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8 Reasons Why You Should Visit Scotland

8 Reasons Why You Should Visit Scotland | CosmosMariners.com

Of all of the places that I've visited, few have capture my imagination as Scotland did. From the kilts and tartans to the rolling accents, Scotland is mysterious, alluring, and breathtaking. 

With sheep innards pudding, lifestock with Beatles' haircuts, and a swimming dinosaur beckoning to you, Scotland should be on everyone's travel radar.

8) Its Location

By express train, Edinburgh is only four and a half hours from London by train, and just over an hour by plane. So, if you can make it to London, you can go to Scotland! It's vicinity to London means that central and southern Scotland would make an easy long weekend trip from Brussels, Paris, or Amsterdam, or as a nice add-on to your adventures in London.

7) Castles!

Edinburgh Castle!

With hundreds of castles scattered about the landscape, you could make an entire trip out of castle visits. While some (like Stirling Castle) remain in similar condition when they were occupied, many others (such a Doune Castle or St. Andrews Castle) have fallen into ruin, either by design or neglect. Still, there's something to be learned at all. For a unique experience, you can rent rooms or apartments out in some of the refurbished ones that now serve as bed and breakfasts.

6) The History

From the well-known nationalist deeds of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce to the mysterious end of Mary, Queen of Scots' secretary, David Rizzo, Scottish history is filled with blood, betrayal, and family (and all three are often intertwined). Even today, the question of Scotland's place within Great Britain is hotly debated--a nationalist discussion that has been going on for centuries.

No matter if you're looking to discover your clan's part or to understand Scottish history in a more holistic way, you're sure to have plenty of opportunities to do so.

5) Edinburgh

New Town from Edinburgh Castle

Yes, I'm well aware of Glasgow, but for an unbeatable Scottish experience, you can't miss both the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh. See what's the latest and greatest in film and culture at the annual Fringe Festival, or be dazzled by the talents of military bands from around the world at the Edinburgh Tattoo.

Plus, there are two castles within walking distance of one another at either end of the Royal Mile.


4) The Literature 

Good ole Rabbie Burns, lover of haggis and women (Seriously. Dude had 12 kids by 4 different women.) 
"Fair fayour honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!" Where else in the world can you find a poem that honors a meat pudding? Answer: nowhere but Scotland! 

Although Rabbie Burns' contributions to the literary canon don't end at this outpouring of love for haggis, it's a great example of the tongue-in-cheek, adventurous, and slightly strange works that have come out of Scotland over the years. After all, the swashbuckling adventures of Kidnapped and Treasure Island were penned by novelist Robert Louis Stevenson. 

And Iain M. Banks' The Wasp Factory is a modern, unsettling take on cruelty, death, and identity. In modern British literature, it's a must-read.

3) The Legends

The enigmatic Rosslyn Chapel
From Nessie to the Holy Grail, what might be is as much a part of Scottish culture as kilts and cows. Head up to Inverness to see if you can spot whatever supposedly lurks in the waters of Loch Ness before heading south to see if you'll be the one to find the Holy Grail in Rosslyn Chapel's unopened crypt.

Even its heroes are larger than life, as William Wallace was said to stand well over six feet tall!

2) Hairy Coos, 
AKA those strange, shaggy looking cows that are everywhere

My face says it all: I'm intrigued by this large shaggy cow, but I remain deeply unsure about feeding it.

With a face like that, how could you resist? While most of the hairy coos you'll see on your jaunts around the Scottish countryside are livestock (and therefore, shouldn't be approached), you'll occasionally find one living the high life at a store or mill that you can feed. 

1) The people 

While I know there are friendly (and mean) people all over the world, there seemed to be a higher concentration of them in Scotland. For example, one night, Landon and I were in the computer lab sending emails home to our families when we struck up a conversation with a man on the hotel's staff.

He asked us about our trip, and we chatted about what was on our itinerary. When he heard that we were planning to drive two hours up into the Highlands, he told us that we could get many of the same views just a few minutes down the road in the Trossachs. He had so many great ideas, and Landon and I were trying to take them in as best as we could, but we were quickly getting confused on where we'd need to go.

So, the man asked us what room we were in, and he disappeared back to work, promising to write down all of his suggestions for us. We figured that it was nice of him to think of us and went back to our room.

Lo and behold, the next morning, we found two free newspapers, some pastries, a flower, and FOUR handwritten pages of notes and suggestions from the staff member waiting for us outside our hotel room. We were floored that someone we'd just met would've taken that much time to tell us about his country. We took that paper, threw out our earlier plans, and had one of the best days on our trip based on his ideas.

And while that was the most prevalent example, it certainly wasn't the only one. We had people in shops stop and ask how our vacation was going. We had the docent at Rosslyn Chapel give us an extra long private tour for the same price as a group tour because they were slow that day. Over at Dunblane Cathedral, the docent kept the place open late for us when we came running up at 20 til closing--and he gave us plenty of recommendations on where to eat.

Everywhere we turned, there were friendly people willing to help two wandering Americans. And for that reason alone, I'll happily go back to Scotland as many times as I can!


Have you been to Scotland? If so, what did you like or dislike about it?


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8 Reasons Why You Should Visit Scotland | CosmosMariners.com


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