Travel broadens the mind so they say. We are lucky in Great Britain to have such a wealth of great places to visit on our doorstep.
Scotland is a firm favourite of mine to visit with the family, its easily accessible and has lots of wonderful gems to visit.
I am a big fan of organisations such as The National Trust too, who work hard to keep architectural beauties well cared for, so generations can continue to enjoy them.
This year, along with Kenny, Ruaridh (9) and Flora (7), we have visited three real beauties, taking in some lovely landscape on the way.
The Royal Burgh of Culross is a brilliant place to start your exploring. It is in the fabulously named Kingdom of Fife and is a town which time has literally passed and the most complete example in Scotland of a burgh in the 17th and 18th centuries.
It is a great place to simply potter with old buildings and cobbled streets blending in so beautifully. Culross Palace has been made famous by The Outlander television series in season one and two and visitors, with the palace garden used as the herb garden of Castle Leoch and the Mercat Cross stands in for the village of Cranesmuir and is where the little boy had his ear pinned to the Tron and where Claire pretended to faint so Jamie could rescue the boy. You can spy Claire walking down and where Gellis gets brutally carried up to be burned as a witch.
Interested? Well take a look for yourself and you will see other delights such as the palace kitchen and pantry which was used as the tavern.
If that has whetted your appetite, then the Burns Museum in Alloway is a place to enjoy and at your leisure. It’s the birthplace of Scotland’s famous son and poet Robert Burns, who was born here on January 25th, 1759. The museum is interactive and has lots of memorabilia for you to look at, a short walk takes you to the graveyard where Burns’s family are buried and the house Burns was born in.
It’s a lovely part of the world and a day is needed to really see it in all its finery. Dotted around Alloway are other Burns gems such as The Batchelors’ Club.
And last, but not least, Falkland Palace in Cupar gives you the chance to go back in time to the Stuart monarchs as this was their country residence for 200 years and a favourite place of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Set in the heart of Falkland conservation village and surrounded by extensive gardens, this partly restored Renaissance palace is a great spot.
Part of the palace is in ruins, but the original and reconstructed rooms are packed with 17th century Flemish tapestries, fancy painted ceilings and antique furnishings.
The grounds are lovely too and home to the oldest real tennis court in Britain, built for King James V, they also include the ruins of the 12th century Castle of Falkland, extensive gardens designed by Percy Cane and an ancient orchard and wild flower meadow.
So, go on, do yourselves a favour and don’t sit infront of the television all holidays, get exploring instead, it’s fun!
Factfile: Christmas is a time to have fun and travel and just a short drive from Lancashire will take you to Scotland which has lots of historical places to visit, many managed by The National Trust for Scotland, www.nts.org.uk
All photgraphs, courtesy of The National Trust for Scotland.