How to holiday in Scotland: Scottish Travel A-Z

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Staycation : Scottish Travel A-Z

C is for Chip butty: Anstruther Fish Bar

We’re here to persuade you that you don’t need foreign beaches or backpacking tours to make the most of the summer. There’s a world of wonder right on your doorstep, with plenty of Scottish excursions to keep you entertained until autumn. Anna Millar presents our A-Z of staycationing ideas.

A is for Artland
Not for nothing is Jupiter Artland known as so much more than a sculpture park. Indeed, as the contemporary garden opens its gates for a second season, featuring commissioned works by many leading artists, co-directors Robert and Nicky Wilson continue to build an oasis of calm barely a few miles from Edinburgh’s city centre. The inspired project, set in the grounds of their Bonnington House estate in West Lothian, is, essentially, a gorgeous walk in the countryside sprinkled with some first class environmental art. This season look out for works by Alec Finlay, Laura Ford, Andy Goldsworthy, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Charles Jencks, Anish Kapoor, Peter Liversidge, Cornelia Parker, Marc Quinn and Shane Waltener, as well as an array of workshops, poetry mornings, picnics and artist talks. Jupiter Artland, Bonnington House, near Edinburgh, www.jupiterartland.org

B is for Buses
Sure, we know the corn factor is high, but why not embrace it and become a tourist for the day, in your very own city. Hop on, and off, an open-top bus and discover what’s happening, on your very own doorstep. City Sightseeing Edinburgh, 0131 220 0770; Glasgow, 0141 204 0444, www.city-sightseeing.com

C is for Chip butty
Few will argue that when it comes to the mighty fish supper, Fife’s finest cannot be beaten – better still, it affords a nice day out in one of the area’s prettiest fishing villages to boot. Head over to the scenic East Neuk of Fife for award-winning fish and chips from the Anstruther Fish Bar. The Smith family serve up fresh seafood, like haddock and crab, alongside local venison burgers and Scottish wine in their sit-in restaurant; alternatively, takeaway and enjoy the views. Anstruther Fish Bar, Fife, 01333 310518, www.anstrutherfishbar.co.uk

D is for Dinosaurs/Dali
Check out the stunning array of art, from the Scottish greats to the European masters, or learn about creatures of the past at the Kelvingrove, where fossils of many extinct animals, including dinosaurs are part of their extensive display. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, 0141 276 9599, www.glasgowmuseums.com

E is for Elephants
Head to Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park, and go wild (sorry) with elephants, lions, giraffes and bears. Get close to birds of prey and watch lemurs swing through the trees before having your own adventure in a wooden fort or pirate ship. Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park, Stirling, 01786 841396, www.blairdrummond.com

F is for Forth
Take in views of the Firth of Forth from the dance floor, on Forth Boat Tours’ evening dance cruises, including the Disco Boogie Cruise and the Jazz Cruise, complete with live jazz band, departing regularly from South Queensferry. If you need some liquid courage, the Forth Belle is fully licensed. Forth Boat Tours, South Queensferry, 0870 118 1866, www.forthtours.com

G is for Golf
Famous as the home of golf, St Andrews is a great place to play a round – or simply try your hand at a spot of putting, especially when the hallowed Old Course is open to the public. Don’t forget to explore the beaches, where great seafood and ice cream complete the seaside experience. St Andrews Visitor Information Centre, 01334 472021, www.standrews.co.uk

H is for High
Built within a former quarry, Edinburgh’s Indoor Climbing Arena in Ratho is something of a rock climber’s paradise. Located eight miles west of central Edinburgh, highlights include 50-foot high overhangs, a sheer 90-foot ascent and several 15-foot-high bouldering challenges. Adrenaline junkies can career 75 feet off the ground for aerial assault course, the SkyRide. South Plate Hill, Ratho, 0131 333 6333, www.adventurescotland.com

I is for Island
Marvel at the long history of Cramond, where its Roman past is evidenced by the fort and bathhouse, dating from 142AD. Later, pop into The Cramond Inn, a local pub owned by Samuel Smith and enjoy exclusive own label brews. Cramond Association, www.cramondassociation.org.uk

J is for (cliff) Jumping
Traditionally, jumping off cliffs has been the sole preserve of lemmings, but now, here in Scotland, you can give it a go yourself. Jumps start small, at about one metre, but if you get the hang of it and want to test yourself, it’s possible to go as high as eight metres in a morning. Adrenaline junkies Nae Limits hold lessons in areas throughout Scotland. Nae Limits, 08450 178177 or 01796 482600, www.naelimits.co.uk

K is for Kiting
Those looking for a little adventure could do worse than Traction Kiting, which harnesses the power of strong Scottish winds with kite-pulled buggies and land boards, that zoom along at speed. Lessons are available to the brave. Traction Kiting, 07732060459/07879626677, www.tractionkiting.co.uk

L is for Loch
Celebrate the bicentenary of Sir Walter Scott’s masterpiece, The Lady of the Lake, with Scottsland, a series of cultural and literary events taking place around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park this summer. Among these will be guided tours of the area and an evening concert of traditional Scottish music. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, 01389 722600, www.lochlomond-trossachs.org

M is for Monkey Around
Make like Tarzan and swing through the trees at the Go Ape adventure courses. With two locations in Scotland (Stirlingshire and West Lothian) and one of them featuring the two longest zip wires in Britain, each stretching 400m long and set over a 90ft waterfall. Go Ape, 0845 643 9215, www.goape.co.uk

N is for Nevis
Climb up to the summit of ‘The Ben’ for amazing views of the surrounding Highlands. The Pony Track provides an easy way to getting to the top, but if you prefer to stay on flat ground, head to nearby Loch Linnhe or the popular Ben Nevis distillery. Ben Nevis Distillery, 01397 700200, www.bennevisdistillery.com

O is for Osprey
The Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve is one of Scotland’s most popular sites for watching ospreys, and covers 98 hectares. Situated just 16 miles north of Perth and 2 miles north-east of Dunkeld just off the A923 Dunkeld to Blairgowrie road, it’s the perfect hangout for wildlife lovers. Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve, near Dunkeld, 01350 72733, www.swt.org.uk

P is for Panda
Edinburgh Zoo is currently planning to expand its family by bringing in Giant Pandas from China. Elsewhere, visitors can spend time with chimpanzees and monkeys in their interactive enclosures, and visit the only koalas in the UK. Grab a good spot and watch penguins waddle along as part of their very popular parade. Edinburgh Zoo, 0131 334 0171, www.edinburghzoo.org.uk

Q is for Queens
Glamis Castle has seen kings, queens and earls come and go, so soak up the historic atmosphere in the castle, the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, or roam its expansive gardens and grounds. Glamis Castle, Angus, 01307 840393, www.glamis-castle.co.uk

R is for River-bugging
Get strapped into an inflatable armchair masquerading as a ladybug and splash your way down the river with Splash White Water Rafting, based in Perthshire. Splash White Water Rafting, 01887 829706, www.rafting.co.uk

S is for Sculpture Walk
The gardens of the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art are well worth a visit even if you don’t venture inside the building, hosting as they do modern sculpture including the famous fusion of turf and art that is Charles Jenkes’ ‘Landform’. Belford Road, 0131 624 6200 www.nationalgalleries.org

T is for Trike
Turn heads on a Trike Tour, in a bright yellow three-seater motorbike that will take you on a personalised ride; alternatively let the whole family get in on the fun with a tour of Glasgow on the big red Cosybike, with its many seats and ‘boot’ for non-cyclists. Trike Tours Scotland, 0800 056 7779, www.triketoursscotland.com; Cosybike Scotland, 07789 912462, www.cosybike.co.uk

U is for Up
The northernmost balloon operation in the UK, Alba Ballooning offers classic hot-air balloon flights floating to 2000ft above the Lothian, Fife or Perthshire countryside. Check out the views, with a maximum of nine passengers on each trip. Flights usually take place a few hours after sunrise or a few hours before sunset, with around one hour in the air. For more call 0131 667 4251 or see www.albaballooning.co.uk

V is for Venus
Titian’s depiction of Venus in Venus Anadyomene is just one of many must-sees at the National Gallery of Scotland, the best collection of art in Scotland, including works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Degas. If you fancy some nosh afterwards, the resident Scottish Café & Restaurant serves up Scottish produce with views of Princes Street Gardens. The National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, 0131 624 6200, www.nationalgalleries.org

W is for Wheels
Head to the top of Edinburgh’s Ocean Terminal for a spin on your BMX, skateboard or inline skates at their ever-popular Transgression Park. Lessons and equipment hire are available for all three ‘freesports’ and there’s even a designated break dancing area. Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh, 0131 555 3755, www.transgressionpark.co.uk

X is for Xscape
In the slightly random location of Braehead lies probably one of the most action-packed shopping centres in the world. With its indoor snow slope, rock climbing wall, adventure golf, mini-rollercoaster and bowling alley, there’s plenty to keep the most playful of visitors happy. Xscape Braehead, 0871 200 3222, www.xscape.co.uk/braehead

Y is for Yacht
Step on board the Royal Yacht Britannia and make like royalty. As a former Royal Yacht, this ship has hosted important people like Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill – tread in their footsteps before an opulent tea at the Royal Deck Tea Room. Royal Yacht Britannia, Leith, 0131 555 5566, www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk

Z is for Zzzzzz
It’s a knackering old business this staycationing, so might we suggest some well earned R&R in one of the many parks, from Kelvingrove in Glasgow to Princes Street Gardens and Holyrood Park in Edinburgh.

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