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”.
Ever wondered how Scotch whisky was made? Peer behind the doors of Scotland’s distilleries and discover the centuries-old secrets to production in its five whisky regions.
Whisky is Scotland’s national drink. It’s also our biggest export, with bottles safely stored in drinks cabinets and proudly displayed on shelves across the globe. Rare bottles sell for thousands of pounds (really rare bottles sell for hundreds of thousands). Whisky is a pretty big deal – but we’re not surprised at all.
Pancake Day is also known as Shrove Tuesday in the UK and takes place on Tuesday 28th February this year. It marks the last day before the Christian festival of Lent which is generally a period of abstinence. It is customary to eat pancakes on this day as pancake recipes used up food that was traditionally given up for Lent such as eggs, milk, butter and sugar.
Wherever you are in the world, join us in making the perfect pancakes with this recipe:
100g plain flour
1. Pour the flour through a sieve into a large mixing bowl and dig a little hole in the centre. Add the eggs into the hole and pour in about 50ml milk. Start whisking the mixture together from the centre and beat until you have a smooth, thick paste. Then, continue to whisk whilst steadily pouring in the rest of the milk until you have a batter that is the same consistency of a relatively thick single cream.
2. Grease the frying pan with some of the butter and heat over a moderate temperature. Then, pour a small part of the mixture over the pan, tilting it to allow the mixture to settle in a thin and even layer. Return the pan to the heat and allow the mixture to cook for around 30 seconds.
3.To cook the pancake on the other side, you can either turn it over carefully with a spatula, or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can flip it using the pan (we only recommend this flipping technique for more experienced pancake-makers!). Cook for a futher 30 seconds and you should have the perfect golden pancake! Repeat stages 3 and 4 for each extra pancake. If you follow this recipe, you should have enough mixture to make around 8 pancakes.
4. Add your favourite toppings! For this section, you can add savoury toppings such as ham and cheese for a lunchtime snack or sweet toppings to make a dessert. We love to top our pancakes with lemon and sugar, jam and ice cream or Nutella and strawberries.
The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is a festival for performances, workshops, talks and children’s events. Guests from all over the world are also invited for this great 10 days’ festival that takes place once a year in Edinburgh.
It’s the perfect chance to practise your English and learn about Scottish storytelling traditions. Here are some videos from previous years to give you an idea of what it’s like:
Date: Friday 21st – Monday 31st October 2016
Price: Mainly free but some performances are charged
“an informal social gathering with folk music, singing, dancing, and storytelling”
If you ever get the chance to go to a Ceilidh, don’t hesitate and just go! This will be the best memory of your time in Scotland! It may seem intimidating to go to a Ceilidh, but don’t worry if you don’t know the moves, somebody will help you!
How does this Ceilidh thing work? So one of the band members walks us through each dance. He explains each part of it until it seems like we understand. We try it once without music before doing it “full out”. Then, the music starts, he gives us the cue so we all start at the same time and you just hope you remember the moves! Each dance lasts between 5 and 10 minutes. The dance moves aren’t really hard, you just have to remember them!
Here’s an example:
So if you ever visit Scotland, you have to go to a Ceilidh, even if you don’t really fancy dancing. It’s the perfect opportunity to see a part of Scottish culture up close!
Ceilidhs are a lot of fun and they play a regular part in our social programme, so you will have plenty of time to practice once you’re here!
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (also known simply as “the Fringe”) is a major event which takes place every year. For 25 days in August, Edinburgh is completely transformed with thousands of performers flocking to the capital for a chance to showcase their work in one of hundreds of venues around the city centre.
The Fringe started in 1947 when a handful of theatre companies turned up uninvited to the official Edinburgh International Festival to perform for the large theatre crowds that had already gathered in the city. From these humble beginnings, the festival has now grown into the largest arts festival in the world and, in 2014, the Fringe featured a record number of 3,193 shows.
The Festival is supported by the Festival Fringe Society, which publishes the programme, sells tickets to all events from a central physical box office and website, and offers year-round advice and support to performers. The Society’s permanent location is at the Fringe Shop on the Royal Mile, and in August they also manage Fringe Central, a separate collection of spaces in Appleton Tower and other University of Edinburgh buildings, dedicated to providing support for Fringe participants during their time at the festival.
Even today, any act in the world can sign up to perform at the Fringe so you will always find an extremely varied mix of shows, from established celebrities and musicians to student theatre companies and aspiring artists. Popular acts featured in the festival include cabaret, comedy, dance, live music, theatre and circus.
This year the festival will take place from 5th – 29th August and you can see the full schedule here. Don’t forget you can also explore the best the festival has to offer with our English Plus Festivals course! We’ll also have the chance to visit the Fringe on our social programme throughout August.
Look out for these other festivals happening in August too!