July 7, 2020
We are often asked what our favorite destinations for the best cooking vacations are, and as I explained in our recent video (see below!), that…Read This Post
At The International Kitchen we’ve had many, many clients ask us for cooking vacations in the United Kingdom. While the United Kingdom does not scream “culinary destination” at first glance, the fact is it is one of the top places to visit for US travelers. And for our travelers, one of the key components of the trip is the food – whether you are traveling in Bangkok or Lima, Florence or Delhi. Are you expecting fish and chips, haggis, Yorkshire pudding? Well, you might find some of that, but you’ll also find wild herbs, an abundance of fresh fish and seafood, and a centuries-old tradition of game preparation.
While the food is a key component of any of our trips, there are a lot of other reasons to visit Undiscovered Scotland. No, you won’t go back in time and meet Outlander’s Jamie Fraser. But you will feel like you have stepped back in time. The rugged coastline, stark hills, and verdant forests will beckon you, while the friendly and colorful locals will charm you.
1) The Whiskey
Maybe we should have chosen a cultural site to list first, but let’s face it, food and drink is what we do! Just as you would explore the complex terroir on a wine tour of Bordeaux, so too will you delve into the ins and outs of Scotch production during your stay. It is a tradition as long standing as any in the wine-making industry, and the Scots take their whiskey very seriously! Part of the charm of our Undiscovered Scotland itinerary is that there are days when you can choose your excursion according to your interests. So you have the chance to make this a focal point of the week by visiting not only the whiskey distillery in Oban, but also the one in Tobermory, on the island of Mull, and by doing the “distillery walk” on the island of Islay and visiting the Laphroaig, Ardbeg, and Lagavulin distilleries.
2) Island of Mull
While one of the island’s most known sites was mentioned about (the Tobermory distillery), this island offers much more. As one of the largest islands of Scotland (and of the UK), Mull still has fewer than 3000 residents, most of them residing in Tobermory, the main town on the island. The long and varied history of Mull goes back thousands of years, which is readily evident in such sites as the stone circle at Loch Buie and Duart Castle, the 13th-century stronghold that has been home to the Clan MacLean since around 1350. The island is also a popular destination for naturalists for its wide array of flora and fauna, including the rare white-tailed eagle.
And let’s face it, taking a ferry to visit a Scottish castle is pretty much the stuff of fairy tales!
3) Kilmartin Glen
One of Europe’s most important sites for its concentration of Neolithic and Bronze Age sites, the Kilmartin Glen will make you think you have landed in the age of Merlin! There are hundreds of ancient monuments in a small area, including standing stones, cists, ring marks, and a henge monument. There is also a linear cemetery made up of 5 burial cairns. A cairn is a stack or pile of stones that can serve numerous purposes such as for landmarking, ceremonial purposes, or for burial monuments. In Kilmartin Glen the line of cairns runs over three miles and is one of the most striking features of the valley. (You can see another famous Scottish cairn, Clava cairn, pictured to the left.)
These of course are just the tip of the iceberg. What will truly stun you is the majestic and pristine beautify of this northern land, where the sky, sea, and rocks seem at their most elemental. It is a place that will stun and astound you.
Read to discover Undiscovered Scotland? Give us a call!
By Peg Kern
Sign up to receive our newsletter, which includes travel tips, recipes, promotions, and information on our best foodie tours.