My fiance and I will be traveling to Scotland for ten days in early to mid April for our honeymoon. We have purchased the Scottish heritage pass which gives us access to all of the castles, gardens, etc. We really want to be able to experience the culture buy eating local food, going to the hole-in-the-wall pubs for a pint, and experience some authentic Scottish dancing. Are there any recommendations that you all may have for us to "live like a local" on our honeymoon to Scotland? We would also like to experience anything off of the beaten path that may not be your typical tourist attraction.
Check the open times for sites, museums, etc. April is definitely shoulder season. All of the small towns and bends in the road will require you to live like a local. There is simply not that much there once you get away from larger towns. Do rent an automatic car. Do drive it the first time in daylight. Do venture out, especially into the highlands. We sat and watched a highland ewe (from the car so as to not distress her and for our safety, females have horns!) birth a lamb in the middle of nowhere. No fencing or barn anywhere. That same trek a UK military jet used our noticeable red auto for pretend targeting and dive bombed us multiple times at exceptionally low altitude. As for food, we've not had the guts to try haggis (pun intended), but muligatawny stew is superb. Talk to the people. They will love it. If you have unusual or entertaining tales from your past or present they will love those! Ask the locals where/when to catch a Highland games event. It will have dancing competitions. Try a web search now.
Pack your layers, especially long johns. Much easier to get cool than try to warm up. Have a fabulous trip.
Visit Scotland web site is very good with videos and lots of info. I assume that you are driving which is necessary to get the "local" experience you are after. We were there in April and the weather was changeable: so wear layers. We had light rain and even some snow. There are less tourists, but you may be in Spring School Break with student and family vacations which is usually around Easter sometime: some of the manufacturing tours may be closed. Remember that Scotland does exist in the 21st Century; so traditional "Scottish" environments mostly exist near Historic tourist locations. But never mind; there is still some nice nostalgia to be had. Edinburgh and Glasgow have several great historic pubs waiting for you. Don't forget that lots Scotland exists south of the two cities and well as the north and the "Highlands". Look to see where the castles are and use that as your guide. Gardens may be a month behind your home because of the higher latitude. Bon Voyage and Best Wishes
Scotland covers quite a large area, so which parts are you visiting? It's no use people recommending places if you aren't going to be within 100 miles of there!
Your honeymoon coincides with Easter school holidays here and places will be busy as a result.
Off the beaten path - spend a day driving round the Ardnamurchan peninsula for stunning scenery. Eat at the Holytree Hotel just south of Ballachulish for excellent local seafood.
For more off the beaten track - visit Dumfries and Galloway - explore small villages, harbours, forests, climb lighthouses and take in the stunning scenery by going wild deer spotting.
Everywhere will offer you haggis for breakfast.
There are plenty of whisky distilleries if you want a tour - this is one drink I really don't like, so for me, a tour would be a waste of time.
Thanks for all the replies. We are defiantly prepared for the weather and are planning to wear layers. We will be spending a few days in Edinburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen, and Glasglow. We will be renting a car from the Edinburgh airport and driving to all destinations from there. In particular we would like to go on some hiking/walking trails that arent too rigorous and maybe some scenic drives. A couple of distillery tours are definitely on the itinerary with numerous castle (we are staying in a few over night). We have some spare time in Edinburgh so anything around that area such as scenic drives (we are thinking about checking out Arthur's Seat). We are from south Louisiana any must-eat/drink places are more than welcome for recommendations.
In Edinburgh we discovered a place many years ago and have had a number of memorable meals there. It is Maison Bleue at 36 Victoria St. which is off George IV Bridge St. which is just off High St. (The Royal Mile) close to the castle. Go to googlemaps.com, type in the address, and you'll be able to locate it easily. You can use the street view to "walk" to it before leaving home. You can't miss the bleue façade. We've never had a problem being seated at lunch, but dinner reservations are advised. Small place, same ownership for years, and excellent food.