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DW May 7th, 2002 01:28 PM

Castle Hopping
We are going to Scotland at the end of this month (May) and plan on seeing many castles).<BR>The plan is to fly into London hop a train up to York right away and drive up to Edinburgh and into the highlands a bit, then fly to Dublin and ferry back to Wales and train to London. (we plan on spending 70% of our time in Scotland).<BR><BR>What castles are a must see? We plan on visiting Edingburgh and Stirling for sure.<BR><BR>Is there some sort of heritage pass (or discount) that would be a good deal for someone visiting many castles?<BR><BR>Thanks for your help.

Ani May 7th, 2002 01:36 PM

Haven't been to Scotland yet, but if you are planning on visiting castles in N. Wales I can tell you that Conwy, Beaumaris and Caenarfon are all spectacular!

Sheila May 7th, 2002 03:56 PM

The National Trust own many castles, and membership wold make sense to anyone intending amulti entry holiday. See<BR><BR>Many more castles are owned by Historic Scotland who do a pass. See<BR><BR>

Sheila May 7th, 2002 03:57 PM

As to castles-start with Edinburgh- sits on a volcanic crag, is very old, is very open to the public is very grand and houses, amongst other things the "honours" of Scotland (our Crown jewels) and a fake of the Stone of Destiny (they think it’s the real one, but…. <BR><BR>Loch Leven castle at Kinross, where Mary Queen of Scots was locked up on an island in the middle of the Loch. You can take a tour in a wee boat to visit. <BR><BR>Perth- Take time to climb Kinnoull Hill which proudly overlooks the town and the Tay and is surmounted by a folly castle built by an Earl of Perth, who had done the Grand Tour and thought that the Tay valley was just like the Rhine except it didn't have castles on its hilltops- so he faked a couple. <BR><BR>If you then take a wee detour west to Aberfeldy and Loch Tay you will pass Breadalbane Castle, former home of the Marquis of Breadalbane, and now a golf course! <BR><BR>Back on the A9- the main road to Inverness you will come to Blair Atholl, a planned village and Blair castle is a superb castle for a visit. The Duke of Atholl is the only person is the UK licenced by the Queen to have a private army. <BR><BR>Also, just for giggles, while in the Inverness area visit the Stuart Castle, supposedly haunted. The Stuart family runs a hotel and a tour of the place is $5/pp. Lots of fun with the secret passages and fake library shelves, the tour guide was excellent in relating the history of the castle and its place in Scottish history. Beautiful countryside location, great pictures of the valley from the top tower. Also nearby is the site of the Battle of Culloden; fascinating history. <BR>When you get to Inverness, pass by quickly and go down the Loch side. Stop at Castle Urqhuart, see the piper; hope you see the Monster, then turn right at Invermoriston and follow the road to Dornie where you will find famous Eilean Donan.<BR><BR>Go down to Skye, where you can visit Dunvegan Castle home of the fairy flag. Another available castle is Kinloch Castle owned and run by Lady Clare MacDonald as a hotel (with excellent food).<BR><BR>Back in the North east of Scotland Pittodrie is a stunning Country House Hotel on the slopes of Bennachie in west Aberdeenshire. Its core is a 114th century tower house (Castle, but it hasn't got a ghost.)There are so many castles in the North East we have a Castle trail. It does not include Slains Castle where Mary Shelley<BR>wrote Dracula. <BR><BR>From Pittodrie, you are closest to Leith Hall at Kennethmont, which is owned by the National Trust, and is very nice. The trail leads you in one direction to Kildrummy Castle which is a ruin and owned by Historic Scotland, then go up through Strathdon to Corgarff Castle, which has a fascinating wall skirting it. It was a barracks for the soldiers building the Wade road nearby. Cross over the moor to Deeside and Braemar Castle which is privately owned, but open to the public, then come down Deeside to Balmoral, the Queen's wee place in the Highlands. <BR><BR>Come back over to Craigievar and visit Craigievar castle, the sugar plum castle Disney is supposed to have used as his model. If you stay on Deeside you can visit Crathes Castle and Drum Castle, both of which are fun. Crathes has the added attraction of terrific gardens. Crossing back to Donside to come home can bring you past Castle Fraser with its resident ghost. <BR><BR>If you go the other way from Leith Hall, you reach Huntly Castle another ruined ancient monument. The trail then takes you to Fyvie Castle which is the grandest of them all. Come south to Haddo House, ancestral home of the Earls of Aberdeen, then past Tolquhon Castle at Tarves to Pitmedden House, in its lovely formal gardens. <BR><BR>Doune Castle is another central belt place worth a visit. <BR><BR>Other castles to visit are: Glamis, Stirling, Cawdor.<BR><BR>Collins publish a map called "Castles of Scotland" which is more exhaustive than I

Penny May 7th, 2002 04:09 PM

I would definitely add Glamis Castle to your plans. I was in Scotland in April and enjoyed seeing it. Have a great trip!

steve May 7th, 2002 05:47 PM

The heritage pass is a great value. Get it at your first castle. I visited Stirling, Doune, Campbell Castle (all near Stirling, all can be visited in one day if you push it)<BR><BR>My favorite castle as I have written many times on this forum, is Threave Castle. It is south of Glasgow. You drive out into the countryside and then drive up a farmer's driveway. Park in his front yard, and then walk in the little lane between his two fields. After a 1/2 mile stroll, you come to a river. There is a dock with a large bell. Ring the bell and a boat comes to pick you up and take you to the island. the castle is a very nice ruin. Nearby is Caerverlock Castle, an interesting 3 sided castle with a life size model catapult near it.

Micki May 12th, 2002 10:41 AM

Oh how I envy you! My mother and I were in Scotland this time last year and we had such a wonderful time. Here's a list of the castle's we saw:<BR><BR>Edinburgh, Stirling, Dunvegan, Inverary, St.Andrews ruins, Kilchurn ruins, Eilean Donan and Borthwick. There were also the palaces - Holyrood Palace, Linlithgow Palace ruins (my favorite) and Falkland Palace. I liked the ruined castles and palaces the best. They were less crowded, you are free to roam and let your imagination take over and really take in the atmosphere. The others usually have guided tours or you follow a path behind ropes. We still enjoyed it of course and there's nothing like it here in the US. But there was something about the ruined castles/palaces, a melancholy feeling, very moving. Learning some of the history really helps too. Don't forget the Abbeys. We loved Melrose Abbey. Have fun and report back to us!

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