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From classic Scottish authors like Scott and Stevenson to popular modern writers like JK Rowling, a journey through Scotland can reveal many literary connections, from the elegant life of Edinburgh’s New Town to the inspiring landscapes of the Scottish Borders.
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Tel: +44 (0)1592 752990
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Starting in the picturesque town of Alloway, the Burns National Heritage Park and Trail celebrates the life and works of Robert Burns. The park takes in the cottage where the bard was born in 1759, a museum and a monument, as well as sites from his most famous works such as Auld Brig o’ Doon and Alloway Kirk and the Tam O’ Shanter Experience where modern technology brings an old tale to life.
Head south to Dumfries where more attractions offer an insight into Scotland’s most celebrated poet, including the Robert Burns Centre, Burns House and his Mausoleum. Pay a visit to Burns’ favourite pub ‘The Globe Inn’ where you can toast the Bard and even see his favourite chair. If time allows, visit Ellisland Farm to the north of Dumfries. This was Burns’ home for three years and where he found great inspiration for his poetry. Wigtown to the west of Dumfries is Scotland’s National Booktown where you can spend time browsing the shelves of bookshops, this makes for an enjoyable diversion for booklovers. Overnight in Dumfries area.
Head north-east to Moffat and onto St Mary’s Loch, a scenic spot with links to Sir Walter Scott, the English Lakeland poet William Wordsworth and also the Scots poet and writer James Hogg. (Look for the loch-side statue.) Continue east to Galashiels and Melrose to Abbotsford, built by Scott, and containing a treasure trove of Scottish historical and literary material. The famous scenic location of Scott’s View lies to the north-east. Overnight in The Borders area.
Travel north for Rosslyn Chapel, also mentioned by Scott, but more recently playing a crucial role in the plot of the blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code. Other literary sites in the Lothians are nearby, including Gullane in East Lothian. The attractive sandy beach here features in an exciting episode on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Catriona.
Nearer Edinburgh, the little community of Swanston, below the Pentland Hills on the very edge of the city, is a setting for part of Stevenson’s St Ives. Overnight Edinburgh or East Lothian.
There are many more literary links in Scotland’s capital, perhaps the most literary place in Scotland and setting for the annual Edinburgh International Festival – a key event in the city’s festival calendar. Edinburgh has also the distinction of being designated the first World City of Literature by UNESCO. As an aid to creativity, the city has inspired writers from Robert Louis Stevenson (who used the story of the city’s real-life Deacon Brodie as a theme for his Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde) to Muriel Spark, whose book The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is deeply rooted in the city.
JK Rowling, meanwhile, created the Harry Potter series while living here. Other notable authors born here include Kenneth Grahame, writer of the children’s classic The Wind in the Willows and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. The city is also associated with contemporary writers, such as the detective novels of Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith, as well as JK Rowling’s world of wizardry. The city’s Writers Museum explores the links between the city and Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson and you can also enjoy a literary pub tour. Overnight Edinburgh.
Head north for Perth, then onto Dunkeld. Signposts from the main road here mark The Hermitage, the woodlands by the River Braan. In the 18th century, an early Duke of Atholl built a picturesque folly, which still stands, overlooking the foaming river. It was called Ossian’s Hall, a reference to the then wildly-popular Poems of Ossian by James MacPherson. He was supposedly the discoverer of ancient Gaelic texts by a bard called Ossian, though the work was mostly from his imagination. His writings were the blockbusters of their day, translated into several European languages, and had a great impact on contemporary European literature – Goethe and Napoleon were fans!
From Dunkeld it is a very easy and pleasant drive along the edge of the Highlands north-eastwards via Blairgowrie to Kirriemuir. This former weaving town is a gateway to the Angus Glens. It was also the birthplace of JM Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan. His birthplace house is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. His early years in Kirriemuir with his many brothers and sisters influenced the characters in his work. Even the outside wash house became his first theatre! There is a fascinating exhibition about Barrie’s life, as well as memorabilia and theatrical costumes. From Kirriemuir, return to Edinburgh via Dundee. Then travel south for an overnight in Edinburgh.
The above package includes:
All hotels will be 3 star or above.
Best of Scotland Holidays offer a variety of tours including Tours of Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales, Whisky Trails, Honeymoon Packages, Castle and Garden Tours, Island Hoping, Walking Holidays and much more - something to suit everyone!
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