History of Scotland
Scotland is an ancient land, steeped in a rich and varied history. From outstanding ancient archeological remains, to castles, monuments and battlefields, the history of Scotland is all around you, all the time, whichever Scottish region you choose for your self-catering holiday.
Legends and intrigue abound, monuments, ruins and castles are plentiful, and whether you decide to follow one of the many heritage trails or simply absorb the rich culture and history from afar, Scotland has a vibrant and colourful past that will thrill and enchant you. From bloody battlefields to stone circles dating from over 5000 years ago, many of Scotland’s most important sites are accessible, well maintained and free to visit.
Historical figures come to life in the galleries and heritage centres scattered across Scotland, and whether you would like to know more about Robert the Bruce or Robert Burns there is a wealth of information available to guide you.
Wherever you choose to base yourself for your self-catering break, there will be sites of historic significance not far away. From cairns and brochs, to crannogs and volcanic craters, Scotland’s rich history is preserved and celebrated in all its forms. Dedicated information and support is available for those who would like to trace their own ancestral past, while galleries, museums and heritage centres will guide you through the history of Scotland and it’s people, from the ancient past until the present day and the formation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.
Loved by Locals
Dolphin and wildlife watching boat trips
An exhilarating 2 hour trip with Ecoventures showcases the best of what the Moray Firth has to offer – scenery, history and, if you are lucky, the resident colony of Bottlenose Dolphins, Harbour Porpoise, Common and Grey Seals and the occasional Minke Whale.
Brooding, powerful, full of history and breathtaking in its beauty, Glencoe is a stop that everyone touring Scotland should try to make. For the winter traveller, it also offers fantastic skiing and makes up a spectacular back-drop to those walking the West Highland Way.
Not to be missed.
The Ardnamurchan Lighthouse supports a tea room, shop and an exhibition centre. The exhibition centre contains interesting exhibits on the history and workings of the lighthouse and on the geology of the Ardnamurchan. You can also climb the lighthouse itself to spot cetaceans and seabirds.
Carmichael History Walks
Walk around the historic designed landscape of Carmichael Estate, as depicted in a 1750 map. Cottage guests can explore the features remaining on the ground today. The Visitor Centre Farm Shop, where the original map is on display, has information on Carmichael history walks and maps for sale.
St Fillans Golf Club
St Fillans Golf Course is a picturesque 9 hole course at the East end of Loch Earn. Professional Sandy Lyle claims it as his favourite inland course. The course is surrounded by towering hills and steeped in history. Day visitors are always made to feel most welcome here.
Aberlour is situated beside the River Spey, has excellent shops, pubs and is home to Walkers Shortbread. The village is surrounded by spectacular scenery and has great history. In August, the Aberlour Highland Games takes place with massed Pipe Bands, and Highland dancing.
Speyside Whisky Trail
Visit the distilleries dotted along Speyside and see how history shaped the whisky industry. The trail includes, Glen Moray, Speyside Cooperage, The Glenlivet, Strathisla, Glen Grant, Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery, Benromach, and Cardhu. Many of which are open all year round.
History and panoramic views at MUSA
The Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA) is a fantastic family-friendly museum, with four galleries to explore, fascinating exhibitions and lovely views across St Andrews Bay from a viewing terrace.
If you have a passion for history and heritage, the following links will assist in planning your holiday:
- VisitScotland’s Ancestral Scotland website.
- Historic Scotland safeguards the nation’s historic environment and promotes its understanding and enjoyment on behalf of Scottish Ministers with over 300 properties within their care.
- National Trust for Scotland – Established in 1931, The National Trust for Scotland is the conservation charity that protects and promotes Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations to enjoy.
- Historic Battle Sites – There are a great many battle sites to explore all over Scotland.
- A crofter’s way of life – Just one example of how they lived long ago.
- History of Scottish Fishing – Spectacularly situated on the harbour front in Anstruther, in the heart of the Fife fishing community, the Scottish Fisheries Museum tells the story of fishing in Scotland and its people from earliest times to the present.
- The Scottish Crannog Centre – A crannog is a type of ancient loch-dwelling found throughout Scotland and Ireland dating from 5,000 years ago. Many crannogs were built out in the water as defensive homesteads and represented symbols of power and wealth. The Scottish Crannog Centre features a unique reconstruction of an early Iron Age loch-dwelling, built by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology(STUA).
- Recumbent Stone Circles – Recumbent Stone Circles are a distinctive type of stone circle found in North East Scotland.
- Scotland’s Earth Heritage and Landscape.
- Rampant Lion – This section covers Clans, Clan Societies, Families, Tartans, Kilts and Highland dress generally. Links to Regiments and Scottish historical Re-enactment organisations and Scots at Home and Abroad are also here. Elsewhere, the Genealogy section of Rampant Scotland Directory also contains references to some clan/family histories while Clan/Family Histories section covers over 100 Scottish surnames.
- Clan Map of Scotland
Read more in our three part blog post on Places to Embrace Scotland’s History.