Lonely Planet have announced that Scotland is in the top 3 countries destined for an epic 2014. It’s hard to compete with the likes of the World Cup (Brazil) and penguins (Antartica), who grabbed the top two spots.
That’s still mighty impressive don’t you think?
So, what made Scotland deserving of this accolade?
The country’s buzzing cities and stunning scenery have plenty to offer visitors, combined with an incredible calendar of events and Scotland looks set for a year-long celebration.
Those are the words of Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 contributor. As a UK site, we’re a wee bit biased so let’s see explore what delights are in store for visitors to Scotland next year.
In July the 20th Commonwealth Games will kick off in Glasgow. It might not be the Olympics, but some big names will be there.
Usain Bolt for one.
Photo by Nick Webb
British golden girl, Jessica Ennis
Photo by JJ Vico Bretones
And you can expect big support for Scottish athletes like Michael Jamieson.
Beyond the games, there is a large cultural programme being laid on. Here’s a taster of what to expect:
Glasgow has undergone a multi-million pound facelift.
Structures sprouting up along the Clyde have transformed the waterfront. Here’s the Glasgow Tower and Glasgow Science Centre.
Photo by Stuart Beattie
There are new bridges like Clyde Arc.
And Tradeston Bridge.
Photo by Kilian Seifried
Here’s Billy Connolly who knows a thing or two on how the city has changed over the years.
For any of you with Scottish heritage, Scottish last names or simply wish you were Scottish, 2014 is your year.
Homecoming Scotland 2014 is an open invitation to all to return to Scotland and celebrate everything that’s great about being Scottish.
There’s a year-long timetable of events and activities to showcase all that’s great about Scotland; food & drink events, outdoor activities plus spectacular arts, cultural and ancestral heritage to explore.
Here’s what coming back to Scotland means for one American.
One event is an orienteering contest taking place around a number of Scottish castles, of which one is the beautiful Stirling Castle.
Photo courtesy of Historic Scotland
Welcome to the small town of Auchterarder.
A few miles down the road Scotland will be hosting the Ryder Club at the famed Gleneagles hotel golf course. If you like golf there is no better tournament to be in the crowd for!
There is also the small matter of a referendum on the issue of independence from the United Kingdom.
The most gothic city outside Transylvania
That’s how the Lonely Planet described Edinburgh and you can see why. This is the Scott Monument, also known as The ‘Gothic Rocket’. (more photos)
Photo by Andrew Bowden
A peek inside St Giles’ Cathedral (more pictures)
Photo by Lawrence OP
There are of course the annual favourites, such as the Highland Games, taking place from May to September.
You can see a caber being tossed.
Photo by papaj0e
Or a sheaf.
Photo by Brent Eades
At most events you won’t be short of a rendition or two of Scotland the Brave or Amazing Grace.
There is also the fantastic Edinburgh festival, a collection of arts and culture festivals that is the largest of its kind in the world!
Wander the streets and catch a varieties of performers.
Away from the cities, the beauty of Scotland will always be there for you.
Places like Cairngorms National Park.
Photo by SwaloPhoto
Or The Isle of Skye.
Photo by Andrew Norelli
Did we mention castles? Here’s another beauty. Scotland has some of the finest castles in the world. Judge for yourself.
Photo Ralph Stewart
And let’s not forget the people, if you’re thinking of visiting Scotland next year or anytime, you’ll be sure of the warmest of welcomes.
So here’s to Scotland for a fantastic 2014 ahead. If you were ever mulling over a trip, next year would be a very good time!