Scotland was like a real life fairy tale. 🏴 The castles, historic buildings, and rich Scottish history were astounding. We spent 5 full enchanting days in Scotland. Scotland is part of the United Kingdom along with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. 🇬🇧
Sometimes the name Britain and Great Britain are used to refer to the United Kingdom as a whole. The money they use in Scotland is the pound sterling.
We went during November and the weather was fairly cold, but not extreme. We had to wear jackets, layers, hats, and gloves a few days. It was typically rainy during this time, but we had a few sunny days and were extremely lucky.
We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott In Edinburgh. This was a perfect location because we had food close and we could walk many places from this area.
We flew Delta to Scotland. We flew into the Edinburgh airport and got a taxi to take us to the hotel. I recommend a taxi because they drive on the opposite side of the road and the steering wheels are on the right side.
We stayed in Edinburgh and decided to go to the Edinburgh Christmas Market. It had started when we got there. There were food, rides, and views to see in Edinburgh. The Christmas Market was on Princes Street. This is a street to see with lots of shops and sites. It was free to get into the Christmas Market. They even had a lit up Edinburgh sign for the holiday season you can admire and take a photograph in front of. There was even a man playing bagpipes at the market also. It was such Scottish vibes to see and hear that. I love trying all the treats and hot chocolate there. You can also buy other goodies like candles and ornaments there also. We walked to the Christmas Market from our hotel. Make sure to bring card because most of the vendors do not take cash. You can also Uber anywhere you would like if you don’t want to walk.
We did a day trip to the Scottish Highlands. We visited Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands, Glencoe, and Pitlochry.
We started the tour on a bus and our first stop was Callander. This was the oldest town in the UK by age of population. I went to Mhor Bread and got a macaroni and cheese pie. They are famous for their pies and have won international awards. Our tour guide wore a kilt and they let us listen to bagpipe music on the bus and Scottish artists. He gave us lots of interesting information along the tour. He went in depth and taught us a lot about William Wallace.
He stopped us by a farm where we got to meet Hamish the Heilan Coo. Highland cows are Scottish and Hamish is famous in Scotland. I got to feed Hamish a carrot with my mouth. We even got to see a rainbow at this stop.
We then ventured to Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands. The name Glencoe comes from the Gaelic word glen which means valley that has hills, mountains, and rivers in it. The word Coe comes from the river’s name.
We stopped to see the Three Sisters in Glencoe and get a picture of them. It was a tad foggy, but we could still see them standing in all their glory. The Three Sisters are three ridges named ‘Beinn Fhada’, ‘Gearr Aonach’, and ‘Aonach Dubh’ that is on the ‘Bidean nam Bian’ Mountain that lies at the southern end of Glencoe. This sight was breathtaking and just what I expected to see when I was in the Scottish Highlands.
We then continued our journey on to the Loch Ness. Loch means lake or body of water. Loch Ness is located in Fort Augustus. Do you believe in Nessie the Loch Ness monster? 🐍 Before this I always thought it was a made up story until I went here. The tour guide said they monitor every fish that enters and leaves the Loch Ness. They have tons of fish go missing every year. Why? We don’t know. Something must be eating them like Nessie. They are not sure what this creature looks like, but the water is over 1,000 feet deep in Loch Ness. They can’t reach the depths to actually see what is down there. The mystery still lives on. But I believe there is a creature that either looks like a large eel, whale, or fish lurking in that Loch, and I think there is a family of them.
When we arrived at Fort Augustus the town was themed around Nessie. We took a cruise boat ride on the Loch Ness. It was called Cruise Loch Ness. This was an hour cruise that took you out in the Loch and back. They gave us information and we got to enjoy being on the famous Loch Ness with a cup of hot chocolate. The Loch is dark colored because of its depth. We ate lunch at the Caledonian Canal Centre and walked around the shops in town and browsed.
When we were done we went on to the town of Pitlochry. Here I got a sweet tablet called Aberfeldy Home Made Tablet. It was extremely sweet and rich. I also tried some ice cream called Scottish Tablet and it was scrumptious.
We decided to stay in Edinburgh and go to the Edinburgh Castle. 🏰 Be sure to buy your tickets online in advance. We did a guided tour that we booked and the tour guide took us through the castle and gave us the history involved. This castle was one from a fairy tale. The outside and inside is rich with history and architecture. You can see a whole view of Edinburgh at the top of the castle also. The rooms and buildings inside the castle walls were extraordinary. Take in each and every room you see. I even found the family crest of my last name in the castle that they printed for me. 👑
After the castle we ventured down the Royal Mile. There are lots of shops, restaurants, and buildings to see. These sights are right outside the castle. We decided to eat at The Witchery that was on the Royal Mile right outside of the castle. This place we booked in advance and it was upscale and had Scottish feels. The Witchery has history because it takes its name from the many of hundreds of witches burned at the stake on Castlehill during the 16th and 17th centuries. It is said that more witches were put to death on Castlehill during the reign of James VI than anywhere else in Scotland. The Witchery is a destination that many celebrities have visited when they come to Edinburgh.
You can also hear bagpipes playing when you are going down the Royal Mile. Be sure to also take a look at St. Giles Cathedral in all its historical glory and beauty.
We took this day to stay in Edinburgh and do a hop on hop off tour of the city. We started our day by eating at Laila. This was an all pink themed restaurant located near our hotel.
On the Hop on Hop off bus tour this is what we stopped to see:
-The Elephant House (Birthplace of Harry Potter)
-Victoria Street (very colorful buildings and shopping)
-You can also see the Palace of Holyroodhouse on this tour, but we just saw it in passing and at the top of Calton Hill.
-St. Cuthbert’s Kirkyard (church and graveyard)
-Primark on Princes Street
We took a day trip to Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle, and The Kelpies.
Our first stop was the small and quaint town of Balloch. Here you could chose to take a ride on a boat to cruise Loch Lomond. My parents chose this option, but since we had already cruised on Loch Ness my sister and I decided to walk the town. We ate breakfast at a cute coffee shop called Cucina. We then decided to get a taxi and venture up to Balloch Castle Country Park. Here we got a view of Loch Lomond from the top and we got to see the Balloch Castle even though it is not in working order anymore.
We then continued our journey and stopped at a tiny town called Aberfoyle. We ate lunch downtown at a restaurant called The Station. We then got some home made sweet treats at Maggie’s Aberfoyle Kitchen. We talked to the owner and she makes these treats herself. One of the shortbread I got was her mother’s recipe.
My favorite stop was the Stirling Castle. 🏰 All I can say is mesmerizing. This castle sat high on a hill in all its glory. You buy a ticket at the gate to get in. You can tour all the different rooms in the castle and see the architecture of it. They even had people role playing in some of the castle quarters. We explored every crevice of those castle walls.
Our last and final stop of the trip was The Kelpies. In Scottish folklore a kelpie is a dangerous shape shifting water creature that can appear on land as a horse. The Kelpies structure represent the lineage of the heavy horse of the Scottish industry and economy. The sculptor said that the original concept of mythical water horses was a starting point, but it shifted to a more equine and historical monument that celebrates the horses role in industry and agriculture. This structure is worth a visit. We got to see it at night and it is all lit up perfectly. One horse is looking up and the other is looking down.