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To describe Scotland, in a nutshell, would be a huge disservice to this intriguing UK country. With its stunning natural landscapes, historical settings, pristine lochs, countryside castles, and more, it is a destination of myriad highlights. Consider this a brief primer on Scotland travel and its many wonders. Get outside the purple heather of Cairngorms National Park and the Highlands, or liven things up in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Get inspired, then let’s chat about getting you there.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Scotland?

city streets in Scotland

As with many European countries, the ideal time to visit is the spring and fall, once the weather has warmed up, but it’s not too hot, outside peak tourism seasons. Consider late March to May or September to November.

Springtime temperatures will fall between 43°F to 59°F. Expect lingering snow if you’re traveling into the mountains of the Highlands and the Cairngorms. In the fall, tourism dies down around late October. Capitalize on this and see Scotland’s gorgeous fall foliage without the crowds. Some sites will close mid-October, but you’ll still find much to do through November.

Getting to and Around Scotland

take the train in Scotland

Scotland is easily accessible from the rest of the UK and overseas. Travel into and around the country by road, rail, ferry, and air, with a little more careful planning for reaching the more remote areas and islands. Scottish towns, cities, villages, and ferry ports are almost all serviced by public transportation. And there is an extensive road and rail network throughout the country.

Top Things to Do in Scotland

st-andrews-golf course Scotland

Here are just a “wee dram” of the countless attractions throughout Scotland: 

 

  • Ride the world-famous West Highland Railway (you’ll cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct you know from Harry Potter).
  • Hike at Portree Bay, Creag Bheag, and Fort William for mesmerizing views of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain.
  • Browse the art galleries and craft shops of Kingussie, or go golfing or horseback riding nearby.
  • Visit the Eilean Donan Castle, first inhabited in the 6th century and known for its picturesque island setting.
  • Taste and tour whiskey distilleries on the Isle of Skye.
  • Learn about Glasgow’s history at the Riverside Museum and enjoy a fish supper in Merchant City
  • Explore Edinburgh, its imposing castle, the Royal Mile, the fairytale-esque Dean Village, and eclectic portside Leigh for shopping and dining.
highland-cattle-in Scotland

Best Places to Stay in Scotland

Scotland castle -eilean-donan

From storybook guest cottages to lavish countryside estates, family-run B&Bs to sleek city stays, Scotland offers a host of accommodation options. Here are some of our favorites:

The Torridon 

For pampering and prestige, stay at this family-owned and -operated retreat where outdoor pursuits range from clay pigeon shooting to mountain biking to kayaking in a sea loch. The award-winning Whisky Bar and the 3 AA Rosette-awarded dining room are a must. 

Arden Country House 

On the beautiful grounds of Belsyde Country Estate and close to the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow (birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots), this peaceful yet modern country house B&B provides easy access to Edinburgh and central Scotland. 

Glenapp Castle 

Live out your royal fantasies at five-star Glenapp Castle with just 17 indulgent bedrooms and a renowned dining room. Tucked away in Ayrshire, the castle boasts period furnishings and interiors, breathtaking gardens, mystical forests, and luscious seascapes surrounding the grounds. 

Blythswood Square

This Glasglow city center hotel is a sophisticated stay after a day of sightseeing, with the city’s first luxury spa, 100 elegant guest rooms, a delightfully casual restaurant, a couple of convivial bars, and even a private screening room. 

If you’ve enjoyed this taste of Scotland, stay tuned for our upcoming blog post, “A Week in Scotland,” for inspiration and ideas for your own trip.

If you’ve enjoyed this taste of Scotland, stay tuned for our upcoming blog post, “A Week in Scotland,” for travel inspiration and ideas for your own trip.