Part 3 of our travel to Great Britain series takes us to Scotland.
Scotland is the UK’s most northern country. It offers a variety of landscapes with mountains, lochs, islands and famous cities. Peak visiting season is June to October, the climate is moderate and rain is possible all year round.
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. It has a medieval Old Town and an elegant Georgian New Town. The iconic castle is towering over the city and is home to Scotland’s crown jewels. The castle ground is also the venue for the annual Edinburgh tattoo. The Royal Mile is a shopping street which leads from the castle to Holyrood Palace, an official royal residence. There is also the site of the Scottish parliament.
Glasgow is a port city on the River Clyde. It is famous for its Victorian and Art Nouveau architecture. It has a thriving music and art scene and many museums. A must place to visit is the Willow Tea room in a 1915 department store with Charles Rennie Mackintosh style interior design. At the heart of Glasgow’s historic Victorian city centre lies George Square with its 12 statues of famous people associated with the city, including Robbie Burns, Walter Scott and Queen Victoria. The Merchant City district offers cafes, restaurants and designer boutiques.
There are so many beautiful sites in Scotland and I will just mention a few here, please check out the many available guidebooks.
Glencoe is a glen in the Highlands of Scotland. Glen is a Gaelic word and means steep sided valley. Glencoe is very scenic and very accessible; a two hour drive from Glasgow or half an hour from Fort William. It is very attractive for walkers and climbers even in winter.
Loch Ness is a large loch in the Highlands. Loch is the Gaelic word for lake. It is best known for the alleged sightings of the Loch Ness monster. There are boat tours available from various locations along the loch. Loch Ness is only a short distance away from Inverness and easily accessible by car or bus.
Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in the UK. Situated in the Scottish Highlands it is accessible from all directions. It is a great place for walking, climbing, cycling and even winter sports with three ski centres in the park.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is centred on Loch Lomond and the hills and glens of the Trossachs. The park is not far from Glasgow. You can walk, cycle and even take a boat cruise on the loch, which is the biggest lake in Britain.
The Isle of Skye is the largest island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island is connected to the mainland by a road bridge and links to nearby islands by ferry. Portree is the largest settlement on the island. The scenery is breath taking and well worth exploring on a hike.
The Orkney Islands is an archipelago off the north coast of Scotland and has about 70 islands. The largest settlement is Kirkwall. There are several Neolithic remains, one of them is Skara Brae, which is Europe’s most complete Neolithic village and an UNESCO World heritage site. Another site is the Ring of Brodgar which is a stone circle. Orkney has a cool temperate climate despite its northerly latitude due to the influence of the Gulf Stream. Wind is a constant feature all year round.
The Shetland Islands are situated in the Northern Atlantic between Great Britain, the Faroese Island and Norway. The islands lie 80km northeast of Orkney and 170km from the Scottish mainland. Lerwick is the largest settlement and the capital of Shetland. The discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970’s significantly boosted Shetland’s economy and employment. The climate is temperate with long cool winters and short mild summers. Wind and rain feature all year round. Shetland lies on 60 degree North latitude, on clear winter nights the northern lights can sometimes be seen, while in the summer there is almost constant daylight. Shetland is connected to the mainland Scotland with a 12h ferry journey or with flights to several Scottish airports. Transport between islands is primarily by inter-island ferry services.
The three biggest banks in Scotland, Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank can print banknotes for circulation in Scotland. They issue £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100 notes and they are distinctly Scottish. They are interchangeable with notes that have been issued by the Bank of England and can be spent in England and many other countries that accept GBP. When you buy British pounds in Australia you will get bank notes issued by the Bank of England which are of course accepted in Scotland. If you do come across a Scottish bank note when you are in Scotland it would make a nice souvenir!
If you are planning to travel to Scotland or any part of Great Britain then visit www.compareholidaymoney.com.au for the best live exchange rates for British pounds.