Over the centuries, Scotland has been besieged by conflict. Roman and Irish-Celtic invasions were followed by a protracted series of wars with neighbouring England. From this turbulent history emerged many prominent local heroes and fighters. Protagonists like William Wallace and Rob Roy MacGregor are still celebrated by the Scots today, as are the literary luminaries of Sir Walter Scott and Robbie Burns. Nowadays, you are invited to enjoy all these cultural and historical aspects, set against a backdrop of lush green landscapes, spectacular mountain scenery, mysterious lochs and colourful festivals.
The Scottish capital of Edinburgh is one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations and offers a wealth of sights to digest. Stroll down the Royal Mile past St Giles Cathedral, explore the 18th century ‘New Town’ with its classical Adam facades, shop on Princes Street or marvel at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where Mary Queen of Scots lived – it is still the official Scottish residence of the Queen. In summer, join the celebratory crowds at the Edinburgh Festival, and witness the unforgettable spectacle that is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The Scottish Highlands offers up more dramatic scenery and a plethora of baronial castles, a testament to the country’s gripping history.
Scotland also makes some of the world’s best clothing and you’ll find a very good selection of tartans, woollens and tweeds. Rummage for Celtic jewellery in the numerous galleries and studios. Edinburgh crystal, shortbread, bagpipes, sheepskin clothing, china, crystal and, of course, whisky are also good buys.
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