Some of Scotland
’s major attractions are its castles
. I have given a brief description of some of the major castles below:-
Balmoral – one of the Scottish residences of the British royal family. It is found on the banks of the river Dee, near Braemar, in the Grampians. The castle is made of granite in the Scottish baronial style. Prince Albert bought the castle in 1852, and had it rebuilt between 1853 and 1855.
Brodick Castle - On the isle of Arran in the Firth of Clyde, Brodick Castle is a former Viking fortress, and was an ancient seat of the Dukes of Hamilton. Cromwell extended it in the 17th century, and its garden has a celebrated collection of rhododendrons.
Culzean Castle – (pronounced Cull-ane) This fine castle was converted by Robert Adam between 1777 and 1792 for David Kennedy, the 10th Earl of Cassilis. It was rebuilt in an Italian style, with added ‘Roman’ viaduct and ‘Ruined Arch’. Its Ayrshire clifftop setting is very dramatic. In 1945, General Eisenhower was given the top floor in recognition of his wartime role – the floor is now a small hotel, and an Eisenhower Exhibition is located in the castle.
Edinburgh Castle - Perched dramatically on volcanic rock overlooking Edinburgh’s main shopping street, Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle attracts a million visitors every year, second only to the Tower of London as a visitor attraction in Britain. It offers breathtaking views of the city, and a history to match. The Scottish crown jewels, the Crown, Sceptre, and Sword of State of Scotland, are held here, and the One O’Clock Gun fires each day. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is held here each year. Edinburgh Castle was also the birthplace of James VI of Scotland/James I of England, born to Mary, Queen of Scots. The 12th century St Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest building in Edinburgh, having remained untouched through centuries of warfare between the English and the Scots.
Falkland Palace - Situated near Kirkcaldy in Fife, this was a royal palace for the Stuart kings and queens, popular for hunting boar and deer in the Fife forest. Mary, Queen of Scots enjoyed many happy days here in her younger years. Earlier buildings dated from the 12th century, and the palace was built by James IV and James V between 1501 and 1541. The garden boasts a Royal Tennis court dating from 1539, making it the oldest in Britain.
Glamis Castle - The former home of the Queen Mother, near Dundee. The home of the Lyon family since 1342, this fine building was built by the 1st Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. It has associations with Macbeth, and is said to be haunted.
Stirling Castle - The sight of a fortress since before the 12th century, Stirling Castle offers wonderful views of the Forth valley, including the Wallace Monument and the site of the Battle of Bannockburn. This area was the focus of much of the Scottish Wars of Independence, including William Wallace’s victory at Stirling Bridge in 1297, and Robert the Bruce’s at Bannockburn in 1314. The strategic importance of Stirling as the first crossing-place of the Forth led to the castle being built in the 13th and 14th centuries, and kings from James I to James VI held court here. Mary, Queen of Scots also spent much of her life here.
Scotland has many more notable castles, and I will try and add more to this node as my time and energy permits!
National Trust for Scotland Guide for 2002
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