ballroom, but not the rest of the castle. After visiting, I understand why it was a favorite getaway of the late Queen Elizabeth.
6. Edinburgh’s Royal Mile
This historic street stretches for about a mile from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Royal Mile is home to many iconic landmarks such as St. Giles’ Cathedral, the Scotch Whisky Experience, and the famed Royal Mile Market. We took a walking tour to learn some of the secrets of the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle. If you like culture and history, this is a must for your Scotland itinerary. Edinburgh is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Do you want to go to Scotland?
These are some of the places that my husband and I really enjoyed in Scotland, but there’s so much more to see. When you work with me, I can customize a trip for your interests. That’s what my Diamond Plan is for. Read more about my services and then get in touch with me to start planning your trip.