Scotland: Side-Trips from Edinburgh & Glasgow with Julia Reams-Giersch | Rick Steves Travel Talks

Central Scotland. First of all, I just want
to address the fact that Glasgow and Edinburgh that area is typically what people call central Scotland,
the central belt. I’m not talking about that
I’m talking about places that you can go either as a day trip
from those cities to the north or places that would make
a relatively easy overnight stop. Not the far north and the far Highlands and also not the central belt
or below the border regions this area, including St Andrews,
where you see on the map Kenmore, Stirling, and some other places. By the way, this is a map
of our guided tour of Scotland. Most of the slides that I’m going
to show you follow this route or come from somewhere on this route,
with the exception of one or two. At any rate, let’s get started. Stirling Castle is probably the most popular day trip
from Edinburgh or Glasgow and it’s well worth visiting. Even if you visited Edinburgh Castle it’s absolutely worth visiting. It’s only about 30, 40 minutes
by train from either of those cities. Again, it’s just beautifully,
beautifully situated. There are a few other
sites associated with it but the castle itself, of course,
is a castle complex containing lots of different sites within it. You have the Great Hall that was the largest secular
medieval space in Europe at one point. You have this Stirling heads gallery. These are giant oak
medallions that would have been at one point, colorfully painted and stuck to the ceiling of the
king’s chambers in the castle. Of course, there’s thoughtfully explained and everything like that. It’s very fascinating. My favorite part of Stirling Castle
is actually the kitchens. You can go down
a staircase into the dark kitchens. They have all this fake foods setup. You can learn about what it took
to feed this entire community of people living within the castle walls. A lot to be seen. You have docents
in character and in costumes. You can ask them about
what it’s like to live in the castle and serve whichever king and queen
they were serving at that time. North of the Forth, Stirling Castle was really important because it was the only place that you could get from the lowlands into the Highlands. It would say,
whoever holds Stirling holds Scotland because it’s up on that hill you can defend it very easily and you can see for miles and miles and miles. The reason that you can’t just
go north is because it’s cut-off by a body of water. Eventually, a river turns into this big inlet and this body of water
is called the Firth of Forth. To go straight north from Edinburgh you cross over the Firth of Forth. At any rate, that’s what
we’re going to do right now for some of the sites just to the north. If you have a car,
a good first stop heading north from Edinburgh might be Curtis Palace. It looks like Call Ross but it’s Curtis. What it is, is a medieval royal butter, a berg. The palace itself is actually just a house that belonged to this
rich industrialist at the end of the 1500s and early 1600s. You get to see what his life was like what his home,
the inside of this home looked like and you can take a tour of it. It also has a beautiful Market Square Market Square in the town
itself that you can check out. It’s just a really lovely
little town to explore and a fascinating site
from historical perspective. Anybody who’s a fan of Outlander the Outlander series, also, they filmed some of the episodes or some scenes from some of the episodes also in Curtis Palace and in Curtis town. St. Andrews is a bit further north. Of course, St. Andrews
is famous for being the home of golf. It’s also a university town but I think if you’re a golf person you absolutely have
to take a trip to St. Andrews. You may not get to play on the old course in fact, you probably won’t but there are plenty of other
great golf courses in the area. Don’t be put off you can
just have a stroll around or you can go partying
just next door at the Himalayas which I just think is such a cute name
for putting green but at any rate golf lovers might also enjoy the Golf Museum which is a lot of fun. Really, I’m not a golfer
but I love the golf museum. It’s a lot of fun to just learn
about the history of the sport. Non-golfers will just enjoy
the beautiful beaches in St. Andrews or exploring the ruins of their Cathedral. St. Andrews was a very
important ecclesiastical center. It’s the epicenter
of the Scottish reformation. For a long time before that,
that’s where pilgrims went. You can see the ruins
of its Cathedral today. It’s free to roam around
or you can pay to go up in the tower. Another stuff that you might consider that’s often overlooked
is the city of Dundee. It’s a smaller city,
I think about 150,000 people but it’s a good place
to stop for a few reasons. One, there is the RSS
discovery ship and center. This was an Arctic exploring three-masted traditional
wooden vessels built in 1900 I think, and that was what Ernest Shackleton and Falcon Scott
went exploring in the Arctic in. There’s the whole visitor center and you can– That’s where the ship is docked and it was built in Dundee
originally so it’s in its home. Adjacent to the RSS discovery is the new Victoria
and Albert Museum of design. There’s the one in London and now there’s one in Dundee which is a city that’s well-known for its contributions to design. Dundee was also an industrial
powerhouse like Glasgow and the primary thing that
was made there was jute. They have a wonderful museum
called the Verdant Works and it’s all about the jute industry so you have some of the old machines. It doesn’t necessarily sound
like the most fascinating thing but it really is a great museum. If you’re driving north anyway I would encourage you to stop
in Dundee for a quick look around. One of my favorite small towns
in Scotland is the town of Dunkeld. Dunkeld you can drive there but it is also on the train line going north. It’s a sort of a twin town, Dunkeld and Birnam. Birnam of Birnam Wood thane for those who know their Shakespeare. At any rate, Dunkeld is
a beautiful little town, very cute. It has a gorgeous arched
stone bridge over the river that was built by the famous
Scottish engineer Thomas Telford. It’s just a lovely place to wander around and check out the shops have
a nice pub lunch by the river and it also has some cathedral ruins. Before, St. Andrew’s Dunkeld was sort of the ecclesiastical center in Scotland. After the Vikings came and they moved inland I’ll talk about that later,
but Dunkeld was a very important center. Today, the cathedral itself is in ruins but the internal part is still used as the church for the town. It’s a nice visit. Dunkeld it is situated in a part
of Scotland called Perthshire. Perthshire
is Scotland’s Big Tree country. It kind of reminds me
of the pacific northwest a fair amount but what that means for travelers is that it’s a great place to go hiking or just hillwalking or just on
a nice gentle walk in the forest. A popular walk just outside of Dunkeld is called the Hermitage and it’s an easy path as you can see here. It was just the property
of one of the local aristocracy who built a little-forested
getaway and a little fake cave a little cave where it had
a fake hermit hideout and surprises guests to woo them. Another option for
a quaint small town to stay would be the Village of Kenmore. It’s really quite small, but absolutely beautifully situated as you can see. It does have one kind
of must-do in my opinion site which is the Kenmore Crannog Center. You might be thinking
what on earth is a Crannog? What it is is basically a fortified dwelling that would have been habited
basically back in the iron age. They found remnants of these
in lakes all over Scotland and in Ireland as well, and this is one that’s been thoughtfully
reconstructed using all of the same methods that it would have been
constructed all those years ago. It’s a museum. You actually can go out into the Crannog and all the people who work there are just really passionate about life back then life in the iron age. They’ll tell you all about what happened what the people ate, how they lived how they built things, how they survive. It’s very fascinating. You even get to learn about some
of that iron age technology making fire with sticks
and all that type of thing. After you visit the Crannog
Center or the Crannog itself then you come back onto land for a demonstration
of some of that technology. I absolutely love it. It just takes you right back
in time and it’s fabulous. Also, in the area are
a lot of whiskey distilleries. Of course, this is true
for most regions in Scotland. This isn’t the only place
that you can go to a distillery but it’s a nice option
if you don’t have a ton of time and maybe you’re in Glasgow and Edinburgh and then maybe you just have
a day or two to do an overnight you can’t get that far north
and you want to be in the countryside
and check out a distillery or two. Lots in the area.
Just throwin’ that out there. Usually, you can get
a tour and then that comes with a tasting at the end
so I encourage you to check that out.

One thought on “Scotland: Side-Trips from Edinburgh & Glasgow with Julia Reams-Giersch | Rick Steves Travel Talks

  1. If in Glasgow,go south west to Ayr/Girvan! ( 1 Hour/I.5 hours away by bus/car) President Trump owns a mansion down this way ( Turnberry Hotel) and President Eisenhower owned a bedroom in Culzean Castle!

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