Scotland is a beautiful country and being part of the United Kingdom makes it easy to travel there from England and use the same currency. While English is the official language, their particular dialect and accent can be difficult to understand, even for those of us that already speak English. The people are very nice, the weather is variable so check before you visit, and the highlands especially up north are incredible. Over the summer it stays light until almost midnight. If you like scotch, there are many distilleries throughout the country.
Last Visit: Jun 2011
Cost: $-/day
Stayed: 4 days
Suggest Staying: 1-2 weeks
English: 5/5
Safety: 4/5
Currency: Pound
Transport: Taxi, bus, train

My Favorites

1. Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

Highlights: Castle, university, churches, film festival
Suggest Staying: 2-5 days
Stay Around: City center
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Far and away my favorite city in Scotland, Edinburgh is a beautiful city with a sprawling university, historical landmarks, and cultural diversity worth exploring.

See & Do

  • Edinburgh Castle. An 11th-century castle and barracks housing the Crown Jewels and National War Museum of Scotland.
  • Rosslyn Chapel. Intricately carved chapel built in 1446. Featured in The Da Vinci Code.
  • Elephant House. Cafe where Harry Potter was born. Serves good tea.
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival. Held at the university, films from around the world. Occurs in June.

2. Scottish Highlands

Loch Lomond

Highlights: Countryside, lakes
Suggest Staying: 4-5 days
Stay Around: Aviemore or Inverness
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Beautiful landscapes, castles, lochs (lakes) and the famous Loch Ness Monster, the Scottish Highlands are a blast to road trip through and contain many popular filming locations.

See & Do

  • Ben Nevis. Highest mountain in the British Isles. Amazing views.
  • Glencoe. Beautiful countryside. Where films like Braveheart and Harry Potter were filmed.
  • Loch Ness. Home of the famous Loch Ness Monster. Kind of touristy, but the loch itself is very nice.
  • Loch Lomond. Beautiful lake. Take a boat ride. Larger than Loch Ness. Many islands, one of which is a nudist colony, another for practicing sex, and yet another where Rob Roy hid in a cave after stealing cattle.
  • St. Andrews. Famous golf course. Along the coast. University.
  • Blair Castle. Scottish castle with an impressive collection of art, weapons, etc. Different style than your typical medieval castle. The tour is really interesting. Located just outside Pitlochry. Fun fact: It was thought that ostrich feathers brought vitality, so they were hung over peoples’ beds. Also, when dining, the men would drink these huge goblets of wine, the ladies would then go up to the bedroom to settle in for “bed” while the men continued drinking, then the men would go to their wives’ (or whatever) room and wait outside propping themselves up with a specifically designed standing post of sorts to hold their drunken selves up while they waited for the women to invite them in. How romantic.
  • Pitlochry. Small town with fishing, skiing, hiking. Look for Sweeney Todd’s barber shop. Good for a stop.
  • Culloden. Famous battleground.


  • Ben Nevis. Take the cable car to the top, takes about 20 minutes. Bring a jacket, it’s cold at the top.

3. Gretna Green

Gretna Green

Highlights: Runaway weddings
Suggest Staying: 1 day
Stay Around: Edinburgh
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Gretna Green is a village in the south of Scotland famous for runaway weddings where people go to elope. It’s just across the border with England. This is a good stop along the way from England into Scotland to your next destination.

4. Glasgow


Highlights: City
Suggest Staying: 1 day
Stay Around: City center
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Large industrial city that is pretty modern and known for ship building. In the words our taxi driver from Dublin, Glasgow is a “little rough.” We stopped there on our tour of the UK but were advised to stay close to the hotel. I was excited to visit and explore the city after watching the movie Trainspotting, but was disappointed at the chilling feeling I got walking out into the main square. Not even 5 minutes after arriving we saw a woman get accosted at a bus stop across the street in daylight with a group of people standing right there! My excitement for exploring was killed right there and we made a B-line to a restaurant for dinner and then back to the hotel before dark. While this was one of my first international trips and it’s quite possible Glasgow has some nice parts, it did not feel that way at the time. So I would encourage you to do your own research about this large, well known city.


  • Safety. Be careful, especially at night.

General Tips

  • Weather. Weather can vary significantly. Dress in layers. Bring a waterproof jacket and/or umbrella.

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