Why you need to visit Scotland (according to the locals)
The first time I visited Scotland was in 2014 as part of my three week reconnaissance mission before relocating to the UK. I still vividly recall my first sight of Edinburgh – it was a clear and crisp day in April, and tall spires pierced the skies as an ancient castle watched over the city.
It was love at first sight.
I had never seen a city so beautiful as Edinburgh, and no country as beautiful as Scotland. The following week was spent exploring the city, highlands and borders, and I knew in my heart I was meant to live in this country.
That’s me, cruising along Loch Ness on the Jacobite Queen in April 2014. Such a pretty location!
Fast forward 18 months, and after an 11 month layover in London, I was finally home in Scotland. In fact, on 27 November you’ll find me celebrating 2 years in Glasgow!
Over the past couple of years I have had the chance to explore much more of Scotland than I did in that first week, and have fallen thoroughly in love.
I adore the landscapes both genteel and unforgiving, and the fact that this country offers everything you need from the deepest of lochs to the highest of mountains (in the UK at least).
However, how can I tell you why you should visit Scotland when I’m still exploring it, discovering it, and finding new and exciting things to see? After two years in this land I am still a novice, nowhere near an authority on anything Scottish.
But, you know who is an authority?
So I reached out to some of my favourite people to ask them why people should visit Scotland. These gorgeous folk have lived here their entire lives, and know each nook and cranny in a way I never could.
So without further ado:
Why you need to visit Scotland (according to the locals)
Ben from Den of Ben
Scotland is consistently ranked as one of, if not the most beautiful countries in the world, alongside the likes of Canada, Norway and New Zealand. There are rolling hills, lochs, valleys, mountains and islands across the country from Dumfriesshire in the south to Sutherland in the north. Visit Skye, or drive the North Coast 500 to see some of the finest landscapes on the planet.
In many of these places lie the remnants of Scotland’s ancient and storied history; Edinburgh and Stirling Castles in Central Scotland, Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness, and even Neolithic standing stones on the Shetland Islands far to the north give an impression of the vastness of Scotland’s past. If you want stunning historic scenery, don’t pass up an opportunity to visit Scotland.
Lis from Last Year’s Girl
Forget everything you think you learned about Scottish culture from watching Outlander – Scotland is an innovative, forward-thinking hub of creativity, be it for music, theatre, literature or the arts. From the globally renowned Edinburgh Festivals which, every August, turn the streets and venues of the country’s capital city into the largest cultural festival in the world; to the sights, sounds and late nights of my native Glasgow – recognised internationally as a UNESCO City of Music for its groundbreaking artists and world class music venues – Scottish culture makes me proud to call this country home.
For a patch of land home to just over five million people, we have always punched above our weight creatively. We gave the world Sir Walter Scott, Jack Vettriano, Sean Connery, David Byrne and the Bay City Rollers – now we’re giving the world Denise Mina, Karen Gillan, Sacred Paws and Calvin Harris. As for who’ll be on this list next year, you may very well be able to catch them live in a city centre basement on a typical Tuesday night.
Victoria from greatHerday
Oor wee home that is bonnie Scotland offers all sorts of amazing attractions. Every city and town in Scotland is unique and has its very own eye-catching architecture, some of which dates back thousands of years. Yet just outside any of the beautiful cities, we have the most spectacular nature.
From snow peaked mountains to burns and lochs, it is paradise in the form of nature. Scotland is also the land of the inventors of the modern world, we have played host to some of the most ground-breaking inventions. We are also the worlds best bartenders, creating our famous Scottish whiskies and now, 70% of the UKs gin. Scotland is the only place in the world where you can walk the same steps as Bonnie Prince Charlie whilst munching on a deep-fried Mars Bar and sipping an 18 year old dram.
Ruth from Beauty h2t
By now most people have cottoned on to the fact Scotland is pretty beautiful but there are so many more reasons to pay us a visit. I could start with the design or architecture, the food and drink, the history or even the shopping to tempt people in.
From our blossoming independent companies and makers to our thriving theatre and arts scene stretching from the islands to the borders, there is such a varied and exciting adventure to be had.
But for me it’s the people that make most us worth a visit, you’re guaranteed the warmest welcome, a tall tale, and some of the finest chat you will get in the world. We are every bit as fun as you might have heard and it couldn’t make me more proud!
Liam from Liam’s Life
For me, the reason to visit Scotland is because it’s so diverse. It may be a small country but each and every part is different from the next. I grew up in the south of Scotland where it’s all rolling hills and woodland. Come to Glasgow and experience city living, Edinburgh for incredible history and more. Each place has it’s own identity that even us Scots haven’t seen it all.
Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland
I love getting outside in Scotland and the countless outdoor experiences available around the country has to be one of my top reasons why people should visit.
Walkers are well-catered for with a network of trails for every level of fitness. From accessible routes suitable for wheelchair users to long distance paths, walking in Scotland is one of the most popular things to do.
For the more energetic there are plenty of mountains to climb and in the winter several mountain resorts offer snow sport facilities.
From sailing to canoeing and white water rafting to surfing, water babies will be in their element with a wide range of river, loch and coastal activities available.
World class mountain biking, horse riding, dog sledding, climbing, coasteering, fishing and bushcraft are just a few more of the many outdoor experiences on offer. Scotland really does have something for everyone and every ability.
Jenni from Hoopla Adventures
Come to Scotland, where it rains sideways, swearing is a national sport, pizzas are deep fried and your football team always disappoints you but you support them anyway.
Having lived across various parts of Scotland over the years, mainly Edinburgh but also Fife and now up in the Highlands, it’s easy to fall into the trap of selling a romanticised portrayal of this country, you know ‘roaming in the gloaming’ and all that.
For all its beauty and intrigue steeped in a history of bloody wars and religion, it’s not what makes this place stand out. The people and the community of Scotland, this camaraderie is what I miss when I’m away.
Come to Scotland, have a dram, eat real food straight from the source but drink some toxic Irn Bru too, have banter with locals and residents from around the world, bag a munro and see the world we see.
Kirsten from being one of my good friends!
There’s nothing quite like the Scottish music scene. Whether it’s home grown acts such as Simple Minds and Franz Ferdinand or international super stars such as Kiss and Beyonce, artists worldwide are ecstatic to hear that legendary “Here we, here we, here we fucking go!”.
Scotland will have you spoiled for choice.
There’s the candid intimacy of smaller venues such as King Tut’s in Glasgow, famous for acoustic sets and one of secret gigs for cosy chilled sets, a great place to see new up and coming artists. Or you could see your favourite artists perform in the legendary Edinburgh Castle or take a trip to Murrayfield Stadium.
Fancy a cheeky disco winch? Night clubs such as the O2 ABC, Glasgow Cathouse & Classic Grand host spectacular club nights as well as intimate live music events and many clubs allow free entry with your ticket.
So whether you’re a raver, or a rocker, and all the styles in between, the Scottish music scene has a lot more to offer than pipe bands.
Have you ever been to Scotland? What do you love about this wee country?
If you’re Scottish and want to be included, let me know in the comments why you think people should visit Scotland!
xx Bry Jaimea