The ASF is delighted the Scotch Malt Whisky Society will be our Whisky Ambassadors for our 22nd Burns Night Celebration on Friday January 20th hosting the Whisky tasting prior to the Burns Supper and helping to oversee the Address to the Haggis presentation.
We are also pleased to present a unique Holiday offer – from now through January 31st, 2017, ASF members will receive a special discount on membership to The Scotch Malt Whisky Society – a perfect gift for the holiday season.
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is a private members’ club offering the world’s widest selection of single cask, single malt whisky. Bottled at cask strength without the addition of water, coloring, or filtration.
Founded in 1983 by a small group of friends celebrating the excellence of single malts from a single cask, the Society is based in Edinburgh with a membership today of over 30,000 whisky lovers.
ASF Members now have the opportunity of Special Membership pricing AND
– Access to the purchase exclusive single cask whiskies, only available through SMWS.
– Access to the SMWS Member Rooms in Edinburgh, Leith and London
– Invitations to tasting and events
– Quarterly subscription to Unfiltered –
· Membership with welcome kit of three carefully selected 100ml single cask, single malt whiskies, plus other Society goodies;
SMWS Price $229 : ASF Special Member $165 + tax and shipping
· Membership without welcome kit giving a Member preferred pricing on all casks
SMWS Price $129 : ASF Special Member $95
MEMBERS CONTACT THE ASF OFFICE to receive your Code – Not yet a Member, Join today and take advantage of this great membership offer.
Are you in Scotland and wondering where you can enjoy a great Thanksgiving – with Turkey, pecan or pumpkin pie? Do not despair – you can still enjoy Thanksgiving food!
This time of year, many Scottish restaurants have festive menus that feature full turkey dinners. If it’s not turkey you’re after, but just a bit of classic American grub (hot dogs anyone?), there are plenty of American-style eateries in Scotland’s cities as well.
But with Scotland’s own unique cuisine and so many phenomenal restaurants to choose from, maybe Haggis could become your new Thanksgiving tradition!
For those of you still craving a classic American feast, we have provided a list of Thanksgiving Dinner options from two of Scotland’s big cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow. So tuck in, enjoy, and be thankful!
Where to go in Edinburgh on Thanksgiving …
Twenty Princes Street is an award-winning contemporary Scottish restaurant, with a Modern Scottish menu, set in a Victorian building with skyline views.
With a festive menu on offer from November 22nd, you can start your Thanksgiving meal with one of the restaurant’s unique appetizers, such as Parsnip soup or Mulled Wine Pear & Lemon Ricotta Tart. Then move on to the main course, Ballotine of Turkey with apricot, cranberry, and sage stuffing, chipolatas in bacon, roast potatoes, glazed potatoes, and port jus.
If you are having Thanksgiving in Scotland it needs to be different .. and this modern twist on a classic holiday meal will surely leave you in the holiday spirit.
See the full menu, here.
The Three Sisters is a cozy pub with a casual atmosphere, and usually a lively crowd that spills out into the outdoor courtyard.
With sports games playing throughout the day, and drinks specials to draw in a crowd in the evening, you can celebrate Thanksgiving all day and night!
For Thanksgiving 2016, The Three Sisters is hosting a special event in which they’re serving up a roast turkey dinner, complete with mashed and roast potatoes, peas, and corn on the cob. Rather than pumpkin pie, they’ll be slicing up blueberry cheesecake.
With turkey to eat, beer to drink, and American football on the screen, you might just forget that you’re not in the States!
Find out more, here.
Although a full turkey dinner is not on the menu, “Native New Yorker” hot dogs, “Frontier Classic Nachos”, and “The Great American Mac & Cheese” are. They also serve American beers like Sam Adams, so you can wet your whistle American-style.
So enjoy a taste of the USA this Thanksgiving, even while you are so far from home! And if you try out the “Great American Pie of the Day”, it might just feel like a traditional Thanksgiving after all!
Read the menu, here.
Where to go in Glasgow on Thanksgiving …
Ad Lib is a cozy and casual US-style diner with two locations in the city, one in the City Centre, and one at Merchant City. The restaurant has an “American Classics” menu that includes dishes like burgers and fried chicken.
If you’re looking to skip Thanksgiving dinner and delve right into dessert, this menu also features two Thanksgiving staples: apple pie, and pecan pie.
However, their seasonal Christmas Menu does include a turkey dinner, so you can enjoy a full Thanksgiving feast. The dish is a turkey breast glazed with maple and chilli, and served with thyme gravy and all the trimmings. So if you want a casual Thanksgiving complete with turkey, pie, and a classic diner vibe, Ad Lib is the perfect destination.
Have a look at the menus, here.
The Bothy is a warm, welcoming restaurant in the West End of Glasgow that cooks up traditional Scottish dishes served by friendly, kilted staff. Although the restaurant serves Scottish cuisine, their festive menu features a unique – great – turkey dinner – with a Scottish twist!
The turkey is served with date and apple stuffing, pork chipolatas, and cranberry jus. Finish off your meal with a traditional Christmas pudding, or a decadent chocolate truffle cake. With an extensive wine and drinks menu, pick your poison and propose a toast to celebrating the USA in Scotland.
Read the menu, here.
TriBeCa, Glasgow – four locations to choose from ..
TriBeCa is a casual NYC inspired restaurant and bar that is decorated with hanging lights and posters of New York. The restaurant is instantly recognizable by the NYPD Cruiser and NYC Cab parked outside.
Rated highly for its brunch, TriBeCa is a great stop if you’d like to celebrate Thanksgiving with a big, New York style breakfast. The brunch menu features American-style pancakes and bacon, french toast, breakfast burritos, and more. Order a side home fries or pulled pork, and drink plenty of their bottomless coffee to wash it all down. At this rate, you’ll probably be stuffed until Christmas.
If Thanksgiving brunch wont cut it for you, TriBeCa will also be serving up a set menu on Thanksgiving, so you can spend your evening digging into a real turkey feast.
Have a look at the menus, here.
AND to one and all we wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.
The American-Scottish Foundation is proud to have a vibrant and growing platform of Arts and Culture programming, including our contribution to the Landmarks 50+ project.
Through this partnership, the ASF has developed the fascinating history of The Scots Who Built New York’s Landmarks, chronicling the contribution of Scottish Americans to the building of New York.
Recently, The Times of London published an article on how The American-Scottish Foundation® is embarking on this second phase of The Scots Who Built New York project with the development of an App and A Map. As The Times notes this will be so useful to visitors to the City, and here at the ASF, we are excited and proud to be undertaking this next phase of the project.
With research undertaken by Architect and Architectural historian John Kinnear, The American-Scottish Foundation has developed a photographic series of talks exploring the huge contribution of Scottish-Americans to the building of New York.
To date, the five The Scots Who Built New York lectures have reflected on eras of architecture as exemplified by a leading Scottish architect of the time. Noted within the research and talks are references to other contemporary, leading Scottish American architects.
Now, the Scots who built New York’s landmarks will literally be put on the map by the newest addition to the project. The Scots who created important buildings like Carnegie Hall and Penn Station will be celebrated by a Walking Tour App, and NYC Map. With our work around this project we will expand our research, noting additional Scottish-American Landmark buildings that were built over the last 350 years.
As ASF’s executive director, Camilla Hellman, explains, the research for the project has taken over 18 months. “Now we are looking to move on to create a city map and walking tour app which will allow visitors to discover the leading buildings that Scottish-Americans have been responsible for,” she said.
As The Scots Who Built New York project has shown, people are often amazed to learn how much of NYC’s famous skyline is the result of the innovative work of Scottish architects, developers, and engineers. According to Ms Hellman, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, the author and director of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Centre, said she has now come to realize that “all the leading landmarks in New York appear to have been built by Scots.”
The Scottish diaspora has truly been a part of New York’s fabric since the city’s early days. As John Kinnear notes, “Scottish-Americans and Scottish architects, in particular, have been a leading force in the developing of New York and remain so today. We are now looking to bring this important and fascinating history to a wider audience through the walking tour app and map, and ultimately, a coffee-table book entitled The Scots Who Built New York.”
The forthcoming project will spotlight various locations, like the designs of architect Charles McKim, including the Morgan Library and Museum, and the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia University. The map will also feature Carnegie Hall, which was financed by Scots philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, and the Empire State Building, which was designed by William Lamb.
Other highlights will include Gracie Mansion, which was originally built for Archibald Gracie of Dumfries, President Ulysses Grant’s mausoleum, which was designed by John Duncan, and St Andrew’s Golf Club, the oldest golf club in the US.
We are looking to have the App and Map for April 2017, to coincide with the Tartan Week celebrations that will take place in New York City at that time.
Would you like to join us as a Sponsor or Patron of the exciting next phase of this project?
Find out more about The Scots Who Built New York, and how you can support the project on the ASF website, here.
Images via americanscottishfoundation.com.
It’s Seafood Week in Scotland, and here at The American-Scottish Foundation we are celebrating by tucking into some delicious fish!
Seafood Week is an annual celebration of all things Scottish seafood taking place October 7-14. The week-long campaign celebrates the high quality and diversity of Scottish fish and shellfish. And what better way to celebrate than with a classic serving of golden-fried fish and chips?
Although the ASF is located in New York City, we still want to have our fish and chips (and eat them too)! Luckily, New York has plenty of restaurants that serve up an authentic fish fry. One bite of perfectly crispy cod, and you will think you are back in Scotland!
For all of you New Yorkers, or those of you currently visiting the Big Apple, this is the perfect week to give these four NYC Chip Shops a try.
Our first two picks for NYC Fish and Chips are Jones Wood Foundry and The Shakespeare, two restaurants where American-Scottish Foundation Members can enjoy benefits. Just show your ASF Membership Card and you can enjoy a free glass of wine or beer with your entree.
For those of us who are Anglophiles living in NYC, Jones Wood Foundry, a restaurant in the Upper East Side, tastes of home. Walk into to the dark, yet warm gastropub, order up one of their authentic British dishes, and you might believe you have been transported to a cozy UK pub! They serve their fish and chips the traditional way: beer battered cod paired with triple cooked chips, tartar sauce, and lemon. After you give their exceptional fish fry a try, you’ll have to go back for more. In keeping with the Scottish Seafood Week theme, your next order could be their organic Scottish salmon, or their wild Scottish sea trout! Don’t forget to bring your ASF Membership Card!
Browse their menu, here.
Located in Murray Hill, The Shakespeare is about as British as you would expect! Serving up beautiful British beers, classic UK bar bites like Scotch eggs, and weekly Sunday Roasts just like your mother used to make’’, you just know this place wont disappoint when it comes to its fish and chips. Beer battered and served with three-fried chips and tangy tartar sauce, the Shakespeare’s fish fry is among the best in NYC. Bring your ASF Membership Card to enjoy a complimentary beer with you chippy! The restaurant even hosts productions of Shakespeare plays, so you can enjoy your fish fry with a side of Hamlet or Macbeth!
Look at the menu, here.
For a taste of the UK in the heart of Greenwich Village, head to A Salt & Battery. The small spot is authentic down to the decor, with Union Jacks on the walls, a long, busy counter, and comfy, metal stools to balance on as you enjoy your chippy. They serve up a variety of fried fish served with thick-cut chips. With bottles of Sarson’s Malt Vinegar on every table, A Salt & Battery feels like a real UK chip shop. They even serve Scottish treats like deep-fried mars bars and Irn Bru!
Have a look at their menu, here.
Hoping to get a taste of the UK outside of Manhattan? The Atlantic Chip Shop is a great little spot in Brooklyn Heights, with classic British pub decor and plenty of screens to catch rugby, football and cricket games. The golden-fried fish melts in your mouth, and is served with thick chips, mushy peas, and plenty of salt and vinegar. Top it off with a British pint, as their is an extensive lists of English and Scottish beers to choose from, and even a fried mars-bar if you’re feeling cheeky!
Read the menu, here.
So there you have it: The American-Scottish Foundation’s pick of the top four fish and chips in New York City.
Celebrate Seafood Week by tucking into a chippy now, and let us know your favorite spots for Scottish eats in NYC!
Daily Record reporter, Paul English, recently spoke to Scottish photographer Ken Patterson of how his current photographic exhibit, “In the Footsteps of John Muir” came together and his journey to seeing it now a part of the Centennial Celebrations at Federal Hall, Wall Street, NYC
As Patterson notes … “All of America’s national park system came out of this determination by Roosevelt to preserve America’s wild places for future generations.
“John Muir had a very strong belief that by going outdoors, you actually went into something. He was quite spiritual, he referred to nature as God’s cathedral.”
AT THE heart of world finance on Wall Street, Americans are lining up to pay tribute to the Scotsman they regard as a hero for changing their country for the better.
Yet back in his homeland, the name of the man they regard as the father of modern environmentalism remains in relative obscurity.
A photography exhibition is being held in Federal Hall, a historic building in the centre of the financial zone, celebrating the life and legacy of a man who measured riches in nature’s bounty, not stocks and shares.
Muir was born in Dunbar, East Lothian , in 1838, crossing the Atlantic with his family 11 years later, landing in Wisconsin and growing up to become the father of the US National Park Service, who celebrate their centenary in August.
Fifer Ken Paterson’s exhibition in Manhattan is one among many events planned to mark it.
Ken’s show, In The Footsteps of John Muir, features the work of a Scottish photographer on whose life Muir had a profound and transformative impact many years after his death in 1914.
Ken has had a lifelong enthusiasm for outdoor activities, propelling him into the mountains around the world as a keen walker, rock and ice climber.
But it wasn’t until he was recuperating from a brain tumour in 2001 that he encountered the work of Muir, and grew to appreciate the restorative power of the Scot’s mantra.
Ken said: “Although I obviously had many difficulties, the experience of the brain tumour ultimately proved to be a positive one. When I got out of the hospital, I had to learn how to walk and obviously I couldn’t climb either.
“My thinking processes were fairly limited in those days. I went on the internet and typed in Yosemite, because it was a world centre of rock climbing, and every time I did that, I kept coming across the name of John Muir
Yosemite valley from tunnel view, Yosemite National Park, California, USA
“I was staggered when I came to realise I had lived my whole life mainly in Edinburgh, had been passionate about climbing and the outdoors, and yet I hadn’t heard of this guy.
“It made me think, ‘What is wrong with Scotland? Why are we singing songs about Bonnie Prince Charlie rather than John Muir?”
As his rehabilitation progressed, former newspaper photographer Ken took a trip to the footsteps of the revered conservationist, heading to Yosemite, the vast national park in California, in which the seeds of Muir’s legacy were sewn
Enthused by the wilderness, Ken found a way to reconnect with nature, a passion represented in the photos of his trip.
And in a bid to draw a connection between the American luminary and his Scottish heritage, Ken approached the American Scottish Foundation, co-organisers of the annual New York Tartan Week celebrations.
The photographs became part of the program of events in the 2005 jamboree, being exhibited in Central Park’s Arsenal Gallery and twice since then, including during Muir’s centenary and again this year.
Dad-of-two Ken, 59, said: “The outdoors played such an important part in my life and, after illness, getting back to that was very important to me.
“It was looking at Muir, reading about what he had done, which rekindled my passion and determination to get back out there and do it.
“Muir talks about his childhood and the various things he did, climbing on to the roof of his house. I did that when I was young. He got himself stuck at the top of a mountain in a storm and the same thing happened to me in the Alps.”
Photographer Ken Patterson : his photography exhibition In The Footsteps of John Muir opens in New York this month.
Ken’s recovery affirmed a wider pondering on notions of Scottish identity, at home and abroad, and eventually led to him establishing a website, The Famous Scots Project, an ongoing study into the work of influential Scots.
He said: “After illness I became philosophical. I started to look at life in a slightly different way. I decided that the strength of the nation lies in its sense of community, the heart in its people and the soul in its history.
“Cicero said that not to know where you come from is to forever remain a child. Scotland needs to move on a wee bit and get a better sense of depth of its own history beyond Culloden and all that.
“We’ve lost sight of our history. We get caught up in stuff like Bonnie Prince Charlie, and yet there are these incredible stories about people like Muir, scientist James Clerk Maxwell, explorer David Livingstone, the list goes on and on.”
In 1903, Muir guided president Theodore Roosevelt through Yosemite, camping out for three nights during which Muir lobbied by the campfire, impressing upon him the need to set aside key areas for preservation and appreciation by future generations.
A natural rock arch in the Alabama Hills beside Lone Pine in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, John Muir’s ‘Range of Light’ in California.
It worked. Roosevelt instigated five national parks in office. There are now 58.
Muir’s profile in Scotland has been bolstered in recent years, principally with the 2014 inception of the John Muir Way, a 130-mile east-west walk from Dunbar to Helensburgh, echoing a 211-mile trail named for the Scot through the American Sierra Nevada.
Schoolchildren also take part in the John Muir Award, an environmental education scheme encouraging young people to forge an appreciation of nature.
Ricky Ross weighed in on the legacy of the man described by Statesiders as a “wilderness prophet”, writing the tune For John Muir as a tribute on Deacon Blue’s 2014 album A New House.
The Bristlecone Pine can live for 3000 years making it one of the longest living organisms on the planet. Situated on one side of the Owens valley in California the Inyo mountain range have several sites of bristlecone forests.
Ken said: “All of America’s national park system came out of this determination by Roosevelt to preserve America’s wild places for future generations.
“John Muir had a very strong belief that by going outdoors, you actually went into something. He was quite spiritual, he referred to nature as God’s cathedral.”
Read more at http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/honouring-scots-king-wild-frontiers-7913745#297tBvPH6vAfwWZM.99
At the American-Scottish Foundation, we take great pride in being a founding member of the National Tartan Day New York Committee, together with the St Andrews Society of the State of New York, the New York Caledonian Club, and more recent member Clan Campbell.
We work together to coordinate joint and separate events and festivities during the annual New York City Tartan Week, including the annual Tartan Day Parade, which is now the biggest event of its kind in the United States.
We love hearing from fans of the Tartan Week festivities, so it was great to see the enthusiastic response of Outlander fans at the 18th annual New York Tartan Day parade.
Outlander is a time-travel television series based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon. It stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse in 1945 who is mysteriously transported back to Scotland in 1743, where she meets the handsome Highland warrior Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan. Heughan was the Grand Marshal of this year’s parade.
With Sam Heughan leading this year’s Tartan Day Parade, Outlander fans flocked to New York this year in even greater numbers than were with us last year when Graham McTavish, another great actor from the series, was Grand Marshal. It was no surprise that many Outlander fans came and participated in the parade from all over the Unites States Britain and Europe.
Over 450 members of the fan group Outlander United marched in the parade, while thousands lined the streets just hoping to catch a glimpse of Heughan. Scotland Now calls the Outlander effect in New York the nearest thing to “Beatle-Mania.” All the American-Scottish Foundation can say is that it was wonderful to see so many enjoying the Parade.
To hear first hand-accounts of the Tartan Day Parade from members of the Outlander United group, read this fantastic article by TiBS blogger and Outlander United member, Erin Conrad. It includes a slideshow of more fabulous photos from the parade.
We hope to see the members of Outlander United at next year’s parade. Mark your calendar now for Saturday, April 8th, 2017!
To learn more about the annual New York City Tartan Day Parade, visit the website, here.
ASF Members and Friends can enjoy special ticket pricing for the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts’ upcoming production of “Samuel Beckett Trilogy: Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby” on April 13-17.
In Walter Asmus’ critically-acclaimed staging of three one-woman plays by Samuel Beckett, Irish actor Lisa Dwan masterfully triangulates the existential void.
In Not I, a woman—reduced to a mere mouth, suspended in total darkness—seeks solace in a blisteringly paced stream of her own broken speech. In Footfalls, a tattered soul, drained of life, paces relentlessly outside her dying mother’s bedroom. And in Rockaby, a woman slowly withdraws from the world, rocked to eternal sleep in her mother’s chair.
This production drew ecstatic reviews at BAM in 2014, Royal Court Theatre and in the West End.
The astonishing actress Lisa Dwan doesn’t just uncover layers; she digs all the way to the void beneath them. – Ben Brantley, The New York Times
Friends and members of the American-Scottish Foundation have an exclusive offer for discounted tickets of all levels. There are only six performances on April 13-17, so don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity.
Wednesday April 13 and Thursday, April 14 at 8PM | Saturday, April 16 at 2PM | Sunday, April 17 at 3PM:
- Level 1 – $44 (Reg. $55)
- Level 2 – $36 (Reg. $45)
- Level 3 – $28 (Reg. $35)
- Level 4 – $20 (Reg. $25)
Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16 at 8PM:
- Level 1 – $52 (Reg. $65)
- Level 2 – $44 (Reg. $55)
- Level 3 – $36 (Reg. $45)
- Level 4 – $28 (Reg. $35)
To purchase discounted tickets use the official code: Beckett3
Order tickets by going online and entering the code, or by calling 888.611.8183 and mentioning the code. You can also bring a printout of this offer to the NYU Skirball Center Shagan Box Office – 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square.
For more information, visit the NYU Skirball Center website.
Service fees apply to online/phone orders. Schedule is subject to change. All sales are final. Offer subject to availability. Offer may be revoked at any time.
Scotland is well known for its beautiful glens and sparkling lochs, but did you know that Scotland has over 790 gorgeous off-shore islands? Most of these islands are to be found in four main groups: Shetland, Orkney, and the Inner and Outer Hebrides.
It is hard to find another place in the world that can match the beauty of the isles of Scotland. If you are vacationing in Scotland, you should consider island hopping, so as to enjoy the phenomenal hills and moors, and the sweeping sea views from the isles.
The American-Scottish Foundation has chosen five Scottish island destinations you should put on your bucket list:
Isle of Islay
The Isle of Islay, known as the “Queen of the Hebrides” is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. On top of the gorgeous scenery and wildlife, the isle has eight working whisky distilleries to visit.
If you’re not too busy sampling the whiskies, Islay also has golf courses, trails for cycling, horse-riding and hillwalking, and spots to fish. There are also several annual festivals on the island, such as the Islay Festival of Malt and Music, the Islay Jazz Festival, the Rugby Festival and the Cantilena festival. With gorgeous views and plenty of activities, the Isle of Islay is a 5-star vacation destination. www.islayinfo.com
Isle of Jura
The Isle of Jura, part of the Southern Hebrides, is one of Scotland’s last wildernesses. A little over 200 islanders are outnumbered by 3,500 deer. On Jura there are many historical sites to see, from Iron Age Forts to ancient burial grounds and standing stones.
The village of Craighouse is the main settlement on the island. The charming town has a shop and tearoom to peruse, and a cozy hotel if you want to spend the night. Jura’s only distillery can be found in Craighouse as well, and offers personal appointments for tours and tastings. Jura’s west coast offers visitors authentic, untouched wildlife and absolutely stunning views. Spend some time exploring the amazing Isle of Jura. http://isleofjura.scot
Isle of Arran
The Isle of Arran is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. The isle is often referred to as ‘Scotland in miniature’, for it possesses many of the great qualities of Scotland in a single island. Arran has gorgeous mountains, woodlands, beaches, and outlying islands to see and explore.
The capital of Arran is Brodick, where Brodick Castle, the ancient seat of the Dukes of Hamilton, houses an incredible furniture collection. The castle is surrounded by the Duchess of Montrose’s garden, which has been recently restored. Arran is a perfect destination for you if you want to explore historical sites, hike, golf, or simply take in the local geology and wildlife. Escape to the Isle of Arran to experience Scotland’s history and beauty.
Fair Isle is a tiny island that sits half-way between Orkney and Shetland. The 70 or so islanders tend to live at the southern end, where the land is more fertile, while the northern end is made up of sloping hills and moorland.
The internationally renowned Fair Isle Bird Observatory has done scientific research on seabird breeding colonies for over 50 years, so Fair Isle is one of the best places to bird-watch in the world. You might also see seals, porpoises, whales and dolphins cruising around the island. Fair Isle is known for its unique style of knitting, for many years ago local knitters discovered that fine yarns stranded into a double layer produce warmer garments. Journey to Fair Isle to experience the incredible wild-life, and don’t forget to shop for cozy wool sweaters.
Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is one of Scotland’s most popular vacation spots. It is famous for its breath-taking scenery, such as the beautifully crystal clear Fairy Pools on the River Brittle. The Isle of Skye is 50 miles long and the largest of the Inner Hebrides. The Island has a rich history, having played host to Clan Warfare, Highland Clearances and ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ and the Jacobite Rebellion. Both Clan MacDonald and Clan MacLeod have their Clan Castles on Skye, just waiting for you to explore.
The Isle of Skye is also a great destination for wildlife watching. See if you can spot White Tailed Sea Eagles, otters, seals, whales, dolphins, or red deer. Skye is also a great destination for walkers and climbers with famous trails like ‘The Cuillin Range’ and ‘The Trotternish Ridge.’ Have a walk around the Isle of Skye and you may never want to leave.
Outlander, the hit time-travel television series, has been a huge success in both the States and the UK. Part of this success is due to the beautiful Scottish scenery that features in the show. Besides Outlander, Scotland has played host for many other television productions, and even more films.
Scotland has produced some of the top Hollywood stars, but the beautiful country itself is has been the star of many films. Scotland’s phenomenal scenery serves as a wonderful backdrop for movies. The country’s sprawling and mysterious landscape is other-worldly, so it is no wonder that filmmakers often flock to Scotland to create movie magic.
The American-Scottish Foundation has compiled a list of eight must-see movies filmed in Scotland. How many have you seen?
No list of films shot in Scotland would be complete without Braveheart, the iconic historical epic. The 1995 film directed was directed by Mel Gibson, who also stars as William Wallace, the13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England.
The film crew spent six weeks shooting on location throughout Scotland, in areas such as Glen Coe, Aonach Eagach, Glen Nevis, and Loch Leven. Although the majority of the film was shot in Scotland, some of the battle scenes were shot in Ireland as well.
Braveheart was a huge success. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won five. If you haven’t seen the iconic movie yet, it is well worth the watch!
Trainspotting is a 1996 British black comedy directed by Danny Boyle. The film stars Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle and Kelly Macdonald.
The movie follows a group of heroin addicts living in 1980s Edinburgh and their struggles with poverty, crime and addiction. Although the film is set in Edinburgh, the majority of the scenes were shot in Glasgow.
Trainspotting has become a classic in its own right. The film is ranked 10th by the British Film Institute in its list of Top 100 British films. It was also voted the best Scottish film of all time in a general public poll in 2004. Although the movie deals with dark themes, it is a cinematic masterpiece and is not to be missed.
3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
In 1975, the British comedy troupe “Monty Python” released the feature film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Starring the Monty Python comedians Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, the film is wildly funny.
The film is an outrageous parody of the legend of King Arthur and his quest to find the Holy Grail. Most of the film was shot in Scotland, particularly in the areas of Doune Castle, Glen Coe, and the Castle Stalker.
Now a hilarious cult-classic, Monty Python and the Holy Grail grossed the most out of any British film released in the U.S. If you are in the mood for something witty, ridiculous, and positively bursting with fun, give Holy Grail a watch.
Skyfall, which was released in 2012, is the twenty-third “James Bond” film produced by Eon Productions. The story follows Bond, played by Daniel Craig, who is investigating an attack on MI6; the attack is part of a plot by former MI6 agent Raoul Silva to humiliate and kill M, the Head of the Secret Intelligence Service, played by Dame Judi Dench.
Many of the most important scenes of Skyfall take place at Bond’s family home in Scotland, “Skyfall Lodge.” These scenes were shot in the dramatic landscape of Glen Coe.
The film’s 2012 release coincided with the 50th anniversary of the James Bond series, and won several awards, including two Academy Awards and two Grammys. This thrilling film should be on your must-see list, even if just for the gorgeous Glen Coe scenes.
5. Dear Frankie
Dear Frankie is a 2004 British drama directed by Shona Auerbach. The film stars Emily Mortimer, Gerard Butler, and Jack McElhone. The film focuses on a young single mother and her relationship with her young, deaf son.
Dear Frankie is a heartwarming film that explores the lengths at which a mother will go for her child. The film is set in the small Scottish village of Greenock. Filming took place in Greenock and throughout Glasgow.
This movie was first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival for independent films in 2004. It was also screened at the Cannes Film Festival, where it received a fifteen-minute standing ovation. Movingly acted and beautifully filmed, Dear Frankie is a must see.
6. Restless Natives
Restless Natives is a 1985 comedy directed by Michael Hoffman and starring Vincent Friell, Joe Mullaney, and Ned Beatty. The film is about two modern-day “Robin Hoods” from Edinburgh who wear masks and rob passengers on tourist coaches to the Highlands.
The whimsical comedy follows the two young robbers as they become local folk heroes. The film is shot in locations throughout Scotland such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glen Coe, and Glen Nevis.
Restless Natives is distinctly Scottish in its folk-story charm, its gorgeous backdrops and its soundtrack, which is composed and performed by Scottish rock band Big Country. A gentle 80s comedy, Restless Natives is an underrated treasure of a film.
7. Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas, a 2012 independent German-American science fiction film, features a star-studded cast of actors such as Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Jim Broadbent. The film is based on the 2004 novel Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.
The film follows several plots set across six different eras, exploring the “ripple-effect” of time. Much of Cloud Atlas was filmed in Scotland, in locations such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Falkirk, and Dumbarton.
Cloud Atlas premiered in 2012 at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival. Although the film has received mixed reviews, it was up for multiple awards including a Golden Globe for best original score. The movie is worth the watch for the beautiful cinematography and Scottish sites alone.
8. Macbeth (2015)
The most recent film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth was the brain-child of director Justin Kurzel. The famous story of the murderous Scottish king has inspired many past film productions. However, the 2015 adaptation is especially notable for the way it utilizes the Scottish landscape.
Starring Michael Fassbender as Macbeth and Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth, the dark film follows the couple’s descent into madness. Filmed throughout England and Scotland, Macbeth shows off the spooky side of Scotland in locations throughout the Isle of Skye.
Although this film is dark and violent, it is well worth the watch. Ancient Scottish customs, songs, and accents give the rugged film an air of authenticity. In the 2015 Macbeth, the classic tale of murder and madness is given new life.