Look into the Queen’s chambers, see the road to Hogwarts and cope with a stuffed lamb stomach... Well, it doesn’t get boring in Scotland

 

It’s hard to believe it, but the Glenfinnan Viaduct, along which in the Harry Potter films, the Hogwarts Express carries young magicians to school, really exists. This gorgeous 21-arched bridge is part of the road connecting the towns of Fort William and Mallaig. To see the viaduct in all its glory, you have to ascend one of the nearby hills. If you check the railway timetable in advance, you can spot a train going along it.

From 1953 to 1997, HMY Britannia served as the official royal residence and symbol of British power. During those years, members of the royal family made almost 700 overseas visits on it. The ship now hosts a museum, which is open to the public: You can go up the captain’s bridge, look into the queen’s private apartments and have tea at the Royal Deck Tea Room.

565 is the year that a mysterious creature living in the waters of Loch Ness was first mentioned. There is a detailed description of how the “water beast” in Lake Ness was defeated in the hagiography of Saint Columba.

In Scotland, you can try on and buy a traditional kilt in almost any gift shop. The locals wear it on very special occasions, when they want to emphasize the solemnity of the moment. The authentic version, which is also called great kilt and looks like a belted plaid, is less common nowadays. Originally, this full-length garment was also used as a raincoat, protecting against rain and snow.

 

It’s hard to believe it, but the Glenfinnan Viaduct, along which in the Harry Potter films, the Hogwarts Express carries young magicians to school, really exists. This gorgeous 21-arched bridge is part of the road connecting the towns of Fort William and Mallaig. To see the viaduct in all its glory, you have to ascend one of the nearby hills. If you check the railway timetable in advance, you can spot a train going along it.

From 1953 to 1997, HMY Britannia served as the official royal residence and symbol of British power. During those years, members of the royal family made almost 700 overseas visits on it. The ship now hosts a museum, which is open to the public: You can go up the captain’s bridge, look into the queen’s private apartments and have tea at the Royal Deck Tea Room.

565 is the year that a mysterious creature living in the waters of Loch Ness was first mentioned. There is a detailed description of how the “water beast” in Lake Ness was defeated in the hagiography of Saint Columba.

In Scotland, you can try on and buy a traditional kilt in almost any gift shop. The locals wear it on very special occasions, when they want to emphasize the solemnity of the moment. The authentic version, which is also called great kilt and looks like a belted plaid, is less common nowadays. Originally, this full-length garment was also used as a raincoat, protecting against rain and snow.

 

The main Scottish national dish – haggis – is prepared from pluck stuffed into a lamb stomach. Haggis used to be a food for the poor, but today, it can be found in restaurant menus. For example, at the Witchery near the Edinburgh Castle.

One of the symbols of Scotland is the thistle, which is depicted on souvenirs, coins, flags and the official coat of arms. The legend has it that this thorny flower helped the Scots win the Battle of Largs against the Norwegians on October 2, 1263.

The beautiful palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the Queen of Great Britain. When no member of the Monarch family is visiting, the building is open to the public: you can see the chambers of the executed Mary Stuart and the big throne room where the Queen receives guests.

An impressive example of Victorian Gothic, Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute is like a jewelry box. Inside there is a luxurious marble hall with a starry sky and stained glass windows depicting the signs of the zodiac. In addition, there is an impressive collection of paintings and the largest tapestry in Scotland.

The principal landmark of the Scottish capital is the Edinburgh Castle, which crowns an extinct volcano. It is surrounded by winding streets of the Old City, that can tell many spine-chilling tales from the past. Nowadays, Edinburgh streets also witness a lot of interesting stories, as festivals are held here one after the other, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe being the most famous of them.

3 experiences

  • In Scotland, you can come across even a Caribbean-looking beach. Among the most famous of them are the Silver Sands of Morar. However, only the bravest ones decide to go for a swim here, but there are still a lot of those wishing to take a stroll by the water or indulge themselves in a picnic.
  • Feel yourself as a hero of an adventure romance novel by traveling across the Scottish outback on a luxurious Belmond Royal Scotsman retro train. On the menu there are not only fantastic landscapes outside the window, but also champagne parties in the dining car.
  • Go on a whisky tour, to discover the differences between, for example, scotch from Islay Island and that from the Speyside region. If you are pressed for time, you can learn about the production of whisky and taste different varieties at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh.
 

Text: Svetlana Troitskaya

Published: 20.07.2018