© Bree Anne/Unsplash
Why Scotland should be top of your travel to-do list in 2024
Breath-taking mountains, rugged coastline, ancient traditions and a warm welcome are all ready and waiting for you, here on home soil
Scotland is a holiday destination that’s been hiding in plain sight. Its most famous cities lie just over the English border, while a bit further north you’ll find iconic islands and mystery-shrouded lochs. Further still, the Highlands provide magnificent natural escapism and possibly even a glimpse of the Northern Lights. On top of all that, a trip to Scotland is wonderfully low-stress – no exchange rates, no roaming charges, no adjusting your clock. You can board a Princess cruise in Southampton with as much luggage as you like and relax immediately.
The country is having a very overdue moment in the spotlight, too – read on to find out why a holiday in Scotland in 2024 will provide a winning combination of convenience and unforgettable discovery.
See Glasgow's biggest art collection at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum © Glasgow Life
Art for everyone
The city of Glasgow is a haven for art lovers at any time of year, but in June 2024 it has an extra-special offering. Glasgow International Festival of Contemporary Art was last held in 2021, so visitors can expect an even more imaginative collection of exhibitions, performances and publications this year. Taking place from 7th-23rd June, the tenth iteration of the festival will involve work from more than 70 artists, including a project from Glasgow-born artist Susan Philipsz OBE. You can also visit the city’s biggest art collection at any time of year on our Highlights of Glasgow and Kelvingrove Gallery excursion.
Big belly laughs
Any comedy fan would want to spend the whole of August in Edinburgh, as its world-renowned Fringe festival showcases global talent and ground-breaking performances from the next big thing. Plus, tickets to shows are always reasonably priced. Before you start seeking out festival venues, get your bearings on an Edinburgh Castle and City Drive excursion.
One theatre highlight of the Edinburgh Fringe in 2024 is Dear Billy, a fond and ridiculously funny love letter to Scotland’s favourite comic, Billy Connolly, originally announced to mark his 80th birthday. Following a hugely successful run in 2023, it will be touring Aberdeen, Glasgow and Inverness, before settling in Edinburgh as a key part of the festival.
Get hands on at Shetland's colourful knitting festival © Shetland Wool Week
Shetland is actually an archipelago of islands, and is the northernmost region in the UK. As an ancient and remote community, it has developed many special traditions, perhaps the most recognisable being the Fair Isle knit. The skills involved in making the intricate, colourful clothing are celebrated during Shetland Wool Week (29th September to 5th October 2024), where there’ll be music, workshops, talks and story-sharing to accompany the vast quantities of wool that comes from the hardy little sheep that roam the islands. And if animal life is your thing, be sure to see the region’s other adorable residents on a panoramic drive to see Shetland ponies with Princess.
The brand-new Perth Museum will open spring 2024 © Greg Holmes
Cultural highlights in the Highlands
It’s the obvious gateway to breath-taking Highland Perthshire, but this year Perth gains an excellent reason to stay in the city itself. Just over an hour's drive from Edinburgh, Perth's century-old City Hall has had a £27 million makeover and will open this Easter as the Perth Museum. It will be home to the Stone of Destiny, which was used in the inauguration of Scotland’s monarchs for centuries, before being stolen from Scone Abbey by King Edward I of England.
Lewis – the northern part of Lewis and Harris, the biggest island in the Outer Hebrides – is fiercely proud of its Gaelic culture, as demonstrated at its annual celebration of traditional music, HebCelt. The four-day festival takes place from 17th-20th July 2024 and promises a line-up packed with globally renowned artists as well as the finest local talent. If your holidays in Scotland 2024 don’t coincide with the festival, you can find live music performed in the pubs and hotels in Lewis’ biggest town, Stornoway, all year round.