Scotland features some incredible and inspiring historical monuments, and I wanted to show you four of my favourite. I'm a massive history geek (even did a history degree), and I can quite happily plan trips solely based on looking at castles!
About 5 kilometres away from the main city of Edinburgh, Craigmillar Castle is a ruined 14th Century castle, built by the powerful Preston noble family to protect their wealth and family members. This castle is famous as it was the site of some royal intrigue involving Mary Queen of Scots as well as having incredibly well preserved defensive features on the walls and in the main keep. Although this castle is pretty remote, its a great chance to see stunning Scottish landscapes and a wild historical site.
Based in the North-East of Scotland, Balmoral Castle is one of the only Royal castles or residences actually owned privately by the Royal family, not the Crown. Only the castle gardens and then main Ball Room are open to the public, but spending time in and around the huge hunting estate attached to the castle is brilliant. Only 150 years old, Balmoral is quite young as far as castles go, and so is in a completely modern and safe state.
Glamis Castle is also located in the North-East of Scotland, and features nationally significant and recognised gardens. A former 11th Century hunting lodge, the castle has seen many centuries of additions and improvements, and has collected many different legends and fairy tales and this is the setting of the fictional King Macbeth in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Covering 57 square kilometres, this former hunting lodge has kept much of its remote and rural charm, with sprawling grounds to explore.
A castle has controlled the high ground in the capital city of Scotland since the 12th Century, and the current version of that castle is extraordinary. More than 1.5 million visitors come to see the castle every year, and they are rewarded with stunning views of this historical city. The National War Museum is housed in the castle, and 400 years of Scottish military history are revealed here. If you hear a cannon going off while you are there, don't worry, it's just the traditional one o'clock gun firing at that time every day apart from Sunday (to signal time for ships near to the castle).
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