Select a photo below to see more information about the specific excursion.

Each Veritas program includes several excursions designed to help students gain a more in-depth cultural and historical understanding of the host country and region. Excursions are included in the program cost and cover ground transportation, entrance fees, and guided tours. Accommodations and breakfast are included on all overnight excursions. Some excursions may not be available for all terms. Optional excursions may be provided at an extra cost.

 

EDINBURGH

On this excursion, we visit the city sometimes known as the Athens of the North: fascinating, historical Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Edinburgh is the second biggest city in Scotland behind Glasgow. It is home to the Scottish Parliament and has long been considered a premiere city of education, with the ancient University of Edinburgh ranking among the world's top 20 universities. It is also home to several world heritage sites, as well Edinburgh Castle and one of the Queen of England's official residences, Holyrood Palace.

There is evidence of people living in Edinburgh as far early as 8500 BC, and Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements have been found on Arthur's seat and Castle Rock. But it wasn't until the 12th Century that King David I founded it as a Royal Borough. After the English Civil War and the invasion of Oliver Cromwell's army here, Edinburgh would become a stronghold of the Protestant Reform Movement and headquarters of the Presbyterian Church. During the 17th century, the city limited its residential district to only one square mile, leading to overcrowding and poor sanitation and harming the city's international reputation. But since the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century, when many of the beautiful Georgian buildings of the Mile were built, Edinburgh has been a city much admired by visitors and traveling scholars, and its name is often associated with prominent intellectuals such as Adam Smith, David Hume and John Knox.

GLASGOW (Stirling only)

Glasgow, the 'Dear Green Place' is full of parks and green spaces. This affectionate moniker actually corresponds to the original Gaelic (Gal-ic) meaning of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. With over 600,000 people, it is the country's largest and most ethnically diverse city—and for many people Scotland's most vibrant place! Though folks from Edinburgh might beg to differ with the latter claim, few would dispute that Glaswegians, as they are known, are the most hospitable and friendly people in Scotland. You'll be stopped on the street to be told a joke or when you ask for directions, you will be walked to the location and chatted to profusely.

Once the population swelled to over a 1,000,000 due to the lure of work at the more than 60 shipyards, along with the devastating effects of the Highland famines of the 19th century. Glasgow is now powered economically by financial services, call centers, tourism, conferences, and the Kingdom's largest shopping district outside of London. Most recently it hosted the 2014 Commonwealth Games and its Hydro concert venue has hosted Madonna, Andrea Bocelli, Rod Stewart and countless other international artists. Famous Glaswegians include comedian Billy Connolly, actors Billy Boyd & Robert Carlyle, architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, inventor of the television John Logie Baird, Sir Thomas Lipton (aka Lipton Tea), poet and playwright Liz Lochhead, and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay - to name a few!

HIGHLANDS & LOCH NESS

The natural beauty of the highlands is evident from the beginning of our journey. Our excursion starts from Glasgow as we travel across the highland boundary fault where we encounter Loch Lomond—Scotland's largest freshwater loch (Scot. for lake). Here we learn about the famous tune the The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond which lets us access, musically and lyrically, the sadness of the people and their famous attachment to the land. Though this song is often a way to close out an evening of revelry, it in fact recalls the tragic (mortal) parting of two brothers... one who takes the high road to safety, and one who takes the low road through sacrificial death: one life given for the other.

From Loch Lomond we travel further into the highlands crossing Rannoch Moor—fifty square miles of boggy moorland sometimes swarming with midges (a wee beastie you'll not want to cozy up to). Then it's on to Glen Coe, a beautiful mountain valley which is also associated with a famous massacre (here 38 men of Clan MacDonald were killed in their sleep by their hosts, Clan Campbell, while another 40 women and children died from exposure when they fled their burning homes). Beauty is mixed with sadness at every turn! Leaving the majestic glen, we travel on to Fort William where we encounter Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis. This mountain is the highest of Scotland's 282 Munros (in local parlance, mountains higher than 910 meters) and is known for its treacherous conditions and many climbing deaths! It stands 1,346 meters (4,416 feet) above sea level and the mountain and surrounding areas is known as an excellent location for ice climbing, mountain biking, hill walking and just plain sightseeing (that is, when it can be seen through the sometimes gloomy Highland mists and fogs!).

Climbing further North, we pass along (and over) the Caledonian canal, eventually reaching Loch Ness for our chance to see Nessie! We make our way to the loch by first visiting Urquhart Castle for an optional boat tour. From there we head through the highland 'capital city of Inverness before heading south through the Grampian Mountains, the forest of Perthshire and, after working up a healthy appetite, a dinner stop at the Victorian-era resort town Pitlochry.

STIRLING CASTLE

William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Bonnie Prince Charlie: these are just a few of the illustrious names which go to make up Stirling's history. Popular films like Braveheart and TV shows such as Outlander, while stirring interest in these important figures and the times they lived in, have taken great liberties and, to the chagrin of many Scots, haven't accurately portrayed the true history of this town—a history every bit as compelling as most of the more famous fictionalizations. On this excursion, students will explore the history behind the people of this proud part of Scotland, taking a guided tour of Stirling castle and the surrounding city to which this strategic fortress gave rise.

Today Stirling is powered economically by a mixture of tourism, local government, higher education and retail and financial services. Key employers are Stirling Council, the University of Stirling and Prudential Financial Services. With a population of just over 45,000, Stirling is a bustling but manageable city, with the majority of its inhabitants living in the southeast corner between the rail line and M9 motorway. A major regeneration site—Forthside—is underway on a former Ministry of Defence site and this project promises to change yet again the shape and influence of Stirling in the future.