Central Lowlands: Industrial heart of Scotland

Central Lowlands

Sheep and gentle hills: Scotish Lowlands

Sheep and gentle hills: Scotish Lowlands

Industrial heart of Scotland

The Lowlands form the centre of Scotland. They lie between the Grampians in the north and the Southern Uplands in the south. In the west they extend to the Firth of Clyde, in the east to the Firth of Forth. The Central Belt is the industrial heart. There is extensive agricultural land and the densest settlement in Scotland. This region includes the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, Stirling and Ayr.

Great Britain Round Trips Central Lowlands

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Attractions Central Lowlands


Worst defeat of the English army

On 23 and 24 June 1314 the Scottish army under Robert The Bruce won a decisive victory over the much larger English army under Eduard II in the marshlands of Bannockburn. The battle is considered one of the worst defeats ever suffered by an English army. Thousands of English foot soldiers were killed on the run. The entire English baggage fell into the hands of the Scots. Today a highly modern exhibition centre commemorates the battle. Every year the Scottish National Party organizes a march from Stirling to the field of Bannockburn, where a wreath is laid at the statue of Robert Bruce.

Included in:
Scottish Heritage Pass (Bannockburn Heritage Centre)

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Callendar House

Historical country castle near Falkirk

The origins of the historic country castle with its countless chimneys, turrets and oriels lie in the dark. Already in the 10th century a wooden fortress must have stood on these grounds. In the 14th century a new castle was built and one hundred years later the Tower House was added. Mary Stuart was a guest here, but her plans to get married at Callendar were thwarted. In 1651, during the English Civil War, the complex was stormed by Oliver Cromwell's army. Afterwards it had lost its meaning as a military fortress and was rebuilt into a representative manor house, which today is often used as a backdrop for historical dramas.

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Doune Castle

Late medieval fortress and popular filming location

The late medieval castle stands on a rocky spur above the River Teith, where it is protected on three sides by steep slopes. In the background, the southern Scottish Trossach mountains rise. There probably was already a predecessor castle before the Duke of Albany had the fortress built in 1390. In the 16th century it served the Scottish monarchs, including Mary Stuart, as a summer residence. Nevertheless, the building was never completed, which contributes to its mysterious appearance. Anyway, Doune Castle is a popular movie set. Scenes from the TV series “Game of Thrones” and the movie “Knight of the Coconut” by Monthy Python were shot here.

Included in:
Historic Scotland Explorer Pass
Scottish Heritage Pass

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Falkirk Wheel

Ferris wheel for ships

The modern ship's hoist is unique in the world due to its construction in the manner of a ferris wheel. It was opened in 2002 by Queen Elisabeth and replaces a lock staircase of eleven locks. The Falkirk Wheel is part of the Millennium Link, which crosses Scotland from west to east, linking the Clyde and Forth Rivers. Two gondolas are attached to a giant wheel hub. By turning the wheel halfway, the troughs swap positions within about four minutes and can lift and lower the narrowboats. The Falkirk Wheel has a diameter of over 35 meters and thus overcomes a height difference of 24 metres.

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Forth Road Bridge

2,5 km long suspension bridge

The motorway bridge over the Firth of Forth was built as a suspension bridge between 1958 and 1964 and was the largest of its kind in Europe at the time. It is a good 2.5 kilometres long and consists of a total of almost 47,000 tons of steel. Together, the wire ropes are almost 50,000 kilometers long. The Forth Road Bridge has been listed since April 2001. However, a new bridge is being planned. The existing bridge is to remain passable for buses, taxis and cyclists. Parallel runs the Forth Rail Bridge, a steel bridge dating from 1890, which Alfred Hitchcock made world famous with a scary scene in his spy thriller, The Thirty-nine Steps.

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Hopetoun House

Georgian country castle and film set

The castle in the Scottish Lowlands was built at the beginning of the 17th century for the Earl of Hopetoun. To this day, the Georgian country house is inhabited by its descendants. In the first construction phase, the central building with a representative staircase and numerous ceiling paintings was built, in the second construction phase the current facade, the colonnades the pavilions in the south and north. At the beginning of the 19th century the interior of the castle was redesigned. The State Dining Room was created as a masterpiece of interior design. The current head of the Hope Clan, the fourth Marquess of Linithgow, has opened his domicile to visitors. Parts of the series “Outlander” were shot on location.

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Water spirit in the shape of a horse

The Loch Ness monster is not the only mythological being in Scotland. Kelpies can be found near rivers in the highlands. They look like big horses, but in reality they are water spirits. Sometimes they have fish tails. Beware: the Kelpies promise to carry travellers across the river. But once you sit on its back, it dives into the depths of the water where you are to be eaten. Your only chance to save yourself is by pulling a veil over the Kelpie's head. If your succeed, it must serve you for the rest of your life. The Glasgow artist, Andy Scott, has set a colossal monument to the Kelpies in 2014. It's on the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Linlithgow Palace

Birthplace of Mary Stuart

The castle ruins on the banks of Loch Linlithgow were for a long time the favourite residence of the Scottish kings, which is why it is also known as the Versailles of Scotland. Linlithgow is the oldest of all Scottish royal castles. Jacob V and Mary Stuart were born there. A fire in 1746 severely damaged the palace and turned it into a ruin. The park at the lake is also worth seeing.

Included in:
Historic Scotland Explorer Pass
Scottish Heritage Pass

Further information:

New Lanark

An exemplary 18th century industrial community

This restored 18th-century textile manufacturing town became famous when the cotton mill was under the management of Robert Owen from 1800 to 1825. Owen organized life in this model manufacturing town according to ideas that were at least a hundred years ahead of their time. Child labor and corporal punishment were banned. The town's residents were given decent housing, schools, evening courses, free health care and inexpensive food. The building complex is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open to the public. You can visit the mill, the school, a store and the home of Robert Owen. You can also visit the mill worker's house with its residential apartments dating from the years 1820 to 1930.

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St. Andrews

The home of golf

The picturesque town of St. Andrews is situated on a peninsula surrounded by the Firth of Tay, the North Sea and the Firth of Forth. The long stretches of sandy beach are ideal for leisurely walks to such attractions as the “Rock and Spindle”, a basalt formation resembling a huge spinning wheel two miles south of St. Andrews. The town is regarded as the “home of golf” due to the fact that the worldwide rules for the sport (excluding North America) are set by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, established in 1754. In fact, golf has been played in the area since at least the 15th century. By 1457 the game was so popular that it was temporarily banned by James II because it distracted from military training. Facts like these and other trivia can be found in the British Golf Museum, which contains many items of interest not only to golf fans.


Haunted town in the shadow of the castle

Centuries ago, the city between Edinburgh and Glasgow used to be the Scottish capital. The medieval old town developed around the great castle (Stirling Castle), which still dominates the place. Stirling is often called the “gateway to the Highlands”, because here is where the flat hills of the Scottish lowlands meet the steep slopes of the highlands. Maybe that's the reason why the city is haunted by countless spirits. Most famous are the “Green Lady” who was seen in the castle several times, and a soldier. But nowhere appear as many ghosts as in the tavern “Settle Inn”.

Included in:
Historic Scotland Explorer Pass

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Former Capital of Scotland

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Rannoch Moor

Untouched wilderness in the heart of Scotland

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