Are you wondering whether Scotland would be a good holiday destination for you this year?
Despite being part of the United Kingdom, there is a lack of awareness about what kind of holiday could be enjoyed in Scotland. People tend to think fairly simply about holidays since the advent of package tours and because most destinations advertised are in sunny countries in the south, Scotland is often overlooked. And yet, it remains one of the most rewarding countries to visit for a pine lodge or cottage break, as long as your principal aim is not a tan.
There are reasons galore why people holiday in Scotland:
Book a cottage holiday in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park to see silent lochs, rivers, woodland, hills and mountains. These are places where you could come out of your holiday home and meet the wary gaze of a stag or delight in spotting red squirrels, flocks of colourful finches or a hooting owl. The rural areas of Scotland are rich in wildlife. Many areas of Scotland are perfect for star gazing at night because of the absence of artificial light.
Stay on the coast and spot seals on the beaches and meet dolphins at sea. A coastal cottage is a must.
The Scottish Central Region spans the distance between the two great cities of Glasgow and capital Edinburgh. Politically, this has been a significant area and historians recount tales of violent and turbulent times.
The town of Stirling has been a royal residence and a military stronghold. Today a visit to Stirling is a must for those with a passion for Scottish history. There has been a castle on the site of Stirling Castle since the 11th century. The present building is grand in scale and dramatically set on a hillside above battlegrounds made famous by William Wallace (Braveheart) and Robert the Bruce. You cannot miss it, it's a landmark that can be viewed for miles around as you approach Stirling. The guided tour of the castle includes a large 16th century kitchen and military collection.
Nearby is the Wallace Monument, a tower dedicated to the memory of William Wallace, a Scottish hero who lead the resistance in the Scottish Wars of Independence against the English in the 13th century. An audio visual installation lets Wallace tell his own story.
Inside the town of Stirling, the Old Town Jail is a museum that offers a flavour of 19th century prison life. The early 18th century Tolbooth and Mercat Cross are also reminders of times gone by.
This Scottish heartland can be your gateway to the Highlands. Take the road to Callander to experience the wild beauty of the Trossachs. This is a landscape of tranquil lakes and breathtaking mountain views. The many lakes, or lochs as they are locally known, offer opportunities for angling, sailing and water sports such as water skiing, not to mention bird watching and gentle lakeside walks.
There is also plenty to keep the more adventurous hill walker occupied as there are several Munroes and many sign-posted mountain walks in the area. Other popular activities include mountain biking and horse riding. Loch Katrine can be cruised at a leisurely pace in the steam ship named Sir Walter Scott. The mountains are also home to birds of prey and visitors can improve their chances of a sighting by visiting the red kite feeding station at Argaty.