Scotland boasts some of today’s leading hotels and resorts of the world, yet still retains its charm and a warm welcome assured. Read on to learn the top 10 highlights in Scotland just right for groups!

1. Edinburgh, Scotland’s Capital City

A visit to the beautiful city of Edinburgh is a must for all travellers to Scotland. The stunning architecture of the Georgian New Town lies in sharp contrast to the winding alleyways and tenements of the medieval Old Town, and the diverse range of attractions include Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Scottish Parliament and Royal Yacht Britannia. For a capital city, Edinburgh is a surprisingly green place and, even in the heart, you are never far from wide open spaces where you can take in amazing views, or just relax and enjoy the great outdoors.

EDINBURGH FROM CALTON HILL. Photo Courtesy of P.TOMKINS/VisitScotland/SCOTTISH VIEWPOINT

Group dining option:

Spectacular, scrumptious and seriously good – the views aren’t too bad either! Meander around the Edinburgh Castle then relax and enjoy everything from a biscuit to a banquet in one of two truly unique venues – The Queen Anne and Redcoat Cafes. Alternatively, enjoy a slice of Scottish culture at Jamie’s Scottish Evening in the St James Thistle Hotel – traditional food, drink, song and dance in the heart of the city.

2. Island Hopping Along the West Coast

Scotland has over 790 islands, only about 10% of which are inhabited. From Mull, Arran and Jura to Skye, Lewis and Harris, each of Scotland’s islands offer a different cultural experience. An exciting programme of events has been unveiled to launch the Year of Scotland’s Islands in 2011. The programme will showcase the music, arts, food, sport and history of the islands, as well as highlight their unique beauty as visitor destinations. Caledonian MacBrayne operates the ferry service along the west coast and between islands: http://www.calmac.co.uk/ or http://www.scotlandsislands.com/

Group dining option:

With the aromas of home baking and the sound of the sea outside, The Old Kiln café at Ardbeg Distillery on Islay is a magical place. People flock here to enjoy hearty, traditional dishes.

3. Mysterious Neolithic history in the magical Orkney & Shetland Isles

Orkney and Shetland each offer history and heritage dating back through six millennia – unique islands in time. Orkney’s famous archaeology, superb wildlife, landscape, traditional island welcome, unique arts and crafts and superb seafood (and whisky) are well known – at least to lovers of the good life. In Shetland, over a hundred islands form this archipelago each with its unique brand of Norse character and tradition which is readily seen, heard and enjoyed through the local dialect, place names, music, craftwork and festivals – the annual Up Hella Aa and the Shetland Folk Festival being the most poignant.

4. Scotland’s Great Lochs – Boat Tours on Loch Ness

Home to Scotland’s most famous mythical creature “Nessie”, Loch Ness has been a point of interest since the 6th century, since its first sighting. Come and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery on a cruise on Loch Ness, in search of Nessie, or learn about the turbulent history of Urquhart Castle, which sits on the loch banks. Cruises of Loch Ness are operated by Jacobite Cruises.

5. Speyside Whisky Distilleries

A Man in a Kilt Holds a Glass of Whisky. Photo Courtesy of P.TOMKINS / VisitScotland / SCOTTISH VIEWPOINT

Playing host to over half the distilleries in Scotland, Speyside has the greatest concentration of malt whiskies. Enjoy the luxury of being driven between all the different distilleries, sampling the different smells and tastes of Scotland’s national drink and learn about the subtle differences of Scotland’s world class malt whiskies. There is also the whisky coast on the West coast of Scotland. http://www.whiskycoast.co.uk/ or www.maltwhiskytrail.com will give you ideas.

6. Scotland’s Landscapes – Cairngorms National Park Funicular Railway

CairnGorm Mountain Funicular Railway transports visitors to the Ptarmigan Top Station, nestled just below the summit of CairnGorm. The Top station offers spectacular views from the terrace, the Shop @ the Top, panoramic Ptarmigan restaurant and a mountain exhibition. The railway provides an opportunity for all ages and abilities to enjoy the CairnGorm Mountain experience in comfort and safety.

7. Jacobite Steam Train – Glenfinnan

West Coast Railways, operators of ‘The Jacobite’, provided the steam engine and carriages for the ‘Hogwarts Express’ as seen in the ‘Harry Potter’ films including ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’ and others in this wonderful series of films. Some of the carriages of ‘The Jacobite’ are those used in the ‘Harry Potter’ films. So, come and travel to Mallaig along the line used in the films, see the famous Glenfinnan viaduct, an unmistakable landmark for all Harry Potter fans. For train times and tickets visit http://www.westcoastrailways.co.uk

8. Scotland’s Secret Gardens

Pollock house gardens, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland. … more. Photo Courtesy of Britainonview

Our temperate climate means that Scotland has a vast array of indigenous and imported plant life, which can be seen at our extensive collection of public and private gardens. Scotland’s Gardens Scheme (SGS), a registered charity created in 1931, raises funds for other worthy charities by facilitating the opening of large and small gardens of horticultural interest throughout Scotland to the public. The gardens that open for SGS include Scotland’s finest, are mostly privately owned and are normally inaccessible to the public at other times.

9. Unique Events and Festivals

From the famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to the world’s largest International Arts Festivals, Scotland is no stranger to the cultural stage. While there is a renowned programme of no less than 12 annual festivals in our capital city, there is a packed calendar to be found throughout the country, all year long, offering everything from highland games and traditional music to food, whisky and festive celebrations.

10. Get Active in Scotland!

Scotland offers endless opportunities for adventure, catering to all abilities and interests from snowboarding and ice climbing in the mountains to canyoning in the rivers, mountain biking and gentle walks and hikes throughout the country’s stunning unspoilt scenery. And with 2011 dedicated to the year of Active Scotland, we’re celebrating the great outdoors in Scotland with a host of events and activities across the length and breadth of Scotland. Not forgetting that you can play in the Home of Golf, with more than 550 courses throughout Scotland.

We hope this has whet your appetite to create a group to Scotland, a proud and passionate place ready with a warm welcome!  There’s always plenty to see and do in Scotland throughout the year. Whenever your clients decide to visit, Visit Scotland can help provide the best information to make their Scottish experience extra special!  Tap into the wealth of information on VisitScotland’s website or contact Globus about helping you develop a special group.

For Itineraries Please Visit: http://www.visitscotland.com/guide/inspirational/itineraries/

For General Group Information Please Visit: http://www.scotlandgrouptravelguide.com/index.php

About Visit Scotland:

VisitScotland is Scotland’s National Tourist Board and can assist with Itinerary Planning, Marketing Support, Fam Tours, Training and more.  Go to www.bookingscotland.com and www.scotsagent.com for details or email tradepromotions@visitscotland.com

About Visit Britain:

VisitBritain is the national tourism agency, responsible for promoting tourism to Britain worldwide. Working in partnership with Visit London, Visit England, Visit Scotland, Visit Wales and hundreds of other travel organizations in Britain and North America.  Globus is a key partner for your group planning needs. Tap into their expertise and reap the rewards.  P.S. NEW! Develop your destination knowledge through our new online course.  Go to www.britagent.com and start learning now.

Plan Your Group to Scotland with Globus Now!

Whether you’re interested in a tour of the British Isles that includes Scotland, or a Scotland in depth tour, Globus offers just the right range of options, including the exclusive “Scottish Highlands & Islands,” offering a one-of-a-kind itinerary that takes group travelers off the beaten path to the legends and landscapes of Scottish history.

For Information Contact the Globus family Groups Department

Phone: 866-821-2752 Website: http://www.globusfamilygroups.com

Globus Packages for Scotland:

  • Globus: Bonnie Scotland
  • Globus: Scottish Highlands & Islands
  • Globus: From London to the Highlands of Scotland
  • Cosmos: England, Scotland & Wales