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This is the place to search for places and things of interest to visit in Britain, by name, location, type, keyword – or just have a browse. It is a growing directory – 700+ entries as of October 2019. Most entries have links for further information.
Originally a radar station, the site was converted to an underground Regional Government HQ (RGHQ) and war room during the Cold War, with capacity for 300 people, including the Secretary of State for Scotland, in the event of a nuclear attack. Now open to the public as a museum.
Scotland's Parliament was dissolved with the Act of Union between Scotland and England in 1707; there would be just one parliament, in Westminster. The Scotland Act of 1998 re-established a Scottish parliament, with certain devolved domestic powers, and it was decided that a new building was needed for it to meet in. The result was the Scottish Parliament Building, one of the most controversial government projects ever undertaken in the United Kingdom. Completion was more than three years late and, at a cost of £414.4 million, it was 10 times over budget. Many consider it ugly, at least externally, but it is interesting to visit and the debating chamber makes more sense than those at Westminster.
Crannogs were circular dwellings built in and above water. They were in use as recently as the 17th century but date back to around 3,000 BC and their remains have been found throughout Scotland and Ireland. The remains of more than 20 have been found in Loch Tay - the reason for the concentration is unknown, though it was possibly a trade route. The Scottish Crannog Centre is a museum that includes a reconstructed crannog based on one excavated nearby and dating from 2,500 BC. It consists of a roundhouse supported on 168 timber piles driven into the loch bed and connected to the shore by means of a 20 M long timber bridge. As well as the crannog and the museum, there are reconstructions and displays showing how crannog dwellers lived and worked.
Scone Palace stands on a site of enormous historical significance. It was at the heart of the ancient Kingdom of the Picts, a meeting place, and traditionally where the kings of Scotland have been crowned, on the sacred Stone of Scone - stolen by King Edward I in 1296 and returned to Scotland in 1996 (it is now in Edinburgh Castle). The Moot Hill where kings were declared and crowned is opposite the palace, which is mainly 19th century, built near the site of the medieval Abbey of Scone - which itself replaced an early Christian church. The Palace contains an impressive collection which includes furniture gifted by Mary Antoinette, bed-hangings embroidered by Mary, Queen of Scots and rare porcelain and ivory. A particular feature is the painting of Dido Belle, whose mother was a slave, and her cousin, Lady Elizabeth Murray. The long gallery is where Charles II processed to his coronation and where Queen Victoria watched curling. In the 100 acre grounds are walks, gardens and a maze. Regular events are held. Scone Palace has been home to the Murrays, later the Earls of Mansfield, since 1600.
The ruins of Ruthven Barracks stand on a huge mound. They were built on the site of an earlier castle by George II’s government in the early 1700s, after the failed Jacobite uprising of 1715. The troops stationed there were to maintain law and order and enforce the Disarming Act of 1716. The barracks saw action twice. A 300-strong Jacobite attack failed to take the barracks in 1745, but a more heavily-armed attack the next year forced the barracks’ surrender. The Jacobites rallied here after their defeat at Culloden in 1746.
The Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place over several nights each August, coinciding with the Edinburgh Festival. It began in 1949/1950 and consists of military displays and music performed by British, Commonwealth and other nations' armed forces. The event takes place in a dramatic setting on Edinburgh Castle Esplanade at the top of Castle Hill, with audience stands erected high over the City. The Edinburgh Tattoo is seen by in excess of 200,000 people every year, with a high proportion of visitors coming from overseas. It is also televised and viewed by audiences worldwide. Tickets sell out fairly quickly. Though international in nature, there is a strong Scottish feel to the Tattoo. The traditional ending is a performance by the massed pipes and drums, the National Anthem and, finally, a floodlit lone piper playing a lament.
Rosslyn Chapel was founded by Sir William St Clair in 1446 and is still owned by the Sinclair family. It is famously ornate, packed full of wonderful carvings; yet it is a fraction of the enormous church that Sir William proposed to construct but never finished. Rosslyn is a magnet for mystics, conspiracy theorists, fans of Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code' and, of course, lovers of history and beautiful buildings.
Ruined castle built by the Barons of Rosslyn between the 13th and 17th centuries, just a short distance from the famous Rosslyn Chapel and allegedly haunted. The Castle was besieged at least twice and ultimately destroyed by one of Cromwell's armies in 1650. It is not open to the public as a visitor attraction, but it is available to rent as a holiday home. Click on the Landmark Trust's website link below.
NB The castle can be viewed externally whilst visiting Rosslyn Chapel or via Roslin Glen.
Celebrating the life and works of Robert Burns (1759-1796), this is a modern, custom-built museum and visitor centre including shops, restaurant and kids' adventure playground. The latter is amazing, incorporating images from the poet's works into the play facilities. The museum tells the story of Burns' relatively short, but prolific, life based on themes, rather than a logical sequence of events. Geared to the already converted rather than creating new fans, the museum is still interesting. Combine with a visit to Robert Burns' Birthplace, Alloway Old Kirk, Burns Monument and Brig o' Doon.