Scotland is rightly famous for its stunning scenery ̶ stark vertiginous mountains, lush green glens and bottomless lochs have earned it the title of the world’s most beautiful nation from travel gurus like Rough Guides.
However, apart from its preternatural beauty, Scotland is also a cultural capital which has inspired writers and artists of all stripes over the years and attracts visitors from around the world with its inspirational output.
From the gritty realism and political undertones of Irvine Welsh to the escapist flights of fancy of JK Rowling, the design genius of Charles Rennie Mackintosh to the stylish brushstrokes of Jack Vettriano, and the classical sounds of Nicola Benedetti to the hip-hop vibes of Young Fathers, Scottish culture is deep and diverse.
Let’s take a look at what’s on offer in a couple of Scottish centres for culture.
Although Dundee has always had a proud industrial heritage and a creative underbelly, over the past few years it has undergone a remarkable cultural renaissance thanks in no small part to significant investment in refreshing and renewing its waterfront area.
The jewel in Dundee’s crown is probably the Kengo Kuma designed V&A design museum, which has a starship silhouette that blends beautifully with its riverside surroundings and it’s complemented by the McManus Art Gallery and Museum bang in the middle of the city. Meanwhile, the neoclassical Caird Hall is a legendary live music venue and there’s a collection of hip bars and restaurants including BrewDog, The Bach, Art Bar and many more.
Extra tip: pop in to Dundee Contemporary Arts in the city centre for movies, exhibitions and craft workshops.
Scottish capital Edinburgh is a UNESCO City of Literature and at the Writer’s Museum at Makars Court just off the Royal Mile, you can see interesting artefacts like Robert Burns’ writing desk, the printing press which produced Sir Walter Scott’s first Waverley novels and interesting items from Robert Louis Stevenson’s global travels.
The high point of the city’s cultural calendar is the summer season, when the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (the world’s largest arts festival) packs the streets with all manner of weird and wonderful performers and visitors from every corner of the earth. There are pubs and clubs aplenty here too, for instance the Bongo Club at the Cowgate hosts the bass-heavy Messenger Sound System which is a great night out for fans of Jamaican Dub and Dancehall.
Extra tip: rent a car online with Enjoy and hit the road to explore the countryside around Edinburgh and neighboring Fife.
The delights of these two cities merely provide a soupcon of the cultural feast that awaits anyone visiting Scotland in search of entertainment and enlightenment ̶ you’ll certainly discover much more when you visit in person. For a vacation destination that blends natural beauty with buzzing arts and culture, Caledonia is hard to beat!
What’s your favorite Scottish cultural attraction? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
travel info Scotland
Are you ready to fly to the Scotland? Here some quick booking links and resources that I use myself for travel planning. These websites will help you to get started with your Scotland itinerary!
Cheap Flights to Scotland, UK
Skyscanner is my favorite search engine for finding cheap flights, I always start my flight search here! I've tried plenty other flight websites - hands down - Skyscanner has the lowest rates, almost every time!
Transport within Scotland
Buses and trains: Omio is one of the most reliable websites in Europe when it comes to booking buses and railway. Get an instant seat confirmation and start your overland travel worry-free.
Find a place to stay in Scotland
Hostels, hotels and resorts: Agoda is excellent if you're looking for hotels from budget to luxury! It's one of the largest hotel booking websites in the world. Plenty of options to book now and pay later, or even pay at the hotel. Risk-free booking, many with free cancellation.
Apartments and houses: Airbnb is a fantastic option if you prefer staying like a local, and looking for a unique accommodation! I'm using it for years and got amazing places through it! If you have never used Airbnb before, you can get $45 off on your first booking!
Fun Tours and Activities in Scotland
Get your Guide has plenty of fun activities in Scotland, such as hiking tours and city sightseeing trips. There is plenty of choices to keep yourself entertained!
Klook is similar than the one above, but offers additional options such as airport transfers, SIM cards, and food & dining experiences. It' a great way to meet other travelers while exploring a new place!
Travel Insurance worldwide
SafetyWing is a super affordable Travel Medical Insurance, starting from only $37 per 4 weeks. It's perfect for travelers and digital nomads! They will help you with financial help when have to see a doctor, or if there’s an emergency and you need to go back home. Don't go overseas without travel insurance!
Do I need a Visa for the UK?
If you're not an EU Passport holder, you likely do need a visa. You can check on iVisa.com whether you need a visa and how long you are permitted to stay.
More Blog Posts about Scotland
- Your Exclusive Guide to the Adventurous West Highland Way in Scotland
- Perfect Ways to Experience Scotland
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About the Author:
Jennifer Anders is a freelance writer who has traveled extensively and enjoys exploring off-the-beaten-path locations around the world.
She loves hiking national parks, windsurfing, and photographing wildlife.
Aside from all those crazy activities, you'll also find her eating plenty of local street food. She is absolutely fearless when it comes to trying new things.