Scotland has almost 800 islands spread out around its long coastline and each of them has its own distinct appeal. In fact, the land formations have inspired great works of literature—Nineteen Eighty-Four and Treasure Island, to name two—and have influenced everything from fashion—Harris Tweed and Fair Isle come from the islands—to distilling—whiskey distilleries are scattered throughout them. Each island has uniquely evolved in its isolation and no two are quite alike. So, without further ado, here are some of Scotland’s best islands to visit.
The best things to see in Scotland’s Orkney Islands are UNESCO-listed sites—here’s a guide to top sites, hotels, and what to know before you go.
Experts say rising seas and higher rainfall mean the Neolithic sites are “extremely vulnerable”.
This Orkney Islands saga is an engaging account of cutting-edge technology at the geographical margins.
THEY rank as some of Scotland’s greatest treasures, providing a priceless glimpse into a past which would otherwise be lost in the mists of time.
A world-renowned stone circle in Orkney which is more the 4,000 years old has been vandalised.
It is one of the most prized archaeological sites in the world.
Don’t be fooled by its size: for a small country, Scotland punches well above its weight. Shrouded in history and folklore, blessed with breathtaking landscape and populated by charming people with an accent that’s almost as indecipherable as it is utterly charming. See these things to see and do in Scotland.
Sail with Viking Cruises to Norway and the UK. This “Into the Midnight Sun” travelogue explores the 15-day itinerary, scenic destinations, and shore excursions.
“Scotland Slowly” is the perfect name for a leisurely Adventure Canada expedition cruise to the outer islands of Scotland.
Today is UNESCO’s World Heritage Day 2018, aka the International Day for Monuments and Sites. If you like travelling around and looking at stupendously beautiful things rooted in your country’s history, this is the day for you. And what better way to celebrate it than planning your next trip to one of the listed Unesco World Heritage sites? Beats spending your summer in front of Netflix. But just how many World Heritage Sites are there on the planet? And how many are in the UK? Are there any near you?
There are a grand total of 1,073 Unesco World Heritage Sites across the globe. Of those, 832 are cultural (like the Great Wall of China), 206 are natural (like Yellowstone National Park in America) and 35 are a mixture of both (like Mouth Athos in Greece). Sadly, 54 of them are classified as ‘in danger’ of being changed irrevocably and lost to history, due to problems like war, logging, mining or plans to build new developments. In the United Kingdom and its territories, there are 31 World Heritage Sites.
Orkney history of human life dates back 12,000 years. This remote Unesco World Heritage site offers a fascinating insight into human development through the ages.
Wilderness Guide and Orkney expert, Lorraine Mccall reveals the basics of ancient Orkney history throughout the Neolithic period.
The Orkney archipelago is a unique mixture of ancient and modern. These magical islands are a dream for archaeologists, birdwatchers, historians, divers, storytellers, and those who love beaches and wild open spaces. They played an important part in both the first and second world wars and more recently have been at the forefront of developments in wave and tidal power.
The Neolithic Heart of Orkney is a Unesco World Heritage site and it is this great heritage that we are going to look at in more detail:
12000 years ago the last ice age was in retreat. With the retreat of the ice came the arrival of the Hunter Gatherers from the south. It may have been possible to walk from the British Mainland on to Orkney during this process. At this time Orkney was not an archipelago but one island.
Scotland’s isles and islands are where Scottish Gaelic culture is at its richest, not to mention there’s plenty of sheer beauty and remoteness to these regions.
Scotland is known for many things: romantic castles, the formidable Highlands, kilts, and the Loch Ness Monster, among many others. Whether for the natural landscapes, rich cultural sites, or something kitschier, Scotland ranks high on many travelers’ itineraries. Many visitors base their trip around Edinburgh with perhaps a day-trip or two to the countryside, but this is only a small part of Scotland’s charm. Scotland’s isles and islands are where Scottish Gaelic culture is at its richest, not to mention there’s plenty of sheer beauty and remoteness to these regions. Scotland incorporates 790 islands, so we’ve broken down the main archipelagos and isles down by region.
Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides
Travel with your kids can broaden their understanding of other people and societies. Expand the whole family’s cultural horizons on these inspiring trips.
Oman is an excellent and gentle introduction to the Middle East. Elegant Muscat (where buildings have to adhere to strict rules of traditional design) can give your kids an insight into a centuries-old way of life: join a dhow cruise or just sit and watch fishermen at work. Beyond the capital, there are mud-brick villages to explore, forts and castles to battle in, and souks where your kids can hone those haggling skills… before rounding off the trip with some relaxing time at the beach. However, the thing your family will most remember is the embracing welcome of the Omanis you meet.
We increasingly live in small, mass-produced homes that hold no intrinsic meaning. Smart homes promise efficiency but offer even more detachment from the spaces we inhabit.
There is a comforting, predictable blandness to the promotional videos that accompany the launch of almost any technology product or service these days. All these videos for phones, earphones, apps, tablets, smartwatches, and fitness trackers feature the same upbeat pleasant music, soothing youthful voice-overs, and bright, happy people living straightforward, compartmentalized lifestyles.
You wake up, change into running clothes, step outside, smile, run, smile, stop running, smile, check your smartwatch, log the time, smile, the end. It is all very efficient and smooth and effortless.
With spellbinding natural beauty and invigorating landscapes the Orkney Isles are like no other archipelago. Why not see what all the fuss is about with our top ten things to do?
1. Go Island Hopping
Orkney is an archipelago of over 70 islands but only 20 of those are inhabited. Of a total population of 21,000 the majority live on the Orkney Mainland and some islands only have 3 or 4 inhabitants. There are so many islands to explore so here are a couple we often visit on our Orkney Isles walking trips for starters:
- On Rousay we love the fascinating shoreline walk that is packed with history. Enjoy exploring remnants of the iron age, medieval and viking settlements as well as a 4,000 year old cairn.
Ten of Scotland’s best visitor attractions have been nominated for the BBC Countryfile Magazine’s annual awards.
The magazine has asked a panel of experts to nominate their favourite holiday spots from across the UK, including a substantial number of Scottish destinations.
Across the twelve award categories, ten Scottish tourist attractions have been nominated by a panel of the Britain’s most respected travel, nature and outdoors writers and broadcasters.
VisitScotland Chief Executive, Malcolm Roughead said: “It’s wonderful that once again so many great examples of the superb quality and range of Scotland’s tourism assets have been shortlisted in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards.
Orkney attraction is the only Scottish site nominated in BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2017.
The prehistoric village of Skara Brae, on Orkney, is the only Scottish visitor attraction in the running to be named Heritage Site of the Year in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards.
Bestselling author and travel writer, Bill Bryson was tasked by the magazine to nominate his top five heritage sites from across the length and breadth of the country, representing the UK’s historic environment.
Members of the public have until Tuesday 28th February to cast their vote online and choose a winner.
Skara Brae, which forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, is up against strong competition in the Heritage Site of the Year award category.