Do you like great scenery? Unique traditions? Cutting-edge arts? Mythical creatures? Men in skirts? Braw, bricht moonlicht nichts?! Then haste ye tae Scotland!!
2. Edinburgh: Athens of the North
Edinburgh is awesome. There’s a castle, a zoo (with its own Pandacam, w00t!), and loads more. The city is home to the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It’s also a World Heritage Site and the world’s first City of Literature. It has topped the list of Best UK City for 13 years running, and is often rated one of the world’s best travel destinations. Long story short, it’s a wonderful place to visit, live, or indeed study.
3. What’s under it?!? (Don’t ask)
The kilt is Scotland’s National Dress. It originates from a garment called a plaid (prounouned ‘played’) that wrap around the entire body. Each clan has its own tartan, as do many other organisations. And if you don’t have a tartan yet you can get one designed! Today kilts are mostly worn for special occasions like weddings, Highland Games, and traditional Scottish dances called ceilidhs (pronounced ‘kay-lees’). But fashionistas have taken to designing cool kilts for the 21st century.
4. Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin’ Race!
If the thought of kilts hasn’t already turned your stomach, you may want to try Scotland’s national dish. Haggis often gets a “baaa-d” rap for its, ahem, unique ingredients. Don’t let the recipe scare you—it’s actually really tasty! Haggis can be enjoyed all year round, but is most often served with tatties (potatoes) and neeps (turnips) on Burns Night (25 January). Scots poet Robert Burns wrote the poem Address to a Haggis, which is traditionally read as the haggis is dismembered with a ceremonial knife.
5. Droning from Dumfries to Dingwall
Whether it’s a military band or a lone street performer, you’re sure to hear the skirl o’ the pipes at least once during your visit to Scotland. The Great Highland Bagpipes are the national instrument of Scotland. If you’re interested learning the pipes, check out the National Piping Centre in Glasgow. If bagpiping isn’t your thing, you might want to invest in some earplugs: bagpipes can reach 116 decibels, about the same as a chainsaw.
6. How do you like your Scotch?
Scotch Whisky exports earn about $220 per second. There are 108 licensed distilleries, from Orkney to Galloway. More than 1.3 million people visit them each year to see how the glorious golden spirit is made.
7. The GREAT Ootdoors!
Scotland is home to some gorgeous scenery that you do not want to miss. With 11,000km of coastline, 800 islands, 31,000 lochs and many majestic mountains and glens, there’s a good reason why 2013 was dubbed the Year of Natural Scotland.
8. A Good Walk… Improved?
Golf originated in 15th century Scotland. Perhaps the most famous course in the world is the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews, where golf aficionados have played for over 600 years. Next year, Scotland will host the Ryder Cup. Think your putt-putt skills have prepared you for the big leagues? Visit Scotland and check out one of the more than 550 courses we have to offer.
9. The Mystery of Nessie
Scotland’s most famous resident is also its most mysterious. Ancient plesiosaur or modern hoax? You decide.