Rough Guides, the leading publisher of travel and reference guides, tasked its readers to choose the top 20 most beautiful countries in the world, and Scotland came out on top, ahead of Canada and New Zealand. The readers voted Scotland as “the most beautiful country in the world”
Citing the country’s “wild beaches, deep lochs and craggy castles” the poll found Scotland to be more attractive than Canada, New Zealand, Italy and England, of course. We are delighted that Scotland has received this remarkable accolade from Rough Guide readers, but of course it will not be a surprise to anyone who has encountered our wonderful country.
Old Man of Storr
Edinburgh – Old Town
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle
10 most beautiful countries in the world following the poll
Dunnottar Castle is a romantic, evocative and historically significant ruined Castle, perched on a giant conglomorate on the edge of the North-Sea. Once seen – never forgotten. The medieval fortress is located upon a rocky headland on the north-east coast of Scotland, about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) south of Stonehaven. The surviving buildings are largely of the 15th and 16th centuries, but the site is believed to have been fortified in the Early Middle Ages.
Dunnottar has played a prominent role in the history of Scotland through to the 18th-century Jacobite risings because of its strategic location and defensive strength. Dunnottar is best known as the place where the Honours of Scotland, the Scottish crown jewels, were hidden from Oliver Cromwell’s invading army in the 17th century. The property of the Keiths from the 14th century, and the seat of the Earl Marischal, Dunnottar declined after the last Earl forfeited his titles by taking part in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. The castle was restored in the 20th century and is now open to the public.
William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II have graced the Castle with their presence. Most famously though, it was at Dunnottar Castle that a small garrison held out against the might of Cromwell’s army for eight months and saved the Scottish Crown Jewels, the ‘Honours of Scotland’, from destruction.
Summer (April 1st – September 30th)
09:00 – 18:00
Winter (October 1st – March 31st)
10:00 – 17:00 or half an hour before sunset, whichever is sooner
From Alexander Graham Bell, to Tayberries and Unicorns; Scotland is a northern European country filled with remarkable history and breathtaking scenery. Here are the Top 10 Interesting facts about Scotland.
Enjoy the freedom of planning your own amazing holiday around Scotland on a road trip, and you can choose your own attractions, accommodation and places to eat. But maybe you’ve never driven in the UK before? Or maybe you want a refresher on the rules before you set off on an epic two week drive past mountains, around lochs and through glens?
Well, here is all the info you need on driving in Scotland with helpful tips on country driving, speed limits, and much more.
A study of global prices across 47 cities published by Deutsche Bank examined everything from salaries and rents to cheap dates and weekend breaks. Edinburgh has been ranked second in a global quality of life survey – behind Wellington in New Zealand.
World cities with the best quality of life:
Wellington, New Zealand
Boston, United States
Edinburgh was ranked 24th worldwide in terms of salary, with the typical net pay after taxes reaching $2,293 (£1,776) a month – just 53 per cent of that earned by an average New Yorker and almost a third of the amount paid to someone working in Zurich, Switzerland, which topped the list. However, Edinburgh’s low commuting time meant citizens spend the least amount of time travelling to work of any of the 47 cities analysed. In terms of healthcare satisfaction, Edinburgh ranks second and is third in terms of its pollution levels.
Deutsche Bank said Edinburgh also scored sixth on property prices against income and tenth in terms of safety – but scores lowest on climate and cost of living at 24th and 25th on the list. However, perhaps surprisingly, the Quality of Life index excluding a ranking relating to climate, saw Edinburgh fall one place to third – with the popularity of its weather boosting it to second.
Edinburgh is a consistent all rounder. Decent opportunities, average costs but less stressful living/working conditions assuming you agree with the climate score. The world’s “mega cities” like Tokyo New York, Paris, London, Shanghai and Mumbai rank very low mostly due to high living costs, crime, pollution and commuting time.
One person’s long commute may be another person’s chance to catch-up on Netflix. Megacity dwellers may also forsake short-term quality of life for aspirational reasons with these cities providing more upside rewards from the average for those most successful.
The 10 most popular sites in the UK during 2016 were all in London.
The most popular attraction north of the border, and the 15th most visited in the UK, was the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, which opened 10 new galleries in 2016. Some 1.8million visitors passed through its doors last year.
Please see below the 7 attractions named in the top 100 most visited in the UK:
15 National Museum of Scotland
16 Edinburgh Castle
18 Scottish National Gallery
41 Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
50 National War Museum, Edinburgh
62 Edinburgh Zoo
99 Scottish National Portrait Gallery
ALVA director Bernard Donoghue said:
“Like the 2015 figures, Scotland has continued to outperform the rest of the UK with a substantial increase in their visitor numbers.
“2016 was a great year for Scottish tourism – proving that Scotland is reaping the benefits of significant capital investment in attractions and creative programming by its institutions.”
Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:
“As these figures illustrate, this has been a record year for Scotland’s leading visitor attractions”.
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