Home to inspiring historic figures like William Wallace (brought to life by Mel Gibson in Braveheart), Mary Queen of Scots and writer Robert Louis Stevenson, the country also gave us tartan, bagpipes, golf and single-malt scotch. Plus, how can you not love a country whose official animal is the unicorn?
Wedding Requirements Scotland’s natural beauty is enhanced by its ease: There are no residency requirements, and no language barrier. Religious and spiritual ceremonies can be performed anywhere, as long as the celebrant agrees. Also, because Scotland’s weather is so unpredictable and the summer season is so short, outdoor venues get booked far in advance, so plan ahead. Forego the champagne and make your wedding toast with single-malt scotch whisky; the country has approximately 100 distilleries.
What to Do
Edinburgh Scotland’s capital city is dominated by a thousand-year castle that sits high on a hill in the city center. Make this your first stop on a city tour, both for the historical overview (the austere St. Margaret’s chapel dates to the 12th century, and is the city’s oldest structure) and the incredible vistas. There’s plenty to see outside the castle walls, too, from the winding, narrow streets of medieval Old Town to the stately Georgian townhomes in the New Town district. Book a hotel within walking distance of the Royal Mile, a cobblestone street lined with shops and restaurants that leads down from the castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, a museum and the private residence of Britain’s ruling family. The city’s population nearly doubles every August, thanks to the famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest festival for the performing arts.
Inverness and the Scottish Highlands Scotland’s cities are fascinating, but to get to know the country’s soul, head north. A boating tour of famed Loch Ness is worth it for the beauty alone. Further north is the quaint town of Inverness, where rolling hills are great for hiking and stately manor houses-turned-inns provide royal accommodations.