Tag Archives: travel

Show off your Clan Pride at the 2017 Tattoo!

This year is Scotland’s ‘Year of Heritage, History and Archaeology, and the 2017 Tattoo is embracing this theme by featuring the Clans and Families of Scotland!

unnamedThe Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which takes place August 4 – 27, has just announced the clans which will be appearing as part of this year’s show, which is themed “Splash of Tartan.” The Tattoo and the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs have joined together to involve Scottish Clans and Families. Clan Chiefs have been invited to lead their clansmen to Edinburgh Castle, on their own special designated evenings, and to take part in the opening ceremony! Do you want to represent your clan at this year’s Tattoo? For a limited time only, visitors looking to book tickets to sit in their designated clans seated section can contact their Clan Chief directly! You can find out more details about your clan and chief at www.clanchiefs.org.uk or by emailing info@clanchiefs.org.uk. This promotion will end on 31st March, so act fast!unnamed-2

Whether you have Clan roots or not, if you plan to attend the Tattoo, you are encouraged to dress for the part! Put on your best tartan and tweed! Come August, Edinburgh is sure to be a wonderland of plaid!

Find your Clan’s date and time below, and purchase tickets for the Tattoo here.






3 August


Macnab and Hay


4 August


Arthur and Murray


5 August


Fraser and Gunn


5 August


Hunter, Macdonald and MacKay


7 August


Macauley and MacMillan


8 August


Ewing and Macpherson


9 August


Broun, Maclean and Wood


10 August


Henderson and Napier


11 August


Leslie, Moffat and Urquhart


12 August


Donnachaidh and Oliphant


12 August


Macneil, Macrae and Marjoribanks


14 August


Forbes and Wallace


15 August


Macleod and Mackenzie


16 August


Campbell and Sinclair


17 August


Borthwick and Skene


18 August


Graham and Stewart


19 August


Colquhoun and Matheson


19 August


Currie and Maclea


21 August


Buchanan, Hannay and MacGregor


22 August


Kincaid and Maclaine


23 August


Agnew and Elliot


24 August


Carmichael and MacThomas


25 August


Bruce and Durie


26 August


Jardine, Macintyre and Maclennan


26 August


Cameron, Clan Ranald and Maclaren



Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner In Scotland

pilgrimsAre 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, Edinburgh

21-prince-street-png-masterTwenty 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, 139 Cowgate, Edinburgh

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.

Frontier  8 Gillespie Pl, Edinburgh

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, 33 Ingram Street, Glasgow

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 Restaurant. 11 Ruthven Ln, Glasgow

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.

Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology 2017

VisitScotland, Scotland’s official tourism board and a partner organization of The American-Scottish Foundation, is already looking ahead to 2017. Next year will be the Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology in Scotland.

The year 2017 will showcase the rich history and archaeology of Scotland, celebrating its famous World Heritage Sites, ancient monuments, historic battlefields, castles, houses and more. Scotland’s heritage will be shared through its rich cultural traditions, ancient myths and classic tales.

The year of History, Heritage & Archaeology in Scotland will shine new light on the nation’s icons and hidden gems alike. Scotland’s gorgeous landscape, incredible architecture, and deep heritage make it a perfect holiday destination for the adventurous traveller.

VisitScotland has created inspiring itineraries to help visitors make the most of their trips to Scotland in 2017.

Click these links to view the following themed itineraries from VisitScotland:

To find out more about VisitScotland, visit the website here.

West Highland Railway Line Sees Passenger Numbers Grow

For a magical train-ride, jump on The West Highland Railway line!

The West Highland railway line, which runs between Glasgow, Oban, Fort William and Mallaig, was made famous by the Harry Potter films. One stretch of the line, between Fort William and Mallaig, is featured in multiple Harry Potter films.

Image via skibbereeneagle.ie

Image via skibbereeneagle.ie

The railway line, which was recently voted the world’s most scenic train journey, travels past some of Scotland’s finest lochs and mountains. According to official figures, it is now ScotRail’s fastest growing route. The trains were doubled on the line, boosting passenger numbers by about 14% in 2014-15. “The Friends of the West Highland Line” claim that it is now used more than at any other time since the 1950s.

Along with Potter-fueled tourism, a new school service that transports pupils from Dalmally, Taynuilt and Connel to Oban has also helped increase passenger numbers. The students may not be travelling to “Hogwarts,” but with such beautiful scenery, their commute is definitely a magical one.

Image via pinterest.com

Image via pinterest.com

ScotRail hopes to attract even more passengers in the coming years when it upgrades carriages into ‘scenic trains.’ These carriages will be equipped with seats specifically aligned to windows for better views, as well as tourist information and high-end catering on offer. Passengers can expect to see these improved seats in 2018.

To find out more about the West Highland Railway Line visit the ScotRail website.

The ASF Guide to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

For sixty-eight years, the city of Edinburgh has played host to a festival celebrating the arts.  When it began in 1947 who could have envisioned how large it would grow…

Today the festival, known as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is the biggest arts festival in the world.

Edinburgh Festival 1

Photo via flickr.com

Edinburgh Festival 2

Photo via now-here-this.timeout.com

Visitors from all over the world flock to Edinburgh every August to view dramatic performances, listen to music, attend exhibits, and wander the lively, crowded streets.

This year’s three-week festival will see around 4,000 different performances.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a great time to plan your trip to Scotland.

The Fringe has just begun, and continues through to August 31st. For any travelers deciding on a last minute excursion to The Fringe, the ASF has provided a guide below, helping you find the best restaurants, pubs, and hotels the city has to offer.


Your Guide to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe!

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has countless plays, acts, performances, and exhibits to see. Order your tickets now so you don’t miss out. Visit the Edinburgh Festival Fringe box office page here

Tickets ordered? Now that your schedule is full of festival fun, we can help with the rest!

First thing’s first: you need a place to stay!

Edinburgh is known for its huge variety of hotels. There are luxurious boutique hotels, sophisticated, posh hotels, and comfortable bed and breakfasts galore. There are so many different places to stay- even during Festival time!

E from Carlton Hill (1)

Photo via thefielder.net

Airbnb is a great last minute accommodation option that connects people with space to spare to those who are looking for a place to stay. Airbnb is a wonderful resource for any world-traveler.

This year, Airbnb is the official accommodation partner of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which means there are a lot of online booking options, from entire houses with castle-views to comfortable rooms in student flats. 

Book with Airbnb here.

the witchery

Photo via theguardian.com

The Witchery by the Castle is a decadent and bewitching boutique hotel. If you’re looking to splurge on a hotel, The Witchery is a fantastic place to do so. The setting is absolutely idyllic, right on the Royal Mile with the Castle in full view.

The Witchery is lavish, with dark gothic decor and has a number of suites, each decorated in the same lush gothic style – huge four-poster beds, clawfoot tubs, chandeliers glistening on the ceiling and oil paintings adorning the walls you will truly feel as if you have been transported to another, magical, world. 

Book with The Witchery here.

balmoral hotel

Photo via northernstarmusic.com

The Balmoral is one of Edinburgh landmarks sitting in the heart of the City on Prince Street.  Offering five-star, luxury, the Balmoral offers timeless elegance with comfortable suites ranging in price and size, all with marble bathrooms and lush decor.

The hotels brasserie and bar are always busy and a popular business meeting place.

There is also a luxurious spa with a pool, a gym, and a sauna, as well as steam rooms and beauty treatment rooms.  

Book with The Balmoral here.

In between shows? Time to grab a cuppa and a quick bite!

Edinburgh has countless coffee shops and tea rooms, so you wont need to wander far to get your caffeine fix. 

elephant house

Photo via itinerandi.net

The Elephant House is a gourmet tea and coffee shop located in the heart of Edinburgh. It is one of the very best tea and coffee shops in Edinburgh.

The cafe is famous for its literary connections; JK Rowling, author of the beloved Harry Potter series, began penning her famous children’s novels there. Besides its wizardly links, The Elephant House is notable for its beautiful castle view and wide array of delicious coffees and nibbles. It makes a perfect spot for a tasty cuppa, or a quick lunch.

Learn more about The Elephant House here


Photo via facebook.com/lovecrumbs

is a quirky café made for your sweet-tooth. Delicious cakes, tarts, brownies and scones are complemented by artisan roast coffees and fine teas.

The cozy cafe is decorated with vintage furniture and colorful cushions. A great spot for a time-out from all of your city exploring and show-going.

Refuel with a delicately flavored violet and bramble cake, or else an orange fig and hazelnut scone paired with homemade Raspberry Jam. The possibilities are endlessly exciting. 

Learn more about Lovecrumbs here.

After a long, exciting day of performances it’s time to head to a pub for happy hour.

Edinburgh is a drink destination for beer and whiskey lovers. There are countless fun cocktail and wine bars as well. So just pick your poison!

jolly botanist

Photo via southbanklondon.com

The Jolly Botanist Gin Bar and Dining Room is a new addition to the West End that opened this past February.

The restaurant itself has a rustic vibe, with thatched walls, deliberately peeling paint, and crystal chandeliers.

There is a large bar with lots of beers, ciders, and drinks to choose from. Their gin menu is especially extensive, and they work closely with Edinburgh gins. They boast 70 different gins to choose from, but their house gin is Tanqueray. Each gin in served with a different, unusual garnish, such as grapefruit or orange and cinnamon.

Learn more about The Jolly Botanist here.

bennets bar

Photo via wow247.co.uk

Bennets Bar is a must if you are looking for that quintessential Edinburgh whiskey-tasting experience. The Victorian building has hosted whiskey-tastings since 1839.

The pub is beautiful, yet cozy, with glossy wood paneling and fire-side seating.There are over 150 malt whiskies and a variety of blends and international whiskies to choose from. There is also a menu of delicious Scottish pub fare.

This historic pub is well worth the visit, even just to peek at the beautiful architecture and overwhelmingly large drink menu.

Learn more about Bennets Bar here.

Exploring Edinburgh really works up your appetite. Ready for dinner?

Edinburgh is a foodie-haven, boasting some of the very best restaurants in the UK. Whether you’re in the mood for a gourmet five-course meal or some tasty pub grub, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

21212 compress

Photo via 21212restaurant.co.uk

21212, Paul Kitching’s well-loved restaurant, opened in 2009 and received a Michelin star less than 8 months later. The restaurant has a quirky, fun feel and the food is exciting and innovative.

Chef Kitching has a contemporary French cooking style which he approaches with an innovative twist. The menu never has more than three choices for any of its five courses, but it changes weekly.  There is a beautiful wine list and a professional sommelier available to help you select the perfect wine for your meal.  

Learn more about 21212 here.

v deep

Photo via foodanddrink.scotsman.com

V Deep
is a new and promising addition to Edinburgh’s restaurant scene. It is Scotland’s first communal craft beer and curry bar.

The head-chef and co-owner, Hardeep Singh Kohli, was a finalist on the television show “Celebrity Masterchef.” He has created an extensive Indian curry menu of 21 unique dishes.

The menu takes a fresh, Scottish-inspired twist on traditional Indian meals. It includes dishes such as haggis and apple pakora, punjabi BBQ wings, and pork cheek vindaloo. The extensive bar offers a variety of bottled and draught beers, which are constantly rotating. Uniqueness, fun, and flavor abound.

Learn more about V Deep here.

Now it’s time to head back to your hotel and rest up for your next day of festival fun in the beautiful city of Edinburgh!


Visit the Fringe homepage to learn more.


Visit Britain Shop – Affiliate Program

Support the ASF by organizing your travel in advance through the comprehensive Visit Britain Shop, online! Click on the image for their main site, or go to:

VISIT BRITAIN Special Offers

VISIT BRITAIN Sightseeing Tours

Rail is GREAT

London and Edinburgh are perhaps Britain’s most popular city destinations and are England and Scotland’s capitals respectively. Travelling between the two by train has the advantage of taking you directly to and from the city centres, and giving you the chance to sight-see from the comfort of your carriage.

There are two options when travelling between London and Edinburgh by train – regular daytime trains from London Kings Cross station to Edinburgh Waverley station and the overnight Caledonian Sleeper between London Euston station and Edinburgh Waverley station which operate six nights a week.

The regular London to Edinburgh train takes just 4-5 hours and usually departs every hour. US based Rail Europe offer one stop service to the trade including discounted tickets and the option to add your own service fee. For more information please click here.

Travel in Scotland

Scotland is one of the most amazing countries in the world to visit, where ancient history and unique culture meets stunning scenery and vibrant city experiences. Famed the world over for their hospitality, the Scots are a very welcoming people and the country is geared up to looking after you, the visitor, to their shores.

Ben Nevis

There are many aspects to Scotland, and just as many ways to see and enjoy your visit there; whether you’re relaxing amid breathtaking landscapes, golfing on a famous course, or enjoying a few whiskies at a traditional distillery. You can plan your own trip with your own personal guide, join a tour group or drive around at your leisure. You can stay in a Bed and Breakfast, hotel, self-catering cottage or maybe you’d prefer a castle? The options are limitless and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start, or how to get the very best experience. This is where we come in. The American Scottish Foundation has great working relationships with travel providers, hotels and tourism professionals, so let us help you plan the perfect vacation. Here are some ideas for you, to start your adventure off.

Whisky Tours

Famed the world over, Scotch Whisky is very much part of the fabric of Scotland’s heritage; and we can design some great whisky tours, or include some distilleries in an overall vacation. So blend wonderful countryside, a rich history and a few drams.

Family History – Clan Heritage Tours

We can create a travel plan for you that allows you to either walk in the footsteps of your ancestors and see the world through their eyes; or we can put together a trip to the clan homelands of your forefathers. It is a journey of discovery and it’s time you came home.

City Breaks

As well as the stunning scenery of the Highlands, Scotland’s cities have a lot to offer from unique architecture and wonderful history to top attractions and vibrant nightlife. Whether it’s Edinburgh or Glasgow, we can weave the city stay into a longer Scottish trip.

Personalised Vacation Packages

One of the best ways to enjoy what Scotland can offer is to plan a custom built tour, with your own personal guide to show you all the hidden gems and bring the stories to life. This is your tour, and we design the itinerary to fit your interests, budget and time. We will also give you lots of ideas and put you in capable hands from start to finish.

Golf Breaks

As well as whisky and heritage, Scotland is well known for its fantastic golf courses. We can put together an itinerary that gives you a chance to play a range of types and difficulties. So from Championship courses to well kept secrets, this is your place to tee off.

Self Drive Holidays

Sometimes you just like to take things at your own pace, and more independently and the self-drive option is tailored to provide this kind of holiday. We’ll design the itinerary, give you options of things to see and do each day, arrange the car hire and book your accommodation. The rest is up to you.

Unique Experiences

Scotland has a lot to offer in the way of unique experiences and something just that little bit special. So, from adventure holidays to living like a lord in a fancy castle we can plan a vacation package that lies somewhat out of the box – so, come to an amazing country for an amazing experience – all courtesy of our experts.

Dunottar Castle

15 Recommended Castles

Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh
Eilean Donan Castle – Lochalsh
Blair Castle – Highland Perthshire
Castle Campbell – Dollar
Dunottar Castle – Stonehaven
Caerlaverock Castle – Dumfries
Threave Castle – Castle Douglas
Tantallon Castle – Dunbar
Floors Castle – Kelso
Kilchurn Castle – Argyll
Duart Castle – Mull
Glamis Castle – Angus
Balmoral Castle – Royal Deeside
Drum Castle – Aberdeenshire
Brodick Castle – Arran

15 Great Places to Visit and See

Culloden Battlefield – Inverness
Fairy Glen and the Quiraing – Skye
Mull of Oa – Islay
Torridon and Loch Maree
Loch an Eilein – Aviemore
Glen Nevis and Steall Falls – Fort William
St Magnus Cathedral – Kirkwall
Skara Brae, Stones of Stenness, Ring of Brodgar and Maes Howe – Orkney
Calanais, Dun Charlabhaigh and Na Gearrannan village – Lewis
Glen Etive and Glencoe
Glenaffric and Plodda Falls
New Lanark and Falls of Clyde – Lanark
Glen Doll and the Corrie of Fee – Angus
Applecross and Bealach na Ba
Beaches of West Harris – Western Isles

10 Fantastic Things to Do in Scotland

Dolphin Watching in the Moray Firth – Inverness
Boat trip to St Kilda – Western Isles
Walk across the Corrieshalloch Gorge – Ullapool
Whisky Tasting at an Islay Distillery – Islay
Boat trip from Elgol to Loch Coruisk – Skye
Ghost Walk on the Royal Mile – Edinburgh
White Water Rafting on the River Tay – Highland Perthshire
Play a Round of Golf at St Andrews – Fife
Visit the Kelvingrove Museum – Glasgow
Hillwalking Tour in the Highlands

10 Amazing Towns and Villages to Visit

Dunkeld – Highland Perthshire
St Andrews – Fife
Melrose – Borders
Culross – Fife
Oban – Argyll
Kirkwall – Orkney
Portree – Skye
Pennan – Aberdeenshire
Pittenweem – Fife
Tobermory – Mull

Travel information and advice

It has never been easier to travel to Scotland from the US, or from London as part of a wider British vacation. There are direct flights from several US and Canadian cities, including New York (Newark and JFK); or with one connection through Heathrow, Paris or Amsterdam. From London you have the option to fly (approx 1 hour flight to Edinburgh/Glasgow), or you can take the train from King’s Cross (East Coast) to Edinburgh and from Euston (Virgin) to Glasgow (journey time – 4 to 5 hours).

Travelling around Scotland is easiest if you have a car (there are several good rental companies); and the roads are good, especially the highways between the main cities (although in parts of the Highlands and Islands some of the roads are only one lane, but two way). Public transport within and between the cities is excellent, and on the whole very economical. There is a train service between Edinburgh and Glasgow every 15 minutes during the day (although the trains are not 24 hours). In rural Scotland (especially the Highlands) public transport is patchy and infrequent, but with some perseverance you can pretty much travel to any town or village. Accommodation across the board is of a high standard; with the famous Guest-House bed and breakfast network one of the best in the world. Scotland is a county geared for tourism, so the signposting, information service, attractions and facilities are world class. Here are some more tips for visitors to Scotland:

Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, and so:

• The time zone is GMT (+1 hour in the summer) / +5 hours of EST
• The international dialling code is 011 44 (from the US). Calling the US from the UK the code is 001
• The currency is Pounds Sterling (£) – NOT the Euro
• English is the language spoken (even if it doesn’t sound like it); although you may hear Gaelic spoken on the islands (esp. Lewis, the Uists and Skye)

Bealach Cuithraing

Scotland is often considered a wet country where it always rains, this is not actually the case; although some areas do receive more than others:

• Edinburgh receives around 26 inches of rain a year (less than Rome or London). Glasgow gets around 50 inches per year (same as New York)
• Snow can fall at low levels from October through to April, especially in the Highlands
• Scotland’s weather is unpredictable, so bring a range of clothes
• In June the sun sets around 10.30pm / in December around 4.00pm

And finally . . .

• Tipping is not as much part of the culture as it is in the US, but for good service it is appreciated
• It is recommended that you take out travel insurance
• Plan your trip in advance – although Scotland is a small country it can seem to take longer than you’d expect to go from A to B on a map
• All road signs are in miles (not kilometres)
• You should expect to pay around £40 per person per night for a Bed and Breakfast; £2.80 for a pint in the pub; around £5.80 per Gallon (British Gallon) of gas (approx. $9.20); and £8 – £12 for a decent pub meal