We encourage all of our clients, particularly those who plan to sightsee, to consider purchasing a guide book to Scotland in advance of their departure. The following four guides provide comprehensive information to travelers: Scotland the Best (Peter Irvine), DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Scotland, Frommer’s Scotland, and Fodor’s Scotland. Lonely Planet, Michelin, and Insight Travel Guides are additional publications to consider. Each volume has a distinct layout and tone but all include general tourist information. Online descriptions and reviews of these and dozens of others are available at conventional sites including www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.
If you would prefer to read the content online, a great deal of tourist information is available atwww.fodors.com and www.frommers.com. Both sites host travel forums that are brimming with personal anecdotes, suggestions, and advice ranging from sightseeing itineraries to restaurant recommendations.
Included below are several dozen websites (each with a brief description) that we have culled from the thousands available. It is our hope that many of our travelers will have the chance to peruse one or more of these sites in anticipation of their trip. To that end, our compilation begins with several sites providing the most comprehensive information.
Please note, however, that this document is produced for information purposes only. Pioneer Golf in no way endorses or recommends the material contained therein; these websites were both accurate and accessible at the time that this document was prepared.
Websites for Visitors to Scotland
http://www.visitscotland.com: website of the Tourist Board for Scotland with comprehensive descriptions of the areas of the country, activities and attractions, including itineraries and an events calendar.
http://www.visitbritain.com: website of the National Tourism agency of Britain with country and city guides, attractions, photos, maps and numerous itineraries (ranging from gardens to distilleries). Several self-driving tours are described in the following section of the same site:http://www.visitbritain.co.uk/things-to-see-and-do/itineraries/
http://www.britainexpress.com/scotland: site that describes itself as “one of the largest non-government sources of information about the UK.” A charming and idiosyncratic source that doesn’t merely report facts and figures; descriptions are personalized, whimsical and quirky.
Among the most popular sightseeing destinations
http://www.rosslynchapel.org.uk/: site for the Rosslyn Chapel, a 15th-century medieval chapel, just twenty minutes south of Edinburgh. The church became quite popular as a tourist destination following the publication of The Da Vinci Code, in which the Chapel figures prominently.
http://www.glamis-castle.co.uk/: The Castle (featured on the Royal Bank of Scotland ten-pound notes) dates from the 11th century, although most of the structure was built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Glamis Castle is reputed to be where Macbeth, “the Thane of Glamis” murdered King Duncan, but is now most well-known as the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother . The castle, its spectacular gardens, walking trails and arboretum, are all open to the public. The Castle is about 35 minutes northwest of Carnoustie.
http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/97/: Culzean Castle , located in Maybole, Ayrshire, is a National Trust for Scotland property. This 18th century castle (including the 600 acres comprising Culzean Country Park) is among the most popular tourist destinations in Scotland and is quite close to Turnberry, Prestwick, andTroon.
Museums and Galleries
http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/: Historic Scotland is a government agency which oversees 345 properties including medieval abbeys, cathedrals, lighthouses, castles, palaces and gardens. The site includes a comprehensive list and descriptions of venues, collections housed within the sites, scheduled events at the properties and many lovely photos. The Explorer Pass (discounted admission for those visiting multiple sites) is available online and at all Historic Scotland properties.
http://www.nts.org.uk: website of the National Trust for Scotland which includes “1 world heritage site, 16 islands, 76,000 hectares of countryside, 7 national nature reserves, 26 castles, palaces & country houses, 5 battle sites, 23 wedding venues, 35 gardens, 72 holiday properties, over 50,000 artifacts and 4 birthplaces of famous Scots.” The Royal Oak Pass (purchased in the U.S.) is a year-long pass good for all the National Trust properties in Scotland and England.
http://www.nationalgalleries.org: website covering the five galleries located in greater Edinburgh, three of which are located in the city center and all of which are free and open to the public. Collections range from medieval to contemporary art.
http://www.asva.co.uk: website of the association of Scottish Visitor Attractions which includes attractions ranging from wildlife parks to distilleries and enables users to search by region, town or attraction.
http://www.heritageofgolf.org/index.htm: The Heritage of Golf Museum is located at the Gullane Golf Club and is privately owned by one of the Club’s Honorary Members. (Appointment only)
http://www.scotlandwhisky.com: comprehensive site with full listings of distilleries, festivals, tours with guides to the history, production and tasting of Scottish whisky.
http://www.scottishpubs.co.uk: accessible and readable introduction to Scotland’s storied history of beer from its origins (first brewed in 543AD) to current methods of production. The text is sprinkled with lines of endorsement of the product by Scotland’s native poets Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson.
http://www.scotchwhisky.net: comprehensive guide to Scotch whisky distilleries organized both alphabetically and by region.
http://www.discovering-distilleries.com/glenkinchie/: Glenkinchie produces one of the few remaining lowland malts. This distillery is a few miles outside of Edinburgh, and is convenient to Gullane and North Berwick.
http://www.edradour.com/index2.html: Edradour is a Highland single malt whisky “hand made today as it was over 150 years ago by just three men.” The distillery, the smallest in Scotland, is located near Pitlochry, about 1¾ hours northwest of St. Andrews.
http://www.thefamousgrouse.com: Glenturret’s Distillery is located near Crieff, which is about 1 hour and 15 minutes west of St. Andrews.
http://www.tullibardine.com/: Tullibardine Distillery is located in Blackford near Gleneagles, which is about 1 hour and 15 minutes west of St. Andrews.
http://www.glenmorangie.com/: Glenmorangie, first opened in 1843, is located in the Highland town ofTain (about fifteen minutes south of Dornoch). Unlike other distilleries, hard water, drawn from the nearby Tarlogie Springs, is used in their whisky production.
http://www.frommers.com/destinations/aberdeenandthetaysideandgrampianregions/index.html#subdests:includes attractions, events, and restaurants of the northeastern regions Tayside and Grampian. Maps of the Malt Whisky Trail and Castle Trail are included.
http://www.royal-deeside.org.uk/: Royal Deeside, about an hour west of Aberdeen, is the name given to the western part of the valley of the River Dee. Visitors are drawn to Royal Deeside for the spectacular scenery (including the mountains of Cairngorms National Park on the western edge and countryside to the east), several National Trust for Scotland properties (nature conservancies) and Balmoral Castle (autumn home to the Royal Family), midway between the towns of Braemar and Ballater.
http://www.edinburgh.org: site of the Tourist Board Edinburgh Information Centre, located atop the Princes Mall near Waverly Station. The center offers sightseeing suggestions and sells bus tours, theatre tickets and souvenirs.
http://www.edinburghguide.com/: comprehensive directory to the best of Edinburgh, including museums, parks and nightlife.
http://www.edinburgh.org/pass/: access to 30 city attractions, including the National Museum of Scotland, Glenkinchie Distillery, Camera Obscura and Our Dynamic Earth.
http://www.eif.co.uk: website for the internationally renowned performing arts festival held annually in August.
http://www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk: includes listings for all the Edinburgh festivals, half-dozen 10-best lists (pubs, restaurants, and tourist attractions), photos and daily listings.
http://www.edinburgh-royalmile.com: an essential site for those visiting Edinburgh. An accessible and comprehensive guide to Edinburgh’s famous and historic Royal Mile, including a virtual walk from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Park with full listings of the shops, restaurants, services, churches, tours and closes. Street maps on and off the Royal Mile are included.
http://www.stuckonscotland.co.uk: visitor’s guide to the most popular attractions in Edinburgh including locations in the Old (medieval) Town (the Royal Mile) and New (Georgian) Town (Princes Street).
http://www.theoracle.co.uk: online guide to cinema, comedy clubs, live music, theater, restaurants, exhibitions and attractions in Edinburgh.
http://www.toptable.co.uk: reviews and mapped locations of Scotland restaurants with sample menus, interior photos and online booking/reservations for more upscale restaurants.
http://www.edinburgh.org/pass/attractions/the-edinburgh-literary-pub-tour: tour of Edinburgh’s Old and New Town courtesy of the Scottish Literary Tour Company, with guides invoking Scottish literary characters. The group also offers regional tours throughout the country.
http://www.edinburghtour.com: orientation tours including City Sightseeing and Mac-Tours open-top bus tours, the one hour Britannia Tour (with a professional guide) that originates at Waverly Bridge and culminates at the Royal Yacht Britannia, moored in Leith.
http://www.witcherytours.com: Cadies and Witchery Tours , a member of the Scottish Tourist Guides Association, “has a reputation for combining entertainment with historical accuracy in its lively and enthusiastic Ghosts & Gore Tour and Murder & Mystery Tour, which take you through the narrow Old Town alleyways and closes, with costumed guides and other theatrical characters showing up en route.”
http://www.explore-edinburgh.com: science-based visitor attractions including the Edinburgh Zoo, the Scottish Mining Museum and the Royal Botanic Garden.
http://www.glasgowguide.co.uk: online guide to galleries, venues, museums, restaurants.
http://www.glasgowmuseums.com: accessible guide to the 13 museums across Glasgow, all of which are free and open to the public.
http://www.glasgowdining.co.uk: idiosyncratic Glasgow dining reviews arranged alphabetically and sorted by price and number of stars.
http://www.scotguide.com: Glasgow tours including hop on hop off buses and weekend walking tours of the West End and Merchant City. Site includes map of bus tour with highlighted stops.
http://www.ayrshire-arran.com/: visitor guide to Ayrshire (home of Scotland’s native poet Robert Burns), including its history, attractions, events and activities, and recommended itineraries.
http://www.loch-ness.org: history and folklore of all things Nessie.
http://www.visithighlands.com: activities, events and maps courtesy of the Highland Tourist Boardincluding historic (castles), natural (waterfalls, rock terraces, beaches) and wildlife (seabird colonies, whales, dolphins, and seals) attractions.
http://www.standrews.co.uk: links to relevant St. Andrews sites through the directory, including general information about the town (its history, the University, golf) and additional links to sites covering restaurants, shopping, and other tourist information.
http://www.britishgolfmuseum.co.uk/: just a stone’s throw from the R & A Club House and the Old Course.
http://www.secretbunker.co.uk: a bunker designed in the throes of the Cold War as an early warning radar station in the event of a nuclear attack. Recently opened to the public for tours, the Secret Bunker is nine miles southeast of St. Andrews.
http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/93/: Falkland Palace , the former royal residence of the Scottish Kings, is a National Trust for Scotland property located about forty-five minutes southwest of St. Andrews.
http://www.kingarrock.com: Kingarrock’s 9-hole golf course re-establishes the thrill of the game of 100 years ago with hickory shafts and softer golf balls. It is located only 10 miles from the St. Andrews.
http://www.explore-stirling.com: Stirling, about an hour northwest of Edinburgh, is home to Stirling Castle. Site includes day trips, maps, attractions, an events calendar and restaurant guide.
http://www.nationalwallacemonument.com/: This monument, located just outside of Stirling, commemorates William Wallace, the 13th century Scottish hero, familiar to most Americans following the release of the film Braveheart.
http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/95/: Bannockburn Heritage Center , two miles south of Stirling, is a National Trust for Scotland property that commemorates Robert the Bruce’s victory over the English.
http://www.calmac.co.uk: site for the ferry service to twenty-four destinations on Scotland’s west coast.
http://road-to-the-isles.org.uk: guide to navigating the western coast of Scotland from Fort William to Mallaig and the small isles of the Inner Hebrides, including visitor attractions and activities and a link to the steam train that runs from Ft. William to Mallaig.
http://www.isleofskye.com: modest guide to the largest of the Inner Hebrides with lovely photos of the island.
http://www.skye.co.uk: comprehensive site sponsored by the Tourist Board of Scotland.
http://www.high.st/portree: guide to the main town on the Isle of Skye, with modified street maps pinpointing shops and restaurants.
http://www.whalespotting.co.uk: Sea.fari Adventures Skye offers whale-watching cruises off the coast of Skye. Other cruises promise sightings of dolphins, porpoises, seals, and a host of seabirds.
http://www.bellajane.co.uk: narrated boat excursions to Loch Coruisk, off Skye, the site of a resident seal colony, with males, females and pups (reportedly) in full view from mid-June.
http://www.islayinfo.com: guide to the most southerly island of the Inner Hebrides, including its history, geography, (Scottish Gaelic) pronunciation, wildlife and birding, standing stones, and distilleries. Dozens of spectacular photos are included, as well as links to island webcams.