If you’re looking for a country that offers stunning scenery, fascinating history and an array of unique experiences, Scotland is the place to visit.
You can explore a wild and spectacular landscape on a road trip around the Highlands and islands, or you can get closer to nature with a hike or woodland stroll. Whatever you choose, you’ll be sure to fall in love with this wild and spectacular land.
1. It’s the birthplace of Golf
Scotland has a long and storied history with the game of golf. Known worldwide for its world-class links courses, this country is the birthplace of the sport.
The game began in the 15th century around the Kingdom of Fife. It originated from a stick and ball game where players hit small stones over sand dunes and around tracks using a bent stick or club.
2. It’s the birthplace of whisky
Scotland is home to a rich culture and history. From its enchanting castles to the evocative landscapes and awe-inspiring scenery, Scotland is truly a magical place to visit.
Whisky is the national drink of Scotland and has a long and storied tradition that spans centuries. Its origins are rooted in the ancient Gaelic word ‘uisge beatha’, meaning ’water of life’ and is a deeply spiritual drink that has provided an illicit yet vital income to poor rural communities for centuries.
3. It’s the birthplace of haggis
Scotland is famous for many things, but one of the most delicious is haggis. It is a meat dish that combines sheep’s heart, liver and lungs with stock and oats to create a filling meal.
The origin of haggis is a matter of some debate and it is often claimed that it was brought to Scotland from Scandinavia by Vikings in longboats. However, there are also theories that it was created in Scotland by Scottish cattle drovers as a convenient and warming meal on their journey.
4. It’s the birthplace of kilts
Known worldwide as the Scottish national dress, kilts have deep cultural and historical roots. They are a symbol of pride and loyalty, and they represent Scotland’s rich heritage.
Kilts are traditionally worn at Highland games, pipe band competitions and Scottish country dances. They are also worn at festivals and celebrations across the world.
5. It’s the birthplace of tweed
The tweed cloth we know and love today has its origins at Lovat Mill in Hawick, Scotland. This twill fabric has a history that spans centuries and is associated with many different people, places and traditions.
Tweed is known for its rich colors and patterns, which are carefully woven by artisan mills that take care to make each and every twill piece unique. It’s these exact qualities that keep tweed a timeless fashion classic.
6. It’s the birthplace of whiskey
The word whisky comes from the Gaelic word ‘uisge beatha’, which means water of life. It was used to describe the process of distilling aquavite, which was an early form of distilled alcohol.
Distillation became a common practice in the Scottish highlands and islands from the middle of the 15th century. It soon developed into a commercially viable craft.
7. It’s the birthplace of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
One of the most spectacular showcases on the Edinburgh festival calendar, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo draws a huge global audience to its high-energy display.
The show isn’t just about ink, it’s also about music and performance. The name “Tattoo” comes from the Dutch term, doe den tap toe – which means, ‘turn off the tap’ – and refers to the time soldiers would start playing music to signal that it was time to stop drinking in local taverns and head back to their barracks.
8. It’s the birthplace of the Hebrides
If you like big vistas, rugged mountains and untouched white sandy beaches then the Outer Hebrides are for you. These interconnected islands are home to epic landscapes, beautiful traditions and ancient relics.
You can travel (using various public transport) to the Outer Hebrides crossing the water via ferries from Oban or Stornoway. It’s a three hour journey that shouldn’t cost you more than 23 Pounds for a one way ticket.
9. It’s the birthplace of the Highland Games
One of Scotland’s biggest cultural exports, the Highland Games are a mash-up of sports, dance and culture. Tens of thousands of people travel to these events all around the world as they search for a little Scottishness.
These social events are like a track meet and a county fair rolled into one, with music, dancing, feasts and plenty of joviality. The event is usually opened by a parading pipe band led by a local clan chieftain.
10. It’s the birthplace of scotch
Scotland is home to 109 distilleries which guard the secrets and ancient traditions that have made Scotch Whisky one of the world’s most famous spirits.
This national drink is distilled from malted barley and clear spring water – both of which are plentiful in Scotland.
It takes years for the spirit to mature, legally it must be aged for three years before it can be bottled.