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Och aye the noo: exploring Scotland’s tourist hotspots

Reducing Scotland to a series of hackneyed stereotypes is easy.

It’s a country with a redheaded population famous for guzzling Irn-Bru, tossing cabers, wandering around in kilts and chasing haggis up and down the heather strewn hills of the highlands – but the reality is very different.

This vibrant land is packed with more culture and breathtaking scenery than you can shake a stick at, and, in 2014, over 15.5 million overnight tourism trips were taken in Scotland, for which visitor expenditure totalled £4.8 billion.

Whether it’s a voyage to the Royal Yacht Britannia Museum or a visit to the Glasgow Science Centre, visitors from every corner of the globe flock to Scotland in their droves, all keen to sample the country’s famous hospitality.

But what are some of best things to do when you visit Scotland?

Ben NevisClimb Ben Nevis

You don’t have to be a geologist to know that Scotland is teeming with mountains – and the highest of the lot is Ben Nevis. Proudly standing at 1,344 metres above sea level, you’ll find this hulking brute at the western end of the Grampian Mountains close to Fort William.

Whilst this is not a walk for the fainthearted (the weather can get a bit hairy between November and May), you can reach the summit using the tourist path in three to five and a half hours. The length of the walk? Just over four miles each way.

Cruise on Loch Ness

If you’ve never visited Loch Ness before, you’ll be happy to learn that there’s much more on offer than scanning the water from the shore in search of its legendary monster. In fact, you can get out on the water with a variety of Loch Ness cruises, giving you the opportunity to see Nessie up close.

Alternatively, you can simply breathe in the stunning scenery before exploring the ruins of Urquhart Castle, an ancient Highland stronghold, which played a pivotal role in the Wars of Scottish Independence.

Visit Edinburgh Castle

Finally, no trip to Scotland is complete without visiting Edinburgh Castle, which was built upon an ancient extinct volcano. Whilst it’s unlikely to erupt, your face will explode with awe as you gaze out from 120 metres above sea level across the capital.

You’ll learn all about the castle’s history, including its importance in housing prisoners in the 18th and 19th century, with inmates from the Napoleonic Wars and even the American War of Independence locked up in its dungeon.

Edinburgh Skyline

Now it’s over to you …

What other Scottish attractions would you add to this list? Do you have any must-see favourites? Please let us know by leaving a comment below – we’d love to read your thoughts.

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

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