I love history
1 LOCH LEVEN, Perth and Kinross, 01577 864439, www.nnr-scotland.org.uk
A wealth of historic, cultural and natural attractions awaits visitors to the loch. Loch Leven Castle, Kinross House and Gardens and the national nature reserve are packed with history, wildlife and romantic locations. Visit the castle (from late March) where Mary Queen of Scots was held captive, forced to abdicate and then dramatically escaped.
2 EILEAN DONAN CASTLE, by Kyle of Lochalsh, 01599 555202, www.eileandonancastle.com
This “castle of dreams” is one of the most iconic images of Scotland. Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet and surrounded by some majestic scenery, it is little wonder the castle is one of the most visited attractions in the Highlands. Reconstructed in the early 20th century on the basis of its owner’s dream, the castle has now captured the imagination of many tourists who make the special trip.
3 BLESSED JOHN DUNS SCOTUS CHURCH, Glasgow, 0141 429 0740, www.rcag.org.uk
Hardly the most romantic location, this Gorbals church rather surprisingly holds the relics of St Valentine himself. Or at least the relics of a St Valentine, as there may have been at least three. The bones found their way to Glasgow via a French family who, in the 19th century, passed them to Franciscan monks who established a mission in the area. It was only in 1999, when the relics were moved to the Blessed John Duns Scotus Church, that this connection was publicised.
4 RING OF BRODGAR, Orkney, 01856 841815, www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
As a Unesco World Heritage Site, the “Heart of Neolithic Orkney” pumps the vital blood of tourism to this beautiful area. The ring of standing stones is the third largest in the British Isles and is found in a natural “cauldron” shape created by the hills and complemented by a scenic loch and brooding sky.
5 SWEETHEART ABBEY, Dumfries, 01387 850397, www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
The name alone makes this a must-see visit for romantics. The story behind it isn’t bad either, though slightly grotesque to some. Lady Devorgilla of Galloway founded the abbey in 1273 in memory of her late husband John Balliol. On her death, she was laid to rest next to her husband’s embalmed heart.