Scotland is famed for its historic sites and attractions, from its ancient monuments to its magnificent castles. Whichever part of the country you visit, you can see imprints of the past in the landscape and architecture. Scottish myths and legends are interwoven into Brave, the new Disney-Pixar fairytale animation released this summer, set in the Highlands of 10th century Scotland. Why not plan your own Scottish adventure this year and take in some of Scotland’s most famous historical attractions?
Skara Brae Prehistoric Village, Orkney
The village of Skara Brae is Northern Europe’s best preserved Neolithic village and has been given World Heritage Status.
Calanais Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis
Believed to be around 5,000 years old, the Standing Stones at Calanais include a late Neolithic stone circle and a chambered tomb within the ring.
Urquhart Castle, near Inverness
Overlooking Loch Ness, the ruins of one of Scotland’s largest castles offers magnificent views of the Great Glen.
Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
Another of Scotland’s impressive castle ruins, on a stunning cliff top setting.
Scone Palace, Perthshire
Scone Palace was once the crowning place of the Scottish kings and home to the Stone of Scone (or Stone of Destiny) until the end of the 13th century.
Kilmartin Glen, Argyll
Kilmartin Glen is an area of great archaeological importance, with over 800 ancient monuments in the area.
Stirling Castle, Stirling
Perched above the city of Stirling, this grand castle witnessed many important events in Scotland’s history.
Dunfermline Palace and Abbey, Fife
Founded in the 11th century by Queen Margaret, Dunfermline Abbey is the resting place of many Scottish kings and queens.
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
Voted the ‘Best UK Heritage Attraction’ in 2011 by the British Travel Awards, Edinburgh Castle is one of Scotland’s top historic attractions.
Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow
Glasgow Cathedral, built during the 13th – 15th centuries, was the only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland to survive the 1560 Reformation.
Machrie Moor Stone Circle, Arran
The stone circles at Machrie Moor on the Isle of Arran are said to date from the Bronze Age, between 1800 and 1600BC.
Traquair House, The Scottish Borders
Dating back to 1107, Traquair House is Scotland’s oldest inhabited house and was originally used as a hunting lodge for the Scottish kings and queens.
Caerlavrock Castle, Dumfries and Galloway
First built in the 13th century, Caerlavrock Castle is one of the greatest medieval fortresses in Scotland and played an important role in the country’s defence.
For more information on historic sites across Scotland, visit Historic Scotland.
What better way to really feel the history of an area than staying in a local holiday cottage? Browse the selection of self-catering for Historic Scotland on EmbraceScotland.
What’s your favourite historic site in Scotland? Leave your comments or questions below.