Scotland is known for its kilts and bagpipes. But the country offers so much more in architecture, culture, natural wonders and thousands of years of history. To experience the fullness of Scotland in your visit, here are three places to check out.
Walk through Edinburgh Old Town
Built during the Medieval times, this is the oldest part of Edinburgh and filled with a rich history. Guided walking tours can be found starting around 12 pounds or you can explore it on your own. Be sure to check St. Giles Cathedral, a Gothic church built in the 15th century that was a key location during the Scottish Reformation; the Meadows, Edinburgh’s largest green space featuring several kinds of athletic fields; and the National Museum of Scotland, which has a wide range of exhibits and features learning experience for children. The best part is that these are all free. For less than 20 pounds, you can visit the Edinburgh Castle, a royal palace situated on Castle Rock that has witnesses four centuries of royal and military history.
If good food or coffee are appealing to you, then eat a meal at the Timberyard or grab a cup of coffee at the Brew Lab.
Explore the Falkland Palace & Gardens
Located in Falkland, this nine acre site was one of the favorite retreat spots of the Stuart dynasty, including Mary, Queen of Scots. The castle that stands today was built in the 16th century and restored in the 19th century, but there are also the ruins from the previous castle here that dates back to the 12th century. The palace now houses portraits of the Stuart rulers, antique furniture and 17th century tapestries. The surrounding grounds feature formal gardens with 150 year old fruit trees in the orchard, a Labyrinth and the oldest tennis court in Britain. Individual and family tickets are available.
See giant horses at Helix Park
Located just two miles outside of Falkirk, Scotland, Helix Park features the two Kelpies. These horses are the largest equestrian sculpture in the world and made out of 300 tons of steel. Guided tours are also available from the recently-built visitor center.
Helix Park is also great for people who love the outdoor sporting activities. There are over 300 miles (500km) of paths that go through the park and surrounding landmarks. All paths are bicycle and walking friendly. If boating is more interesting to you, the lagoon at Helix Park is a great spot for kayaking, canoeing, wake boarding and sailing.