This isn't really a "Tourist Trap", just a piece of advice for travellers to know what to expect and avoid any inconvenience.
We've done a lot of driving and hiking around the Scottish Highlands and plan to do more in the future. It's a fantastic area to explore, even if you don't have a clear destination in mind… in fact, these are the days when you often "stumble upon" a special sight or place that's off the beaten path and not to be found in every guide book.
On our first trip to Scotland we noticed within 2-3 days that - unlike the cities - the little villages of the Highlands run at a different pace of life and have a different time table. This becomes very evident when looking for a place to eat and in the initial days of our road trip we found ourselves "stranded" without lunch a few times.
The people you see on the photo are travellers we met one afternoon at a small corner shop / convenience store in Invermoriston (near Fort Augustus) who were as hungry as we were, so they ended-up buying a few packets of crisps (i.e. potato chips) and some chocolate.
On another day were stopped at 4 different restaurants on our way back from Oban to Inverness and all told us the same: no food until dinner time! Eventually we came across a McDonald's drive-through and had to admit defeat by ordering a veggie burger.
Unique Suggestions: --> Most Bed & Breakfasts, Guest Houses and Restaurants in the rural parts of Scotland will serve lunch from 12midday to approx. 2:30pm... and then the kitchen is closed until dinner time around 6:00pm.
So if you're looking for a late lunch or a snack it's best to visit a supermarket before you set-off and stock up on sandwiches, fruits, yoghurts, cereal bars and anything else that's easy to eat on the go.
Fun Alternatives: Once in a while you may come across a small family-run establishment that will be glad to switch-on their stove and cook you a late lunch, but mostly between the hours of 2:30pm and 6:00pm the most you find is maybe a slice of cake or a scone.
So from now on, whenever we drive up into the great unknown, we do so with a bag full of snacks and munchies ;-)
According to a BBC survey of the year 2005, a third of US tourists who were asked about their upcoming trip to Scotland said they believed the haggis was a creature. The survey also revealed that almost a quarter of those questioned thought that they could go on a hunt & catch the country's most famous dish... OK then!
Traditionally, Haggis hunting season opens in January, 2 weeks prior to Burn's Night Supper (Jan. 25th), the day where the demand for freshly caught Haggis reaches its peak amongst the people of Scotland!
Haggi (plural of Haggis) live in the mountains of Scotland and have 2 legs on the right shorter than the 2 legs on the left. This makes them run around the mountains in a clockwise direction. The only way to catch them (shooting is not an option, as they'll burst!) is by chasing them into a Glen (=valley) where they can do nothing but run around in a circle.
Here's the method of cooking:
1) Make sure that Haggis is fresh... and dead. This is best done by giving it an overdose of cheap, American "whiskey" or any Scottish single malt that is younger than 6 yrs old.
2) Wash the Haggis in cold & then warm water, soak overnight.
3) Wash, pluck, shave and then boil the animal for 2 hours, with its windpipe hanging over the side of the pot to drain excess liquid.
4) Cut off excess gristle, remove the windpipe and the legs, then mince the creature's heart, lungs and liver.
5) Mix all together with the oats, salt, pepper and stuff back into the Haggis.
5) Boil for another 3 hours. Then serve with mashed turnips and creamed potatoes!
Unique Suggestions: *
Get smart, educate yourself and have some fun on these websites:
The History of Haggis:
Humerous Facts about the Haggis:
The "official" Haggis Hunt website:
Fun Alternatives: *
Attend a Haggis & Whisky tasting tour instead.
Or attend a Scottish Cooking class instead!
Or go to an annual Haggis Hurling/Tossing Championship!
The present World Record for Haggis Hurling has been held by Alan Pettigrew for over 18 years. He threw a 1lb 8oz haggis an astonishing 180 feet 10 inches on the island of Inchmurrin, Loch Lomond in August 1984.
Try your hand at Haggis Hurling online:
And here are the official rules of Haggis Hurling:
If you are buying anything in the many woollen mills around Scotland using your credit card watch which currency they do the bill in. The exchange pound/euro they use is very high. They should ask which currency you want to pay in before ringing up the amount. In several shops we were in they did but in the Jedburgh woollen mill they did not and I was too slow and only realised what had happened too late..... cost me a couple of pounds extra on the bill.
Unique Suggestions: say straight away what currency you want the bill in.
YOU ARE A TERRORIST.Oops! I meant ‘You are a Tourist'! See how easy that mistake was to make. Well the Metropolitan Police in their infinite wisdom have decided that you may want to report ‘Odd picture taking’. Let’s see. You see someone taking pictures of their food, bus stops, train stations and major landmarks. It’s a Virtual Tourist Member working on their tips! Or is it? Consider yourself a suspect.
I have included 2 pictures that I have been warned verbally about.
Picture 1) The Police Poster and telephone number
Picture 2) People making Sushi. A policeman made me show him my pictures and warned me not to do in anymore. This is a Sushi place inside Victoria Station in London
Picture 3) A poster in a HSBC bank in London. An employee came running out and said I could not take this photo. The poster says ‘Welcome to the UK’. Hardly.
I am all for vigilance and security. I am against stupidity. See what you think.
BBC NEWS STORY
Unique Suggestions: Carry your new VT cards and practice this phrase: “I know my rights and I want to telephone my Mum”.
Please people, face it, Nessie just isn't there.
Don't you think it would have been found by now? Loch Ness isn't exactly the Atlantic Sea, and they have found much more interesting things there.
Some actually believe that Loch Ness Monster sightings in by gone times were when the circus travelling to Inverness stopped by the loch and let the Elephants out into the water. So with the elephant walking underwater, the hump of its back shows above the water, seemingly a hump on nessies back, with the Elephants trunk above the water to breath, seemingly nessies head and neck.
Unique Suggestions: I wouldn't encourage you not to visit Loch Ness, as it is a beautiful place, but just don't get sucked into the touristy hype about it all, you will only be let down if you shell out for a boat ride, only to, as ever, not find Nessie. (That doesn't mean you should dampen the kids spirit about it all, they love a good fantasy story!)
We don’t tip in Britain. Get over it. There is a reason there is no place to leave a ‘gratuity’ on credit card bills or your server tells you not to bother. In the UK service workers are paid full wages unlike restaurant waiters in North America. I should know; I was a waiter! Tipping can be severely counterproductive here. Also, if you do tip, especially by card, the tip is kept by the owners! The staff will never see that. There are also a lot of establishments that put a 10% ‘Service’ charge on already. So you could end up ‘tipping’ the owners twice! Do not do it.
If you really feel the need, slip 5-10% in cash DISCRETELY to the server. I watched the owner of a restaurant once take the money right out of the waiter's pocket and scream at him. By the way, don’t expect good or fast service. Welcome to queuing.
Need a telephone number in Britain? That’s going to cost you! A few years ago the Directory Enquiries number ‘192’ was privatised and now there are over 100 options. Some will cost you more than £1 for a phone number! I recommend not using 118 118. They do the most marketing, but they certainly are not cheap. They charge you 49p for answering the phone and 9 pence a minute to actually talk to you.
Unique Suggestions: Try 118 848. They charge a flat 27 pence and will give you 3 numbers.
Look here to compare tariffs:
When visiting the Edinburgh Castle, you will find that there are free guided tours that start regularly (IIRC, on the half hour). Skip renting the audio guide...the guided tour is more interesting and makes the audio tour relatively redundant and a waste of money.
Get in - get out - and nobody gets hurt. The only city in Scotland I didn`t particularly like - there is not much to see. The only advantage is the proximity to Loch Ness (though Loch Ness itself isn`t very spectacular either if Nessie doesn`t show up).
Sorry....but Nessie was kind of a tourist trap. My dad's comment: "at least at Disney World there would have been a plastic dino coming out of the lake every half hour and blown smoke!"
Unique Suggestions: We took a picture in front of the purple plastic Nessie to be able to say we've been there
Fun Alternatives: Keep going along the lake, past Inverness and check out Culloden and the Clava Cairns. Much more interesting
Funny enough, i wouldn't try to dissuade anybody from visiting Loch Ness. The novelty enough is worth a visit but just to warn you, don't expect much. There are a few tourist shops that sell gaudy Nessie toys and other than that, thats all.
The entrance fee to this palace is 9 pounds and to be honest I don't get very excited when I see the bed a queen has slept in or the room where some people had dinner in espescially not for that price!
Another con is that you have to go through the palace with bus- and busloads of people.
But if you are into seeing how royalties lived this is not a tourist trap!
Unique Suggestions: Like in said my "things to do" tips to do tip there is a ruin of a very old Abbey attached to the palace which is definitely worth seeing!
Fun Alternatives: There are heaps of alternatives in this beautiful city!
The closest one to this palace is Holyrood Park which you can see in my "things to do" tip.
This museum shows the creation of earth , animals , ice , lava.
I thought it will be much more interesting - spend your money and time on something else...very boring.
Unique Suggestions: Try to stay away from the animals and dont get eaten like me ;-)
Fun Alternatives: Walk in the royal mile and enjoy your trip
I agree that Loch Ness is not as pretty as some of the other lochs however I still found it to be quite lovely. I also enjoyed being able to climb the tower at Urqhardt Castle - although it's a little scary as you go up the old stone steps and all you have is a rope to hold on to. I took some beautiful pictures there and while it is touristy, I didn't mind as I was a tourist. The Nessie exhibit is pretty cheesy but it was also interesting to learn about all the investigations as to whether or not Nessie exists.
Unique Suggestions: Stayed at Craigdarroch House Hotel near Foyers which overlooks Loch Ness. It was a wonderful, cozy family-run hotel with great food. Everyone I met at the hotel was pleasant and gave me some great tips about what to see. My room overlooked Loch Ness and the sunrise was just beautiful.
Fun Alternatives: The single track road on the Foyers side of Loch Ness is very scenic and there is not much traffic. Stop and hike down to the Falls of Foyers. Also there is a beautiful old cemetery that overlooks the loch.
To my opinion this place is a big tourist trap.
The movies is a little bit boring and we left in the middle of the movies to enjoy the lake.
Unique Suggestions: Buy a nessie doll
Fun Alternatives: Leave the museum and go to see the lake
Initial Enquiries All my inquiries made prior to and after the booking were very promptly attended...more
I think it's a good test for a hotel to stay there for several days in a row, especially at a time...more
6 Union Grove, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, AB10 6SY, United Kingdom
Good for: Solo
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