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VisitScotland is taking full advantage of the hype surrounding the new Starz series Outlander by launching a map of Outlander locations for fans of the books and the show.
The online guide brings visitors to genuine locations from Diana Gabaldon's first two novels and includes Scotland's must-see historic sites. Some of the highlighted locations include the Holyrood Palace, Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness, and Fort William, which plays an important role in the novels.
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With the Starz series Outlander about to debut, there is more interest than ever in the books which inspired the show, not to mention the Scotland locations where both are set.
There are several tour companies throughout Scotland now offering Outlander tours, including Vacation Scotland's Outlandish Adventures, a 7-day exploration of book locations, from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye.
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Yang Guang limbers up
Maybe Edinburgh is that kinda town, because it wasn’t just Richard Branson getting frisky in Scotland last week; bumping Little Red’s arrival down the news agenda were the two pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, whose slow and steady journey to mating season has been vicariously lapped up by the British press.
Not because they’re creeps, see; but because a panda pregnancy will be a feat against all the oddsthe female is in season for just 48 hours. Also, the couple have only known each other for just over a year, so although it’s not quite celebrity speed, it’s pretty quick. Last year, they tried to breed unsuccessfully. This year, we were told when we visited last week, Tian Tian has been calling to Yang Guang with “much more urgency,” making the scientists think they might just hit the jackpot.
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Little Red's check-in desks at Edinburgh Airport
Little Red flies three routes: from London-Heathrow to Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Manchester, all intended as feeder destinations to get locals to Heathrow for Virgin Atlantic's long-haul flights. There are 26 flights a day in totalsix each way on the Edinburgh route, three for Aberdeen and four for Manchester. All are perfectly timed to connect with the rest of VA's network.
There’s a launch sale on right now that means you only pay the taxes. Unfortunately, since this is the UK, that means you’re not getting a bargain; it ends up £98 for a return flight between London and Scotland, and £103 return from Manchester.
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Yesterday we brought you coverage of the fanfare upon the Edinburgh arrival of Little Red, Virgin Atlantic’s new domestic UK service, flying from London-Heathrow to Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Manchester. Today, it’s time for a photo dump...but also some thoughts on the interior and the overall LHR-EDI flight experience.
Was it as well planned as Branson’s kilt-flashing incident?
The short answer: yes, pretty much.
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Remember a couple of years back when Richard Branson lost a bet with Air Asia’s CEO Tony Fernandes, which meant he was going to have to dress up as a female flight attendant? That may not have come to fruitionalthough, according to Fernandes, the time is nighbut he went one step
better worse further early this morning at Scotland's Edinburgh Airport.
Launching Little Red, Virgin Atlantic’s domestic UK service and a major step for the airline, Branson donned a kilt and then dressed down by flashing us.
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There’s a little bit of a controversy brewing at Scotland's Edinburgh Airport, but it has nothing to do with baggage fees or airport security. This time it’s an airport advertisement that’s getting passengers all hot and bothered.
On loan from the collections of the Tate over in London, Picasso’s Nude Woman in a Red Armchair is now on the wall at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. An airport advertisement was just trying to get people excited for the new exhibit and to sell some tickets, but apparently the "provocative" display of modern art is not appropriate for an airport—at least according to some passengers.
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Disney Adventures is hosting its first expedition inspired by a Disney-Pixar film this summer with “Scotland: A Brave Adventure.”
Travelers will have the opportunity to immerse themselves into the world of Brave. On this 9-day, 8-night trip, guests will visit Edinburgh, the Isle of Skye, the Isle of Lewis and Inverness in Scotland, just as Merida does in the upcoming film.
The dining room at 21212
Haggis, deep-fried Mars bars, mushy peas…the Scottish haven't really been known for their contributions to the culinary world. On our recent visit to Edinburgh, though, we found all that was changing thanks to a slew of new all-star chefs opening restaurants that at once embrace and evolve Scottish cuisine. Maybe that’s why this year is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, and the International Culinary Tourism Association described it as one of the most “unique, memorable, and interesting places for food and drink on the planet.”
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When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!
What's that bottle of nuclear-orange soft drink on the same shelf as Pepsi, Coke and other top-brand colas? Oh, it's just the best selling pop in Scotland: Irn Bru. Although we like to pronounce it by mumbling "urn bruh," the actual way to say is simply "Iron Brew." Irn Bru is not only hugely popular in the UK, but also in other places around the world where you'll find some Scots residing. For example, we recently ran across it in Nova Scotia. The entire history of this curious drink is of course available over at Wikipedia, and we're stunned to find that this stuff was first introduced back in 1901.
The taste: Don't be afraid to try some when you spy its bright orangeness up against the dark bottles of other colas. Irn Bru doesn't taste like orange pop, nor is it unpleasant. Our chief Irn Bru expert describes its taste "citrus-y, cream soda-y, energy drink-y without quite tasting like any one of the three." We agree. It's hard to pinpoint it as, you see, no one knows the full Irn Bru recipe aside from two folks at the top of the company.
For Americans traveling to London, or really anywhere in the United Kingdom, there is one stereotypical English meal that must be sought out: fish and chips. It's a comfort food, so it doesn't matter if you find yourself in the UK all the time or if you've been saving up for years for a London vacation, because fish & chips is just one of those things.
We found this perfect juicy specimen of fish & chips (the chips are behind the fish, effectively propping it up) at the inexpensive and cozy pub restaurant called The World's End in Edinburgh, Scotland recently. Sure it's right on the Royal Mile and surrounded by shops that try to sell tartan to tourists, but you can't deny that it's a damned good place to settle down for a hearty meal, and perhaps sample haggis with one of their appetizers (so you're not stuck with a whole dinner of it). Forgive us for not devouring some fish & chips wrapped up in newspaper, but that gets greasy messy.
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What activities do you typically think of when planning a trip to Scotland? Well, there's trying haggis, maybe flirting with the idea of buying a kilt, and perhaps enjoying some nice highland scenery. But when we went to Edinburgh recently, we looked out the window of the hotel only to see a looming, misty dormant volcano in the distance; this is "Arthur's Seat" and it was calling our name.
A quick visit to the wiki page on Arthur's Seat verified that it is easily climbable, so we set out for what would become a most exhilaratingand at times, most dangeroushike. We cannot stress enough the importance of appropriate footwear!
After the jump, how to climb and what to see on Arthur's Seat