Scotland, a land of legends, a complex history and some of the world’s most lush scenery, calls out to the adventurous nature within us. Experience the place that inspired the epic movie “Braveheart”. Truly a place with something for everyone, Scotland is a small country that leaves a big impact on all who pass through. To help you organize your Scottish getaway, below is a list of the top tourist attractions in Scotland that should not be missed.
Glenfinnan Monument and Visitor Centre
Situated on the picturesque Road to the Isles, this monument to a skirmish long ago stands amid the scenery of the Scottish Highland at the head of Loch Shiel. Thehistoric monument was erected in 1815 as a means of tribute to the clans who battled and perished at the site in the name of the Jacobite cause. After a vicious and bloody battle, the standard bearing the flag of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s was raised near the site over two-and-a-half centuries years ago in the year 1745. The historic battle on this site is said to have set the stage for future events in British, Scottish and even American history. A visitor’s center on site can help you learn more of the history of this monument.
If you are visiting the historic city of Edinburgh, you’ll not want to miss the Nelson Monument. This monument to Admiral Lord Nelson’s victory and ultimate sacrifice during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 is perched on Calton Hill at the city’s east end. The monument was built between 1807 and 1815 and created by Robert Burn. A time ball was introduced in the mid-1800s and is still working today. One of the most visited monuments in the city, thousands of history buffs are attracted to the site for the wonderful view of Edinburgh and the surrounding area as seen from the top of the monument.
The Scott Monument
Literary historians will want to visit the Scott Monument, which stands in tribute to Sir Walter Scott, authors of such classics as Ivanhoe, Rob Roy and Waverley. The monument itself stands over 200 feet and you must climb 287 steps to reach the top. Located in Edinburgh, you will find spectacular views of the city as you make your way to the top. The monument was constructed in the 1840s after Scott’s death in 1832. There is also a museum room on the first level where you can learn more about this Scottish literary figure. The marble statue of Sir Walter Scott stands at the center of the monument and was sculpted by John Steell.
Your tour of historic Scotland will not be complete until you visit one of the famous castles that still dot the landscape. Located in the Glasgow region, the Bothwell Castle is one of the greatest monuments to medieval Scotland. Its origins date back to the 13th century, when Walter of Moray built the castle as a display of feudal pride. Most of the circular keep is intact and visitors can witness the grim prison tower as well as the impressive great hall and chapel. Although now partially destroyed, the castle still stands as one of the greatest military creations of medieval Scotland.
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and combines everything you would want in a historic city from its famous castle, royal palace, narrow medieval streets and Georgian squares to a dynamic modern dimension that includes international festivals, cutting edge arts, trendy bars and enticing restaurants all amidst a cosmopolitan environment but with a noticeably Scottish flavour. The city centre has two distinct parts. The New Town to the north has Princes Street the main shopping street, while the Old Town south and east of castle ridge is brimming with history as you explore the atmospheric cobbled streets and alleys.
Inverness, the attractive capital of the Highlands and Scotland’s millennium city, makes an ideal base for exploring the area. The city is thought to date back to the 6th century as the Pictish capital and a trading centre for fish, wool and furs. Today it is dominated by the pink sandstone castle which has been built and restored over the centuries due to various battles over the years which left the castle in need of repair. The city is largely modern looking with plenty of shops, places to eat and drink, and plenty of peaceful areas close to the centre for relaxing.