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Activities in Scotland
The following are just a few of the many activities that can be indulged in and places visited by a visitor to Scotland.
Edinburgh – Edinburgh is an elegant, historic and cultured city which is visited by 13 million people each year. The city’s dominant feature is Edinburgh Castle, a large fortification built on a giant outcrop of basalt rock. It can be seen from every quarter of the city. The city’s Old Town district, as its name implies was the heart of the medieval city. It is centered around the Royal Mile, a thoroughfare which runs from the castle gates to the Palace of Holyrood House. The New Town was in fact built in the middle of the 18th century and constitutes one of the best preserved Georgian urban areas in the world. It also has Prince’s Street the main shopping center of the city.
The Highlands...The Highlands is an area of mountains, valleys, lakes and forests which cover the northern two thirds of Scotland. It is an area of majestic scenery. It is also the Scotland of myth and legend; bagpipes and reels; of tartans and kilts; of clans and Gaelic language. The Highlands is where the true Scotland is to be found.
Palaces, Castles and Gardens.......For much of Scotland’s history, it aligned itself with France against their common enemy, England. Indeed several of its monarchs took French royalty and nobility as their brides. French cultural influence was very strong in the country. As a result, Scotland’s rich heritage of palaces, castles and gardens have unique character of their own and are quite different from those of their English neighbors.
Royal Scotland.......Mary Queen of Scots is probably the only monarch from Scotland’s history whose name is known to most people. History buffs can find a great deal of interesting sites associated with her life. These include Linlithgow Palace, where she was born, now a massive ruin just west of Edinburgh, Holyrood Palace, Sterling Castle and Falkland Palace, all still very much intact. The most impressive of these is the Palace of Holyrood House, Edinburgh, still the official royal residence in Scotland. The current Queen has close Scottish ties. Her mother’s home Glamis Castle is a magnificent, beautifully maintained, uniquely Scottish palace, which is open to the public. Balmoral Castle is the Queen’s private home in Scotland, set in a 65,000 acre park. The park and the ballroom of the house are open to the public when the royal family is not in residence.
The Whisky Trail........While golfers might dispute it, whisky is probably Scotland’s most famous product. In recent decades malt whisky has become particularly appreciated by scotch aficionados. Malt whisky is mostly produced at small distilleries spread throughout the Highlands and an inspections trip to selected distilleries can provide a novel trip through incredibly beautiful country, staying in quaint country inns.
The Outer Islands........The Scottish coast, west and north, is protected by hundreds of islands. A visit to these is for the more adventurous traveler but they provide rewarding insights into Gaelic culture and customs that hasn’t changed much for hundreds of years.
Festivals.........Scotland has fascinating festivals throughout the summer. These range from the internationally famed Edinburgh Festival in August to Highland games and music festivals throughout the Highlands.