Great Clans Of Scotland

We’re sure you’ll agree that oor wee country is endlessly inspiring, from its wild untouched landscapes to its ancient rituals, bloody battles and feuding clans. For many of us, it’s Scotland’s rich cultural past and fascinating clan history that’s most intriguing – a story alive today as it was hundreds of years ago. Today we’re talking a closer look at the great clans of Scotland and how they shaped our country’s turbulent past.

Isle of Skye, The Macleods


You may already be familiar with the Macleod clan’s famous motto, “Hold Fast”. Containing some of oor countries most spectacular landscapes and unspoilt vistas, the Isle of Skye is one of the most beautiful islands in the Inner Hebrides. No visit to this idyllic island would be complete without seeing The Macleod’s ancestral home, Dunvegan Castle. Expect to see idyllic gardens and treasures like the Dunvegan Cup.

Glencoe, The Macleans


Literally translated as “Valley of Weeping,” Glencoe is one of oor most famous locations, but do you know about its bloody past? The brutal massacre of 1692 is one of the most brutal examples of feuding clans, with the treacherous slaughter of the MacDonalds by the Campbells. History aside, this famous glen – with its soaring peak looks both formidable and picturesque. As you travel through the area, make sure to keep an eye out for wild red deer and native golden eagles.

John O’ Groats, The Sinclairs


John O’Groats has been Sinclair land for centuries and is the final location of the trek that begins at Land’s End in Cornwall. This beautiful part of Scotland remains wild and untouched and it’s thought that the Sinclairs are descended from the St Clares of Normandy. Prepare for puffin watching and expect to see a fantastic array of marine wildlife off the coast.

Ross & Cromarty, The Mackenzies


Extending from Ross on the east coast of the mainland up to the Island of Lewis, the Mackenzies remain one of the principal clans in Scotland. Their most famous stronghold has to be Eilean Donan, which is widely regarded as one of the most famous castles in Scotland (appearing on everything from calendars to shortbread tins). It’s not difficult to see why this Scottish icon attracts countless visitors every year.

Inverness, The Mackintoshes


Sitting pretty on the bonnie banks of the River Ness, there’s a chance you may spot Nessie from the Loch at Cawdor Castle. Typically associated with Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the Macintosh clan came to dominate the area of Inverness after helping King Malcom IV quell a local uprising.

A Wee Love Letter to Edinburgh

If you haven’t visited our picturesque capital, prepare yourself for castles, restaurants and all the culture you can handle! Our Scottish capital has all the splendour of a big city, with the charm of a quaint wee town. Completely modern in every way but with a fierce grip on its rich heritage, this city enchants visitors with ease and welcomes everyone with a wee dram.

Edinburgh is a city that begs to be discovered, packed full of quirky, secret nooks that tempt you to keep exploring just that little bit further. Here’s 5 reasons to visit Edinburgh Heartboxers!

Edinburgh is a true city of literature


Edinburgh is a true city of literature – in fact it was the very first city to be named a UNESCO city of literature. Visit the Scottish Poetry Library or even the National Library of Scotland or even the less well-known Museum of Writers and you’ll likely be amazed and astounded at the (very) long list of famed Scottish authors you can learn about – from J.K Rowling to Ian Rankin and Walter Scott, the list goes on and on…

It’s Two Towns for the Price of One


The wonderful contrast between the romantic, winding cobblestone streets of the Old Town and the neo classical architecture of the New Town might just make you feel as though you’ve been on two city breaks!

Ed Fringe


The biggest arts festival in the world, featuring over 50,000 performances! During August, Scotland capital is transformed into a thrilling city-wide celebration of the arts. Noisy, intoxicating and vibrant, Edinburgh becomes a place of revelry where you become caught up in watching up-and-coming comedians on the way to the shops or cosying up to some live music. Edinburgh in August is truly a sight to behold with comedy, dance and theatre available day and night!

The Architecture will take your breath away


From the famous Gothic spire named after Scotland beloved Sir Walter Scott that soars above Princes Street to the wonderfully picturesque Georgian houses in New Town; Edinburgh boasts some of the world’s most spectacular buildings. The turreted skyline is at its most beautiful at dusk – climb up to the top of Calton Hill and watch the sun set over the city.

The city’s rich history is visible everywhere


The Royal Mile’s cobbles are pounded by tourist footsteps each day but very few realise the forgotten world that lies beneath their feet. A trip to the hidden Mary King’s Close will quickly reveal Edinburgh’s rich history. Plagued by illness and poverty, the closes and buildings of years ago form the foundations of the city you know and love and gives you a wonderful insight into daily life in 17 th century Edinburgh.

Edinburgh’s Hidden Gems

Wee hidden gems, little pieces of paradise or simply lost treasures, whatever you want to call them, it’s true that Edinburgh has no shortage of jewels to discover. Prepare to dig into our guide to unearth the very best of Edinburgh’s hidden treasures.

Dean Village


Dean Village is one of the most picturesque areas of the city and is a wonderful place to visit if you’re always looking for places to photograph. A serene escape from Edinburgh’s busy city living, this picture-perfect part of Edinburgh is a great if you’re looking for a slower-paced afternoon. Prepare to while away a few hours meandering your way through independent shops and cafes.

Gladstone’s Land


Restores and maintained by the National Trust, Gladstone’s Land is a unique 17 th century tenement house on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile that has managed to escape demolition. Because the Old Town of Edinburgh was surrounded by large, imposing defensive walls, the inhabitants quickly ran out of space and began to build up, leading a medieval style Manhattan, with some buildings soaring 14 stories into the air. This house was built in 1617 and is still lived in today, making it one of the oldest inhabited buildings in Edinburgh! There’s a great ween self-guided tour available for you to enjoy.

National Museum of Scotland Roof Terrace


While everyone knows to add a visit to the Scotland’s National Museum, few of you will be aware of the it’s hidden roof terrace. Intrepid explorers who venture to the very top of the building will find this hidden roof terrace and will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the castle and beyond. Writer’s Museum In a hidden wee courtyard, just metres from the famous Royal Mile, is where you’ll find the Writer’s Museum. As you’d expect, this lovely museum is dedicated solely to words. Of course, Edinburgh is well-known as the home of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, but the city was also once home to famous writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter Scott and Robert Burns. If you’re an avid reader and a fan of the classics, this is exactly what you’re after!

Museum of Childhood


This is a great wee jaunt down memory-lane for anyone visiting Edinburgh, but particularly appeals to families and children, with some fun interactive exhibits. Prepare to discover lots of memorabilia that you’ll recognise from your childhood!

Tom Riddle’s Grave


Lots of you will know that Greyfriar’s Kirkyard inspired plenty of the Harry Potter characters we all know and love. Many fans wander through this ancient cemetery and yet very few know that Tom Riddle’s Grave can be found in the very heart of the graveyard. Other names to keep an eye out for include Mrs. Elisabeth Moodie and William McGonagall. Of all the unusual things to do in Edinburgh, taking a wee stroll through Greyfriar’s is definitely one of the quirkiest.

Lauriston Castle


On the very fringes of the city is where you’ll find one of Edinburgh’s best kept secret spots. Lauriston Castle is the city’s least known castle and the former mansion home of Mr and Mrs Reid. First constructed in the 16 th century, the castle and its grounds were donated to the City of Edinburgh back in the 1920s. The grounds are free and the perfect spot for a picnic.

Seen in Outlander – Best Places to Visit in Scotland

Has the hit show Outlander inspired you to discover more about Scotland? Here are some of the best locations to visit and immerse yourself in the local history.

Glencoe

You will recognise this familiar location as its featured in the opening title sequence. With breath-taking scenery, it provides a perfect example of the rugged beauty of the Highlands.

Kinloch Rannoch


Rannoch Moor is surrounded by an imposing mountain range. The moor is not too far from Kinloch Rannoch, which is where Claire steps through the Craigh na Dun standing stones to begin her time-travelling adventure.

Devil’s Pulpit – Finnich Glen


Devil’s Pulpit is the name given to Finnich Glen. The magical location was used as Liar’s Spring in the show where Claire had to drink to prove her trustworthy. If you are thinking of visiting, go prepared. the walk is steep and slippery.

Drummond Castle


Drummond Castle Gardens is Scotland’s most beautiful formal garden, its landscape stood in for the Palace of Versailles in France in season 2.

The Cloisters at Glasgow University


The Universities ornate covered walkways were used as a stand in for Harvard when Frank worked as a professor at the Boston college.

Doune Castle


The formidable Doune Castle plays a lead role as Castle Leoch, home to the MacKenzie clan. The castle also features in Games of Thrones as Winterfell home of the Startks.

Culross

The town in Fife, is a familiar sight for Outlander fans as it’s been featured many times. It is owned by the National Trust for Scotland who preserve the town’s historical buildings, which date back to the 18th century.

Linlithgow Palace


The palace featured in the show disguised as the fictional Wentworth Prison, the palace’s interiors were used when Jamie was brutally held and abused by his rival, Black Jack Randall.

Top Scottish Islands to Visit

Scotland’s islands are renowned for their breath-taking coastlines, eclectic wildlife, and rich history. With over 800 islands to discover you really are spoiled for choice. Here’s our guide to the best islands to visit.

Vatersay

The southernmost inhabited of the Outer Hebrides islands, the beautiful island of Vatersay connects to Barra by a causeway. The island is famous for its serene beaches and machair grass covered sand dunes.

Barra

The petit island of Barra is only 8 miles long and is renowned for its secluded sandy beaches. Nestling near the bottom of the Western Isles chain the island is said to be Scotland’s most beautiful island and is known fondly as “Barradise”.

Tiree


The Sunshine Isle of Tiree gets some of the highest levels of sun in the UK. The island boasts idyllic white sandy beaches with azure blue water making it perfect for water sports like kite-surfing, paddle boarding and much more.

Shetland

The main island in Shetland is a wonder to see, the remote archipelago lies between Scotland, the Faroe Islands, and Norway. Must see attractions include the Eshaness Cliffs, made up from ancient volcanic remnants and Jarlshof, a 4,000 year old Norse settlement.

Mull


You will find that Mull has lots to offer including a Munro (Ben More), impressive coastline scenery, golden sand beaches, historic castles, and the pretty port town of Tobermory.

Orkney


The collection of small islands is one of the best places to go seal spotting in the UK, keep an eye out for whales and dolphins as they are also known to visit the island’s coastline. A trip to Orkney wouldn’t be complete without visiting Skara Brae, a 5,000 year old preserved Neolithic village.

Eigg


Eigg is known as one of the Small Isles just south of Skye. The island is 10 miles off the coast of the mainland but feels like a different world, featuring sheer cliff tops and quartz beaches. The community-owned island is a sustainability pioneer due to being independently powered by wind, solar and water.

Skye


The Isle of Skye is home to some of Scotland’s most picturesque surroundings. Highlights are the enchanting fairy pools at Glenbrittle, Dunvegan Castle with its sprawling gardens, spotting otters along the rugged coastline and a scenic boat trip to Loch Coruisk.

Arran


The island is affectionately called “Scotland in miniature”, Arran is split in two by a fault line giving two unique landscapes. There is so much to do on the island, you can choose to relax on the sandy beaches, climb Goat Fell the highest point on the island or visit the historic castles.

Lewis & Harris


The island was made world famous with the luxury Tweed brand but there is much more to the island. The Callandish Standing Stones is an impressive cruciform stone circle dating over 5,000 years. Like most of the Scottish Islands, Lewis & Harris boasts stunning remote beaches with Luskentyre being a particular favourite.