There are plenty of things you can do with weekend breaks in Scotland. With a number of World Heritage Sites to see and several cultural events to attend across the year, there is never a wrong time to be thinking about taking short breaks to Scotland.
UNESCO Cites of Culture
Scotland is home to two UNESCO Cities of Culture: Glasgow and Edinburgh, respectively. Glasgow was named a UNESCO City of Music in 2008, in recognition of its groundbreaking record for hosting an average of 100 music performances a week.
Edinburgh was given the title of UNESCO City of Literature in 2004, becoming the first city in the world to hold such an honour. This was awarded in identification of the city’s association with respected authors throughout the ages, which ranges from the era of national poet Robert Burns to the current heyday of J.K Rowling.
As well as the UNESCO title, Edinburgh is the host city to many exciting and cultural festivals over the course of the year.
The International Science Festival takes place at the end of March. During this occasion there are workshops, exhibitions and screenings to keep your amusement levels running high. This makes science interactive as well as fascinating.
In July, the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival comes to the forefront. This event sees highly respected performers from the world of music entertaining dozens of spectators across the city.
Once August arrives, the most prestigious arts festival in the World rolls into town: the Edinburgh Fringe. Every year, audiences are treated to the best upcoming performances in theatre, comedy, dance, music and a range of captivating exhibitions.
At the same time, the Edinburgh International Festival takes place. This sees the city’s theatres, concerts halls and many other venues hosting more phenomenal shows from talented artists.
Another key event that takes place in August is the annual Military Tattoo. This is a festival that sees the musical talents of the military honoured, right in front of Edinburgh Castle. Since the show began in 1950, it has played to over 12 million people.
Festivals and Annual Events
Edinburgh is not the only city in Scotland with festivals: there are many other cultural events taking place throughout the year, all over the country.
At the end of January, Burns Night is celebrated all over the nation in honour of treasured poet Robert Burns, along with his legendary work.
Come to Glasgow in February and you’ll find that the city is hosting the Celtic Connections Festival. This is 18 days of talks, free events and performances from the best folk musicians around, all in celebration of the heritage of Scotland.
February in the city sees the Glasgow Film Festival taking place, where you can get a first glance of the best cinematic releases from the upcoming year. To accommodate for the appeal, there are a number of hotels in the area.
At the beginning of March, St Andrews hosts the annual Stanza Festival. This is Scotland’s only festival dedicated to poetry. Every year, dozens of professional poets come to this city in order to share their work and engage with audiences.
Scotland also has two festivals for the best names in popular music. In June, Rockness takes places at Clune Farm in Dores, near Inverness. This medium-sized festival sees an average of 35,000 spectators coming to see top artists.
In July, the much larger T in the Park Festival returns to Balado in Kinross-Shire, and 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the event. Every year, 85,000 festivalgoers arrive in the area to camp throughout the weekend, so it might get a bit muddy!
At the end of November, the world celebrates St Andrews Day. There is no shortage of festivities taking place in the holiday’s homeland, with specialist food menus prepared and parties taking place across the country.
World Heritage Sites
Scotland is home to several stunning World Heritage Sites, both in cities and in the countryside.
Both the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh are listed World Heritage Sites. The Old Town is home to significant landmarks including Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Museum of Scotland and the Royal Festival Theatre.
Recognisable locations in the New Town include the Scottish National Gallery, the Ice Rink, Scotland Yard Park and Charlotte Square Gardens, to name but a few.
Far to the north lies The Heart of Neolithic Orkney, and this consists of several large stones that are steeped in rich, extended history. These attractions date back to around 2000 B.C.
To the West of Benbecula in the Outer Herbrides is the Archipelago of St Kildra, another phenomenal location that is oozing with antiquity. Today, there are several organisations that are working together to preserve the Island’s conservational status.
40 km south east of Glasgow is the village of New Lanark. This is right next to the Falls of Clyde and it has a restored 18th century Cotton Mill, along with many other beautiful sights to observe. The New Mill Hotel is located within the area.
Right near the border between Scotland and England are the remains of Hadrian’s Wall. This location was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and to this day it remains unprotected by any barriers. This means that you can get as close to it as you like.
St Andrews is widely considered to be the home of golf, but this location has much more to offer than that. The city is surrounded by Medieval Architecture and there are many Bed and Breakfasts to be found around the place.
Being the home of Golf, there are several famous golf courses that can be used by anybody. Among these are the Dukes Course and the Kittocks and Torrance Courses. No matter where you decide to play, there will be a suitable clubhouse built for relaxation.
To enhance the phenomenal golfing experience that is available, you can visit the British Golfing Museum, which is located at the end of the famous Old Course. As well as being able to observe golfing history, visitors can also interact with it.
Along with its unmoveable and defining relationship with golf, St Andrews is home to several beautiful beaches. Among these are The West Sands and The East Sands, respectively.
If you would like to learn more about the city’s olden days, you can take part in the St Andrews Murder Mystery Tour. This will allow you to discover the city’s past and significant names at your own pace, in a peaceful and playful manner.
If you wish to stay by the water without making a splash, you can visit the St Andrews Aquarium. This is brimming with all kinds of fascinating wildlife. In March 2013, there will be opportunities to feed meerkats and seals.
Elie Water Sports
13 miles south of St Andrews is the town of Elie, Fife, which is home to a great range of water sports. It is situated along the east coast of Scotland, where the waters are smooth and sheltered. This makes it ideal for beginners that would like to learn a water sport at a steady rate.
The water sports available to learn include windsurfing, canoeing, sailing and water skiing. There are also more controllable options available, including pedal boating and taking boat rides.