Highlands & Islands
The Highlands and Islands offer some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and there are lots of choices about where to go. You can travel from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Loch Ness in a day but it is pretty exhausting and I would recommend at least one overnight stay though ideally much more than that.
Highland highlights include:
- Glencoe: Incredibly dramatic valley and scene of infamous massacre in 1692.
- Eilean Donan Castle: Situated on an island this stunning castle was a Mackenzie clan stronghold.
- Glenfinnan: A monument marks the place where Bonnie Prince Charlie rallied the highland clans.
- Loch Ness: Famous for its monster and beautiful scenery and the impressive Urquhart Castle.
- Inverewe gardens: A lush, sub-tropical-style, oasis perched on a peninsula at the edge of Loch Ewe.
- Smoo cave: Spectacular sea cave set into limestone cliffs.
- Castle of Mey: Striking 16th century castle which was the home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
- Dunrobin Castle: One of Britain’s oldest continuous inhabited houses dating back to the early 1300s and is home to the Earls and later Dukes of Sutherland.
- Culloden: The scene of the last battle to be fought on British soil in 1746 where you can visit the massed graves of the clans who died in the attempt by Bonnie Prince Charlie to restore the Stuart family to the throne of Britain.
- Portmahomack: The Tarbat Discovery Centre features the amazing stone carvings of the mysterious Picts.
- Balmoral Castle: This lovely castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852.
- Dunnotar Castle: Simply one of the most stunning locations of any castle in Scotland. Hear about how he Scottish Crown Jewels were saved from destruction when the castle was held under siege.
Scotland has some 790 islands and 94 are inhabited. There is nothing more romantic than taking a ferry to one or more of them to view the fabulous scenery. Some of the most popular to visit include:
- The Isle of Mull. Attractions include Duart Castle, the home of the McLean clan and the picture postcard port of Tobermory. It also a stepping stone to the beautiful little island of Iona where the christian missionary St Columba founded an abbey in the sixth century.
- The Isle of Skye. Dubbed the misty isle, Skye is dominated by the jagged Cuillin mountains. Dunvegan Castle has been home to the MacLeods for more than 700 years and Armadale was formerly the home of the MacDonalds.
- Orkney: Home to some of the most extraordinary prehistoric remains in the world including the village of Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness.
- Lewis and Harris: Some of the oldest rocks in the world are to be found in this mecca for geologists. The ancient and mysterious Callanish Standing Stones are simply breathtaking and the Black House gives you a glimpse back in time of what was life for the islanders.