Places to Embrace Scotland’s History: Part 3

Follow the footprints of the past and take a journey back in time.  Our final post in the Places to Embrace Scotland’s History series is focussed on the north of Scotland: the historic Highlands, the ancient islands and castle-rich Moray and Aberdeenshire.
The first in this blog series, Places to Embrace Scotland’s History: Part 1, concentrated on Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife and Perthshire, while Places to Embrace Scotland’s History: Part 2 looked at Western and Southern Scotland.

Whether you’re interested in your own ancestry or simply immersing yourself in historic Scotland, why not delve into the past from your own home from home and really feel the history of an area?  Here are just a few ideas of places to explore Scotland’s past.

Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland

The islands are steeped in history, with many fascinating archaeological sites.

The Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis are believed to be 5,000 years old and are one of the most famous landmarks in the Outer Hebrides.  Other historical attractions include Kisimul Castle, St Clement’s Church and The Blackhouse, Arnol.

Callanish Standing Stones, LewisOrkney has a great many archaeological sites and those at Skara Brae, Maeshowe and Ring of Brodgar have all been given World Heritage Status.  From Neolithic tombs to Pictish brochs, there are a number of historic sites which will give a glimpse into the past.

The Shetland Isles are also brimming with historical attractions, such as Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement (giving you an insight into the way of life of Bronze Age, Iron Age, Pictish, Norse and Middle Age inhabitants), Scalloway Castle and Muness Castle, and Iron Age Broch Towers, Clickimin and Mousa.

For a truly authentic experience of these beautiful islands, stay in self-catering Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland.

Highlands and Skye

A trail of cairns, standing stones and carved Pictish stones form a path to the Highlands’ prehistoric past.  The history of this area is also intertwined with that of Highland clans and the Jacobites – visit Culloden Moor, by Inverness, to learn more about the final Jacobite rising in 1746 (and the last major battle to be fought on British soil).

There are many romantic castles to visit in the Highlands, including Cawdor Castle, near Nairn, the impressive ruin of Urquhart Castle perched over Loch Ness, and Scotland’s most photographed castle, Eilean Donan.

Dunvegan Castle, on the Isle of Skye, has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for over 800 years and is well worth a visit.  Other historic attractions in Skye and Lochalsh include Skye’s Heritage Centre, Aros, with exhibitions detailing Skye’s history from 1700.

Explore the history of the Highlands from a local holiday cottage – browse a selection of self-catering Highlands and holiday accommodation on Skye.

Aberdeen, Grampian and Moray 

Moray and Aberdeenshire is castle country with more than 70 in the area, including Drum Castle, one of Scotland’s oldest tower houses, Balmoral Castle, the home of the Royal Family since 1852, and the enchanting Craigievar Castle in Alford, completed in 1626 and unaltered by time.


As well as its many castles, other historic attractions in Moray and Aberdeenshire include the oldest house in Aberdeen, Provost Skene’s House, dating from 1545,  Easter Aquhorthies Stone Circle near Inverurie, the remains of Elgin Cathedral and Portsoy, with its seventeenth-century harbour.

The Moray Speyside area is also famed for its Malt Whisky Trail – why not visit the historic Dallas Dhu Distillery museum near Forres, to learn more about Victorian distilling.

Discover more about Moray and Aberdeenshire’s history from your own home from home.  If you’re looking for self-catering Aberdeen, EmbraceScotland has a wide range of self-catering in Aberdeenshire, Moray and Grampian.

What’s your favourite historic site in Scotland?  Where would you love to visit?  If you have any suggestions of other places to visit in these areas, leave your comments below.


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