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May 2019 Norwegian Cruise Stop: Edinburgh / Invergordon / Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

I often hear more interest in traveling to Ireland versus Scotland, but in 2019 I found that I liked Scotland best. The countryside was lush and green, and I enjoyed my time there immensely. Granted, I only spent two days in Scotland and Ireland, so take that opinion with a grain of salt.

The first day in Scotland was spent visiting the exquisite Dunrobin Castle & Gardens (shown above). If you haven't noticed, I'm an amateur gardener and lover of all things beautiful and green. So, any place that has a garden is where I want to be. We arrived at the end of tulip season, which meant the grounds were in-between blooms, but it was still quite lovely.

The gardens are immaculately maintained, and you can wander amongst the well-groomed paths taking it all in — peace and tranquility around every corner.

Note: It wasn't too busy when we visited so we could wander the gardens without crowds. This may not be your experience, depending on the day and season of your visit.

You can tour the interior of Dunrobin Castle, and unlike many castles, this one is fully furnished! There's so much to see and learn. Some rooms are rather intriguing such as a child's toy room filled with all sorts of antique toys. Give yourself plenty of time to explore the exterior and interior fully.

Another feature found on the Castle grounds is their falconry show. These daily shows educate visitors on the ancient art of hunting using birds of prey.

There is also a museum, but we did not have the time to visit this portion during our tour.

Next up in Scotland was Edinburgh Castle! The castle sits high on Castle Rock and has worn many hats, such as a military fortress, royal residence, and prison. Edinburg is also Scotland's capital, so as you can imagine, this site is popular among visiting tourists.

When visiting, don't forget to stop at the front gate and take your photo like a proper tourist!

After entering, you'll find an expansive interior filled with various stone buildings to explore.

Inside these buildings, you'll find historical displays of weaponry and armor.

Examples of what the prisons were like.

Artwork, stained glass, and more.

Outside, you would be hard-pressed to miss this humungous medieval cannon. The barrel's diameter is 20 inches, making it one of the largest cannons in the world.

You'll also find opportunities on the edges of the fortress for panoramic views of the city.

Edinburg Castle boasts so much more than a historic tourist attraction. When visiting, arrive before noon to experience their gun salute. See a concert in the evening. Or perhaps, visit the tearoom for their afternoon tea experience.

In addition, a significant event at the Castle every year is their Military Tattoo. This event takes place in August and spans several weeks. Edinburgh's Military Tattoo features a beginning fanfare, pipes and drums, marches, military displays, mock battles, and more. From what I read, it's quite the experience.

A common feature of Scotland in May is that its landscape is covered in the yellow flowering shrubs shown above. You're probably familiar with Scotland's summer heather season, which features hills filled with beautiful purple blooms. However, this weed-like shrub called Gorse/Whin takes over first in the spring. You'll see it almost everywhere you look.

I will conclude with my culinary experience outside Invergordon Harbour, where our ship docked. I always try to taste the local food, so naturally, I found a restaurant where I could order Haggis (sandwich above). This dish traditionally consists of sheep/calf offal (internal organs/entrails), minced onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, salt, and stock and is usually cooked in an animal stomach. I'm not even going to sugarcoat it. It was horrifically awful! However, I did try it, and that's all that matters.

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I appreciate your support.

Happy adventures!

- Allie