Scotland is a vast country in the North of Great Britain which contains more than 790 islands and a population of nearly five and a half million. With a staggering nearly 78,000 km2 of land to explore, it is no surprise that it has become a popular holiday destination in recent years.
One of the most popular ways to experience Scotland when you’re on holiday is through cycling! It has everything from quaint towns and ancient architecture to rolling valleys and stunning coastlines.
Read on to find out more about why a cycling holiday in Scotland is perfect for 2023.
Scotland Through The Years
Scotland has been inhabited for many centuries, with the believed earliest arrival being nearly 13,000 years ago when Scotland was covered in forests and bogs. Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney can be dated around 6000 years ago, with a lot of structures being built from local stone.
During the Roman conquest of Britain, Scotland was not conquered with much success, with frequent rebellions taking place pushing the occupation further and further back. Hadrian’s Wall was erected in the year 122, followed by the Antonine Wall in 143. Antonine Wall stretches across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland while Hadrian’s Wall runs from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway. By 163 the Romans had withdrawn South.
In the 6th century, Scotland was divided into Pictland, the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria and Dál Riata and in the 8th century, Viking raids began. By the 1300/1400s Scotland was under the control of a single ruler and war with England led to the growth of a Scottish national consciousness. The 16th century saw the Treaty of Perpetual Peace signed between Scotland and England.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain was put into effect in 1707, with many anti-union riots taking place across the region. Glasgow rose to prominence as the world’s premier tobacco port and the industrial revolution modernised a lot of Scotland, and the demise of clanship soon followed in the country, though did see a slight resurgence in the 19th century.
Nowadays Scotland is a thriving country that hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to every year, with an amazing mix of modern metropolis and ancient culture to explore.
Why You Should Go Cycling In Scotland
There are many great reasons to visit Scotland. Here are just a few!
One of the best reasons to visit Scotland is the incredible landscape you’ll be seeing. It has some of the best views in the world and is ever-changing. One day you might be cycling across hills and rock, while the next you could be strolling by a beautiful beach. You’ll be experiencing something new every single day, and that isn’t a claim that many countries can boast.
Scotland boasts incredible wildlife, with a diverse range of animals and plants for you to look out for. Wildcats, cows, dears, puffers, seals and even dolphins can be native to the region. It is said that Scotland is home to over 90,000 species, with many present in the Highlands for you to seek out and enjoy.
A lot of places around Scotland come equipped with specially-designed nature hides, which are amazingly convenient spots to spy on the local wildlife without bothering them. You might see red squirrels, deer, otters or even eagles from these viewing spots.
Scotland really isn’t that far away from most of the UK and Europe, especially when you’re flying. London to Scotland is only around an hour by plane, or you could pack up and road trip all the way if you fancy it. It’s a perfect holiday destination if you don’t feel like going very far or long plane journeys worry you. If you’re originally from the UK, you don’t even need to leave the country to get there!
If you’re flying to Scotland, there are plenty of choices. Aberdeen International, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Glasgow Prestwick airports are the main choices for international travel, but there is also a series of domestic airports that you should be able to get a flight to.
Food & Drink
A big reason to visit Scotland is the unique selection of food and drink that the country prides itself on. Scotland’s national dish is haggis, which is a savoury meat pudding made from the heart, liver and lungs of sheep, minced with onion, suet, spices and more, cooked in an animal’s stomach traditionally but now most commonly in an artificial casing. Haggis is commonly served with neeps and tatties, which are mashed swede or turnips and mashed potatoes respectively. The three combine to create the Burns supper, which is a dish eaten on Burns Night, a day celebrating the life of Robert Burns.
Whisky is the drink that the Scots are best known for. It has five different whisky regions, and you can find over 100 distilleries across the country for you to visit, each with its own unique offerings. Apart from whisky craft beer is now a popular choice, with the number of breweries increasing by tenfold compared to a few decades ago.
Cities & Architecture
While the vast countryside is a big draw for many people when they visit Scotland, some of the most stunning scenery can be found in the cities dotted around the country. You’ll find a mix of impressive modern buildings, art deco influences, gothic architecture and styles from throughout every century.
Edinburgh and Glasgow are the biggest cities in Scotland, and both offer some amazing experiences. Edinburgh Castle is steeped in history, while Glasgow is full of culture and something new to do around every corner.
Leave the cities and you’ll find brilliant preserved scenery, from churches and cathedrals to old ruins and ancient abbeys. Scotland is home to hundreds of castles, some perfectly inhabitable and some only ancient ruins to explore. On a cycling tour, you can expect the best of both worlds due to the distance you’ll be travelling seeing a great mix of modern and ancient architecture.
Cycling & Mountain Biking in Scotland With Hooked On Cycling
If you’d like to go cycling in Scotland, Hooked On Cycling is an excellent choice to go with. We offer both guided and self-guided tours of the country so you can experience history by yourself or with a group of like-minded individuals. Our holidays can take you across the country, with tours leading to the stunning highlands, remote islands and thriving cities.
For the traveller who wants luxury as well as a challenge, try our Lochs and Glens in Style tour. You’ll travel across some of Scotland’s most beautiful locations, such as Trossachs National Park and Highland Perthshire. And then at the end of the night, you’ll be staying in a series of 4 and 5-star hotels and guest houses to help you take a load off after a long day of cycling.
For an experienced rider, we have our Historic Scottish Borders by Road Bike tour. This self-guided tour will take you through one of the lowest populated regions of the UK, covering hillier land as you travel through historic towns and on ancient roads.
For a family-friendly option, check out our Scotland’s Family Lakes and Castles Cycle. This six-night tour is perfect for families with nice easy roads that allow for safe cycling while enjoying the many sites. This includes a sail on a steamer boat, visiting a grand castle and even visiting whiskey distilleries.
And this is just a small selection of the tours we offer!
Book A Cycling In Scotland Holiday Today
Now that you’ve found out more about cycling in Scotland, visit Hooked On Cycling today to book your very own cycling tour around the region. Our cycling tours are perfect for those of any ability and will take you across the width and breadth of the country, with everything from mountain biking in the highlands to exploring the remote islands nestled around the country.
Our cycling holidays in Scotland handily list the duration, difficulty, starting point, dates and type of tour, so you can find an ideal option to suit you and any other guests that you will be travelling with. We also have biking and hiking holidays available across all of Europe, so visit our site today to find out more about our holiday selection.
Have a question about any of our tours? Give us a call today at 01506 635399 to talk with one of our friendly team.