Southern Scotland is the home of Robert Burns, rugby, and Sir Walter Scott, not to mention splendid castles and abbeys.
A beautiful region of rolling hills, pastures, wooded valleys and lazy rivers, the monuments in Southern Scotland represent some of the best medieval and Renaissance architecture in Europe. There are plenty of secret nooks and lovely streams to please nature lovers and bustling towns to fill your senses.
The Duke of Buccleuch calls this castle, created of turrets and spiky domes, home. The building began in 1676, and the castle was so over-the-top that the costs just about drove the family into living as if they regular folks. Due to acumen and luck, they bounced back and proceeded to fill it with treasures. The silverware and rich oak paneling are particularly fine. Nearby are lovely walks and bicycle paths. Enjoy!
The Falkirk Wheel:
This is something right out of Jules Verne, except that it’s real and it works. Looking like it’s just off a 1950s sci-fi movie set, this marvel of engineering is a first. In order to connect two canal systems on different levels, engineers decided to use revolving scoops. Canal boats enter what is, basically, a giant bucket that holds 300,000 gallons of water. The gates close. The wheel revolves. The boats are then carried up or down to the next level. Try it out! You can get the full experience on a ride in special boats.
This chapel has become very popular since being featured in the film, The Da Vinci Code. You’d be hard-pressed to cram more carvings onto a building this size. Every master mason took an artistic turn while building the castle such is the variety of styles and subjects. Most interesting of all are the carvings of New World plants that predate Columbus’s voyage by almost 100 years. Hmmmmmm….
To those who worshipped here during medieval ages, the tall lancet windows of this impressive abbey must have been a miracle. (They still appear so today!) It’s hard to believe how such astonishing monuments could have been built as early as 1136, but built they were. Over the centuries, the abbey dealt with pillage, wars, and still stands. Melrose is not as glamorous as she once was, but is far more romantic. The perfect place for the ghost of Robert the Bruce, whose heart is said to be hidden within the grounds.
Scotland’s most splendid Georgian House, from the early 18th century, is another creation by Robert Adam. It’s an ode to perfect symmetry on the exterior, and the rooms inside are perfectly proportioned. The delicate plasterwork of the library resembles fine china, and is considered to be one of Adam’s greatest works. Exquisite details bless the interior. Outside, the terraced gardens roll down to an ornamental lake.
Scottish Seabird Center:
Remote cameras share the live action from Bass Rock’s 100,000 gannets. Take the time for a boat trip, and cruise around the headlands.
Wonder at what Scotland’s own novelist, Sir Walter Scott, displayed in his dream home. A fantastically eccentric collection of weapons, and all sorts of historic knick-knacks, who knows what was going on inside his head when he wrote!
This romantic chateau is Scotland’s oldest, continually-inhabited house. For 900 years the home and surroundings has been a pleasure ground for kings and families.
Burns National Heritage Park
For those who are interested in Scotland’s National poet, Robert Burns, this Park is a place of pilgrimage. This museum, and the writer’s cottage, celebrates his life and genius. Even if you’ve never read a poem in your life, this is worth a visit!
Renowned for being Scotland’s “Book Town,” Wigtown is a funny name for quite a pretty market town. Wigtown is a reader’s dream, filled with all sorts of literary specialties and book events. Who knows which writer you may spot at a signing?