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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.

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.