Countdown to Commonwealth Games offers the perfect opportunity to explore Scotland

Today, Monday April 14, marks exactly 100 days to go to the XX Commonwealth Games*. To celebrate the occasion, VisitScotland, the national tourism body for Scotland, has unveiled a list of the 100 Brilliant Things to do in Scotland that everyone must experience whilst in the country during this amazing year.

With so much excitement building around the big event in Glasgow, the city offers the perfect gateway to exploring the rest of Scotland during 2014. Whether it's a relaxing afternoon spent walking on a deserted beach in the Highlands or one of Scotland's Islands; an adventurous journey on a bike around the south of Scotland or by water-ski in Loch Lomond or Perthshire; a step back in time during a visit to one of Scotland's many historic sites; or a visit to one of the many cultural events taking place during Homecoming Scotland 2014. The world is your oyster! (Or should that be a fresh langoustine from Scotland's Seafood Trail?!)

Brilliant Moments...

Brilliant moments are to be made whilst enjoying experiences that are exclusive to Scotland. Visitors can find their own piece of the country whilst exploring the stunning Achamore Gardens on the Isle of Gigha, or the remote beach at Achemelvich in Sutherland.   There are also unique sights to behold such as Fingal's Cave on the Isle of Staffa (said to have inspired Mendelssohn's 'Hebridean Overture'), not to mention the Aurora Borealis, better known as the Northern Lights. The Caithness coast, Orkney Islands, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides are among the best places to see them.

Only in 2014...

Along with the Commonwealth Games, Scotland will welcome visitors to a variety of other once-in-a-lifetime events in 2014. Gleneagles in Perthshire will see the world's golfing elite take over the Hotel and Golf Resort during September 2014, not to mention hundreds of golfing fans. There are more than 700 events in the Homecoming Scotland 2014 calendar including the World Sheepdog Trials in Tain, and the slightly more toothy Coll of the Sharks Festival at the Isle of Coll. For anyone who has ever wanted to know if it's how high, how far or how straight the caber lands is important in a caber toss** there is the Highland Homecoming in Inverness.   There is also the chance to see the unique Kelpie sculptures, designed by Scottish sculptor Andy Scott, part of the John Muir Festival at the Helix Park in Falkirk.

Great landscapes and breathtaking views...

Scotland is home to some of the most amazing views and stunning scenery in the world, which have inspired artists and poets, as well as becoming the film sets for blockbuster films. Visitors can travel to the Falls of Lora at the end of Loch Etive and be in good company: filmmakers were so inspired by the views that the James Bond film Skyfall was filmed not far from away by Glen Etive. Words cannot do justice to other views in Scotland; from the panoramic views around Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness, to the sights when driving up the Pass of the Castle (Bealach na Ba) to Applecross, not forgetting the view of the Old Man of Hoy when on a scenic tour around the Orkney Islands.

Journey to the past...

From bustling cosmopolitan cities to fascinating historic locations - visitors to Scotland won't have to travel far to come across a location with a fascinating past. For example, just a short drive from Edinburgh is Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, in the Scottish Borders. Also not too far from Scotland's capital city is Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian. Used as a location for the film The Da Vinci Code it is rumoured to be the final resting place of the Holy Grail. Go further afield to visit other historic sites, such as Caerlaverock Castle in Dumfries & Galloway (one of Scotland's greatest medieval fortresses and the UK's only triangular shaped castle); follow Scotland's Castle Trail in Aberdeenshire; visit Glamis Castle in Angus (rumoured to be one of the most haunted locations in Scotland); as well as take a trip to Orkney, which is home to the 5,000-year-old Skara Brae Prehistoric Village and the Ring of Brodgar Stone Circle.

A taste of Scotland...

It's not just the sights and sounds that need to be experienced on a trip to Scotland, but also the unique tastes. Scotland is renowned for its fresh produce, unique whisky and natural larder. From Michelin-starred restaurants such as those in Leith in Edinburgh, to enjoying fish & chips sitting at Crail Harbour in the East Neuk in Fife, each meal eaten in Scotland is unique and memorable. Visitors can also get a taste for the 'water of life' at one of Islay's many distilleries on the world-famous Malt Whisky Trail through Speyside and perhaps combine it with haggis, neeps and tatties anytime during the year (not just on Burns Night!)

The full list of 100 things to do in Scotland is available to download at

For more information on visitor attractions and places to stay in Scotland, visit

For full details on the programme of events for Homecoming Scotland 2014, visit


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