Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is the latest in a series of themed years conjured up by national tourist office Visit Scotland and the Scottish Government; here’s how you can make the most of what’s on offer.

The aims of the themed year are twofold – to focus on the wealth of creation and sights that come under the banner of history, heritage and archaeology, but also to encourage people, especially groups, to visit them from all over the UK and further afield.

The Group Leisure & Travel Show pioneers all things great, creative, and exciting for groups, and in this post you’ll find a host of ideas for those parties looking to discover all of Scotland’s best bits in 2017.

And if you’re visiting the Group Leisure & Travel Show, taking place at the NEC, Birmingham on Thursday 12th October, you’ll find even more inspiration for Scottish visits in the future, from tour operators and hotel packages to attractions and excursion providers.


Scottish holidays

HF Holidays, exhibiting at the GLTS, has launched a number of new breaks to celebrate the Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology. A historic railway tour through the highlands, an island-hopping break and a week exploring the Great Glen Way are on offer, and there are free places, savings on accommodation, and low deposits for groups.

The Isle of Skye; one of the places featured on HF Holidays’ new Scottish breaks programme.

Also exhibiting will be Airedale Tours, who offer Scottish breaks packed with history and heritage themes. Example holidays include the five-day all-inclusive Edinburgh, Ayrshire and Glasgow tour, taking in Rosslyn Chapel and Dumfries House, and a Scotland’s Regal Heritage break, based in Perthshire. On this five-day break you’ll find out how Scotland’s national drink is distilled and visit the Royal Yacht.

Freedom Hotels and Best Western Hotels will both also be represented at the Group Leisure & Travel Show. Best Western has a number of properties in Scotland, allowing groups to make a base and explore the country’s highlights independently. Locations include Falkirk, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Freedom Hotels, meanwhile, provides group tour itineraries that can be followed to a point, or used as a basis from which to create your own holiday. Accommodation options include the Ballachulish Hotel, which sits on the shore of Loch Linnhe at the foot of Glencoe, and the Crieff Hydro in the heart of scenic Perthshire.

The city of Edinburgh.

Save the date; Scottish events in 2017

In June the National Museum in Edinburgh will host its most comprehensive exhibition in years, detailing the Jacobite era in Scotland’s history, with more than 300 exhibits. Running from 23rd June until 12th November, this major new exhibition will tell the story of the rise and fall of the Jacobites.

The National Wallace Monument will host Abbey Craig Through The Ages on 12th and 13th August. This is a special themed weekend that teaches visitors all about Abbey Craig, from its time as the setting for an ancient fort, through to the present day.

Culag Park at Lochinver will hold the annual Assynt Highland Games on 11th August. The traditional event celebrates all things Scottish, from Highland dancing, caber tossing, tug o’ war and fly casting to solo piping, track and field events and an evening dance.

Lochinver, Scotland.

Getting around: trains, tours and trails

ScotRail (another GLTS exhibitor) operates a number of rail journeys across Scotland which boast both easy A to B travel, and scenic views along the way. The Borders Railway, for example, runs from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, and offers picturesque views of the Scottish Borders, wide open farmland and former mining towns.

Guided walking tours are available at many of Scotland’s attractions, towns and cities. Stroll Through Time is a small group walking tour around Edinburgh’s Old Town where you can learn about its history and characters. There is no set price but donations are welcome. This tour is available on selected dates throughout the year; you can confirm your place by e-mailing

A new Jacobite Trail has been launched by the National Museum of Edinburgh, partnered with the National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The trail covers key Jacobite sites such as Glencoe, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Urquhart Castle and Culloden.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Plan further ahead

Look out in 2018 for the opening of Scotland’s first V&A Gallery in Dundee as part of the riverside city’s massive urban regeneration, the arrival of the Great Tapestry of Scotland to Galashiels and another massive themed year in the offing, which fittingly for a country looking to the future, will be the Year of Young People 2018.

About the GLTS 2017

Several of the mentioned companies will be exhibiting at the Group Leisure & Travel Show this autumn, where you can meet representatives face to face to discuss how to make the most in group travel.

The GLTS 2017 will take place in Hall 18 at the NEC, Birmingham on Thursday 12th October, and if you register for free entry now you can take advantage of our free parking offer*.

You’ll find the simple Visitor Registration form at – why wait?

Companies interested in exhibiting can telephone Sharon Yandell on 01908-613323 for more information or e-mail

*Terms and conditions apply.