This summer, all eyes have been on London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, followed by the thrilling Summer Olympic Games. However, plenty has been going on in the rest of Britain, including the Year of Creative Scotland. This year-long program of festivals, performances and other events, ranging from writers’ workshops to major multimedia exhibitions, showcases the nation’s rich cultural and artistic heritage.
Year of Creative Scotland events are taking place all over the country, including the major cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. While you’re there to discover Scotland’s creative side, be sure to enjoy some of the historic sights, too.
Edinburgh offers a fantastic collection of historic buildings, including the must-see Edinburgh Castle. Constructed and altered over several centuries, the castle includes the 12th-century St. Margaret’s Chapel; the Royal Palace where Mary, Queen of Scots, held court; and the National War Museum of Scotland. In contrast, Craigmillar Castle, just south of the city, is essentially a shell – there are no preserved structures or furnishings inside these castle walls, but the atmosphere and views are wonderful.
To see the possible location of Camelot, climb the extinct volcano called Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park. While you’re unlikely to come across Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, it’s worth the climb to see the panoramic views of Edinburgh.
About 50 miles west of Edinburgh lies Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. Spend some time browsing through “The Barras” – a nickname for the expansive Glasgow Barrowland Market. There are stalls full of everything from fruits and vegetables to kilts and hiking boots. Stay until evening, and you can dance at the Barrowland Ballroom.
Glasgow Green is the city’s oldest park, with beautiful landmarks like the McLennan Arch at the northwest entrance, and the People’s Palace museum, which has the Doulton Fountain in front and an elegant conservatory at the back. The Riverside Museum displays Scotland’s history of transport: the masts of an 18th-century ship near the sculpted metal waves over the museum’s entrance are a good indication of its blend of old and new. Also, don’t miss the famed architecture that can be found by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
For more ideas about things to see and do throughout Scotland, talk with your travel professional.