CASTLES, ABBEYS, PALACES AND FORTS
Many of Historic Scotland's properties are now open September so you can enjoy a visit to find out more about the colourful history of our country.
For information visit www.historicenvironment.scot/about-us/news/reopening-dates-announced-for-iconic-historic-sites-across-the-country/
Discover the stories about the people, the places and the families that have shaped over 5,000 years of Scottish history.
Below are just some of our sites; click here for information on all of Historic Scotland's sites.
Historic Scotland's priority is the health of their visitors, members and staff, and measures are in place to make everyone feel comfortable. These include online booking for all visitors so that Historic Scotland can manage capacity and physical distancing. There may also be one-way systems, and some areas of sites may be closed off. For full information, opening times and how to book, please visit www.historicreopening.scot
Historic Scotland's main attractions:
Edinburgh Castle: A mighty fortress, the defender of the Scottish nation and a world-famous visitor attraction, the Castle has dominated Edinburgh's skyline for centuries. The mighty volcanic rock on which it stands has been occupied for thousands of years. Today, Edinburgh Castle is home to Scotland's Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny (on which, centuries ago, the kings of Scotland were crowned), three military museums, the National War Memorial, the Prisons of War exhibition, and much more. Make sure you have time to explore all of them - we suggest that at least two hours is required. BUT please note that this season you may not be able to visit these.areas. .
Stirling Castle: Stirling Castle is one of Scotland's most celebrated and best-loved castles. For centuries, Scotland's Stewart monarchs held court here and enhanced its beauty and grandeur. Stirling Castle's Royal Palace has been impressively restored to its Renaissance glory and, with its lavishly decorated rooms and costumed characters, the Palace is at the heart of the experience.
Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness. Once one of Scotland’s largest castles and now imposing ruins, Urquhart Castle was the scene of great conflict during its 500 years as a medieval fortress. Control of the Castle passed back and forth between the Scots and the English during the Wars of Independence in the early 14th century. The power struggle continued as the Lords of the Isles regularly raided both the Castle and the glen up to the 1500s. The last of the government troops garrisoned here during the Jacobite Risings in the 18h century blew up the Castle when they left. Urquhart’s iconic ruins remain, offering glimpses into medieval times and the lives of its noble residents. Urquhart Castle sits on the banks of Loch Ness, in which, it is said, lives the Loch Ness Monster.
But every Historic Scotland site offers a glimpse of Scotland's past. Often the small castles or abbeys are the most interesting. The staff on site are always happy to talk about "their" castle, so don't be shy to ask. Some are places of majesty, such as Edinburgh and Stirling, some date back thousands of years (Skara Bare on Orkney) and some are just so fascinating that you have to visit, such as Threave Castle which stands on a small in a river and you are rowed across to it, and Inchmahome Priory, also on an island, but this time in the Lake of Menteith. All have their place in Scottish history. Explore our website to learn more about Scotland's heritage.
Thistle Holiday Parks: wherever you stay, you will find a Historic Scotland castle, abbey or fort nearby.