For the last decade Glasgow has been attracting more acclaim than probably any other city in Britain. With a massive development and renovation program the city has been reborn in unaccustomed splendor - an exciting mix of the best in modern design, sympathetically matched with impressive Victorian architecture. Designated the Cultural
Capital of Europe in 1990, Glasgow is also home to Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, the Scottish National Orchestra and the world-renowned Burrell Collection of fine art.
Maybole. Home of the Kennedys, Culzean dates back to 1777 and is one of Robert Adams most notable creations. Culzean also has long associations with the USA, as General Eisenhower was given a suite of rooms here after the Second World War in appreciation by the British people. Culzean is surrounded by a country park which includes a walled garden established in 1783.
Isle of Arran
With its spectacular mountainous profile visible from many high points in the Central Highlands, the island of Arran is the largest island in the Clyde estuary and has been a playground for generations of outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to its adventurous high-level ridges and its forest trails and coastal walks, Arran is also noted for Brodick Castle and Country Park and the isle of Arran Heritage Museum, as well as a very large number of prehistoric sites, including atmospheric standing stones.
There are many beautiful parks and gardens in and around the town of Ayr, notably Belleisle, Craigie and Rozelle. Rozelle is also the home of Ayr's Art Gallery and displays one of the very few Henry Moore sculptures to be seen in Scotland. The shopping center of Ayr often surprises visitors by its range and size. Here you will find both branches of the great multiple stores, together with family owned shops in considerable variety.
Burns Heritage Trail, Ayrshire
Scotland's most famous poet, Robert Burns, was born in the nearby county town of Ayr and you can visit the thatched cottage where he was born and also many of the places immortalized in his poems.
Dean Castle. Kilmarnoch
Dean Castle is a 14th-century keep and 15th-century palace and is the ancestral home of the Boyd family. It contains an outstanding collection of medieval arms, armor, tapestries, and musical instruments, along with a display of Burns manuscripts. The country park has 200 acres of woodland and farmland, extending over the old estates of Dean and Assloss.
Loch Lomond, the "Queen of Scottish Lakes" and the largest in Great Britain, runs from Ardlui in the north to Balloch in the south – a distance of some 23 miles. There are 30 islands in its length, the most significant being Inchmurrin, with the ruins of Lennox Castle, and Inchcaillach, where the remains of a former nunnery lie near the burial ground of the McGregor clan.
Oban is a popular Highland resort with all the usual amenities and is an ideal base for exploring the beautiful countryside of Lorne The town's most distinctive feature is McCaig's Folly, a mock Roman coliseum set high on a hill overlooking the town. Nearby Dunstaffnage Castle is a ruined Campbell stronghold where Flora MacDonald was once
imprisoned. There are ferries from Oban to many of the islands of the inner and Outer Hebrides.
A touring center for the West Highlands, Fort William is situated near the west end of Glen More by the head of Loch Linnhe. It lies at the foot of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain. The Ben is not visible from the town itself but forms a landmark for many miles and can clearly be seen from the summit of Cow Hill, which rises behind the town. Fort William is the home of the West Highland Museum which contains the famous secret portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie, which can only be seen if the picture is reflected on to the curved surface of a polished cylinder.
Isle of Skye
Skye certainly makes a strong first impression. The sharp teeth of the Cuillin Hills are many visitors' first encounter with its remarkable landforms. The dramatic geology continues with the rock form of the Old Man of Storr and the Quirang, an extraordinary assembly of pinnacles, rock towers and secret places. The seat of the Clan Macleod is ancient Dunvegan Castle which dates back to 1270. The Skye Museum of Island Life recalls the past ways of the ordinary crofters and farmers. The Clan Donald Centre at Armadale explores the theme of the powerful clan whose chiefs were known as the Lords of the Isles. Also important for its perspective of Skye is the Skye Heritage Centre in Portree, telling the story of the island since 1700, from the point of view of the ordinary islanders.
Edinburgh has been named the "Athens of the North" and among the places of interest well worth a visit are the Castle, Holyrood Palace, St. Giles Cathedral and the Royal Mile. Or you may like to browse around the many fines stores to be found on Princes Street - Jenners, the oldest independent store in the world, is well worth a visit.
Hopetoun House, South Queensferry
Hopetoun House, just 8 miles west of Edinburgh, has been the home of the Hope family since it was built in 1699. There is an excellent museum filled with fascinating documents, costumes and other relics of a bygone age.
The Borders are the home of Scotland's textile industry and here you can see production take place at a woolen mill and buy your woolens and cashmeres at less than “shop” prices. There are also many historic country houses worth visiting in the Borders, including the home of Sir Walter Scott, Abbotsford House.
Wool has been at the heart of Scottish industry for centuries. The industry grew up along the banks of great rivers like the Tweed, which provided the power for the mills and clean water for washing and dyeing the wool. Technology may have changed, but the quality of fabric produced in this area is still unbeatable. Highlights of the tour include the Scottish Museum of Woollen Textiles in Walkerburn, which traces the history of the craft; the Border Wool Centre in Galashiels, where you can see live sheep displays and a fascinating exhibition of British breeds and their fleeces; and Wick, a major textile center with two weaving mills and also the home of the quality knitwear industry. There are many mills where you can see the manufacture of the famous tweeds and tartans and the well-stocked shops will leave you spoilt for choice.
St. Andrews is a fascinating town with a wealth of history not associated with golf. It was the ecclesiastical center of Scotland for many years before the reformation and houses the oldest university in Britain. Much of this history you can explore on your tour today.
Glamis Castle, Forfar
Glamis dates back to the 9th century and is possibly the most spectacular of all the Scottish castles. It was the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and birthplace of her daughter, the Princess Margaret. Glamis was also the setting for Shakespeare's Macbeth.
Falkland Palace, Falkland
This is a lovely Royal Palace in a picturesque little town. The buildings of the palace, in Renaissance style, date from 1501-51. This was a favorite seat of James V and his daughter, Mary Queen of Scots.
The Royal Tennis Court of 1539 is still played on.
East Neuk of Fife
The East Neuk is fringed with fishing villages, each with its harbour backed by steep, narrow streets and attractive vernacular buildings, Pittenweem, meaning "place of the cave" is typical with a large double harbour, and is home to the Fife fishing fleet. The fascinating Scottish Fisheries Museum at Anstruther is housed in a number of 14th-
to 18th-century buildings grouped round a cobbled courtyard. Crail is a photogenic village and the Town Hall has the oldest bell in Fife. Fife Ness is the most easterly point in Fife and is a birdwatcher's paradise.
Stirling occupies a strategic site on the River Forth, and it's great castle stands high on a rocky crag commanding the approaches by sea and by land. Mary, Queen of Scots, lived here for several years and also celebrated her secret marriage to Lord Darnley at the castle. Two miles south of Stirling is the battlefield of Bannockburn, where Robert the Bruce defeated the English armies in 1314.
Scone Palace, Perth
The present castellated palace, enlarged and embellished in 1803, incorporates the 16th century and earlier palaces. The Moot Hill at Scone was the site of the famous coronation Stone of Scone, brought there in the 9th century by Kenneth McAlpine, King of Scots. In 1296, the Stone was seized by the English and taken to Westminster Abbey. The palace houses magnificent collections of porcelain, furniture, ivories,18th century clocks and 16th century needlework.
Glenturret Whisky Distillery, Crieff
At Glenturret you will see first-hand the famous Scottish brew being made, and the tour culminates with the tasting of a wee dram.
Crieff Visitors Centre, which incorporates Stuart Crystal, Thistle Potteries and Perthshire Paperweights, has something for everyone - all at factory outlet prices.
Blairs Castle, Pitlochry
Blairs is the home of the Duke of Atholl, the only man in Britain allowed to maintain a private army, the Atholl Highlanders. The castle dates back to 1269 and Mary, Queen of Scots, Prince Charles Edward Stuart and Queen Victoria have stayed here. There are fine collections of furniture, portraits, lace, china, arms, armor and Jacobite relics.
Queens View, Loch Tummel
Here you can look across Loch Tummel to the north for almost a hundred miles at an area which is breathtakingly beautiful. Continue on to Pitlochry, a charming highland village, where you can watch the salmon make their way upstream to spawn and die.
Loch Ness, Inverness
This striking 24-mile-long loch in the Great Glen, forms part of the Caledonian Canal, which links Inverness with Fort William. Cruisers sail from Inverness, notably to look for the monster, Nessie, said to live in the deep water. You can also visit the Loch Ness Monster Exhibition Centre which tells the fascinating story of Nessie and also has a shop, restaurant and beer garden.
Whisky has been at the heart of Scottish industry for centuries. To discover the history behind it and get a real flavor of traditional Scottish life we would suggest you follow one of the whisky trails. The world's only Malt Whisky Trail begins at Tomintoul in Speyside.
The magical combination of pure snow-melt water from the Grampian Highlands and carefully malted barley has produced a unique taste, which no other country can match. This 70-mile circular tour through spectacular mountain scenery and peaceful glens takes you to the malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation, maturation and bottling
of whisky, Then you can taste the difference between a single malt and the various blends, by sampling a dram or two!
Culloden Moor, Inverness
It was here that Bonnie Prince Charlie's troops were finally defeated by those of the Duke of Cumberland in 1746. The battle lasted only 40 minutes; the Prince's army lost some 1200 men and the king's army only 310. Old Leanach Cottage has been restored as a museum and contains exhibits and information about the battle.
Dunrobin Castle, Golspie
Magnificently set in a great park and formal gardens overlooking the sea, Dunrobin Castle was originally a square keep built about 1275 by Robert, Earl of Sutherland, from whom it got its name. For centuries, this castle has been the seat of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland and fine paintings, furniture and a steam-powered fire engine are among the miscellany of items to be seen.