The land of legend and romance. From the prehistoric forts, stone circles and burial mounds to the city activities including, galleries, museums, architecture, shops, restaurants and a vibrant nightlife, Scotland seems to have it all in abundance.
Scotland is approximately half the size of England with two thirds being moorland and mountains. Edinburgh, the capital, also happens to be the ancient seat of Scottish royalty. Glasgow, the older and bigger city, boasts Victorian splendour alongside the newer structures built during its recent rejuvenation.
Scotland has Great Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis, at 1344 meters.
Primarily, there are three languages spoken in Scotland today, namely: Scottish English (formal communication), Scots (closely related to the former and spoken or understood by most of the population) and Scottish Gaelic (closely related to Irish and spoken mainly in the north west of the country and the islands).
Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and, as such, has the same requirements as if you were travelling to England.
Scotland is described as having a changeable maritime climate in the North Temperate Zone which basically means that it’s one of the wettest countries in Europe. The months with the most rainfall are October through to January. Most of eastern Scotland receives less rainfall as it lies in the rain shadow of the western highlands. Due to Scotland’s proximity to the Atlantic Gulf Stream, temperatures are milder than other places around the globe with similar latitude.
Spring, from April to May, is considered to be the drier season with generally cool and calmer conditions. Temperatures are normally between 4°C and 13 °C (39°F and 55.5 °F).
Summer lasts from June to September and is the hottest season with temperatures at night around 10°C (50 °F) going as high as 22°C (71.5 °F) during the day.
Autumn occurs during the month of November and is known for having an unsettled weather pattern. Expect temperatures of 5°C to 13°C (41°F to 55.4 °F).
Winter in Scotland is defined as lasting from November to March with January and February being the coldest months. You can expect generally cool, wet and windy conditions. Daytime temperatures usually range between – 2 °C (28.5 °F) and rarely go above 10 °C (50 °F).
When to go
May to September. The months of June through August are considered to be peak season. However, there are periods in May and September that are the equal to, if not better than, the peak season. Please note that September is stalking season in Scotland which means that some of the highland passes are closed.
Many tourist places open for business on the Easter weekend and close after the half-term school break in mid October.
In Scotland, the cooler the temperatures become, the warmer the hospitality seems to be as borne out with the popularity of New Year.
A snowfall will prompt a hive of activity at the ski resorts.
Scotland has 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites with a further 6 going through the process of formal acceptance. These and other places of historical importance are managed and maintained by Historic Scotland. This site also has the coordinates of its places of interest that can be downloaded onto your GPS (satellite navigation system).
- Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
- Royal Mile, Edinburgh
- Scott Monument, Edinburgh
- Calton Hill, Edinburgh
- St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
- George Square, Glasgow
- People’s Palace, Glasgow
- Museum of Transport, Glasgow
- Necropolis, Glasgow
- Kelvingrove, Glasgow
- Byres Road/West End, Glasgow
- Stirling Castle, Inverness
- Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit, Inverness (Nessie)
- Fort Augustus, (Loch Ness starts here)
- Aviemore area (Mountains, Castles, Lochs, Distilleries, Historical Sites etc.).
- Gretna Green, Dumfries & Galloway. One of Scotland’s most popular attractions, Gretna Green became famous as the first town across the border, on the old coach road from London, where young couples could be married due to Scotland’s marriage laws at the time.
Bucket & Spade
Scotland has a total of 7 blue flag beaches dotted along its coastline. (Blue Flag is an International body that grades beaches to a high standard with facilities nearby – for further details: www.blueflag.org).