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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.
The Battle of Culloden on 16th April 1746 was the last pitched battle on British soil and brought the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 to a bloody end. Charles Edward Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie, had taken his largely Highland Army as far as Derby, before retreating north to Inverness, pursued by Government forces under the Duke of Cumberland. On the morning of the battle, many of the Prince's troops were exhausted after an aborted attack on the Government army camped at Nairn. The ground chosen for the battle was partly marsh, wholly unsuited to the favoured tactic of the Highland charge. Moreover, on this occasion the Jacobites were no match for the well-trained, disciplined, Government troops. They were also slightly outnumbered. The battle lasted less than an hour and was a decisive victory for the Government. Afterwards, Cumberland ordered his troops to ruthlessly pursue and search out any surviving rebels and a shameful bloodbath ensued.
The National Trust for Scotland runs an impressive visitor centre at Culloden, where there is a detailed explanation for the Jacobite Rebellion, an impressive audio-visual experience and various talks and tours. It is possible to explore much of the battlefield, which the NTS is in the process of returning it to its appearance in 1746, taking in the opposing lines and the sad burial markers.
There is a tradition that the origins of Culross were as a 6th century Christian community, headed by St Serf. St Mungo, or St Kentigern, is reputed to have been born here and a chapel, the ruins of which can be visited, was built on the site of his birth. An abbey was founded in the 13th century and the monks began coal mining. There was an iron industry too, and salt panning. It was a busy port. In 1575, Sir George Bruce, a descendant of Robert the Bruce, was granted the lease of the abbey's collieries. Bruce built what is believed to be the first coal mine to extend under the sea, and invented the means by which it could be kept drained. He was also the builder of Culross Palace. James VI visited and granted the burgh of Culross royal status – so as ‘the Royal Burgh of Culross’, it prospered. However, a great storm destroyed the submarine coal mine. For a while, Culross had a thriving boot and shoe industry. But industries declined and so did the town. The National Trust for Scotland acquired the palace in the 1930s and set about preserving and restoring it, as well as many of the town’s other buildings. The result is that Culross looks like something from the 17th century, albeit a little sanitised version of it (thank goodness). In addition to the ochre-coloured palace and its garden, highlights include the Town House (reputedly used as a prison for witches) and the abbey. But simply wandering round the old cobbled streets is very pleasant too.
There is a car park a short walk from the village centre.
Culross Abbey was founded by Malcolm, earl of Fife in 1217-1218 as a daughter house of the Cistercian monastery at Kinloss. The abbey church was built soon after, with work continuing into the 1300s. The abbey had a reputation for producing fine books, but monastic life came to an end with the Reformation of 1560. The choir and presbytery of the abbey church were taken over as the parish church, but most of the abbey buildings fell into ruin, so little remains. What there is is fascinating, however (including a climb up a ladder into the remains of the vaulted refectory). The church itself is cruciform and contains several items of particular interest. Probably the most impressive is the Bruce Vault, built in 1642, which houses the marble memorial to Sir George Bruce, builder of Culross Palace, and his wife. The memorial includes eight kneeling statues, representing the couple's children, in front of the memorial. There are also the effigies of a knight in armour and a lady, John Stewart of Innermeath, Lord of Lorn, and his wife, dating from 1445 but badly defaced during the Reformation.
Culross Palace is actually not a palace, but a rich merchant's house. It was constructed, mainly in the early 17th century, by Sir George Bruce. Bruce was something of an engineer and pioneered submarine coal mining in Culross, using an Egyptian wheel to keep the mine drained. He ran salt works which burned coal to evaporate sea water. At the time, Bruce's mines and salt works were the most technically advanced such enterprises in Scotland, if not the whole of Britain. He also traded extensively with the Low Countries, Sweden and other ports along the Forth. The ‘palace’ includes many materials obtained overseas, including roof tiles and timber, and contains some astonishing painted woodwork, including ceilings, as well as contemporary furnishings. The National Trust for Scotland has done a wonderful preservation job and the palace is now finished in a warm yellow ochre colour. They have restored the unusual, if not unique, terraced garden, which grows fruit, vegetables and herbs used in the early 17th century. James VI visited in 1617 and it is believed he generously referred to Sir George’s house as ‘a palace’.
Enormous estate, once the seat of the Kennedy family, which includes woodland and seashore walks, a walled garden, large pond, various structures and follies in the grounds, an astonishing children's' adventure playground and the castle, perched on a clifftop. Actually, it's not really a castle, but a large stately house redesigned by Robert Adam and built between 1777 and 1792. The top floor was gifted to the Supreme Head of Allied Forces in Western Europe, later 34th President of the United States of America, Dwight D Eisenhower, to be used in his lifetime. It is now a hotel.
Dalwhinnie Distillery is located within the Cairngorm National Park and said to be the highest distillery in Scotland. The name 'Dalwhinnie' is derived from the Gaelic for 'meeting place', where cattle drovers would gather in days gone by. Dalwhinnie's 15-year old single malt is allegedly known for its gentle flavours accentuated with notes of heather honey, citrus, vanilla and sweet malt. You can sample this at a tasting, or at the end of a tour to see how it is made, accompanied by a handmade chocolate. Dalwhinnie Distillery tours are renowned for the friendliness and expertise of the guides. It is always advisable to book before making a special trip.
Dalwhinnie is part of the massive Diageo group, whose other whisky brands include Cragganmore, Glenkinchie, Lagavulin, Oban and Talisker. According to Wikipedia, Dalwhinnie village is one of the coldest inhabited places in Britain; bear that in mind if you decide to visit in winter.
Tells the story of the greatest munitions factory on earth and the lives of the girls who worked thee. HM Factory Gretna opened in 1916 and manufactured RDB Cordite. Cordite was (or is) a powerful explosive, a mixture of guncotton and nitro-glycerine, which was said to resemble porridge. HM Factory Gretna stretched over 9 miles and at its height employed 30,000 people.
The interior of tiny Dornoch Cathedral is stunning: magnificent stained glass windows set in simple stone walls, crowned by a white, vaulted, roof. It exudes tranquillity. Founded by the Bishop of Sutherland, Gilbert de Moravia a little after 1222, in 1570 Dornoch Cathedral was almost totally destroyed during a clan feud between the Murrays of Dornoch and the Mackays of Strathnaver, when it was set on fire. It was partially repaired in 1616, but the restoration was not completed until the 19th century. The pop star Madonna had her son, Rocco, baptised at Dornoch in 2000; she and her then husband, Guy Ritchie, were married at nearby Skibo Castle.
Drum Castle was seat of the Clan Irvine and in the Irvine family for 650 years, from 1325, when it was granted to William de Irvine by Robert the Bruce, until 1975. It has a rich history, 17th and 19th century additions and alterations, and is surrounded by gardens and an arboretum.