This guide divides Scotland into five colour-coded sightseeing areas: Edinburgh, Southern Scotland, Glasgow, Central and Northeast Scotland and the Highlands and Islands, as shown on this map. Find out more about each area on the following pages.

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DISCOVER Getting to Know Scotland


Replete with sights and cultural treasures, Edinburgh is the gateway to Scotland. Dominated by the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile runs through the heart of a uniquely intact medieval quarter of the city. To the north, the gracious Georgian New Town is filled with upscale shops, boutique hotels, restaurants and café-bars. Beyond the city lie urban villages, such as Stockbridge and Leith, that have a charming character of their own.

Best for Sightseeing and culture

Home to Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, Scottish National Gallery

Experience Panoramic views over the city and beyond from the summit of Arthur’s Seat

Go To: Edinburgh i

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t The city of Edinburgh as seen from Calton Hill

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southern scotland

Stretching between the North Sea and the Atlantic, Scotland’s southern regions are bound in the north by the Firths of Clyde and Forth. Fertile farmlands contrast with upland moors and riverside valleys, while baronial mansions stand alongside evocative ruins of historic abbeys and castles. The delights of this region are within an hour’s drive of Edinburgh or Glasgow.

Best for History and scenery

Home to Culzean Castle, Abbotsford

Experience Taking the ferry to Arran and climbing Goatfell, the island’s highest peak

Go To: Southern Scotland i

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t Rolling hills of Hundleshope Heights, Peebles

DISCOVER Getting to Know Scotland


Scotland’s biggest city, straddling the River Clyde, buzzes with energy. A legacy of the 18th- and 19th-century mercantile and industrial revolutions, the city centre is studded with several handsome buildings, including the City Chambers and Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. But it is also a city that is constantly reinventing itself, with a lively and youthful nightlife, trendy shopping districts, and a cosmopolitan array of places to eat and drink.

Best for Art, shopping and nightlife

Home to Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow Science Centre

Experience A waverley paddle-steamer cruise on the River Clyde

Go To: Glasgow i

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t Glasgow Tower viewed from below

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central and northeast scotland

Encompassing wild uplands and tamer lowland landscapes, Central and Northeast Scotland is a patchwork of farmland and forest, fringed by sandy shores. Each of its cities has a unique history, from the medieval splendour of Stirling Castle and the austere architecture of Aberdeen’s St Machar’s Cathedral to the industrial heritage of Dundee and Falkirk. Loch Lomond, the Trossachs and Tayside offer a range of outdoor activities and experiences, while Royal Deeside combines natural beauty with regal splendour.

Best for Royal heritage and whisky

Home to Aberdeen, Scone Palace, Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle

Experience Whitewater rafting and canoeing on the River Tay

Go To: Central and Northeast Scotland i

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t Autumnal forest, Central Scotland

DISCOVER Getting to Know Scotland

the highlands and islands

For many, the Highlands and Islands epitomize Scotland. This is a vast and sparsely populated region of innumerable lochs, rivers, glens and moors dotted with majestic clan castles and ancient standing stones. Hundreds of islands lie off the coast, many of them within sight of shore or an easy ferry ride from Oban, Mallaig or Ullapool. Inverness, the Highland capital, is an excellent starting point for exploring Loch Ness and the Cairngorms, while Fort William holds the key to Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak.

Best for Outdoor adventure and majestic mountains

Home to Ben Nevis, Cairngorms National Park, Loch Ness

Experience Walking in the shadow of Ben Nevis or island-hopping on the west coast

Go To: The Highlands and Islands i

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t Neist Point Lighthouse, Isle of Skye

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