From the cultural hubs of Edinburgh and Glasgow to the glories of the Scottish Isles, with the majestic Highlands in between, this is a land of breathtaking beauty and warm welcomes…
The Best Things to do in Scotland
VISIT SCOTLAND’S FIRST DESIGN MUSEUM
V&A Dundee, Scotland’s first design museum opened this September and the ambitious exhibition and events schedule has thousands from Scotland and beyond flocking to see Dundee’s new hub of design. Read the C&TH guide of the new museum here!
FROTH UP THE FORTH
Celebrity Cruises are offering Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures – a high-speed rib boat excursion, led by the handsome TV presenter, that takes in the three Forth Bridges and the ruins of a 12th-century Augustinian Abbey on the Island of Inchcolm.
LEG IT TO THE LOCH
Loch Lomond is more accessible and less touristy than Ness. It makes for the perfect hike, replete with footpaths, cycle trails, the neighbouring Trossachs National Park and ancient Luss village. The highland area is home to red deer and the climber-friendly mountain Ben Lomond.
GO TO MARKET
Cobbled streets and canopied stalls welcome you to Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Market, dense with discoveries like discounted cashmere, local game and vegetables, vegan baked goods, giant paella pots, homemade soaps, sizzling gyoza and artisanal marshmallows.
DRINK HEALTHY FIZZ
Craft brewed Left Field Kombucha is produced by husband and wife team Geraint and Jo on the Scottish Borders and is available at independent retailers throughout Scotland.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
The village of Plockton has its own interpretation of a Highlands landscape. It’s secret? A bayside location with the benefit of the Gulf Stream. Rhododendron-clad crags and bamboo are among other plant surprises.
TAKE A BREAK
The intimate, free Fruitmarket gallery is just behind Edinburgh’s Waverley train station. It’s a good pit stop for those just arrived and in need of a contemporary art fix or lunch from the gallery’s charming café, which serves wholesome food and cakes.
ENJOY SOME FRUIT
Certainly the most ornate fruit-inspired motif you’ll see for a while, the National Trust’s The Pineapple in Dunmore is ripe for visits. Built in 1761 by the Earl of Dunmore, pineapples were a most exotic food in Scotland. Explore the eccentric grounds and look out for the rare great crested newt in the pond.
Avoid naff ghost tours of Edinburgh and head straight to Mary King’s Close for the really spooky stuff. Underneath the Royal Mile is a warren of hidden streets, frozen in time since the 17th century when they were built over after the plague.
CELEBRATE A LEGEND
2018 marks 150 years since Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born, the ‘father of Glasgow Style’. See the celebratory new exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, check out the and head 23 miles north-west to see his masterwork, The Hill House, which features a favourite Mackintosh emblem, the Glasgow Rose. ;
BE DOWN TO EARTH
Edinburgh’s New Leaf Co-op in Marchmont is a rare gem in the city. Farms tout earth-covered carrots, bakery drop-offs are still warm, and everything from amaranth to za’atar is in stock. The lovely staff are passionate about ethical food and work from the firm principles of a co-operatively owned business.
The Falls of Shin visitor centre, once nicknamed ‘Harrods of the Highlands’, now serves local Scottish fayre. Mac & Wild set up shop there in June 2018 and offer a series of haggis-making masterclasses.
In Tobermory, whose brightly-coloured homes look like a packet of Skittles spilled along Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, Café Fish reinvents a popular food trend. Trade the usual experience of watching chefs make your food for the enjoyable sight of fishermen catching your supper. Fresh fish tastes so delicious that the café champions ‘gentle’ cooking: simply grilled with a wedge of lemon.
HAVE LOW TEA
Sit on floor cushions and in alcoves at Glasgow’s mythic tea house, Tchai Ovna. At the end of a cobbled lane and inside old stables, 100 varieties of tea are on offer (don’t overlook the masala chai). The menu is rounded out with a range of vegan/vegetarian options.
DINE LIKE THE QUEEN
Queen Bey, that is. Down a little lane, Glasgow’s original Vietnamese restaurant, Hanoi Bike Shop, makes every plate from scratch and, yes, has fed A-listers such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Their house-made tofu and prawn crackers are un-bey-lievable. (So are the bicycles that hang from the ceiling.)
HIT THE BEACH
Scotland’s Outer Hebrides boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in the world: Luskentyre. Situated on the Isle of Harris (famous for its tweed), Luskentyre’s turquoise waters and white sand are the stuff of dreams. Thankfully the windy isle fends off midges, the scourge of many a summer in Scotland.
Using the traditional method of smoking fish over a barrel, Arbroath smokies enjoy protected status, like Parma ham and Champagne. They can be produced only within a five-mile radius of the town.
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