Thursday, September 23, 2010

Scotland's Top 5 Must-Visit Destinations

1) Edinburgh Castle and its Royal Mile

Edinburgh Castle is built on the remnants of an extinct volcano and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. From the royal mile below, the
Scottish castle is a grandiose spectacle especially at night whilst illuminated. A thousand years worth of history sits atop this rock as evidenced by the statues guarding the gates of the castle. These statues represent two of Scotland's most famous historical characters, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.

August is the best time to visit the castle and mile because that is when the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is held. During the festival, the Military Tattoo is staged at the castle for 3 weeks. The over 50 year performance is a parade of the pipes and drums of the Scottish regiments.

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile leads up to the castle and boasts the world's first skyscrapers, the Scottish Parliament building and Giles Cathedral.

2) Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

This free gallery/museum has recently become the number one tourist attraction after completing a 3 year remodeling effort in 2006. Found in Kelvingrove which is located opposite of Glasgow University, this museum hosts a broad collection of paintings and artefacts. The building itself is constructed using the finest Victorian (red sandstone) architecture and shows off Scotland's rich history through an extensive collection that has been accumulated over more than two centuries.

Additionally, there are sections focused on education such as the Study Centre, the History and Discovery Centre and the Multimedia Object Cinema. Exhibition halls featuring major fields of study like Archaeology and Zoology (with relative exhibits) are also available.

3) The Falkirk Wheel

Completed in 2002 in the town of Falkirk, the waterway structure connects Edinburgh and Glasgow via canal; making it easily accessible from both cities. An extraordinary feat of engineering, it is the only rotating boat lift in the world. Carrying eight or more boats at a time, the wheel scoops them out of the water and places them either up or downstream on the waterway between the two cities.

The Visitor Centre provides a great view of the wheel in action and is free of charge. Along with the standard food court and gift shop, the centre also possesses an interactive exhibition and a "fun factory" for children. For those tourists looking for an up close look, the centre provides a hour long boat tour.

4) Glasgow Science Centre

300 hands-on exhibits, interactive workshops, live science shows and an IMAX Theatre can be enjoyed this tourist attraction. But the highlights are the 105m tall Glasgow Tower which is the only tower in the world to rotate 360 degrees from the ground up and the Science Mall that houses the Scottish Power Planetarium and a climate change theatre, along with three floors of interactive exhibits.

5) The Royal Yacht Britannia

Visits to the yacht start at the Visitor Centre. Located on the 2nd floor of the ocean terminal, tourists can learn of the yachts incredible history before boarding. The tour can last up to 2 hours and provides insight into the life of the royal family and those that worked aboard the ship.

Guests are first welcomed through the Royal Brow and taken on a personal tour, they are then herded into the State Apartments for cocktails and whatnot. Afterward, special events are held including a speech given by one of Britain's past admirals and a viewing of the Royal Collection. A tour of the ship from the bridge to the engine room is also provided

Photo by:Shadowgate



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