Things to do in Scotland

Things to do in Scotland

Scotland has recently been voted as one of the top ten countries to visit and for good reason! I might be a little biased, but I think Scotland should be no.1 on your list of places to visit! If you still need to be persuaded, here is what you could be getting up to.

1) Get Outside!

Scotland is a walker’s paradise. With two National Parks, 30 long range walks and thousands of miles of beautiful lochside pathways, there is so much to explore. Put on your walking boots, watch out for the weather, and let’s get on with it.  For Scotland walks check out my guide to walking in Scotland.

2) Discover Scotland’s History, Heritage, and ArchaeologyBlackness Castle

2017 is Visit Scotland’s year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. With over 2000 castles, hundreds of archaeology sites including Skara Brae on Orkney and the Callanish Stones on Harris, Scotland’s history is very much part of its present. Become a member of the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland and have a look at the History, Heritage and Archaeology events planned for this year.

3) Cross the Queensferry Crossing

forth-bridges-2

The Firth of Forth’s third bridge, known to locals as the ‘new bridge’, has just opened. The bridge is the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world and makes a worthy addition to three generations of spectacular bridges. For more information visit Forth-Bridges.co.uk

4) Help to conserve our feline population

I am hugely supportive of the work which the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland do for animal conservation, including supporting the campaign to save Scottish wildcats (I’m a cat lady). You can help the campaign by visiting the RZSS’s two zoos in Scotland, Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park. You can also see Wildcats at the Five Sister’s Zoo in West Lothian. Find out more about the campaign to save the Scottish wildcats.

5) Take A Road Trip around the North Coast 500

North Coast 500

The North Coast 500 is a spectacular drive which takes in the whole of Scotland’s beautiful coastline. The route can be completed in around 4-5 days from Inverness to John O’Groats and Cape Wrath. For more information take a look my guide to the North Coast 500 and how to plan a road trip in Scotland.

6) Bag a Munro

glencoe-munro

Scotland has 282 Munros or mountains over 3000ft, which presents an incredible challenge to anyone who loves climbing, hiking, and spectacular views.  Start with an ‘easier’ Munro such as Ben Chonzie and Schiehallion. For more information have a look at my guide to Munros for Beginners.

7) Have a watery adventure

Fort Augustus

Travelling Scotland can not only be done by foot, bike, car, bus, train, but by boat too. Why not canal boat from Inverness to Fort William or from Edinburgh to Glasgow, kayak along the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail from Oban to Helensburgh, including the Crinan Canal, or sail around Skye and the Small Isles of Eigg and Rum. Look out for me on the Caledonian Canal this year where I will be skippering my own boat!

8) Go beyond the Edinburgh Festivals in August

Edinburgh’s August festivals are rightly famous worldwide, and with this year being the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Festival, the celebrations look to be even bigger. However, beyond the madness in Edinburgh there are lots of other things you can get up to in August, most of them, well, also slightly mad. How about,  

  • The Queensferry Burryman – watch the utterly bizarre parade of a man completely covered in burrs – the sticky flower heads of burdock. (Queensferry, near Edinburgh, 11 August 2017, see Ferry Fair)
  • Kelty Coal Race – why not run 1km with a sack of coal on your back? (Kelty, Fife, 19 August 2017)
  • Alternative Scottish Games – the Lowland alternative to the more traditional Highland Games, including tractor pulling and snail races (New Galloway near Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, August, date tbc)
  • South Ronaldsay festival of the horse and boys ploughing match – one of Scotland’s strangest customs where children dress as horses and are judged on their ploughing skills on the beach! (Orkney, August, date tbc)

9) Enjoy Scotland’s Craft Brews

Scotland’s gin distilling industry exploded last year and looks set to give whisky a run for its running in 2017. From the biggies to the microbrewers, did you know that 70% of the UK’s gin in now made in Scotland? For tasting follow the Scottish Gin Trail, and look out for my favourite gins The Botanist, Rock Rose, Pickering’s and the Isle of Harris Gin.

10) Explore a New Region of Scotland

sanna-beach-ardnamurchan

Scotland’s north west coast is rightly famous worldwide and last year I loved our trips to Wester Ross and Ardnamurchan. This year it is all about going off the tourist path how about climbings in the Cairngorm National Park, following the Scotland Castle Trail in Aberdeenshire, and walking coast to coast the John Muir Way.

Wherever you travel and whatever you get up, there will always be something new in Scotland to discover!

Love, from Scotland x

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25 Comments

  1. 06/01/2017 / 9:49 am

    Great plans ahead! I would really recommend heading to the Caorunn Distillery for a tour on your way up to do the NC500. It was really excellent!

    • Love from, Smidge
      06/01/2017 / 10:23 am

      Ooh yes! I have a bottle of Caorunn – I really like it, so a tour would be a great idea!

  2. 06/01/2017 / 12:16 pm

    I am always recommending your blog to people who want to explore Scotland and this year I am hoping I follow it for this too!

  3. valisesetgourmandises
    06/01/2017 / 2:21 pm

    Your photos are stunning!
    I’m not sure I want to go to Scotland though…
    We went to Ireland in 2015 and I’ve been missing it ever since. It was just too beautiful and the people were too friendly. And I fear that Scotland will be very similar.
    But if I do end up going, what month would you recommend I go?

    • Love from, Smidge
      06/01/2017 / 2:31 pm

      Ha! You will never want to leave Scotland – I came here 20 years ago and have never left! If you fancy visiting I suggest May & September – my favourite months

  4. Emily
    06/01/2017 / 2:48 pm

    Its always great to have a plan.. Goals are the way forward! I love the layout of your website, the the wide pictures are all such good quality they look amazing!

  5. 06/01/2017 / 3:54 pm

    Each one of these pictures made me stop for a few seconds, seriously. Isn’t it fascinating how a good picture of a place can convince you so much more to visit than a regular, average one?

  6. 06/01/2017 / 5:49 pm

    Amazing. I was lucky enough to travel to Shetland, Orkney and then drive from John ‘O’ Groats across the top of Scotland and down the west coast – simply stunning (blogs coming soon!). I completely agree with what you say about the beauty of Scotland, wish you luck in you #2017miles challenge and if you find a drone along the way get in touch, mine went missing as the wind blew it over a waterfall and far away somewhere between Ullapool and Auchindrean! Happy Travels!

  7. 06/01/2017 / 11:00 pm

    Looking forward to reading about your West Highland Way experience – it’s on my bucket list!

  8. 07/01/2017 / 1:49 am

    There is just so much beauty about Scotland, I can’t contain it. And that’s just by looking at your photos (especially that first two- amazing!). I’d probably be spell-bound when I get to see Scotland for myself!

  9. 07/01/2017 / 11:19 am

    Your 2017 miles challenge is a good one, the Proclaimers would be proud! You’ll see so many beautiful landscapes you’ve got to photograph and share with the world! Scotland photographs so beautifully!

  10. rhiydwi
    07/01/2017 / 2:52 pm

    Scotland is actually no.1 on my list of places to go this year! I’ve always, always wanted to visit (it looks sooo beautiful in your pictures!) but despite only living a stone’s throw away in Wales I’ve never gotten around to it. Train prices are ridiculous but Easyjet do a £40 return from Bristol to Edinburgh so looks like I’ll finally make it this year! Edinburgh Zoo will be high on the list so I guess I’ll then be able to say I’m a Scottish wildcat supporter?! 😀 That 2017 miles challenge sounds brilliant too – but now I’ll surely have that blasted song stuck in my head for the rest of the weekend!

  11. 07/01/2017 / 4:28 pm

    The landscapes look stunning. How many days should I budget for a trip to Scotland? Also, how expensive is the place…like Britain?

  12. 07/01/2017 / 5:15 pm

    I spent 12 years living in Devon so Scotland always felt like the end of the earth for me! I’ve been feeling a bigger and bigger pull to spend some time exploring Scotland and really need to plan in a month or so to do a epic road trip in the next few years. I’m currently exploring latin America but when I’m done I’m heading to Scotland! Your photos are just incredible especially the mountains and the sea. Looks like the perfect place for adventure!

  13. 08/01/2017 / 6:35 pm

    Your photos are absolutely stunning! And making me regret my decision to only spend one day in Edinburgh when I visit Scotland in March. I have just heard that Norwegian Airlines is opening up new flights soon that would cost as little as $69 for a one way trip from the US to Edinburgh, so hopefully I’ll have plenty of chances to go back and explore more of Scotland. It looks like a truly beautiful place!

  14. 09/01/2017 / 8:52 am

    That is a wonderful list of things to do in Scotland. I bet you are going to love it as you accomplish each one of them. All the very best

  15. 09/01/2017 / 9:39 am

    Scotland really looks fantastic. It’s a place I definitely want to visit in the near future. Thanks for your recommendations. I have pinned this for when I finally make it there.

  16. 09/01/2017 / 11:02 am

    I’ve got similar ambitions to you – except I’m hoping to see more of my own country, Australia. I’m gonna stalk your blog as you tick off your goals, if that’s okay! Used to live in the UK and only made it to Scotland a couple of times, and then only to Edinburgh and Glasgow. They were cool, but I’d love to see more of the countryside and visit the Shetland Islands. Good luck with your Munroe bagging! Some of those mountains sound quite formidable.

    • 09/01/2017 / 11:04 am

      *Munros. o_0

  17. halefg
    09/01/2017 / 12:22 pm

    I’ve only been to Edinburgh and Loch Ness (I know – very touristy) before but I found it very calming. I will explore it more someday! Definitely high on my radar. Thanks for sharing!
    Halef

  18. 09/01/2017 / 3:47 pm

    I’ve visited Scotland once – Edinburgh for 2 nights. We managed to do the Highlands and Loch Ness tour on couch. It was kinda tiring and I’d prefer driving my way through the mountains and do a proper hike like you. Thanks for sharing.

  19. 10/01/2017 / 1:57 pm

    Such lovely pictures. A friend of mine lives in Shetland. She has been calling me to visit both Shetland and Scotland. Ever since I saw Scotland in a Bollywood (Hindi-Indian) film, I have been intrigued to see Scotland for myself.

  20. 10/01/2017 / 9:13 pm

    Glad to see you are not biased at all lol. I love the idea of walking 2017 miles this year and may just set myself a similar challenge. It really wouldn’t be a chore at all with trails like that! I will be following along to see if you hit target.

  21. 13/01/2017 / 10:05 am

    i’ve been to Edinburgh few years back but i didn’t see much less of scotland unfortunately …with your post i want to go back now to visit. Thank you for all the good info

  22. 10/02/2017 / 5:35 pm

    Very useful tips, Kate. I have always been amazed by the Scotland’s History and Archaeology and I would definitely go discover more of it.

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