Visit Scotland

It was an almost lifelong dream to have the opportunity to visit Scotland. So, when we had the chance to go, I jumped at it! I immediately fell in love with Edinburgh, and that only fueled my desire to see more of this beautiful country.

Visit Scotland


We headed here after Edinburgh primarily because Tigger wanted to see Loch Ness, which is a short bus ride from the town.

It is a lovely town, but there really isn’t much here. It is a good location to use as a jumping off point for many day trips, and that seems to be its main popularity.

We did visit Loch Ness and were pretty disappointed. If you’re going there to camp, boat, or engage in other outdoor activities, it’s a great place. But the small castle and the lake are otherwise not really worth the time or monetary investment as far as we are both concerned.

There is a wonderful green belt that goes through the city and follows the river. We really enjoyed walking along that, and it’s a great bike path. It’s part of the 73-mile Great Glen Way, which is the nation’s 4th long-distance national walking route.

We had a nice surprise one day while walking on the bridge over the river when we saw a harbor seal swim by.

We stayed at two different locations—Alban & Abbey House and Highlander B&B. I would definitely recommend Highlander B&B. Unfortunately, they have some really bad TripAdvisor reviews, but there has been a change in management. The difference is night & day. We had such a great stay with them, and the experience really couldn’t have been better.

Visit Scotland


We spotted this town while taking the train from Edinburgh to Inverness. It seemed like such a cool medieval town that I made sure to note the name. It’s only about 1-1/2 hours from Inverness. It is such a quaint town to walk around. There are also some beautiful natural areas. It’s a great day trip, although if the weather is nice I’d consider coming here and camping.

Signage and such would give the impression that this sleepy town gets a decent amount of local tourism, but we were there in the spring and it just wasn’t busy at all.

Visit Scotland


Scotland’s largest city, and the 3rd largest in the UK, is a big contrast from Edinburgh. A Scot described the difference to me as Edinburgh is made up of more of the middle class, white collar-type people whereas Glasgow is very much blue collar.

I felt that was an adequate description. The Industrial Revolution really made a big difference to Glasgow’s growth, and you can see that grittiness quite clearly.

However, it was also one of the major centers of the Scottish Enlightenment period. In fact, it houses the Glasgow School of Art which is world renown and is one of Europe’s leaders in visual arts education.

If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter books and you visit the university here, I think you’ll feel like you’re standing in front of Hogwarts. The building was so amazing that it stopped me in my tracks. Tigger wasn’t up to exploring it more, but I would’ve loved to have spent time just walking around the grounds.

There are some different long-distance walks that take you through the city and along a rather gorgeous green belt, one of which is The Clyde Walkway.

The Glasgow Botanic Gardens are rather breathtaking. Our hotel was practically across the street from here, and it was easily my favorite place in Glasgow.

We stayed at the Ambassador Hotel. I really liked the location, and the room was quite comfortable. However, if you need good WiFi this isn’t your best option. It’s a short walk to the metro station and within walking distance of some great sites. Staff are a bit hit and miss. You’ll either have someone who is really friendly or kind of surly.

Visit Scotland


Pretty much everyone has heard of haggis, a “pudding” (kind of like sausage) made from sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, combined with some other savory ingredients, and cooked within sheep’s stomach. Yes, it sounds positively disgusting. While I am a pretty adventurous eater, I was admittedly nervous about trying this traditional Scottish delicacy. It is customarily served as part of a full Scottish breakfast.

While we were in Pitlochry, we decided to go ahead and experience the full Scottish breakfast. I didn’t tell Tigger what haggis was because I knew he wouldn’t give it a try. When our food arrived, I took a deep breath and gave haggis a shot.

And I’m a big fan. Even Tigger liked it, and he ate it again even after I read a description to him later.

Restaurants will often charge a lot for haggis (although not for a full Scottish breakfast), so if you’re just curious it’s much cheaper to pick up some at a corner or grocery store and fix it yourself. If your hotel or restaurant offers it as part of breakfast, do go for it and give it a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t like it, though. Many Scots have told me haggis is either loved or reviled in Scotland.

We didn’t really eat at any remarkable restaurants, so I’ll skip restaurant recommendations. However, to save money on food, I do recommend visiting Tesco or even Waitrose and picking up some of their prepared meals. They have a nice variety of meals which are of fairly good quality and much cheaper than restaurant fare. Two of us could get meals, snacks, and drinks for what a restaurant meal for one would often cost.

Visit Scotland

Getting around Scotland

The train system, as you would expect, is quite nice in this part of the UK. Most of the trains are modern and quite comfortable. First Scotland’s trains usually offer free, good WiFi in both the stations and on the train. East Coast’s trains usually offer about 15 minutes of free WiFi and charge if you want longer. However, if you ride in first class, WiFi is free (and for some reason first class is sometimes the cheapest seat when traveling on a weekend day).

It could also be worth checking out Megabus for better deals. The UK rail system can be a bit expensive, and sometimes a trip by bus has the same duration.

Make sure to get tickets as far in advance as possible. This will increase the likelihood of you getting a better deal. I used The Trainline site for our train travel in the UK (they have a great mobile app, too) and found it very helpful for planning and for finding cheaper fares.

Should you visit Scotland?

Oh my, yes! Scotland is absolutely gorgeous, and the people are friendly. I didn’t have any trouble with accents until we got to Glasgow. Sometimes I wasn’t sure they weren’t speaking Gaelic, but it added to the fun.

If you can work a car hire into your budget, I think this is probably one of the best ways to experience Scotland. There is so much beauty in this country! But without a vehicle, it’s still easy to get around and see what you want to see.

Scotland is one of my favorite countries now, and I’d love to go back to experience more of her. If I could work it out financially, Edinburgh would be my home for at least half the year.

Did you visit Scotland? If so, what is your favorite spot?

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  1. I love Scotland, and both times there, toured around by car – from Edinburgh then west to town of Moffat, there is some incredible scenery. I was very happy with stays in Bed and Breakfasts. Love, love, love the friendly Scots and their beautiful accents! The best part, for me, was visiting mills and purchasing traditional Scottish garments- so lovely! I never did try haggis there, but eat it all the time in Canada at the Scottish pavilion at my home city’s cultural fest called Mosaic!! Ironic!! Aaah, Scotland, I miss it so!! Hope you get back again some day Talon!!

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    • You’re lucky you can get it in Canada. It’s banned in the US. Funny you didn’t have it in Scotland, though. You’ll need to rectify that with a return visit. 😉

      I definitely plan on returning and hopefully having a longer visit.

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  2. We LOVED Scotland! We chose to get married and honeymoon there in 2000 and really want to go back sometime soon. We didn’t get to see as much of it as we would have liked, mainly just Glasgow and the Dumfries and Galloway region.

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    • What a great place to get married and honeymoon! Maybe would be a good spot for the 15th anniversary. 😉

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  3. We are currently touring around Scotland by car and LOVING IT!!! We started with a few nights in Edinburgh and immediately fell in love with it as well. We aren’t big city people, but felt like we could easily spend a few months there. The drive down the west coast from the north (Durness) has been amazing. We picked up a tent and have been doing some camping along the way on nights it doesn’t look like rain. We just left the Isle of Skye which was just breathtaking! We actually liked the castle at Loch Ness, but probably wouldn’t have gone had we not purchased the Historic Scotland Pass which gives us entry to all sites. We head to Glasgow in a couple days.

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    • I think perhaps we’ve been to too many castles over the last 9 months to be too impressed by that one. Although I will say I’m envious of the view the former residents had! Your time in Scotland sounds amazing!

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  4. Great post, Talon! I spent a year in Glasgow for grad school, but being a broke student, didn’t manage to see nearly as much of Scotland as I would have liked. It was actually cheaper to grab a RyanAir flight from Prestwick to Germany than to take the train from Glasgow up north (not sure if that’s still the case there). And I agree that Megabus is a fantastic way to save money in the UK—I actually managed to grab a bus from London to Glasgow for a quid by booking waaay ahead of time (mind you, this was 10 years ago). Now, I’d really like to go back and take advantage of the much more favourable CDN/GBP exchange rate (about $1 less per pound than back then!). Glad you enjoyed yourself over there!

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    • I’m jealous of anyone who gets to spend a significant amount of time in Scotland. So cool! But a bummer you didn’t get to go around more. You aren’t kidding about the expense. I’m hoping to score some house sits there so we can stay longer and afford doing so. That whole 59 cents USD to the GBP really sucks.

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  5. Scotland is definitely on my list. I’m pretty sure I would not try the haggis. The only way I would eat that is – similar to Tiger – when I did not know what is was. Although I’m pretty sure I would not eat it again once I found out. Great photos. Pitlochry looks so iddilic

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    • Well, if you get a full Scottish breakfast just don’t ask which is the haggis and eat everything. 😀

      Pitlochry is quite gorgeous. Definitely a great place for an outdoors person.

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  6. Good on you for giving haggis a shot! I admit that the last time I was in Scotland (2005), I was too gunshy to give it a try… especially since, as you say, it’s actually pretty pricy at restaurants. If I had seen it bundled into something like a breakfast, I probably would have been courageous enough to try it, but I couldn’t risk ordering a big portion and hating it and then not having money for another meal. Next time I’m in Scotland, I’ll definitely give it a try.

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    • I don’t blame you! Some of the prices for haggis in restaurants were absolutely ridiculous! Who wants to risk losing that much money, especially when you’re in an expensive country to begin with.

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