Scotland is a big country full of rugged hillsides, jagged coastlines and a history as long and interesting as you could possibly imagine. Visitors to the country can spoil themselves with a collection of castles and stately homes to visit, lochs, landscape features and historic artefacts. It’s a beautiful country and whatever days you you’re sure to enjoy your visit, whether it’s with woodland walks or the exploration of the local castles.
Stirling Castle is probably the grandest of many castles in the central Scotland area and if this is where you’ve planned your holiday, it’s worth fitting it into the itinerary. Set upon Castle Mount the castle is one of the largest and most important historic castles in Scotland.
The earliest surviving parts of the castle were built in the late 14th Century under the early Stewarts and guided tours will take your through the castle’s history from there.
Stirling Castle is a wonderful day out for all the family, the grandest symbol of Scotland’s past where you can take in all the history from the last 700 years. Opening times vary from season to season so it’s always best to plan your visit using the website. www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk
British Golf Museum at St Andrews
If you’re holidaying in Fife it’s possible that golf might already be on your mind and if it then the British Golf Museum at St Andrews is definitely worth a visit. Browse through the collections and learn about the history of golf, from the 17th century to today, taking in one of the biggest collections of memorabilia anywhere in the world.
As well as learning the history of the game, you can learn the science behind the sport with interactive displays and activities for children too as you explore the sport from a whole new perspective.
The British Golf Museum is open almost all year with five closure days over the festive break and New Year but with monthly events at the museum throughout the year, you might want to check the website to see what’s on. www.britishgolfmuseum.co.uk
Cairngorm Reindeer Centre
No visit to the Scottish Highlands would be complete without a visit to the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre. You’re up in the very tip of the UK, the only place you’ll find these magical beasts and at the reindeer centre you can visit the only herd in Britain. The tame and friendly animals have been herding in the area since 1952, and reindeers aren’t just for Christmas, you can take the little ones along and show them how the reindeer relax all year!
There are 150 reindeer in the Cairngorm mountains and under the supervision of the trained guides, you can stroke and feed the animals, getting as close to them as you can imagine, for an unforgettable, memory making holiday experience.
The daily visits to the reindeer are weather permitting, and in such northern climes this can lead to disappointment, but if you take down the contact details from the website you can check ahead and plan your trip perfectly. www.cairngormreindeer.co.uk
J. M Barrie’s Birthplace
The little boy who never grew up is an hero to many and if you’ve had a lifelong love affair with Peter Pan then J. M Barrie’s birthplace is an essential visit. The house he was born in has been renovated in the exact style he would have lived in with nine-siblings, while next door has been converted into a museum displaying his literary works.
It’s a magical place that now belongs to Scotland’s National Trust, and visiting can take you back to the days this timeless author was moulded and his character formed, and any visit is likely to stay with you long afterwards.
See early sketches of Captain Hook, browse as his scribblings and doodles and learn interesting facts about the ambidextrous author. There’s lots to do, the place even has a restaurant and gift shop. You can find a full list of facilities and activities on the website. www.nts.org.uk