5 Things Scotland is not known for (but should be)

Posted by - July 11, 2012 | Category: Escapes, Europe, United Kingdom

Haggis and bagpipes. Craggy cliffs and fresh water lochs (even one with a monster). Kilts and tartans and Braveheart. And of course, Sean Connery. These are just some of things that come to mind when you think of Scotland. But did you know that the land of Scots has a lot more to offer? Here are some things that Scotland is not famous for, at least not yet…

1. Deep Fried Mars Bars

Deep fried Mars bar in Scotland sign

Move over haggis, Scotland’s got a new rival for the title of National Dish — the Mars bar, deep-fried of course. Allegedly introduced at the Haven Chip Bar (now the Carron) in Stonehaven, the dish has led to other deep-fried delights as well – deep-fried Snickers, deep-fried Cadbury Creme Eggs, and deep-fried Bounty bars have also been spotted throughout Scotland.

2. Shark Diving

If you’ve tried the deep-fried Mars bar, you’ve obviously got no fear of anything, so the Shark Diving encounter on offer at Deep Sea World just 20 minutes outside of Edinburgh should be a walk in the park. Guests can choose to just watch though if you’ve had your fill of daredevil activities for the day already. There is also a program for kids aged 8 to 15 to get up close with the tiger sharks as well.

3. Fish Spas

We went to the fish spa where the Doctor Fish eat the dead skin off your feet

There are plenty of relaxing spa breaks in Scotland to be had, but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not dip your weary toes in one of Scotland’s fish spas instead. “Doctor Fish” as they are called have been used in Japan and other Asian countries for years for their beauty and health benefits. As a beauty treatment, they rid your feet of dead skin cells, and as a health treatment, they offer relief to eczema and psoriasis sufferers. The fish nibble away at feet while you sit back and relax. Your typical spa days in Glasgow may never be the same once you give fish therapy a try.

4. Aerial Assault Arena

Aerial Assault Course Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, Scotland

If you’re checked out everything there is to do at ground level, then you may want to set your sights on the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena. Home to the world’s largest indoor climbing facility the arena will have you getting in touch with your inner Spiderman as you peek through the windows and navigate the obstacle course some 100 feet in the air.

5. Russian Robots

The Sunday Times calls the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre in Glasgow “Bizarre, hilarious, ghoulish… unmissable.”  The newspaper The Scotsman called it a “…séance in a scrapyard.” With descriptions like that, it should be a lot more popular than it actually is. Sharmanka (Russian for hurdy-gurdy) houses a series of animatronic scenes set to creepy music that you just have to see to believe. Part art, part horror show, the theatre never fails to make an impression.

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8 comments - add one
  1. See, when I think Scotland, I immediately DO think “Deep Fried Mars Bars.” Then again, I used to live there… In fact, I recently caught up with my old flatmate from Edinburgh in Alexandria, Virginia, and we actually found a local pub that served us a Deep Fried Mars Bars! Memories.

  2. Definitely not things I would expect to see in Scotland. However, I think you can find #1 in most state fairs in this country! 🙂

    No to #3 but but #4 could be fun.

  3. Hold up just one second….did I just read the words “deep fried Bounty”? That. Sounds. AMAZING. Who wants stomach lining when you can have a coconut chocolate bar in batter?!?

  4. I’d heard about fried Mars bars and fish feeding spas, but aerial assaults and Russian robots…? I’ve always known there’s more to Scotland than meets the ordinary traveler.

  5. If I’d known you could sign up 8 year olds for shark diving, I could have had a kid, for a bit, and then gone back to life as normal. Live and learn.


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