There’s so many wonderful things I could say about Scotland but in short this country was a mesmerizing destination that left us with unforgettable memories and we can’t wait to visit again. From the enchanting city of Edinburgh, where history and modernity intertwine effortlessly, to exploring the magical sights of Harry Potter and adoring the breathtaking wilderness of the Highlands, Scotland offers an abundance of wonders.

Our Scotland trip took us to Inverness, a picturesque city nestled along the banks of the Loch Ness (River Ness), and led us to explore the magnificent castles and intriguing stories of Stirling, where Mary Queen of Scots once reigned. Lastly, we savored the coastal charm of St. Andrews, home to the world’s oldest golf course. My full trip itinerary (which you can download below) takes you into every detail of our trip – what we did, what we saw and what we loved about this beautiful place. After immersing ourselves in Scotland’s rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, and warm-hearted locals, we can confidently say that Scotland has firmly secured a place among our favorite countries we have ever visited.



  • Loch Ness (River Ness aka Loch Ness monster folklore)
  • Battle of Culloden
  • Dunrobin Castle
  • Explored the city of Inverness
  • Abernathy National Nature Reserve
  • The Fife Arms Hotel
  • Balmoral Castle

Our journey through Scotland took us to some truly extraordinary places, and our time in Inverness, Fife, and Braemar was no exception. In Inverness, we were captivated by the mystical allure of Loch Ness, famous for its folklore surrounding the legendary Loch Ness Monster. Bobby begged me to photoshop a monster in the background of our pictures! As we strolled along the River Ness, the history of the Battle of Culloden came alive, reminding us of the profound impact it had on the Scottish culture and for any Outlander show fans this is must see as it’s a huge part of the storyline. Inverness itself was a delightful city to explore, with its charming streets, cozy pubs, and welcoming atmosphere.

Venturing further north, just outside of Inverness we discovered the awe-inspiring Dunrobin Castle, with its striking turrets and magnificent gardens, it was a true architectural gem. We spent hours exploring the grounds and fell in love with its grandeur and views of the North Sea. Upon leaving Inverness and heading to our next destination we drove through the picturesque Abernathy National Nature Reserve. It was like stepping into a fairy tale, with its enchanting woodlands and breathtaking views.

Along our drive we stopped for some relaxation and luxury at the exquisite Fife Arms Hotel, immersing ourselves in its rich history and enjoying the warm hospitality. I have had this place on my bucket list since before we decided to go to Scotland. I think I saw it in a magazine once and saved it forever. I highly highly recommend staying overnight or just popping in for a visit/drink at The Fife Arms! And how could we resist a visit to Balmoral Castle, a beloved vacation spot of Charles, the King of England, with its regal splendor and stunning surroundings? Just a few minutes away from The Fife Arms in the most charming town of Braemar we loved getting to tour the castle and learn more about the English monarchy.

EDINBURGH ———–———–———–


  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Johnnie Walker Scotch Factory
  • Harry Potter City Tour
  • Shopping along Victoria Street & Grass Market
  • Scotch Whisky Experience Tour
  • Prince Street Gardens
  • Dinner at The Witchery and Devils Advocate
  • Drinks at The Department of Magic

*Tip: it’s pronounced Edin-BRUH not burg – you will impress the locals if you say it correctly!

Our time in Edinburgh was a whirlwind of enchantment and exploration. We began by immersing ourselves in the rich history of the Edinburgh Castle, standing proudly atop the city’s iconic skyline you can see it from anywhere in the city. Then we toured the Johnnie Walker Scotch Factory which was an absolute treat and I highly recommend! We got to indulge in the world-renowned flavors and learn about the artistry behind Scotland’s beloved whisky. The tour starts you off by taking a flavor test to match you with the best whisky blends for your taste testing portion of the tour. They even paired me with a delicious creamy, coffee infused cocktail with their signature Johnnie Walker 18 year blend and it is now my favorite drink!

As avid Harry Potter fans, we couldn’t resist embarking on a magical journey through the city, discovering the charming spots that inspired J.K. Rowling’s iconic series and wizarding world. We booked a HP city tour through Viator and had an absolute blast with our tour guide who started us off by “sorting” us into our Hogwarts houses! We then got to answer trivia questions all through out the tour – it truly was so much fun especially if you’re a HP fan like us. To end our magical evening, we ventured into the hidden world of The Department of Magic, where we sipped on inventive cocktails and reveled in the whimsical atmosphere brewing up potions left and right. This place looked and felt like it came right out of the Harry Potter series. We had so much fun pretending to be wizards for an hour or two.

Of course, no visit to Edinburgh would be complete without some retail therapy, and we happily explored the diverse shops and boutiques along Victoria Street and the Grass Market. My favorite store was Walker Slater – which is known for it’s famous Scottish Tweed, don’t miss this one on Victoria Street! We then decided to do another scotch tasting at the Scotch Whisky Experience Tour which allowed us to deepen our appreciation for this national treasure, as we savored the flavors and learned about the intricate distillation process. Another place we loved was walking the serene Prince Street Gardens which provided a moment of tranquility amidst the bustling city, with its beautifully manicured lawns and stunning views. For dinner, we treated ourselves to the unforgettable experiences at The Devils Advocate and The Witchery, indulging in delectable dishes and a spooky atmosphere with a connection to the witch trials. Edinburgh stole our hearts with its history, culture, and vibrant energy. We truly could have spent so much more time here!

THE HIGHLANDS ———–———–———–


  • Apple Cross Drive (scenic) to Glencoe
  • Jacobite Steam Train in Fort William (aka Hogwarts Express)
  • Loch Lomond National Park
  • Glennfinan Viaduct
  • Loch Eilt (location of Dumbledore’s Grave)
  • Eilean Donan Castle Tour

Our journey through the Highlands of Scotland was nothing short of breathtaking, with each moment unfolding like a scene from a fairytale. We embarked on the scenic Applecross Drive, a picturesque route that took us from Edinburgh to Glencoe, offering sweeping views of Scotland’s Ben Nevis mountains and rolling hills. Along the way, we encountered wildlife from graceful stags and curious rams to colorful pheasants and gentle highland cows. The highlight of our time in the Highlands was undoubtedly the Jacobite Steam Train in Fort William, famously known as the Hogwarts Express. Make sure you book ahead of time as spots tend to fill up fast! As we chugged along the stunning landscapes, we couldn’t help but feel a sense of magic in the air and I of course got to live out all my Harry Potter dreams! There are two scheduled times a day – morning and noon. We chose the morning route which arrived back at the station just in time for us to make it to the Glenfinnan Viaduct (the filming location of Harry Potter) to witness the majestic “Hogwarts Express” make its way across the bridge, an experience that truly transported us into the world of Harry Potter.

During our scenic drive we stopped along the Loch Lomond National Park which beckoned us with its ethereal beauty and its glass-like lakes reflecting the serene surroundings.  We then explored Loch Eilt, the filming location of Dumbledore’s Grave, which allowed us to immerse ourselves in the enchanting world created by J.K. Rowling yet again. It was both eerie and beautiful – just how Dumbledore would’ve wanted it to be I suppose. And lastly, who could resist the allure of the infamous Eilean Donan Castle, with its dramatic setting among the shimmering waters? This stunning fortress, steeped in history and surrounded by breathtaking views, left us in awe of Scotland’s architectural wonders. The Highlands captivated us with its unrivaled natural beauty, mystical allure, and undeniable connection to the world of Harry Potter. It was some of my favorite days in Scotland by far!

ST. ANDREWS ———–———–———–


  • St. Andrews Old Golf Course (oldest golf course in the world)
  • University of St. Andrews
  • St. Andrews West Sands Beach
  • Walk “The Scores”
  • St. Andrews Cathedral & Castle
  • Shopping up/down Market St.
  • Lunch at Mitchell’s Deli

Our day trip to St. Andrews, Scotland was a delightful blend of history, stunning landscapes and golfing traditions. We couldn’t resist starting our exploration by walking the legendary St. Andrews Old Golf Course, the oldest golf course in the world. As a golf lover myself, I was in awe of the hallowed grounds and made sure to pick up some amazing souvenirs for my golf enthusiast family members. We even got to see and walk on the infamous bridge! If you’re staying longer than a day you could always make an appointment and play 18 holes or hit a bucket of balls on their driving range.

Moving on, we found ourselves wandering through the charming University of St. Andrews, with its historic buildings and quaint dormitories, feeling as though we had stepped back in time to our own college days. I loved being able to walk on a school campus again with a hot coffee in hand hearing the bustling of students go by! Just along the campus walls we walked “The Scores” which treated us to a visual feast of colorful doors adorning the town’s buildings and apartments, adding a whimsical touch to the already picturesque streets of St. Andrews. Another place we couldn’t resist as it was all around was the St. Andrews West Sands Beach, where we searched for seashells and soaked up the coastal beauty. Our wandering then took us to the St. Andrews Cathedral and Castle, where we marveled at the ancient ruins and learned about all its stories.

Lastly, we ended our afternoon shopping up and down Market Street, where we found beautiful souvenirs to bring back home, each one a cherished reminder of our time in this adorable enchanting town. For lunch, we stopped into Mitchell’s Deli, where I savored the most delicious sunny side avocado toast while Bobby enjoyed the chocolate caramelized banana waffles. We left this town with so much love and warmth – it quickly became our favorite place we had visited in Scotland!

STIRLING ———–———–———–


  • Stirling Castle
  • William Wallace Monument
  • Walk the Old Town

On one of our last days of our trip, we set aside a day to explore the historic city of Stirling. With a more relaxed itinerary, we embraced the opportunity to dive into the rich heritage of this charming town. Our first stop was the magnificent Stirling Castle, where we went back in time, learning all about the reign of Mary Queen of Scots. We discovered how this iconic figure spent much of her life and found solace within the walls of this imposing fortress, rather than in bustling Edinburgh. Next, we climbed to the top of the William Wallace Monument, a towering tribute to Scotland’s bravest highlander. As we stood at the summit, we marveled at the breathtaking panoramic views and learned about the legendary tales that inspired the famous Hollywood movie, Braveheart, starring Mel Gibson. We even got to listen to the stories from a local Scottish highlander himself and hold the replica sword of William Wallace.

To further explore the charm of Stirling, we took a stroll through the Old Town, which was full of historic architecture and an inviting atmosphere. It led us to discover hidden gems and lots of adorable shops, where we indulged in some local delights. Lastly, we found a cozy pub to enjoy a traditional Scottish meal – they’re known for Haggis (sheep intestines) which wasn’t our favorite but we tried it nonetheless. Stirling revealed its unique character and profound historical significance, leaving us with a deep appreciation for Scotland’s spirited past.


I carefully curated a packing guide that ensured both warmth and style during the chilly months of April and May in Scotland. A long coat became my trusty companion, providing much-needed protection against the crisp Scottish air. Layering was key, and I relied on cozy sweaters to keep me snug and comfortable throughout my travels. The most essential part of my wardrobe was a pair of sturdy and comfortable boots, allowing me to explore the charming towns with ease. Adding a touch of Scottish flair, I loved accessorizing with tweed and plaid prints, embracing the country’s rich heritage in my fashion choices. To make things easier for fellow travelers, I have linked all the items on my LTK account ( – @Nickole_Haymaker), so you can shop my carefully curated pieces for your own Scottish adventure. Stay warm, stylish, and ready to embrace the beauty of Scotland!



Our journey through Scotland was nothing short of extraordinary, as we ventured across the breathtaking Highlands, walked the vibrant streets of Edinburgh, discovered the coastal charm of St. Andrews, delved into the mystical realm of Inverness and explored the historic wonders of Stirling. This country captivated our hearts with its gorgeous landscapes, warm and welcoming people, and a history that unfolded before our very eyes. Scotland has left a mark on our souls, and we cannot wait to return one day.

If you’re planning your own Scottish adventure, be sure to download my printable itinerary, filled with day to day suggestions that we followed for our unforgettable trip. And don’t forget to share this blog post on Pinterest, where you can inspire others to embark on their own Scottish journey. Scotland, thank you for the memories and the enduring love we now hold for your incredible beauty and rich heritage. Farewell for now, but not goodbye.

With love,