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Scotland hacks: Top tips from the iKnow community

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The views at Dunskey Castle, near Portpatrick © Dumfries & Galloway Council/Mark Geddes

Everyone likes to steal travel tips from friends before visiting somewhere new.

Whether you’re on the hunt for the coolest cocktail bar in town, a laidback vegan hangout, an eye-popping viewpoint only seen by a lucky few, or a fascinating gallery exhibition – a friendly heads-up can go a long way.

Good news! We have lots of lovely new friends waiting to help you out in Scotland’s iKnow Community, as well as across our social media channels.

Here are some essential Scotland hacks for your next trip, as suggested by Scotland fans from near and far.

Hacks for… foodies


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@OutandaboutElaine: Fish and chips in Fife

Anstruther in the Kingdom of Fife has a wealth of lovely fish and chip shops with its picturesque setting. It is definitely hard to beat for one of the best places to sit outside and enjoy fish and chips in the fresh sea air!”

@Horizons: Favourite distillery tour

Edradour. Easy to get to, a charming tour, a super tasting room.”

@Emilyrjohnston: Coffee in Edinburgh

Peter’s Yard has been a favourite of mine for a long time. It’s filled with goodies that will set your heart a flutter. My favourite treats are the blueberry and vanilla buns. On the menu are Swedish bakes, with tasty sandwiches, soups and even pizza in their sister shop Soderburg. Alongside these tasty brunches, lunches and snacks, is a menu filled with teas, coffees and even a couple hot chocolates. It’s perfect to sit in when the weather is cold, or sit out at their tables that fill the Quartermile, braving the weather with a blanket around your legs.”

Find more foodie hacks.

Hacks for… a dream city break

@Samantha_Grant: Watching the sun go down in Edinburgh

“This spot is no secret, but it’s worth making the effort to visit Calton Hill as the sun begins to set.  If you’re lucky, you’ll be treated to a fabulous sunset, and what better place to watch it set than over the stunning historic buildings of Edinburgh. Everyone should enjoy an Edinburgh sunset at least once.”

@travelswithakilt: Getting around Glasgow 

“Once you are here, Glasgow‘s city centre is very walkable and the Subway system is a great option for getting to the west end in particular. Stops in the centre at Buchanan Street and St Enoch will take you on a very straightforward circular route to Hillhead or Kelvinbridge in the ever popular west end.”

@FullStopNextChapter: Making a base in Perth

“There are plenty of attractions to visit in Perth such as walks, castles and restaurants. A brilliant place to base yourself and do day trips – to St Andrews (about a 45-minute drive), Pitlochry (about a 35-minute drive), Edinburgh or Glasgow (about an hour by train or car). What I do enjoy about the ‘Fair City’ is there are lots of different events and festivals all throughout the year. Most of them are free.”

Find out more about Scotland’s cities.

Hacks for… discovering hidden beauty  

#scotland #highlands #waterfall #fallsoffalloch #lochlomond #trossachs #nationalpark #nature #roadtrip

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@Joolshornet: Unexpected scenic vistas

“For me, it’s Dumfries and Galloway – recently rediscovered this beautiful area, I’d forgotten how beautiful it is. Al fresco lunch in New Galloway in the sunshine, the Galloway Forest Drive on Raiders Road with a stop at a beautiful spot next to the River Dee, a drive down to the Mull of Galloway for a view of Ireland and the Isle of Man and a visit to Portpatrick.”

@VisitScotlandLyndsay: Magical waterfalls

“So, we get a lot of rain here in Scotland….but that also means we have spectacular waterfalls to go see! I recently visited The Falls of Falloch at the north end of Loch Lomond and after a week’s worth of heavy rain the 30 ft high falls were truly spectacular and the water cascading down into the river below could be heard from the car park. The falls are a short walk from the car park, but the walk along by the river Falloch is beautiful with some great wee places down by the river to have a picnic, but beware it is a deep and fast flowing river!”

@seafari1: Incredible natural features with extra added adrenaline

”It has to be the Corryvreckan Whirlpool! It’s one of the largest in the world and great fun!”

Find more awe-inspiring landscapes and nature

Hacks for… the perfect road trip

@Franky_RoRo: East Lothian’s coastline

“It’s great for lazy sunny days and there’s just something magical about East Lothian in the sunshine, it just glows.… I’d encourage a detour if you end up on the A1. As long as you head towards the sea you’ll be heading in the right direction to the coastal villages and attractions e.g Gullane Golf Club, Dirleton Castle, Tantallon Castle and stunning clean beaches and dunes!”

@FraserM: The A83

“A drive along Loch Lomond before taking the A83 through Arrochar, up Glen Croe to the Rest and Be Thankful, then rounding Loch Fyne to Inveraray is hard to beat. However, my favourite section of road has to be heading west on the Road to the Isles (A830) when you go underneath the Loch Nan Uamh viaduct to be met with amazing views.”

@Fishypro: The hidden Highlands

“My favourite Scottish drive is between Dalwhinnie and Spean Bridge. Leave the A9 at Dalwhinnie and follow the A889 to Laggan and then join the A86 which goes past Loch Laggan (of Glenbogle fame – from the BBC series Monarch of the Glen) and continue till Spean Bridge. I find the views are spectacular.”

Find more amazing road trips.

Hacks for… animal lovers

'Excuse me. Is this the Road to Applecross?'

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@IngeKleefman: Highland coo spotting

“Today we went to Riverside Nature Park and were able to spot three beautiful Highland cows there. I wouldn’t have seen them if it wasn’t for this forum, thanks so much!”

@MogMJMR: Red squirrels near Edinburgh

“For red squirrels within easy distance of Edinburgh, I would recommend the Tweed Valley Forest Park. Glentress Forest, just outside Peebles can be reached from Edinburgh in one hour on the x62 bus (a service every 30 minutes) and the forest has a wildlife watch centre so if you don’t see one in person you will still find out about the squirrels in the area.”

@Leodhasach: Eagles overhead

“A good place for golden eagle is Coignafearn near Tomatin in the Highlands. You can never guarantee anything when it comes to wildlife but Coignafearn seems to be as near a dead cert as you’ll get anywhere. There’s usually at least two that can be seen there, along with mountain hare and ravens.”

Find more species in the Scottish Wildlife Series.

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