Scotland may not be the first place to spring to mind when you are thinking about your summer getaway. The land of the Celts may conjure images of cold and wet moors- not exactly a beach in the Caribbean. However, Scotland has a wealth of stunning landscapes, breath-taking views and inspiring towns and cities to visit this summer.
A tale of two cities steeped in medieval and Georgian history and architecture combined with the variety and life of the modern era. The summer sees Edinburgh host a plethora of festivals throughout late June, July and August showcasing art, literature, song, theatre and much more. There truly is something for everyone in Edinburgh this summer.
Once the second city of the British Empire, Glasgow is one of the most eclectic architectural cities in Europe with Victorian sandstone buildings and influences from Italy, Spain and Greece. Glasgow is the home of a wealth of music, design, theatre and food. In a city where over 100 live music events take place each week, you are sure to enjoy your stay in this lively city this summer.
Inverness is the northernmost city in the UK and lies on the River Ness. The city boasts stunning views over the fiver and has its own castle where Gaelic king Mac Bethad Mac Findláich, forever immortalised in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, ruled. In 2014 and 2015 a survey ruled Inverness as the happiest place in Scotland so there’s no excuse not to visit the lively city and beautiful scenery. A quick trip down the road will get you to the famous Loch Ness- a must see for any visiting tourist.
Argyll and the surround isles offer a wide variety of summer pleasures from botanic gardens and historic castles to the amazingly preserved Inveraray jail and courthouse and the sacred site of the nunnery at Iona Abbey. Take in the indescribable views in Argyll or just aboard a boat to explore the surrounding 23 inhabited islands. Tour a historical monument of sample a wee dram at one of the many fine distilleries.
The Isle of Skye itself may only be 50 miles long but what it lacks in size it makes up for in, well, everything else. Skye attracts a huge variety of visitors every year thanks to its gorgeous coastlines, world renowned trails and climbs and its deep history in clan warfare. In fact, two clan castles still stand on the island and are a must see. The island is also a nature lovers paradise with dolphins, seals, otters, wales, eagles and red deer just some the islands inhabitants.
There is literally something for everyone in Aberdeenshire. With 300 castles, 55 golf courses, 8 distilleries, 5 ski resorts and 165 miles of coastline described by the National Geographic as “one of the world’s most outstanding”- Aberdeenshire caters for everyone. You will also find Cairngorms National Park, one of Scotland’s two national parks. Here lie 5 out of the 6 of Scotland’s highest peaks for the more adventurous climber. The less adventurous may refer Loch Muick, or cycling the Speyside Way.
7. The Outer Hebrides
Scotland may not be first on your list of beach holidays but wait until you see the rolling coastlines of the islands which make up Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. The group of 15 inhabited islands boast stretches of white sand and stunning scenery. Berneray beaches offer visitors blissful solitude while the coasts of Scarista and Hosta beach on North Uist are playgrounds for suffers with big Atlantic Swells. Barra Island is the proud owner of the world’s only beach which doubles as an airport!
8. Orkney and Shetland
Steep in Norse history these two islands are Scotland’s most northerly archipelagos and are filled with archaeological treasures. Sites include Skara Brae, a 5,000-year-old housing complex and the islands offer a culture much different from mainland Scotland. Orkney and Shetland boast some of the finest bird watching and scenery alongside a lively folk music scene.
9. St Andrews
Scotland’s oldest university town and spiritual home of golf, St Andrews is the ideal holiday destination for any love of the game. The city feels poised and well, groomed and offers a quiet and serene experience to visitors. The city itself has a grand cathedral and a wealth of shops and boutiques for anyone not inspired by the famous golf course.
10. The Ardnamurchan Peninsular
The Ardnamurchan Peninsular is an empty stretch of breath taking coastline with haunting empty beaches and inspiring scenery. Scotland’s most westerly point lies at the end of the peninsular, Sanna Bay has inspired many artist and photographer to try and capture the beauty and isolation of this place.
Wherever you choose to visit in Scotland over the summer, make sure you take a camera – there are plenty of wonderful sights to see, and you’ll want to preserve the details in full technicolour so you can remember the time you spent there!