Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Tue June 23 2015

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  • Nicole Connolly | June 23, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    A Tour of Scottish History and Culture

    A Tour of Scottish History and Culture

    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

    So Scotland is calling and you are wondering what to do while you are there. Well, look no further my friends. We have some great suggestions for things to see and do. You will feel like an ancient explorer, and walk away full of culture and history. Let's take a look at all that this beautiful place has to offer.

    Of course, no trip to Scotland would be complete without a trip to Loch Ness. However, there is more to the lake than a sea monster legend. While you are there, visit and you will notice many castles and forts built centuries ago to stave off would-be invaders or to claim land for royalty. The scenery only enhances the majesty of the area, and you might want to keep your camera handy since Nessie could make an appearance. Scientists and adventurers are still drawn to the loch in the hopes of finding proof of her existence.

    Scotland’s history-rich major cities are between 150 and 200 miles south of the Loch Ness. Let’s head down there.

    What has dominated its home city’s skyline for the past 800 years? Answer: Edinburgh Castle — and you simply must pay it a visit! The stronghold has played host to prisoners and Parliament, served as a Royal Palace, and also housed soldiers during various wars. Each role has helped shape the castle into what it is today: the crown jewel of Scotland.

    Don't forget to visit St. Giles’ Cathedral during your stay in Edinburgh. The inside of this house of worship is absolutely breathtaking. You will be humbled and awestruck by this tribute to the divine. And you can even participate in a service while you are there. Check the times and find one that works for you. Oh, one more word about the cathedral — be sure to keep your camera handy. There are tons of great photo ops to be had!

    Finally, no tour of Edinburgh would be complete without a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden. This is touted as one of the finest gardens of its type in the world. It sits sprawling on 70 acres, and is just a short hop from the busy downtown district. You will love the peace and serenity, and the flora and fauna found here are captivating.

    About 50 miles west of Edinburgh is the city of Glasgow, home of the Kelvin Grove Art Gallery and Museum. It houses one of Scotland's most popular and most visited collections of internationally significant artifacts and art pieces. Calling this collection big is an understatement. There are 8,000 works of art on three different levels that offer deep insight into 20th century life in Glasgow.

    The most surprising feature of the museum is how up close and personal you can get to the exhibits themselves. It's certainly worth a look — you won't be disappointed.

    After that, head over to the Riverside Museum. Perched dockside on the Clyde River, it plays host to Glasgow's Museum of Transport. There are some fascinating vehicles and objects inside that give a bit of history concerning Scotland's past and present. It is a neat way to see how trade and boating have made strides through the centuries.

    When it's all said and done, take your pick of any of Scotland's fine pubs and relax tavern-style with a mug of beer or ale of your choice. The locals are friendly, the food is good, and the memories will last you a lifetime. You will find that when you visit Scotland, you come as a stranger and leave as a friend. What could be better than that?

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Nicole Connolly Suitcase Stories' Luxe Life Travel Tales and Tips

Nicole Connolly Nicole, along with her husband Michael, left her ordinary life behind for a life of extraordinary travel. The couple left Australia in March 2012 and have been traveling ever since. Nicole has a penchant for all things luxury and this shows in their lifestyle. They may live the life of a gypsy but they certainly know how to do it in style. Their goal is to share their experiences and show others how a life of luxury is possible without the big bank account. Follow their adventures at
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