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Scotland Advantage Car Rental

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Things to do in Scotland

  • Holyroodhouse Palace Holyrood Palace Edinburgh, Scotland
    The Holyrood Palace or more appropriately, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, is the official residence of the monarchy in Scotland, standing at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, almost opposite of Edinburgh Castle. This castle is where the state ceremonies and official entertainment is done, and was founded in 1128, by David I, King of Scots. It has been the official residence of the kings and queens of Scots since the 15th century. Queen Elizabeth II comes here one week every summer to take care of many official functions and ceremonies. It is open to the public, except of course, when the royal family is here. The ruins of the Augustinian abbey that occupies part of the grounds were built in 1128, by King David I of Scotland, and Holyrood abbey has seen many coronations and marriage ceremonies, with numerous kings of Scots and other Scottish royalty buried here. The roof collapsed in 1768, and hasn't been repaired. The abbey was adapted to act as a chapel for the Order of the Thistle by King James VII in 1687-88, but later was destroyed by a mob, and in 1691, Kirk of the Canongate replaced the abbey as the local parish church, and that is where the Queen attends services when she is here.  During the 15th century, there was a guest house located on the northern part of the palace, west of the abbey and cloister. It was here that numerous Scotland medieval kings stayed, before the palace would be built, but by the end of the 15th century, it was a royal residence in everything but the name. James II was born there in 1430, was crowned here later, married and then buried here. Between 1498 and 1501, James IV would built a new structure, which made the palace what it is today. It was constructed around a quadrangle, west of the cloister, with a chapel, great hall, gallery and royal apartments. The chapel was on the north side, while the Queens's chambers were in the south; and a third of the west area belonged to the King, as well as the entry way to the palace. James V would add more to the palace between 1528 and 1536, starting with the north-west tower, which was where Mary, Queen of Scots lived. The wooden ceilings that are located in the rooms were installed during Mary's reign, and the monograms MR (Maria Regina) and IR (Jacobus Rex) belong to Mary and her son, James VI. There are shields that commemorate her marriage to Francis II of France, thought to have been carved around 1559, and then rearranged to their current location in 1617. There is an audience chamber, and the Queen's bedroom, going into two turret rooms. In the northern one, in 1565, the infamous murder of David Rizzio occurred with Mary right there, and for centuries later, visitors were sure that they could see his blood stains on the floor. James VI became the King of England in 1603, and moved to the London palace, making this palace no longer the seat of the royal court, although James visited in 1617 and Charles I in 1633, when he came here to be crowned in the abbey. A fire occurred in 1650, during the visit of Oliver Cromwell and his troops, but he had the palace restored; which was then torn down by Charles II and rebuilt in its current form between 1671 and 1679 by Sir William Bruce. James VII and II lived here between 1680 and 1682, while he was still the Duke of Albany, after the Exclusion crisis. It would be used during the elections of Scottish representative peers after 1707, and Bonnie Prince Charlie would hold his court here during the Jacobite Rising in 1745. George III would let Louis XVI's youngest brother stay here from 1796 to 1799 after the French Revolution, and when they were exiled a second time, the French royals stayed here from 1830 to 1832, and then moved to Vienna. 

  • National Gallery of ScotlandNational Gallery of Scotland Edinburgh, Scotland
    The National Gallery of Scotland is located in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is the national art gallery of the country, which is a spectacular neoclassical building that stands on the Mound, between two parts of the Princes Street Gardens. The structure opened in 1859, and was designed by William Henry Playfair, and shares the Mound with the Royal Scottish Academy building. Both of these structures were remodeled by William Thomas Oldrieve in 1912, and when the gallery was again opened, it would focus its attentions on building up the permanent collection of European and Scottish art. The gallery's archives and study buildings include the prints and drawings collection that contain more than 30,000 works on paper, that range from the early renaissance to the latter 19th century, as well as the reference-only research library that is open to the public. The library contains items from the 14th to the 20th centuries and contains about 50,000 volumes of journals, slides, books, microfiches and photographs and archived material that pertains to the collections, history and exhibitions of the gallery. The Weston Link is an underground connector between the two structures and the last phase of the Playfair Project, and opened in August 2004. There is a lecture theater, restaurant, shop, education area and interactive, touch screen IT gallery that shows the collections of the National Galleries, and there is a modern square between the two structures, that has wonderful views of the Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street. The nucleus of the gallery's collection is a cluster of paintings that were transferred from the Royal Scottish Academy building and includes masterpieces by Giambattista Tiepolo, Jacop Bassano and Van Dyck. Other important and prominent works include those painted such artists as; Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Sandro Botticelli, Claude Monet, Antoon van Dyck, Antonio Canova, El Greco, Paul Cezanne, Gavin Hamilton, Jean Simeon Chardin, Hugo van der Goes, Thomas Gainsborough, Paul Gaugin, Francisco de Goya, John Constable, Edgar Degas, Dominique Ingres, Gerard David, Nicolas Poussin, Antoine Watteau, Sir Henry Raeburn, Titian, Pieter Jansz Saenredam, Diego Velazquez, Georges Seurat, Johannes Vermeer, Joseph Mallord William Turner and many more wonderful and exciting artists that include the likes of Francis Bacon, William Blake, Albrecht Durer, Vincent van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Frans Hals, Hans Holbein the Younger, Pissaro, Peter Paul Rubens, and so many more that it would take a couple of pages to include them all. Needless to say, it is an incredible collection of paintings and will take the visitor days to peruse them all, and that is just the paintings.

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Local Restaurants in Scotland
  • The Abbotsford
    The Abbotsford is the place to get the finest Scottish cuisine, with mouth watering stick to the ribs kinds of food. Something to start; soup of the day with crusty bread; smoked haddock kedgeree, poached egg & served with lite curry cream sauce; haggis, neeps and tatties; Thai style salmon & haddock breaded fish cakes, chilli jam & salad leaves; baked Portobello mushroom with baby spinach, goats cheese & pinenut salad; chicken liver pate with warmed Scottish oatcakes & salad leaves. Main entrees; beer battered haddock with chips, mushy peas and tartar sauce; haggis, neeps & tatties; Abbotsford steak pie, with chips or potatoes & veggies; spinach & ricotta lasagna in rich tomato sauce with sun-blushed tomato salad; lamb & rosemary meatballs with tomato & garlic sauce & linguine; grilled fillet of salmon with white wine & tarragon cream sauce, served with celeriac mashed potatoes & roast veggies; chicken and leek pie, new boiled potatoes, braised baby corn, chestnut mushrooms & green beans; slow braised top-side of beef bourguignon with herb mash & roasted veggies; rump steak, slow roast tomato & mushroom with tossed salad leaves & hand cut potato wedges.

  • Mussel Inn
    For the best in seafood, this eating establishment in Edinburgh is at the top of the list. Menu includes soups and starters; creamy seafood chowder with baked crusted bread; fresh soup of the day with baked crusted bread; grilled Queenies is queen's scallops in garlic butter served on a rocket, sun blushed tomato, parmesan and olive salad; fish cakes is Mussel Inn fish cakes with mixed leaves served with lite lemon and saffron mayo; crab salad is claw meat in lime and cherry tomato mayo on toasted focaccia and drizzled with basil oil; goats cheese is grilled and on toasted baguette slices topped with bell pepper and caper relish; prawn tempura is tiger prawns in lite crispy batter with homemade sweet chili sauce and creme fraiche. Grilled Platters includes; mussel platter with 18 mussels; chef's platter is 18 mussels and 3 queenies; 6 queen scallops; 12 queen scallops. Oysters; chilled and natural; chilled with shallots and red wine vinaigrette; grilled with gruyere cheese and bacon. Shellfish past is mussels, gambas, queen scallops, crayfish tails and fettuccini in rich seafood sauce; tiger prawns are stir-fried with egg noodles, mixed veggies, spring onion, pak choi, mangetout in spicy ginger, garlic and lemon grass sauce. Kilo pots of mussels can be natural, shallot with white wine, garlic, shallots and cream, roasted peppers with roasted pepper sauce and basil pesto; leek, Dijon mustard and cream; Moroccan with chillies, garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin; blue cheese, bacon and cream; kiddie pot with choice of above sauces. King scallops pan-fried with sun blushed tomato and parmesan risotto topped with chive creme fraiche and basil; char-grilled king scallops served on an Inn salad with classic vinaigrette and drizzled with garlic butter; skewer is king scallops wrapped in pancetta, served on sautéed new potatoes, red peppers, spinach and finished with yellow pepper dressing; seared king scallops with lite spring onion and mustard mash, fresh wild Scotland mushrooms and a tarragon olive oil; seafood platter with mix fish and assorted shellfish poached in garlic, shallot, white wine and cream sauce served with freshly toasted garlic bread; vegetarian pasta with wild mushrooms, spinach and fettuccini with lemon and mascarpone cheese served with a side salad.

Spinach & Ricotta Lasagna Abbotsford Edinburgh, Scotland

 

Abbotsford Steak Pie Abbotsford Edinburgh, Scotland

 

 

 Pan Fried King Scallops Mussel Inn Edinburgh, Scotland

 

Fish Cakes Mussel Inn Edinburgh, Scotland

 

  • Glasgow CathedralGlasgow Cathedral Glasgow, Scotland
    The Glasgow Cathedral is also known as the High Kirk of Glasgow or St. kentigern's or St. Mungo's Cathedral, and is one of the congregations of the Church of Scotland, with the title being historic and honorific. It is part of the Presbytery of Glasgow and located by the Glasgow Royal Infirmary; linked very closely with the city itself, where the patron saint of Glasgow, Saint Mungo, constructed his church. The tomb of the saint is found in the lower crypt, and Sir Walter Scott's Rob Roy (1817 chapter XX) gives a marvelous account of the kirk. The church was constructed before the Reformation, and was the seat of the bishop and late the Archbishop of Glasgow. It is a splendid example of Scottish gothic architecture and one of a few Scottish medieval churches to survive the Reformation, and the only one located on the mainland. The rood screen, which is an elaborate screen that separates the high altar and the nave, or main section of the church where the congregation sits, is a really rare survivor of these Scottish churches built during the period. It shouldn't be considered a cathedral anymore since it is no longer the seat of the bishop, not since 1690, but like the other pre-Reformation cathedrals in the country, it continues to be a place of worship, with a Church of Scotland congregation. William Turnbull, the bishop of Glasgow between 1448 and 1454, is mainly responsible for the start of the University of Glasgow in 1451, that began classes in the vicinity of the cathedral, with the bishops of Glasgow also serving as the chancellors of the university for two centuries, or until the Civil War. During 1460, the university would be moved out of the cathedral to an adjacent spot on the east side of High Street, before it would be moved to its permanent home on Gilmorehill in 1870.

  • Melrose AbbeyMelrose Abbey Melrose, Scotland
    The Melrose Abbey is a gothic styled abbey in Melrose, Scotland and built in 1136 by Cistercian monks at the request of King David I of Scotland, led by the Abbot or Commendator of Melrose. It is taken care of by the Historic Scotland group and is open all year long, but there is a small charge to peruse the ruins. These ruins are believed to be the most spectacular of all religious structures in the United Kingdom, since they have a marvelous amount of well-preserved figure-sculptures and the architecture is known to be some of the best in the country. The east end was finished in 1146, with the other buildings in the elaborate complex completed during the next half century. It is constructed in the form of a St. John's cross, although there are many areas of the abbey that lay in ruins, but there is a building that dates back to 1590 that is now used as the museum, which is also open to the public. Alexander II and other Scottish kings and various nobles have been interred here and the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce is believed to be buried somewhere on the grounds; with the remainder of his body buried in Dunfermline Abbey. During 1812, a stone coffin was discovered in the abbey's south chancel, and many thought that it was the remains of Michael Scot the philosopher and wizard. The abbey is famous for its numerous carved decorations, that include the likeness of dragons, saints, plants and gargoyles, and on one of the stairways, there is an inscription written by John Morrow, one of the master masons that says "Be halde to he hende", which when translated means, "Keep in mind, the end, your salvation"; and that has become the motto of the town of Melrose.  The abbey is steeped in history and glory, with the town growing up around the abbey. There was an earlier monastery there in the 7th century, but a couple of miles down from the present abbey, which King David I wanted to built over, but the monks stated that the land was not suitable for farming and constructed it at its present location. The entire town was destroyed by Edward II in 1322, but rebuilt by Robert the Bruce, whose heart is encased in lead is buried here. In 1385, the abbey was burned by Richard II of England when he was forcing Robert II of Scotland back into his own country, but was reconstructed in a century, although there was still some worked to be finished when James IV came to visit in 1504. Again in 1544, English armies would scourge the land trying to force the Scots to let the baby Mary, Queen of Scots to marry the son of Henry VIII, and the abbey was once more badly hurt, and alas, never completely rebuilt. Unfortunately, this would eventually cause the abbey to be less useable, and the last abbot was James Stuart, the illegitimate son of James V, who would die there in 1559. Then, in 1590, the last monk passed on. There would be one more assault on the abbey, with numerous walls showing the cannon blasts that Oliver Cromwell shot at it in the English Civil War.

Thrifty Car Rental Scotland

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  • Glasgow Science CenterGlasgow Science Center Glasgow, Scotland
    The Glasgow Science Center is sitting on the south bank of the River Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland, and is a multi-purpose science center that is made up of three main buildings that include the IMAX theater, the Glasgow Tower and the Science Mall. Besides maintaining the current complex, the center also takes care of the Whitelee Wind Farm that opened for public visits in 2009. The Science Mall is a titanium covered crescent shaped building that contains three floors of more than 250 interactive science learning displays, the science show theater and the Glasgow Science Center Planetarium, which houses a Zeiss optical-mechanical projector that projects images into a 15m diameter dome. The IMAX theater is the first and only IMAX theater constructed in the country, and seats 370 that sit in front of a huge rectangular screen that measures 60 by 80 feet and also has the ability to show 3D films with the standard 2D films in IMAX format. This was the first structure to open, some months before the others in 2000. The Glasgow Tower is over 400 feet high and the highest tower in the country, holding a Guinness World Record for the tallest tower in the earth that can rotate 360 degrees. It sits upon a 65 centimeter diameter thrust bearing that lets it rotate completely. The tower has two elevators that can hold up to 12 people, but usually only carries 6 and 1 staff person to make it more comfortable. An emergency staircase has 523 stairs which is quite a few, even when moving fast.

  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and MuseumKelingrove Art Gallery and Museum Glasgow, Scotland
    The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is located in Glasgow, Scotland and contains one of Europe's premier art collections. After being renovated, it has become the nation's best and most favorite attraction, and the most visited museum in the United Kingdom outside London. It sits on the banks of the River Kelvin and next to Kelvingrove Park, just below the main campus of the University of Glasgow. Its construction costs were partially funded by the proceeds of the 1888 International Exhibition that was held in the park. Designed by John W. Simpson and E. J. Milner Allen, and then opened in 1901, constructed in a Spanish baroque style, using red sandstone, in the same fashion that many Glasgow buildings were built with during that period. The magnificent building has an entire program of architectural sculpture by Francis Derwent Wood and George Frampton, as well as other sculptors. It was built to be a permanent structure, but also for the International Exhibition in the park in 1901; which is why it looks like it was built from the back to the front, and most visitors enter through the back instead of the front. Its collections have been acquired from the McLellan Galleries and the old Kelvingrove House museum in Kelvingrove Park. It contains one of the best collections of weapons and armor in the world and an expansive natural history collection that includes numerous fantastic European artworks, by the French impressionists, Dutch renaissance, old masters, Scottish colorists and artists from the Glasgow School. It has the Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dali, with the copyright purchased by the curator after he'd met Dali. During the time between 2003 and 2006, it was moved to the St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. The center was reopened by the Queen on July 11, 2006, after having been renovated extensively and cost more than 28 million pounds; that includes a huge basement extension to show the 8000 displays now exhibited and a new restaurant. The collection contains more than 60,000 objects from all areas of the world that date from 1100 AD to today. There are glass and stained glass, costume and textiles, paintings, drawings, furniture, metalwork, drawings, ceramics, photography and prints, jewelry, sculpture, new media, video and installation art. The European art collection contains paintings of the Italian renaissance, tapestries and stained glass from medieval northern Europe and fine sculptures. There are Flemish, Dutch and Spanish paintings, many great works by the Hague School of artists, French impressionists and post-impressionists and so much more that it would be better for you to visit it when you go to the marvelous country of Scotland.

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May 11, 2011