I didn’t write anything during my first visit to Scotland. I think maybe I was too distracted by the absolutely unbelievable scenery. I am currently in Glasgow as I write this, and over the last few days I have had the chance to visit some absolutely breathtaking places. If you plan to visit the city and have some extra time to check out the surroundings, take a look at list below for my top 3 favorites (in no particular order).
#1 – Glencoe – About 2 hours from Glasgow
If you want to feel like you’re in Game of Thrones, go to Glencoe. Actually, the Red Wedding was based on a real event that happened here, known as Glencoe Massacre. Don’t worry, though. Apart from the occasional sheep skull (seriously!), there’s no longer anything eerie going on here – or at least not that I noticed.
Glencoe is located in the Scottish Highlands, and it’s full of little hidden waterfalls, picturesque cottages, colorful flowers, amazing lakes and mountains, and – if you’re lucky – fog and mist.
You may want to pack a picnic and spend the day here, as there is a whole lot to explore, and not many shops or restaurants (I actually don’t remember seeing any at all).
#2 – Helix Park and the Kelpies – About 45 minutes from Glasgow
It’s hard to not be mesmerized by the HUGE horse sculptures in the center of this park. But there’s more to do here than spend two hours photographing them from every angle (cough, cough – ME).
- You can, of course, spend a lot of time just leisurely walking about the park. If you’re up for it, you can even rent bicycles.
- The Park also puts on a lot of events for the community.
- You can rent pedaloes for only £5 per boat at the lagoon.
- If you’re visiting with children (or if you’re a child at heart) there’s a play park (Adventure Zone) and a splash play area as well.
#3 – Edinburgh – About 1.5hrs from Glasgow
If you were looking to escape the city, maybe this isn’t the one for you – but if you’re looking for a really cool place to walk around all day (seriously) then take a day off from Glasgow and head over to Scotland’s capital.
The castle here is the main attraction, and it’s definitely worth a visit. You can walk up to the entrance and enjoy the view from there for free or, if you’re not cheap like me, you can pay (£18.50) to go inside. Either way, I recommend walking up the path to the entrance for a really awesome view of the city, and a few bagpipe playing men along the way.
Another popular spot is Holyrood (nope, not a typo) where you can find Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano sitting 251m above sea level. Because of its altitude, it serves as another great lookout point to overlook the city. BONUS: If you happen to be around on May Day (May 1st), head on up there and wash your faces in the morning dew at sunrise. This was believed to bring women eternal beauty.
Aside from these two very popular spots, there are also a ton of stores full of souvenirs and other goodies (traditional Scottish Kilts, anyone?), and an abundance of cafes, restaurants, and bars.
Whatever you do, please make sure to stop by Makars Gourmet Mash Bar, for their absolutely delicious haggis and mashed potato concoction. Don’t worry, if haggis scares you, they have “normal” stuff – although, trust me, you should try it.