Smithsonian Student Travel | Scotland | NEW
- Reconstruct a Stone Age settlement on the shores of Loch Tay
Hike through epic scenery in the Scottish Highlands
Sail to an island with spectacular caves, rock formations, and puffin colonies
Explore the immense and fascinating history of beautiful Edinburgh
This itinerary represents our plan for the program. However, we may implement changes if we identify opportunities to improve the experience, to take advantage of unexpected events, or to accommodate local schedule changes.
Departure • Travel Day • Meet your student travel group and one of your trip leaders in New York City and fly to Edinburgh, Scotland.
St. Andrews • 3 days • Begin your time in Scotland in the university town of St. Andrews. The school here is the third oldest in the English-speaking world, and educates students from around the world in a beautiful coastal setting. You’ll begin your program with an in-depth orientation among the trees and cobbles, then explore the town and its surrounding villages, beaches, and coastal walks. Meet with local guides and cultural practitioners as you start shaping your own independent project. Your Smithsonian Student Travel Expert joins the group here and in the Highlands to share valuable insights into the history and cultural heritage of the Scottish people.
Scottish Highlands • 4 days • Travel from the coastal lowlands to the Highlands, a place of expansive views and remote communities. At Loch Tay, help reconstruct a Stone Age settlement, built for protection on artificial islands in the lochs, as well as medieval castles and historic sites. Attend a traditional ceilidh dance and learn some new steps. Hike through incredible scenery, along lochs, meadows, and some of Scotland’s highest peaks at Glencoe.
The Hebrides • 5 days • Head to the Highlands’ western edge, where countless islands extend into the Atlantic Ocean. Spend the day at a Gaelic school on the Isle of Skye and learn how the language is being passed down to the next generation. Take a day trip by boat from the Isle of Mull to Staffa, where columnar basalt formations and caves have inspired composers and artists for generations, and turn your eye to the sea cliffs, where Atlantic puffins nest and raise their pufflings. Sail to Iona, where 15 centuries of monastic history create a fascinating setting. Travel to some of the smallest communities remaining in Scotland to experience their remote beauty and learn how traditions and culture are being kept alive.
Edinburgh & Glasgow • 4 days • Return to Scotland’s bustling capital city of Edinburgh to end your program. From the ancient winding cobblestone streets, royal residences, and former tenements of the Old Town to the genteel planned neighborhoods of the New Town, explore the historic settings that produced world-famous scholars, inventors, and thinkers. Walk up to King Arthur’s Seat, all that remains of an extinct volcano, for stunning views of the city. Head to Glasgow for a day trip to experience the charms of Scotland’s largest city before you head home.
Return • Travel Day • Fly from Edinburgh, Scotland to New York City with your group and a trip leader, then continue on to your final destination.
Smithsonian Student Travel Expert
The expert(s) highlighted below are examples of professionals that will join the group at various points throughout the itinerary to add their expertise and insight to the program theme.
Tom will be joining the June 23 departure of the Scotland program.
What to Expect
Accommodations • Throughout the trip, we stay at a mix of hotels, hostels, and student accommodations. Breakfasts are included at most destinations.
Climate • Scotland’s climate is shaped and driven by the sea – expect cooler temperatures and more rain and wind than you may be used to in summertime. Expect daytime temperatures in the 60s and low 70s, with cool nights, and the potential for cooler days in the Highlands and the Hebrides.
Meals • We eat meals either at our accommodations, on-the-go during our daily excursions, or at local restaurants. The group will form cooking and cleaning crews to help with shared meal preparations and cleanup.
Cuisine • Scottish cuisine centers around staples like oats and potatoes, shaped into any number of dishes, but also encompasses fresh produce, wild game, seafood, and delicious breads and baked goods. You’ll certainly have a chance to try haggis, the national dish, as well as a wide variety of local and international flavors. A traditional Scottish breakfast contains fried eggs & mushrooms, sausage, baked beans, potato scones, black pudding, and grilled tomato.
Language • English, Scots, and Scottish Gaelic are all official languages in Scotland, with Gaelic being primarily spoken in the remote western parts of the country. You will have a chance to learn some Gaelic phrases and traditions.
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