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Outlander star becomes Edinburgh Castle guide

Mary, Queen of Scots

Outlander star and Ian Rankin become Edinburgh Castle ‘tour guides’

Outlander star Andrew Gower, who portrayed Bonnie Prince Charlie in the time-travel series, will voice the Young Pretender, while Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin discusses the “Black Dinner” at Edinburgh Castle and the inspiration behind Game of Thrones’ most famous episode, the “Red Wedding”.

Outlander and Game of Thrones tours of Scotland can be booked on 07305-294773

Stars including actors Saoirse Ronan and Bill Paterson, Rebus writer Ian Rankin and Scottish pop duo The Proclaimers have lent their voices to a new audio guide to the iconic fortress.

Four-time Oscar nominee Ronan, 25, who played Mary, Queen of Scots in the recent film of her life, will guide visitors in a section devoted to the tragic monarch, and describe what Mary might have gone through while giving birth in the King’s Birth Room.

Can you visit Outlander sets ?

Now showing Seasons 1-4, with season 5 on air next week , the show is massive hit . Many Outlander filming locations in Scotland, have seen their visitor numbers increase hugely and you can see the sights of this hit show with Outlander tours from Edinburgh and Glasgow.

what is the best tour of Scotland ?

Outlander tours from Edinburgh are very popular for fans of the show . Game of Thrones tours to Winterfell are popular. Tours of the Highlands of Scotland are the best introduction to the landscapes of ScotlandGlencoe tours, Outlander

Others taking visitors on a brand new journey through the castle’s history include Scots Makar Jackie Kay; Ian Hamilton, who took the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey in 1950; war correspondent Orla Guerin and comedian Susan Morrison.

The guide, launched by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), is narrated by broadcasters Sally Magnusson and Eddie Mair.

Many of the celebrity cast read first-person accounts of important events and episodes from the castle’s rich history, bringing to life figures such as Bonnie Prince Charlie, Oliver Cromwell and Sir Walter Scott, whose vivid description of rediscovering the Honours in 1818 is read by Scots actor Paterson.

Others shed light on particular stories and buildings and explore its living legacy, including The Proclaimers who discuss performing on the Castle Esplanade.

They are joined by a host of specialists who work in the castle today, offering visitors an insight into the workings of the 21st century castle. They include the One o’Clock Gunner and the woman who conserves the armour.

The audio guide also includes readings of poetry, prose and biography, with some verses in Gaelic, medieval Scots and Old Welsh that go back 1400 years into the castle’s past. Two pieces of music from the 13th and 18th centuries were recorded specially for the project.

Developed by HES and produced in collaboration with Antenna International, the guide is believed to be the first of its kind to tell both historic and contemporary stories about a heritage site through such a wide range of different voices. It is available in 11 languages, with translations offered expanded to include Korean and Brazilian Portuguese.

HES chief executive Alex Paterson said: “Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s top paid-for visitor attraction, and we are committed to investing in the site and finding new and inventive ways of engaging a wide range of people with its history.

“We’re delighted that a host of talented figures – including our own staff – have been involved in this project and contributed to the ongoing legacy of the castle in such a unique way.

“This new audio guide will allow visitors to connect more closely with the living history of the castle and gain new insights into the story of Scotland’s greatest fortress.”

Tartan noir author Rankin, 59, reveals in the guide how he draws inspiration from the castle’s darker heritage for his bestselling Rebus novels.

He said: “For many people around the globe, Edinburgh Castle is Edinburgh. It is symbolic of the city’s staying power and majesty and remains a focus of local and national pride.

“I first visited as a child. Fifty years on, I still walk its slopes with a sense of awe. It is a privilege to play a small part in its modern-day story.”

Edinburgh’s Castle Rock has been a stronghold for over 3000 years. The castle itself was constructed in the 12th century and is home to the Scottish Crown Jewels, amongst the oldest regalia in Europe, and the Stone of Destiny.

The One O’Clock Gun has been fired from the ramparts almost every day since 1861 and St Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest building in Edinburgh, is one of the most romantic places to get married. It attracts around two million visitors per year.

The audio guide is available, priced £3.50 for an adult, £2.50 for concession and £1.50 for a child.

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NEW for 2019 – the Kelpies and castles tour

visit the kelpies, the Helix, Falkirk tours

Looking for things to do in Edinburgh ? How about taking a tour from Edinburgh of two ancient castles and the Kelpies  ?

Our  Kelpies and castles tour features a visit to the amazing Kelpies  in Falkirk and two ancient Scottish castles in Stirling and Doune .  

 The Kelpies and castles tours are available daily seven days a week   .The tour spends up to an hour at each location .

kelpies falkirk tours

Normal pickup point is Edinburgh city centre . Five hour private tour around Falkirk for up to four passengers. Tours start at 10 am weekdays . Explore the famous Kelpies  in Falkirk .

Itinerary

  • 5 hour private tour group day trip around Falkirk and Stirling
  • Explore the world famous Kelpies , a unique tribute to the Clydesdale horses that used to pull barges along the canals of Scotland
  • visit Doune Castle and find out about its five claims to movie fame
  • visit Stirling Castle , home of Mary Queen of Scots and the Stewart kings of Scotland
  • Take in unique views of the historic Stirling and Doune Castle
  • Small private group tour with a maximum of 4 people

 

The world famous Kelpies

The Kelpies tours , the Helix , Falkirk
The Kelpies sculptures are the largest works of art in Scotland, and the largest equine sculptures in the world, designed by Andy Scott. 

The Kelpies sculptures are the largest equine sculptures in the world and they have become Scotland’s best known cultural landmark with over one million visitors .

The Kelpies are 30 metre high sculptures of Clydesdale horses , a unique tribute to the work horses of Scottish industry and economy, pulling the freight barges and coalships along the canals of Scotland in the nineteenth century . Canals shaped the geographical layout of the Falkirk area. The Kelpies are the centrepiece of the Helix Park in Falkirk .

The Kelpies have become the most famous equine sculptures in the world . But now they have been given another name to make them more attractive to Chinese tourists.

VisitBritain, which markets the UK abroad, has dubbed them ‘Kai Po Ju Ma’ in promotional literature in China – which translates as “glorious armoured giant horses”.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles due to its imposing position and impressive architecture. The castle was the home of Mary, Queen of Scots and the Stewart kings of Scotland .

Stirling castle tours
Stirling castle tours

From Stirling Castle’s ramparts, visitors can take in views of the Forth Valley and Ben Lomond , as well as two of Scotland’s most important battle sites – Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314). The castle is at the head of Stirling’s historic old town.Like Edinburgh Castle , Stirling sits on a volcanic rock dominating the city skyline .

Stirling Castle is not only one of Scotland’s grandest and most imposing castles, it was also a real favourite with Scotland’s kings and queens. And their investment in it demonstrated just how much they loved to use it, as well as their desire to ensure it both impressed all who visited it, and represented a statement of their power and wealth. James IV created the Great Hall, the largest medieval banqueting hall ever built in Scotland, and James V’s Royal Palace, with its lavishly decorated Renaissance façades, was a masterpiece of the period.

Major conservation work has been carried out at Stirling Castle over many years to preserve the attraction as a major national and international monument. The refurbishment of the Great Hall was completed ten years ago . A particular feature of the Great Hall is stained glass windows featuring clan crests . A number of banquets and concerts are held in the Hall throughout the year .

Phone 07305-294773 for availability and bookings or contact us  online .

Doune Castle – featured in Game of Thrones and Monty Python

Game of Thrones castle tours, outlander castle tour
Game of Thrones castle tours

  • Doune Castle is unique in that it actually has five claims to movie fame
  • Game of Thrones ( Winterfell )
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  •  Outlander ( Castle Leoch )
  • the Outlaw King
  • Mary Queen of Scots

Your guide will give details of the history of the castle , information about the Game of Thrones filming plus all the other films made at Doune Castle including Monty Python and the Holy Grail .

Behind the scenes access

Visitors to the castle can get details about Game of Thrones filming in the Great Hall and courtyard of the castle .

Insider access

Take the audio tour of Doune Castle , narrated by Monty Python’s Terry Jones and Outlander’s Jamie Fraser ( Sam Heughan ) .

Game of Thrones t-shirts

The castle was used as the set for Winterfell in the TV series Game of Thrones (2011–present), an adaptation of the A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels by George R. R. Martin. The castle was also used as  “Castle Leoch” in the TV adaption of the Outlander series of novels.

The Great Hall is 20 metres by 8 metres , and 12 metres high to its timber roof, again a 19th-century replacement.The hall has no fireplace, and was presumably heated by a central fire, and ventilated by means of a louvre like the one in the modern roof. No details of the original roof construction are known, however, and the restoration is conjectural.Large windows light the hall, and stairs lead down to the three cellars on ground level.

doune castle, outlander tours

The hall is accessed from the courtyard via a stair up to a triangular lobby, which in turn links the hall and kitchens by means of two large serving hatches with elliptical arches, unusual for this period.

The kitchen tower, virtually a tower house in its own right, is 17 metres (56 ft) by 8 metres (26 ft). The vaulted kitchen is on the hall level, above a cellar. One of the best-appointed castle kitchens in Scotland of its date, it has an oven and a 5.5-metre (18 ft) wide fireplace. A stair turret, added in 1581 and possibly replacing a timber stair, leads up from the lobby to two storeys of guest rooms. These include the “Royal Apartments”, a suite of two bedrooms plus an audience chamber, suitable for royal visitors.

The Kelpies and Castles tour costs £195 .

Check availability by phoning us now on 07305-294773 or contact us online Toll free number 1-866-233-2644


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will there be an “Outlaw King” effect in Scotland ?

linlithgow palace tours

At Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Scotland’s tragic Mary, Queen of Scots, the volunteer guides and workers are preparing for a tourist surge.

This 15th-century palace, a bulwark of the Stuart dynasty, is astonishingly well preserved and already draws visitors who walk among its stone halls and ramparts and admire its little loch.

Outlaw King tours from Private tours Edinburgh . Phone 07305-294773 for more details or contact us online.

But Frances Murray, tour guide and shop manager, knows there are more on the way. Why? Because last week Netflix launched Outlaw King, a production about the life of Robert the Bruce, filmed in part at Linlithgow. And, following the huge success of the Outlander TV drama series, filmed in several Scottish locations, the country knows a thing or two about the TV effect.

“The uplift places such as this get from television shows like Outlander is amazing, and we’re expecting the same from Outlaw King,” said Murray yesterday. “Sometimes, though, we get tourists from overseas who ask to see specific rooms where some of the scenes were shot, and we have to explain that they don’t actually exist. But this is such a beautiful and interesting building that they soon get wrapped up in it.”

The West Lothian palace was only one of several Scottish locations for the new film, which stars Chris Pine as the warrior overlord. The others read like the index of a tourist brochure: Borthwick Castle, Dunfermline Abbey, Glasgow Cathedral and Doune Castle near Stirling. And the beautiful landscapes of Skye are already upstaging the principal actors.

VisitScotland, the national tourist agency, has produced two glossy and substantial brochures that chronicle some recent world-class productions. On the cover of one of them a moody Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall stands beside his silver Aston Martin with the mists of Glen Coe gathering behind him. In 2015 an online poll conducted by USA Today voted Scotland the world’s best cinematic destination. The country’s filmic credits include well-known movies such as BraveheartThe Da Vinci CodeThe 39 Steps and Whisky Galore. But it also makes atmospheric cameo appearances in movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the ethereal beauty of Harris was deployed by Stanley Kubrick to realise his imagined Jupiter.

Next year another major historical drama built around this nation’s vivid and bloody history will be released in British cinemas. This time it will be Mary, Queen of Scots herself who will get the Hollywood treatment in a film starring Saoirse Ronan as Mary and David Tennant as John Knox .

Tourism, along with whisky and salmon, forms the cornerstone of the Scottish economy. In a recent interview Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “Tourism is integral to sustaining communities across Scotland by generating income, creating jobs and stimulating social change – and it generates around £11bn of economic activity.” He also reckoned that one new job is created in Scotland for every £60,000 spent by visitors.

VisitScotland has calculated that, taken together, the value of direct and indirect spending represents 4.5% of the Scottish economy, and that visitors’ spending accounts for almost £9bn per year. But recent analysis by the Scottish government suggests that a lot more growth can still be found from the tourism sector’s productivity, and that it was the lowest of six sectors targeted for growth in the national economic strategy. Film and television tourism will be vital components in achieving this growth.

Sam Heughan and some extras carrying swords
 Sam Heughan in Outlander. Photograph: Aimee Spinks/Starz/© 2017 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved

Fiona Hyslop, culture and tourism minister in the Scottish government, yesterday spoke of her delight that the world’s top film and television producers are now making Scotland one of their first destinations. “Producers now know that when they choose Scotland, as well as magnificent scenery and locations they’re now getting highly-skilled and professional technical crews to go with them,” she said.

Crucially, too, the long wait for a world-class national film studio could soon be over. At last week’s Bafta Scotland awards first minister Nicola Sturgeon referred to the need for a national film studio, saying: “Watch this space.”

Yet some would say that with its remarkable scenery and stunning vistas, Scotland already possesses the best natural film studio in the world.

Outlaw King tours

Take a tour of The Outlaw King film locations in Scotland , featuring Blackness Castle and Linlithgow Palace . Phone 07305-294773 for more details. Starring Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce the lavish Netflix production was filmed at 45 different locations across Scotland .

    • Blackness Castle
    • Linlithgow Palace
    • Bannockburn
  • Doune Castle

Robert the Bruce was born on the 11th of July 1274 in Turnberry Castle and died in 1329 in Cardross. Bruce’s body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey and his heart is buried in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.

The Outlaw King Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scotland at Scone Palace on the Stone of Destiny.

Amazing tours of Scotland – call +44131-549-9785 now for availability Private tours Edinburgh 0131-549-9785 . Looking for day trips Edinburgh ? How about taking an Outlander tour from Edinburgh to visit Jamie Fraser’s home in Scotland’s amazing Outlander film locations ?Private tours of Scotland 0131-549-9785 seven days a weekPrivate tours Edinburgh 0131-549-9785 . Looking for day trips Edinburgh ? How about taking an Outlander tour from Edinburgh to visit Jamie Fraser’s home in Scotland’s amazing Outlander film locations ? For tour information call +44131-549-9785 now *** check availability now for our unique tours of Scotland +44131-549-9785 seven days a week

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Spooky castles – the most haunted Halloween castles in the UK

Linlithgow Palace 44 HDR print by David Rankin

The UK has hundreds of ruined castles. But some castles are more spooky than others. Here’s a list of the spookiest , most haunted castles in the UK , ideal for a visit at Halloween . If you’re brave enough to visit one of these castles , why not send a  free Halloween greeting card

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle commands the whole of the city centre , sitting on a volcanic rock . The castle is perhaps the spookiest in Britain because it has many ghosts. There is a drummer who only appears when the castle is
about to be attacked. A piper who disappeared in the
tunnels between the castle and the High Street comes back to haunt the dungeons. The castle is Scotland’s biggest visitor attraction with thousands of visitors each year.

edinburgh castle screensavers
Buy Edinburgh
Castle screensaver
£3.95

Send a free Edinburgh Castle Halloween e-card.

Eilean Donan Castle

This is one of the most picturesque and most photographed castles in
the world . Robert the Bruce took refuge here in 1306 . The
original castle was destroyed in 1719 when 3 English
frigates attacked the Spanish troops garrisoned there
. The castle was rebuilt in the 20th century . This castle is spooky because the spirit of
a Spanish troop is said to haunt the castle.

Send a free Halloween e-card

Eilean
Donan castle screensavers

. More pictures of Eilean
Donan Castle

Craigievar
Castle

The Blue Bedroom is the haunt of one of the Gordon clan members, who
fell from a window. He had been pushed to his death by “Red”
Sir John Forbes, a noble. Several people heard the step of
the unfortunate Gordon climbing the stairs to the Blue
Bedroom, as if he was living the moment before his death
again and again.One of the
other ghosts is one of a musician, who is very selective (he
shows himself just to people with the name of Forbes). He
fell in the moat of the castle and drowned. Send free Halloween e-cards

Linlithgow Palace

This was the castle of the Stewart kings of Scotland from the 15th
century . In 1512Mary , Queen of Scots was born here .
Queen Margaret’s Tower at the top of the stair towers
, is said to be haunted by the Queen’s mother , Mary of Guise , waiting for the
return of her husband , James V .

More pictures of Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow travel guide

Crathes
Castle

In the oldest part of the castle, the double tower, there is a room
known as the Green Lady’s Room, because of the several
apparitions of this unknown woman with a baby. It is said
that she’s a member of the Burnett family, proprietor of the
castle.These
apparitions began after the discover of two skeletons,
during renovation work : one of a woman and one of a baby.
The baby is said to be the child of a man who preferred to
kill the baby and the mother to hide their
relationship.The fact
that the apparitions continue, even after the discover of
the bodies means than the two poor beings will never be able
to rest in peace.

Stirling Castle

The castle stands on volcanic rock overlooking the town of Stirling and
the countryside . Mary , Queen of Scots was crowned in the
old chapel in 1533 . The Pink Lady , a beautiful woman in a
pink silk gown , has been seen many times at the castle . It
may be Mary , Queen of Scots. Others say it is the ghost of
a woman searching for her husband who had been killed when
Edward I captured the castle .

Free Stirling Castle e-cards

More pictures of  Stirling Castle
Free Halloween greeting cards


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Dunnottar Castle pictures

Dunnottar Castle one, scotland
Dunnottar Castle one , Scotland

Dunnottar Castle could be called a hidden gem amongst the plethora of Scottish castles . It is not very well-known but it has a fascinating history including visits from William Wallace and Mary, Queen of Scots.The castle must have the most spectacular location in Scotland , sitting on a  rocky promontory on the east coast of Scotland just outside Stonehaven , about 15 miles from Aberdeen . The word impregnable was probably invented for this castle. It is surrounded on all sides by a sheer cliff . Entry is by a tunnel through the cliff . Once you actually reach the top the views are stunning. In the 12th Century Dunnottar Castle became a Catholic settlement with the first stone chapel being consecrated in 1276. According to “Blind Harry”, a 15th Century poet, whose epic poem was an inspiration for the 1996 film “Braveheart”, William Wallace set fire to this chapel with a garrison of English soldiers taking refuge inside. The current chapel was built in the 16th Century.Dunnottar Castle was home to one of the most powerful families in Scotland, the Earls Marischal, from the 14th century when Sir William Keith, the 1st Earl Marischal, built his Tower House, also known as the Keep.  The Earl Marischal was an office bestowed on the Keiths by James II. The role was one of the three great offices of State, along with the Constable and the Steward.  The Earl Marischal had specific responsibility for ceremonial events, the Honours of Scotland and for the safety of the King’s person within parliament. Consequently it was not unusual for the monarchy, including Mary Queen of Scots, to spend time and stay at Dunnottar.Nowadays you can get married in Dunnottar castle , although you do so at your own risk since there is no shelter in the castle buildings . Amazing tours of Scotland – call +44131-549-9785 now for availability Private tours Edinburgh 0131-549-9785 . Looking for day trips Edinburgh ? How about taking an Outlander tour from Edinburgh to visit Jamie Fraser’s home in Scotland’s amazing Outlander film locations ?Private tours of Scotland 0131-549-9785 seven days a weekPrivate tours Edinburgh 0131-549-9785 . Looking for day trips Edinburgh ? How about taking an Outlander tour from Edinburgh to visit Jamie Fraser’s home in Scotland’s amazing Outlander film locations ? For tour information call +44131-549-9785 now *** check availability now for our unique tours of Scotland +44131-549-9785 seven days a week