If Scotland isn’t already on your radar, this is the year it should be. The Year of Homecoming Scotland is packed with plenty of events and celebrations showcasing the best of Scotland—including high-profile events like the XX Commonwealth Games and The 2014 Ryder Cup—making it the perfect time for your clients to get a taste of the culture.
1. Let’s start with the XX Commonwealth Games, a series of sporting events being held this year in Glasgow from July 23 through Aug. 3. A million tickets are available for the Games to see athletes from around the world compete in 17 different sports. Visitors staying in Glasgow during those two weeks can also take part in festivities surrounding the games, celebrating music, theater and art.
2. From Sept. 26-28, golf aficionados can catch The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. Gleneagles, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, is one of the top luxury golf resorts in Scotland. The event will kick off with a gala concert on Sept. 24 at Glasgow City Centre with music and film stars from Scotland and abroad.
3. Throughout the Homecoming, travelers can join in festivals of all types, from walking and cycling festivals, to foodie and whisky events. The John Muir Festival, which takes place April 17-26 across Scotland, celebrates the naturalist with events and performances along the 134-mile John Muir Way. The Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts, meanwhile, is an 18-day event throughout Glasgow starting April 4 with exhibitions from international and local artists.
4. History buffs will love exploring Scottish stately homes, like Blair Castle and Gardens in Perthshire, which dates back to 1269. While touring the castle, they’ll learn about 700 years of Scottish history and the dukes and earls of Atholl.
This year also marks the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn and travelers can catch re-enactments on Bannockburn battlefield, with over 300 historians preparing events three times per day. The Homecoming Scotland signature event also features Scottish music with folk and contemporary artists; a food and drink village to taste Scottish produce, whiskies and ales; a children’s program with medieval Highlands games and sports; and the chance for visitors to trace their Scottish roots.
5. Scotland is a mecca for outdoor activities with everything from land yachting, archery and horseback riding to skiing and snowboarding. In the winter, one of the top activities for your snowbound clients is an expedition in the Cairngorms National Park. With Scotland Mountain Holidays, travelers can embark on a snow-hole trip for four nights to build snow holes and climb the second tallest mountain in Britain, Ben Macdui.
For more information, visit visitscotland.com. For more on Scotland, see Nostalgic for Europe from the December 2013 issue. Look for the March issue of Recommend with a special Great Britain Travel Planner.