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Argyll, Loch Lomond, Stirling and the Trossachs
Fife, Stirlingshire and Argyll
From the East Coast to the West Coast - mountains and lochs, woodlands, fishing villages and castles and gardens – plenty to entertain you and the family.
The Kingdom of Fife – golf, fishing villages and St. Andrews
Think golf, fishing villages and historic castles! St. Andrews is the jewel in the crown, with golf courses galore, a superb beach, and secluded university colleges, where the Prince William and Kate Middleton first met. St. Andrews Castle has a bottle-dungeon, into which prisoners were pitched in rougher times; St. Andrews Cathedral, now a ruin, is still impressive enough to warrant a visit, even if only to visit the grave of Old Tom Morris, first winner of The Open. The British Golf Museum should also be on our list of places to go.
South of St. Andrews are the former fishing villages of Pittenweem, Anstruther (Scottish Fisheries Museum) and Crail; take time to explore them or head inland to Falkland Palace or Loch Leven and Lochleven Castle on a tiny island, where Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned before she fled to England.
Stirling, the Trossachs and Loch Lomond
Near the town of Stirling are tributes to two Scottish heroes. The Wallace Monument towers above Stirling and the view from the top rewards those who tackle the long climb, whilst the NTS’s visitor centre at nearby Bannockburn tells the thrilling story of how the Scots, led by Robert the Bruce, vanquished the English in 1314. Plan also a visit to Stirling Castle, for long the centre of the royal Scottish court and now with an imaginatively refurbished Renaissance Royal Palace.
If you travel west via Callander and Kilmahog, where you can meet Hamish, Heather and Honey, three lovely Highland cattle, you come to the Trossachs. Enjoy a cruise on board the steamship Sir Walter Scott, by far the best way to enjoy Loch Katrine in the heart of Rob Roy Country, and then visit Rob Roy’s grave at Balquhidder. But before you leave Loch Katrine, hire a bike and go for a leisurely cycle run along the banks of Loch Katrine; you'll find Loch Katrine Wheels at the Trossachs Pier. A must-visit in this area if you enjoy the forests is the Forestry Commission Scotland's pathways around David Marshall Lodge.
In Aberfoyle you can watch sheepdogs at work (herding ducks, not sheep) at the Scottish Wool Centre (and choose from the appealing array of woollens and knitwear) and relax over a coffee and a tasty snack.
Loch Lomond in the Argyll National Park attracts visitors from all over the world; stroll through the pretty loch-side village of Luss or visit the visitor centre at Balloch before taking a walk through the woods. On Loch Fyne is the town of Helensburgh, where you can visit Hill House, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the famous designer.
.Dunoon and the Cowal Peninsula
Dunoon is the gateway to the Cowal peninsula, a short ferry trip from Gourock on the Firth of Clyde west of Glasgow. Head north from Dunoon and you come to Auchindrain Crofting Museum and Inveraray, where you should visit Inveraray Jail to get a glimpse of stern justice in the 18th century.
Oban and Argyll
Oban is the gateway to Mull and other islands, with Caledonian MacBrayne ferries providing an excellent service. But there is no need to leave the mainland because there is plenty to see and you should spend time exploring the area round the Oban. Dunstaffnage Castle is just to the north and to the south are Arduaine Gardens (National Trust for Scotland) and Kilmartin Glen, where there are more standing stones and burial cairns than anywhere else in Europe. You can climb to the top of Dunadd, a hill cloaked in mystery, once a stronghold of the Romans and the crowning place of the kings of ancient Scotland. If you would like to try pony-trekking or other activities, ask Argyll Adventure in Inveraray what they can offer.
View the Thistle Holiday Parks in Fife, Stirlingshire & Argyll