Six Reasons to Fall in Love with Scotland
Home to some of the friendliest people you could meet, Scotland's passionate spirit, breathtaking scenery and historic attractions provide the perfect backdrop for an invigorating break.
To celebrate Burns Night, we've come up with six fabulous reasons to head north of the border on your next holiday.
So haud yer wheesht a moment, and get ready to make your full acquaintance with a characterful country that's truly one-of-a-kind.
Main image: View from Eagle Brae Log Cabins, Inverness-shire
Above: The historic White Tower at Taymouth Castle, Perthshire
1. Historic monuments
Scotland's recorded history begins with the Roman Empire (the Romans named Scotland ‘Caledonia').
See how the Scots remained bravely unconquerable with a visit to Hadrian's Wall, or the imposing Antonine Wall stretching across the country's centre - a designated World Heritage site.
Meanwhile, you'll find Scotland bursting with castles, cathedrals and historic battlefields that provide a rich flavour of its history. Stirling Castle is a must-visit for royals-in-waiting, while over in New Galloway, Bruce's Stone commemorates Robert the Bruce's first victory over the English in 1307.
Above: Appreciate the sights and sounds of the city from the deck of Edinburgh Green Boat
2. Scottish cities
Scotland is a haven for city breaks, offering a little something for everyone. Where to start? Well, as the largest city, Glasgow is the place for ardent shoppers! You'll find Perth, Scotland's newest city, beautifully located on the banks of the River Tay, so prime that camera phone for Instagram heaven.
Dundee buzzes with culture, while Edinburgh's combination of beauty and history is impossible to match. The vibrant Edinburgh Festival Fringe has to be experienced at least once, while the Old Town is peppered with authentic cobbled streets.
(Oh, and Edinburgh Castle is the Queen's official Scottish residence).
Above: Rainbows over the mountains, Croft 103, the Highlands
3. The Highlands
Many people automatically picture the Highlands when they imagine Scotland, and with the impossibly vast skies, sparkling rivers and dramatic natural landscapes to drink in there, it's easy to see why.
Watch dolphins playing from the Moray Coast, take a trip on the Jacobite steam train, or explore Ben Nevis - otherwise known as the highest peak in Britain.
Above: The Highland Club, on the shores of Loch Ness, Inverness-shire
4. The Loch Ness Monster
Sea serpent Nessie is said to reside in Loch Ness, one of Scotland's largest and most celebrated lochs.
Rumours of Nessie's existence date all the way back to the 7th century, and claimed sightings began in 1933. Located in Drumnadrochit, the Loch Ness Centre and Experience - not to mention Nessieland - provide plenty more detail.
Take a boat trip on the loch itself if you dare! You may not get a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster, but you might well catch the sunset, reflected in those captivating waters to perfection.
Above: A carriage with a view at Down on the Farm, Aberdeenshire
5. Scotland's coastline and islands
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea and the Irish Sea, Scotland's climate benefits from the warming Atlantic Gulf Stream - meaning beach holidays in Scotland aren't as cold as you might think! Many Scottish beaches are undiscovered, remote gems with spectacular views.
Aberdeenshire's coastal trail covers 165 miles of cliff tops, coves and beaches. For superlative scenery, Gairloch's Big Sand beach is where mountains meet sea.
Island-wise, cast yourself away to the Outer Hebrides, complete with blissfully untouched coasts, while Orkney is famed as the best spot in the UK to view the Northern Lights.
Above: Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, Metukkalihis, from Wikimedia Commons
6. Delicious delicacies
Scottish food isn't all about haggis - though it is the national dish, and no Burns Night celebration would be complete without it (generous portions of neeps and tatties included, of course!)
But there are far more foodie delights to try during your trip to Scotland. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a slice of shortbread, or the more-ish butter tablet. Meanwhile, Arbroath smokies and Stornoway black pudding should curb those savoury cravings - all washed down with a tumbler or two of whisky.
Don't forget to try a bowl of porage oats for breakfast, too!
Take a look at our pick of Scottish Host Unusual places to stay below - each one a genuine wonder - and for yet more unique and unusual places to stay in Scotland visit our dedicated page!
(And if you're headed to Scotland for Burns Night, don't forget to recite Robert Burns' famous ‘Address to a Haggis' - whether you're eating it or not!)