NZ$120 per night
Expected price for:19 May - 20 May
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Stunning scenery and lavish history are the pillars that make Scotland a tourist’s delight. From sprawling mountain ranges and tranquil lochs to towering castles and cobbled streets, the country is home to some of the most intriguing and tranquil sites in the whole United Kingdom. If you’re planning a trip to Scotland, you’ll need to know what’s worth seeing and where you should stay. Read on then to discover Scotland’s top tourist destinations.
The city of Edinburgh, or Auld Reekie as locals know it, welcomes more visitors than any other location in Scotland. The ancient city is home to the Royal Mile, a destination that any tourist is practically obliged to visit. Stretching from Edinburgh Castle in the west to Holyrood Palace in the east, the historic Royal Mile is picturesque and full of character. Ancient pubs and shops dot the streets, while historic points of interest are aplenty. Hotels and guesthouses can be found in abundance nearby too, making it a great base from which to explore. Elsewhere about the city you’ll find a plethora of attractions and activities to enjoy, schedule-permitting, of course. Take in the grandiose vista from Arthur’s Seat; discover a treasure trove of paintings at the National Gallery of Scotland; relive history at the Royal Museum or the Museum of Scotland; stop to smell a posy at the Royal Botanical Garden; or visit the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo.
There are few natural landscapes in Scotland more awe-inspiring than the Scottish Highlands. This sparsely-populated area of the country is home to expansive mountain ranges, heather-covered plateaus and quaint towns. With few hotel options in the region, set up camp in the city of Inverness and plan your days accordingly. Inverness is home to a number of interesting and intriguing sites, including the Titanic Museum and St Andrew’s Cathedral. A real can’t-miss destination can also be found in the region: the world-famous Loch Ness. Explore the village of Drumnadrochit on the loch’s west shore before taking to the waters in search of the famed-but-elusive Loch Ness Monster. Sure, nobody knows if Nessie really exists, but that’s part of the fun of the search. For hardier travellers, Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in the U.K. – is just waiting to be scaled. After you’ve tackled this behemoth, a trip to the town of Fort William is in order. At the very least you’ll be able to get a good meal and a stiff drink here.
A little further off the beaten path than the Western Highlands, the Cairngorms – located in the Eastern Highlands – again offer beautiful natural landscapes punctuated by a tranquil ambiance. Accommodation options can be found in the small town of Aviemore, including hotels and guesthouses, making it a good base of operations. During the summer months, the likes of the Highland Wildlife Park and Cairngorm Mountain Railway prove popular with visitors, while there’s nothing like simply leaving the hotel behind and heading out for a hike. Loch an Eilean and Loch Morlich are both excellent choices for a scenic walk. During the colder autumn and winter months, you’re more likely to need a pair of skis than a pair of walking boots. Those travellers adept at traversing the snow will be treated to some of the finest scenery in Scotland.
Separated by less than 30 miles, the cities of Glasgow and Stirling offer a blend of historic and contemporary attractions. Glasgow is an industrious and active city, one that offers the modern amenities you’d expect of a large city, from shopping centres to football stadiums. Popular tourist attractions in the city include Glasgow Science Centre, the Gallery of Modern Art, and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Meanwhile, historic Stirling features a medieval town centre and an impressive castle. It’s here you’ll find the Wallace Monument, a memorial to William Wallace, who fought for the independence of Scotland. And before you ask, no, the statue doesn’t resemble Mel Gibson. With hotels to be found in both, travellers can also use the two cities as a base from which to explore the beautiful natural landscapes found in the region. If you can spare the time to embark on a day trip, both Loch Lomond and Inveraray Castle are worth the journey.
When it comes to magnificent scenery and top attractions, the rest of Scotland really holds its own. The Isle of Skye, located amongst the Inner Hebrides, features the picturesque town of Portree, where you’ll find a few hotels. From here you can visit the stunning Loch Corusick and centuries-old Dunvegan Castle. Considered the Home of Golf, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, located in the town of St Andrews, is a must-visit destination for avid golfers. Culzean Castle – situated between Ayr and Stranraer – is a beautiful and opulent mansion set atop a sheer cliff face. The castle grounds make up Scotland’s first public country park. All of this and much more awaits you. From historic castles to modern-day city amenities, from ancient distilleries to world-class golf courses, Scotland has enough on offer to last you not just a vacation but a lifetime.