Tours and Short Breaks in Scotland
You can never bore of Scotland. History and culture, myths and legends are strewn into every beautiful, rugged corner. Images of wild, heathered moors and huge, turreted castles with thick stone walls are scattered across the Highlands. The magnificent Ben Nevis is truly awe-inspiring. As are the views from the Jacobite Steam Train as it meanders through unspoiled scenery to the fractured coastline. And the lochs that stretch across the country make a journey an absolute pleasure.
Scotland’s history is vastly different to the rest of Great Britain. The earliest inhabitants, the Picts, kept the Romans at bay before Hadrian's Wall separated the nations for centuries. Then the Norwegians, the French and the persistent English challenged the borders, while the power of Scottish kings was regularly undermined from within, by chieftains who often acted as independent rulers. Scotland and England were united by a single monarch in 1603, but it wasn’t until the following century that The Acts of Union fully integrated the two.
Four decades later, a windswept moor became the scene of one of Britain’s most brutal battles, ending the 1745 Jacobite Rising in just one hour. Beside the battlefield now stands the Culloden Visitor Centre, which commemorates the 1,500 fallen and reveals the story behind the Jacobite’s plight to place ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ on the British throne.
This conflict changed the nation’s future. During the Highland Clearances, in the aftermath of the Jacobite rebellion, tartans and bagpipes were banned for decades. Yet nothing can take away Scotland’s identity. Tartan wearers now stand as tall and proud as the many castles that represent the ancient clans.
Balmoral is a comparatively young castle, but its fame is world-wide. Prince Albert purchased the land for Queen Victoria, and the grand estate became the Scottish home of the Royal Family. A visit allows you a glimpse into why Queen Elizabeth II adores her summer breaks here.
Edinburgh offers more Scottish Royal History. The Palace of Holyrood House sits at one end of The Royal Mile; and at the other is Edinburgh Castle, infused with stories of royal births and deaths, and numerous sieges. Between them are places like John Knox House, associated with the Scottish Reformation which resulted in the outbreak of civil war and the abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots. Visit the Royal Yacht Britannia to explore the Royal Family’s elegant floating home. Or learn of life underground at Mary King's Close or the infamous Burke and Hare at the Surgeons’ Hall Museums.
Glasgow has become a great destination, with handsome Victorian buildings and classic art nouveau and art deco designs by locally born Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It is also ideally placed to visit the very grand Culzean Castle, and Robert Burns Museum. Many manuscripts written by the revered writer are preserved within the humble cottage that he was born.
All these magnificent destinations are in Titan’s Scottish Highlands and Lowlands tour, plus more. Scotland is full of myths and legends - even its national animal is the unicorn (considered the enemy of the English lion); but the most famous of all mythical creatures is, of course, the Loch Ness Monster. It is said the first sighting was over 1,500 years ago, when the enormous monster jumped from the loch and ate a farmer. Will you spot Nessie as you travel the length of beautiful Loch Ness?