Though many castles in Scotland are in ruins, there still remain a large number which are complete, many of which are still inhabited by the original families.
Some of those which can be visited are owned by the National Trust of Scotland and the rest are privately owned.
Most castles can be visited in a "self-guiding" manner with leaflets or information panels in each room in various languages.
Many castles now offer "Free audio-guides" in these languages as well as Guided Tours with the castle's own guides, some of whom speak other languages.
If no language guide is available for a particular tour, the group's Tour Guide will translate for the group.
Most complete castles have cafés or restaurants, souvenir shops and toilets.
Castle tours can take from 45 minutes to an hour and a half or more depending on the size of the castle and the gardens.
Most ruined Cathedrals do not have free entry but make good "Photo Stops" from the outsite.
Those still in use generally have free entry as do all British Museums.
Edinburgh Castle is a different case due to the huge crowds visiting it, and audio-guides are not free and
the group tour guides are not allowed to enter any of the buildings with their groups and have to keep strictly to certain areas.
Some castles do not allow photography inside, others stipulate "no flash" and others do allow flash.
Distilleries invariably offer tours guided by their own staff, some of whom speak languages.
As with the castle tours, where no language guide is available, the group tour guide will translate for them.
There is normally a tasting at the end of the tour after which the group is free to visit the shop.
These tours last at least an hour and a half for the basic tour and up to 4 hours for the enthusiasts.
Normally Distilleries do not allow photography due to the delicate electronics used in their process and the alcohol vapour with its risk of fire.
Scottish Hotels have been concidered variable by some visitors from other countries and have even been described as being somewhat "rustic"!
Scotland is renowned for its welcome and hospitality in spite of the "antique" infrastructure which is so greatly appreciated by many visitors
as part of the charm of Scotland and prefered to the modern sterile block hotels in big cities.
This image seems to have suffered a little in recent years in some hotels due to local staff shortages and the arrival of europeans to fill the posts, a small number of whom seem to concider "smiling" to be a "weakness" so, even though they might do a very good job, they try to avoid indulging in such "weakness"!
The "new build" chain hotels such as Holiday Inn, Travelodge, Ibis and Premier Inn etc., found in the larger cities, have a tendancy to be adequat
but often lack character in contrast the "Victorian", 19th century hotels, the converted castles and large manor houses which are oosing atmosphere
though a few of these don't have lifts.
Some of the older hotels consist of more than one building unlike the recent purpose built hotel chains which are usually contained in one building.
Then there are the really old "Coaching Inns" such as the "Salutation Hotel" in Perth where Bonnie Prince Charlie is reputed to have stayed,
which has lots of character and atmosphere but also lots of stairs and steps and very long corridors
which can prove a challenge for the elderly or those with reduced mobility
and there are a few of the older hotels with rather small rooms.
Baggage service usually has a charge of £1 or £2 but is often offered free of charge to the elderly and those with mobility issues.
though it might not always be available in more remote hotels.
Most hotels chosen for extended tours have ** or *** though some have more stars.
The service is generally very good and friendly with very few exceptions.