Battlefields, mighty Castles and modern masterpieces. The River Forth cuts an impressive path through Scotland’s Lowlands and has a significance for events both north and south of its shores. Find a region steeped in history and legends today with some of the most iconic sites in Scotland.
North-west this morning by the fascinating modern sculptures of giant horse’s heads The Kelpies, to the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow where medieval St. Michael’s Parish Church, which has close connections with the Royal House of Stewart is recognisable from afar by its contemporary aluminium crown. Once central to the Scottish monarchs the magnificent ruins of Linlithgow Palace are set in parkland beside Linlithgow Loch. All of the Stewart Kings lived in the Palace and it was birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. Although now a ruin it still offers visitors the chance to explore its mysterious and intricate interior. The loch is a site of Special Scientific Interest due to the extensive wildfowl population.
On into “Braveheart” Country by Bannockburn site of King Robert the Bruce’s defeat of the English in 1314 and where a huge bronze equestrian statue commemorates the man who became an icon of Scottish independence. Modern 3D technology now brings the medieval fight scenes to life.
Just two miles north of the battlefield the town of Stirling grew up around magnificent Stirling Castle. Seven battlefields can be seen from the wonderful Renaissance architecture of the castle as can the Wallace Monument which recalls “Braveheart” William Wallace’s famous victory in 1297. Visitors to the monument can “meet” Wallace and learn all about his patriotism.
Turn east to picturesque Royal Burgh of Culross, overlooking the shores of the River Forth and a complete community preserved as it was in the 16th and 17th centuries. As you stroll here you can almost hear the calls of medieval street vendors and the clang of hammer on metal. It’s no surprise that it was recently transformed into the fictional town of “Cranesmuir” for the filming of the popular Outlander TV series.
Into Dunfermline where Dunfermline Abbey Church is the centrepiece of one of the oldest settlements in Scotland, once it’s proud Capital and in 1835 the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie the son of the weaver who emigrated to America and forged a fortune from the furnaces of the American steel industry. Within his birthplace cottage the fascinating story is told.
Return to Edinburgh by the historic town of South Queensferry where elegant Hopetoun House (also appears in Outlander) is a gem of Europe’s architectural heritage and where the Hawes Inn features in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Kidnapped”.
It is recommended that a maximum of three of the above options are visited in this Braveheart day trip..