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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.
Magnificent ruins of a late medieval/16th century royal palace, overlooking a loch. The 'pleasure palace' for several Scottish monarchs, it was also the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. It takes little imagination to picture it as it was, full of the nobility in their finery, with its wide stairs, elegant windows, rich furnishings and a fountain running with wine. Was this Scotland's Hampton Court? It could have been.
Linlithgow has another claim to fame - it was the birthplace of Scottish Nationalist politician Alex Salmond, who also grew up in the town.
Calton Hill, at the east end of Edinburgh City, is a landmark that is included within the boundary of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site. It is home to a number of monuments, not least the unfinished National Monument and the Dugald Stewart Monument and is used for casual strolling as well as celebratory events. There are panoramic views from the top.
The legend is that while King David I was hunting in the area he had a vision of a stag with a cross glowing between its antlers. Interpreting this as an act of God, the King declared that an abbey should be built on the same spot, and the Augustinian Abbey of the Holy Rood was accordingly founded in 1128. Holy Rood means ‘Holy Cross’, a fragment of which had allegedly been brought to Scotland by David’s mother, St Margaret, and kept at the Abbey until the 14th century.
Holyrood Abbey is part of the Palace of Holyroodhouse and can only be visited as part of a visit to the Palace.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse was built around an abbey founded by King David I in the 12th century, which had royal chambers attached to it. James IV (1488-1513) decided to upgrade the chambers to a palace, and this work was added to by subsequent monarchs. The Palace is the British monarch's official residence in Scotland and Her Majesty Her Majesty The Queen visits during Holyrood week, at the end of June/beginning of July. When The Queen is in residence, the Scottish variant of the Royal Standard is flown.
Parts of the Palace are open to the public, though opening arrangements are subject to change, sometimes at short notice, and you should check before making a special journey. Highlights of a visit include the magnificent State Apartments and the fascinating Mary, Queen of Scots', chambers. You can also walk round the ruins of Holyrood Abbey and parts of the gardens.
The Queen's Gallery was built in the shell of the former Holyrood Free Church and Duchess of Gordon’s School at the entrance to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It hosts a programme of changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection, and elsewhere.
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.
A unique and massive boat lift connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. Completed in 2002 at a cost of £84.5 million, the Falkirk Wheel raises boats 79 feet (24 metres), though there are still a couple of locks to negotiate as well. An engineering masterpiece, there are boat trips, walks, a play park, visitor centre and other activities.
The Battle of Bannockburn took place over the 23rd and 24th June 1314 between the Scots, under Robert the Bruce, and a significantly larger army under Edward II of England. The English were under siege by the Scots at Stirling Castle and Edward's army was intended to relieve the siege. Instead, Bruce inflicted a massive defeat. This ultimately led to the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.
Much of the probable site of the battle is now built over. However, the National Trust for Scotland operates a visitor centre that offers a hi-tech battle experience (ticket only), a shop and a cafe. There is memorial to the battle on the site as well as a statue of Robert the Bruce. Note - there is no museum or exhibition.
Stirling Castle is one of Scotland's premier fortresses and oozes history and legend. Built on an intrusive crag known as 'castle rock', it is in a strong defensive position and visible for miles. The castle changed hands several times during the medieval struggles between the Scots and the English and two major battles, Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314) were fought nearby and won by the Scots. Stirling became a royal castle, a residence of the Stuart dynasty. The last siege was by Bonnie Prince Charlie in the 18th century and the present buildings are mainly 15th/16th century. Meticulous restoration work enables us to see parts of the Royal Palace, Great Hall and Chapel as they would have been and there are fabulous views.
The battle was fought on 11 September 1297. Following Scots support for the French, Edward I of England invaded Scotland, deposed the King, John Balliol and left an army of occupation. Sir William Wallace and Sir Andrew Moray led a rebellion and met an English army outside Stirling. The English advanced over a narrow bridge over the River Forth. The Scots fell upon the English from the high ground on Abbey Craig, cutting the invading army in two. The English commander, the Earl of Surrey, could not reinforce because of the narrowness of the bridge. The portion of his forces that had crossed the bridge were cut down, though some of managed to escape by swimming back across the river. The Scottish victory destroyed the myth of English invincibility. Legend has it that the hated English treasurer, Hugh de Cressingham, was flayed after the battle and that Wallace made a belt from the skin.
The actual bridge of the battle was destroyed at the time. The current 'old' bridge was built downstream of it in the 16th century and is still in use by pedestrians. There is a plaque on the east end of the bridge, with a small portion of meadow adjacent, but it is thought that most of the fighting took place on ground that is now built over. It's a nice bridge, though. Post code is very approximate.