SCOTLAND - A SPIRIT OF ITS OWN!
Think ancient and mysterious standing stones, fine castles and lavish stately homes, striking architecture, derelict fortresses, world-famous feats of engineering and much more. It is amazing to think that a country as small as Scotland has left such a lasting impact on the world. From sporting heroes and inspiring writers, to legendary warriors and tragic queens, Scotland's countrymen and women both past and present, continue to fascinate, inspire and leave their mark. There is no denying the contribution made by Scots, from practically every walk of life, to the world at large. Where would we be without the ingenious inventors, scientists and engineers to whom we owe steam power, penicillin and the telephone? The list of great artists, poets, writers, actors, musicians which hail from Scotland is long and will continue to grow.
Scotland is the perfect destination for groups with the following interests.
• WALKING & RAMBLING
EXPERIENCE the best that Scotland has to offer in association with Simply Groups.
EDINBURGH is the world’s leading festival city and is home to phenomenal summer festivals and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city buzzes with a sense of excitement all year round and has a plethora of world-class visitor attractions. Sightseeing in Edinburgh is easy as you experience different centuries of history without even moving.
GLASGOW is one Scotland's largest cities which is lively, distinctive and full of character. One of the most enjoyable things to do in Glasgow is to simply feast your eyes on the city's mix of striking architecture styles. Explore fascinating museums and diverse art galleries to suit all tastes.
LOCH LOMOND is one of our most beautiful and iconic places. The mesmerising loch lies in the heart of the Loch Lomond & TrossachS National Park and is surrounded by charming villages, rolling countryside, hills and some truly wonderful activities. Loch Lomond has a shoreline of around 100 miles and there are a number of small islands within the loch, as you leave civilisation behind.
PITLOCHRY is an excellent base for exploring Perthshire. It is nestled amongst the stunning scenery of Highland Perthshire where the refreshing greenery of the forests in spring transforms into a blaze of golds and reds come autumn. Outdoor attractions are high on the list in this, Perthshire's natural playground.
PERTH was Scotland's ancient capital for five centuries and today is the country's newest city. It is beautiful bustling and compact and located on the banks of the River Tay. Nestled between two sprawling public parks, elegant Georgian townhouses, cobbled streets and medieval spires hark back to its long and prosperous past. Located just a couple of miles from Scone Palace, the former home of the Stone of Destiny, Perth boasts plenty of ancient monuments of its own, as well as an array of outstanding art galleries and museums.
THE HIGHLANDS are the Scotland of your imagination and has an amazing concoction of culture, history, architecture and unparalleled scenery, mind-blowing landscapes, superb food and hospitable people. Pass through Britain's largest National Park, witness dolphins frolicking off the Moray Coast, marvel at the sensational seascape of the North Highlands, walk in the shadow of Britain's highest peak (Ben Nevis), or explore the stunning islands and stretches of coastline There is a haunting air of mystery that cloaks the Highlands, and the region's turbulent history has left behind some of the most beautiful and romantic castles in the world including the magnificent Dunvegan Castle on Skye, Brodie Castle in Moray, to the Castle of Mey in the Northern Highlands. Learn about the infamous massacre at the Glencoe Visitor Centre, see the Glenfinnan Monument which is a tribute to the history of the Jacobite uprisings or stop at the Highland Archive Centre to research your roots.
DUNDEE has acquired a few names over the years and is a 'UNESCO City of Design'. From contemporary art galleries and quirky gift shops to the city's art centres - there are incredible places to visit that will fascinate and entertain. Explore the ship used in pioneering polar exploration, see the working of a Victorian jute mill, or expand your mind at the city's science centre. Get the best views of the city and the River Tay by climbing Dundee Law and see the wonders of the night sky in astounding detail at the Mills Observatory.
INVERNESS – This is a compact and cosmopolitan city with all the wonders of the Highlands on its doorstep. Explore the art exhibitions in the city's gallery spaces or visit the Inverness Castle and St Andrew's Cathedral. Take a stroll along the banks of the River Ness, crossing the suspension bridge for some peace and relaxation on the Ness Islands. From the Bronze Age at Clava Cairns to Culloden Battlefield, connect with the past at remarkable places in and around the city. Visit Nairn a pretty Victorian seaside resort or tour one of the nearby historic distilleries and discover the secrets of the whisky making process.
THE SHETLAND ISLES are closer to Norway than mainland Scotland and the same goes for Shetlander's unique cultural heritage. The Old Norse language crops up everywhere from place names to the local dialect which is spoken with a Scandinavian lilt. Fantastically preserved archaeological sites and the spectacular Up Helly Aa festival are vivid reminders of the islands' Viking past. It's not just the Vikings who left their mark on Shetland. From Iron Age brochs to mysterious standing stones and Pictish wheelhouses to traditional crofthouses, delve into the lives of Shetland's inhabitants through the ages. Ruggedly handsome and wonderfully secluded, the Shetland Islands boast a landscape quite unlike anywhere else in the world. Miles of breath taking coastline fringed by pristine beaches and crystal-clear, vivid blue shores. Not to mention the glistening sea lochs, heather-clad moorlands, monumental rock formations and towering clifftops sculpted by millennia of wind, sea and sand.
STIRLING is a city with a big history and it punches well above its weight for historic attractions and spectacular scenery, not to mention shopping, places to eat and events. Get your bearings by looking out from the hill-top esplanade at Stirling Castle and take in views of the city and surrounding areas. Spot the winding River Forth and the prominent National Wallace Monument on the edge of the rolling Ochil Hills, before looking north east for the mountain peaks of Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park. Unusually, the centre was built around a 16th century jail cell, known as the Thieves Pot. Take a look inside and hear the tales of times gone by!
ISLE OF SKYE is a truly magical place. The largest of the Inner Hebrides, it is home to some of Scotland's most iconic landscapes. The island has its mountain ranges, miles of dramatic coastline and captivating history. Just driving around you can see many of Skye's most majestic geological features, such as the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing and the Cuillin. The island has a wealth of history, from prehistoric sites to brooding castles. Learn about long ago feuds of rivalling clans, Jacobite battles, and the devastation of crofting communities during the Highland Clearances. The island's town and villages are welcoming places where you can try tasty local fare in restaurants or relax with the tipple of your choice in charming pubs.
BRAEMAR is surrounded by the fine Grampian Mountains and woodland scenery, Braemar is a delightful village, the peaceful countryside, nearby castles and whisky distilleries make it ideal place for a visit. Situated in the spectacular mountain scenery at the eastern gateway to the highest mountains of the Cairngorms National Park, it is a heaven for walkers, climbers or wanderers. Nearby stands Braemar Castle, a 17th century castle with a colourful past. Built by the Earl of Mar in 1628, it has been a hunting lodge, fortress, garrison and family home. This ancient village is also home to the world famous annual Braemar Gathering and Highland Games. Held on the first Saturday in September, the event is regularly attended by the Royal Family and features the best pipe bands, pipers, Highland dancers and athletes.
A VISIT TO SCOTLAND IS NOT COMPLETE WITHOUT VISITING THE FOLLOWING:
BALMORAL CASTLE has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852, having been first leased in 1848. The Castle is an example of Scots Baronial architecture and is classified by Historic Scotland as a category A listed building. Enjoy access to the formal and vegetable gardens, the wildlife, Balmoral and audio visual exhibitions together with the largest room in the Castle, the Ballroom.
THE KELPIES: See the world's largest equine sculptures up close, go inside to marvel at the complexity and the engineering which created these fantastic pieces of art. The best way to experience The Kelpies is on The Kelpies Tour. The tour takes you through the vision of Andy Scott, the story of the real life working horses of the area, the local history and the history of the canals. The pinnacle of the tour is that you get to experience a Kelpie from the inside and see the breath taking engineering and design of The Kelpies.
THE FALKIRK WHEEL is the world’s only rotating boatlift, which is used to connect the Forth & Clyde and Union canals in central Scotland. The Falkirk Wheel is a magnificent, mechanical marvel which has been constructed to 21st Century, state-of-the-art engineering. It is already being recognised as an iconic landmark worthy of Scotland's traditional engineering expertise. Designed to replace a series of lock gates built in the 19th century - long since demolished and replaced by housing - The Falkirk Wheel is the showpiece of the Millennium Link project where coast-to-coast navigation of the canals has been re-established for the first time in over 40 years.
THE ROYAL EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO is staged every year as part of Edinburgh's world-famous summer festival and is a unique and memorable celebration of music, dance and military pageantry. It takes place against the backdrop of the floodlit. Almost 1,000 musicians, pipers, drummers, singers and dancers perform at the Edinburgh Tattoo on the Esplanade. Each year you can expect stirring performances of the Massed Pipes and Drums and the Massed Military Bands that emerge from the huge castle gates, playing the inspiring battle tunes of Scotland's famed regiments.
Scotland is the ‘Perfect Stage’ for Group holidays.