Scotland! Where world famous festivals and spectacular New Year celebrations spill out on to the city streets! Where castles and lochs welcome visitors from across the globe to the land of the single malt, the game of golf and superb fishing! Scotland! The country which celebrates St. Andrew’s Day on the 30 November.
Enjoy Scotland in the winter with a break at Aviemore and soak up the scenery of the Cairngorms National Park with its secluded lochs, ancient forests and ski runs. Visit in the spring and experience a burst of colour from the flora and fauna, watch the ancient Highland Games and shop at popular farmers markets. Summer is dominated with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Edinburgh Military Tattoo along with island and Highland holidays, including Her Majesty The Queen’s annual summer stay at Balmoral. Whatever time of year, you will never be disappointed with all that Scotland offers. Arrive for the country’s patron saint day, St. Andrew’s on Friday 30 November, and all the major cities will have their Christmas lights switched-on. The many Christmas markets will be in full-swing too adding to excitement.
Edinburgh for St. Andrew’s Day
You should never need an excuse to spend time in Scotland but if you do need one, St. Andrew’s Day is a great day to embrace Scottish culture and traditions starting with some quality time in Edinburgh.
Your agenda must include a visit to Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat. The ancient volcano is the highest point in a range of hills which make-up Hollyrood Park. At over 250 metres high, the walk up will reward you with spectacular views in all directions.
You can easily lose yourself for a whole day in Edinburgh Castle. Voted as the UK’s top heritage attraction, it houses Scotland’s crown jewels and was where Mary Queen of Scott’s gave birth to James VI. At 1pm every day, crowds gather to witness the firing of the World War II One O’clock Gun. Be warned! It truly delivers a thunderously loud bang!
After the castle, the next must-see on the agenda should be the Forth Bridges. Spanning three centuries of engineering ingeniousness and linking to either side of the Forth of Firth, the iconic bridges are a real vision. The Queensferry Crossing is the fast motorway link across the estuary and is a world record breaker at 1.7 miles long. Completed in 2013, it’s the longest three tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world!
Now that traffic is diverted to the Queensferry Crossing, there are improved cycle ways and paths for crossing on the Forth Road Bridge. If the weather permits, this is a great experience but you do need a head for heights!
The Forth Rail Bridge was built in the late 1800s and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stay near the famous bridges
A superb choice of accommodation close-by is the Innkeepers Lodge The Hawes Inn. The historic property offers comfortable guest rooms at a really good rate. Many of the 14 charming en-suite rooms have views over the famous bridges. It’s thought that the author Robert Louis Stevenson wrote some of his novel Kidnapped at the inn!
Food at The Hawes Inn is delicious! A menu of seasonal pub food classics is served and there’s an excellent choice of fine wines and casks ales.
Inverness for St. Andrew’s Day
The capital of the Scottish Highlands is Inverness. It’s a great base for exploring the stunning countryside and for golfers and wildlife lovers, it’s a dream location! Because it’s on the shores of the Murray Firth, it’s a popular place to stay for those who fancy dolphin spotting. Within close proximity to Loch Ness, it’s a good base for monster hunting too!
There are approximately 100 golf courses teeing for your time! If you prefer the slopes to the greens, the ski runs of Aviemore are close-by or head to Rothiemurchus Estate for fly fishing.
You might not connect Inverness with the Titanic but head to The Royal Highland Hotel in Inverness and the stunning staircase which greets guests has a story to share! Forming a majestic focal point, the staircase inspired the designers of the doomed ocean liner and provided passengers with a grand entrance to the ship’s ballroom.
The hotel’s Gallery Café is a relaxing space with the famous staircase as the backdrop. Enjoy traditional Scottish pastries and speciality teas and coffees, afternoon tea, cream tea or a light lunch. The Royal Highland Hotel has a great value Highland Hospitality Package for stays at various times. Guests can also book for murder mystery events and special Christmas and New Year packages. If you’re not in Inverness for St. Andrew’s Day, this hotel is a good choice for location, discovery, adventure and great special offers throughout the year.
Scotland and Greece both share the patron saint St. Andrew and both countries have given the world islands to discover! Although Scotland does outrank Greece with a staggering 780 offshore islands compared to the 56 Greek islands!
Split into the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Shetland and Orkney, island hopping in Scotland is a superb way to experience the culture, coastlines and cuisine of the different islands, along with thousands of years of history.
Isle of Skye
Harbour side pubs, ancient castles and picturesque fishing villages make the Isle of Skye a popular tourist destination. At 50 miles long, Skye is a combination of dramatic mountains, rugged landscapes and shimmering lochs. There are lots of art galleries, studios, craft shops and crofting museums. Don’t forget to buy some Isle of Skye tartan! For the whisky aficionados, a visit to the island’s oldest distillery, Talisker, is a must. Located within walking distance of the distillery is The Oyster Shed which serves daily harvested shucked and cooked oysters. You can buy a range of island produce too, including venison, cheese and fresh crab.
With delicious fresh food to enjoy in the many restaurants and pubs, opting for Bed and Breakfast accommodation on the Isle of Skye is a wise choice. Nestling below the Quiraing Mountain and Trotternish Ridge is Gairloch View, which provides cottages and luxury house accommodation. Stay here and enjoy stunning views over the sea to the mainland as well as glorious mountain views. Witness the sunrise and set here and you will agree it’s very special. If you’re staying between September and April, you may just catch sight of the Northern Lights too!
Discover more of Scotland
From the islands to the Highlands, from coast to coast, fishing village to bustling city, a stay in Scotland for St. Andrew’s Day, or for any day in any season for that matter, will never deliver cries of I’m bored!
You can find a wide range of Scottish hotels, inns and B&Bs here.