Scotland’s landscape is breathtakingly diverse. Its heather clad moors, dramatic coastline, long sandy beaches, rugged mountains and picturesque Lochs leave a lasting impression.
The landscape is perfect for many outdoor pursuits including kite surfing, walking, skiing and mountain biking in the Cairngorms National Park.
It’s not hard to see why the Royal Family is passionate about Scotland. Kate and William met in the charming, medieval coastal town of St Andrews and the Royals spend their summers at Balmoral Castle, regularly attending the Braemar Gathering…where you’ll see Highland pipers and traditional Scottish dancing.
Taking a tour of the region’s malt whisky distilleries, sampling haggis, venison or locally made shortbread makes you realize that Scotland has a culinary identity all of its own, with some of the best seafood in the world being caught on its north-east coast. If its heritage you are looking for, then Scotland again provides. Take your pick from the elegant V&A design museum in Dundee, the striking, cliff-top ruins of Dunnotar Castle (where Hamlet was filmed) or Glamis’ Castle, childhood home to HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.
Lastly, let’s not forget the Scots themselves…who are friendly, fun and love a good party!
Aberdeen is known as the ‘Granite City’ due to its granite Victorian architecture which shimmers in the sunlight and gives the city an elegant, majestic feel. Take, for example, St Machar’s Cathedral – possibly one of the oldest granite cathedrals in the world or Kings College in old Aberdeen (UK’s fifth largest university).
However, Aberdeen has much more to offer than simply a striking skyline. It is a cosmopolitan city that has positioned itself as a leader in the energy (oil and gas) industry. As a result, the city is constantly evolving and boasts a vibrant nightlife, chic bars, top-rated restaurants serving local produce, museums, art galleries, a theatre and excellent shopping.
A compact city centre, it is easy to find your bearings and if you do feel the need for space you only have to turn to one of its many parks or the city’s beach for a walk along the seafront, complete with traditional fishing village (Footdee) at one end. The city’s links with the sea are a constant reminder and the award-winning Aberdeen Maritime Museum is well worth a visit.
Stonehaven, where school groups are based, is a picturesque, coastal resort ten miles south of Aberdeen. It began life as an Iron Age fishing village and has grown into a town of 11,000 inhabitants. It has a strong community ethos and plays host to a number of celebrations including the Jazz festival during the month of July.
Aberdeen and Stonehaven ooze history and culture but also serve as a great base from which to discover Royal Deeside, the Cairngorms and Highlands, the region’s 300 castles and Scotland’s dramatic coastline. We love it here and hope you do too!