Edinburgh Castle, High Street, Edinburgh
Tel: 0131 668 8800
If you are going to be in Edinburgh during your trip to Scotland, then a trip to the castle is unavoidable. Towering over the city from its perch on top of an extinct volcano, it offers amazing views not only of the city itself but also for miles around. Dating from the Bronze Age, and housing the Stone of Destiny, the ancient coronation stone of the Scottish Kings, it is an attraction well worth visiting. You also get to hear the one o’clock gun salute every day and in August each year the Military Tattoo takes place - a very enjoyable and interesting festival of musical, marching and historical re-enactments.
The National Wallace Monument, Alloa Road, Stirling
Tel: 01786 472140
Mel Gibson and his role as William Wallace in Braveheart undoubtedly deserve some credit for the popularity of this particular monument at the moment. Standing at two hundred and twenty feet tall, the monument dominates the surrounding area. It’s quite a climb to the top, two hundred and forty six steps to be precise, but it’s worth every last one. The views from the top are of the nearby town of Stirling and the natural landscape which surrounds the monument on every side. Once there you get to hear all about Wallace’s battles and beliefs straight from the man himself. A talking head projected on to a lifesize dummy makes the whole history lesson that little bit different. There is also a tent where a reconstruction of one of his battles takes place.
Loch Ness, Drumnadrochit, Highlands
Tel: 01456 450573
The problem with Loch Ness is that unless you have planned a few days in the highlands, it is quite a trip from the major Scottish cities. The good news is that if you had to spend three days on a bus (and you don’t), it would still be worth it. It is now one of the world’s most famous attractions thanks to the mysterious phenomenon of the Loch Ness monster, or Nessie as he has become affectionately known. The lake itself is twenty-three miles long and over seven hundred and fifty feet deep so if you are looking for specific details on the monster, you are probably better to visit the Loch Ness Monster Exhibition Centre. The scenery in the area is so picturesque you should probably buy a couple of rolls of film in the centre, and one place in particular that you will definitely want to get a shot is where Urquhart Castle sits on the shores of the lake. It’s real postcard material.
Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1
Telephone: 0131 220 0441
With whisky being one of the countries most famous and most lucrative export products, it is easy to comprehend why this particular heritage centre is among one of the most visited in Scotland. It tells the story of whisky in a wonderful interactive tour which incorporates sights, sounds and figures and can be conducted in eight different languages so you have no excuse. The highlight of the tour is the fact that you ride in an electrical barrel car which takes you through three hundred years of the history of Scotch Whisky and finishes with a free dram for all of you who qualify age wise.
The MacBeth Experience, Bankfoot, Perth PH1 4EB
Tel: 01738 787 696
Just as whiskey is synonymous with Scotland, so too is this Shakespearian king. An epic story of murder, magic and tyranny, Macbeth tells the story of a king who wanted power so badly he was prepared to dabble in all of the above. Of course there are those who will defend him too so what you have got to do is make up your own mind. In this centre you will see a most original media production which will tell you about the real Macbeth, a Scotsman who was elected to the throne almost one thousand years. Told in a fascinating manner, this visit is a must because even if you are not au fait with the Shakespearian work, you get to see history come to life.