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Showing posts from August, 2018

Haddington

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Haddington is the capital of East Lothian and an affluent market town, many times suffering from the attentions of marauding English armies and later a staging post on the Great North Road between London and Edinburgh. The town celebrated its 700th anniversary of being granted Royal Burgh status in 2018; pride of place is the mercat cross is symbolic of this, topped by a cute little goat. This forms the centrepiece to an attractive High Street full of colourful houses, places to eat and a generous smattering of independent shops... though the proud locals might be reluctant to admit that some of the facades are a little tatty. The museum in the same building as the town library shows off the region's history; this is farming country, with fishing villages and seaside resorts not far away to the north on Lothian's "golf coast". Haddington is also home to both Scotland's longest parish church (St Mary's) and one of its earliest (St Martin's). Walking to th…

Glenkinchie Distillery

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Attractively-sited Glenkinchie (kinch pronounced like pinch) is the closest malt whisky distillery to Edinburgh: a popular 15-mile hop from the city centre by car (or by shuttle bus booked through the distillery). Its southerly location puts it firmly inside the Lowland whisky region, which has a reputation for lighter, grassier flavours than other parts of the country. Glenkinchie's specific taste is influenced by its large stills - the biggest in mainland Scotland - while at the other end of the scale, the exhibition area features a beautifully crafted distillery model filling a whole room. Other details to look out for include the old furnace and kiln, and the dramming bell: originally rung to invite workers for their free drams several times a day. Suffice to say the practice of keeping staff drunk on the job has ceased!


📌Glenkinchie Distillery★★★★☆
Location: Minor road a mile south of Pencaitland, G.R.: NT 444667 ///slant.buns.ideals
Open (2019): Daily
Cost (2019): £5+ (adults)…

Hamilton Mausoleum

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This is what the UK's most amazing private mausoleum looks like. The Hamilton family tomb was built between 1842 and 1858 and is is the former resting place of one duchess and five of the dukes of Hamilton, who were moved elsewhere in the 1920s over subsidence fears (which also led to the demolition of nearby Hamilton Palace). Guarded by two stone lions - one awake, one asleep to ensure one is always watching - the 123-foot building boasts one of the longest echoes in the world (15 seconds) and fascinating masonic and biblical symbolism in the floors, doors and architecture. Entrance is by tour on two afternoons each month, taking in both the dome structure and the dark crypts below - there's even a 200 metre-long underground tunnel for smoke from the underfloor heating system to escape without detracting from the mausoleum's appearance. Overall it's a fitting testament to one of Scotland's most extravagant families - and if the tomb is as magnificent as this, ima…

Low Parks Museum

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Housed in a couple of historic buildings on the outskirts of Hamilton, the Low Parks Museum is South Lanarkshire's flagship museum and an impressive exhibition space. The venue traces the history both of Hamilton town and the wider county, with a prominent focus on the Dukes of Hamilton - who built the resplendent Hamilton Palace very nearby in 1695 (sadly demolished in 1927 after mining subsidence) - and on the local Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) regiment. Admittedly South Lanarkshire isn't a very fashionable area for tourists to visit, but the region's diversity of landscapes and juxtaposition of urban, rural and industrial parts results in a particularly varied set of displays. Tours of nearby Hamilton Mausoleum also start here - see our separate page for more info.


📌 Low Parks Museum★★★☆☆
Location: 129 Muir Street, 5-min walk north of Hamilton town centre, G.R.: NS 725559 ///bench.vets.noble
Open (2019): Daily
Cost: Free



Strathclyde Country Park

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Swans, ducks and geese patrol the fringes of Strathclyde Loch: the large water body at the centre of Strathclyde Country Park. The park is an important leisure space for the nearby populations of Hamilton and Motherwell, and holds regular sporting events in and out of the water. A leisurely stroll around the loch takes a couple of hours, with the remains of a Roman bath house, boat hire and a cafe all on the route. Oh - and Scotland's main theme park on the north side!


📌 Strathclyde Country Park★★☆☆☆
Location: A mile west of Motherwell town centre, G.R.: NS 727575 ///town.unity.curl
Open: Always
Cost: Free

>> M&D's (Scotland's Theme Park) page: M&D's (Scotland's Theme Park) ★★★★☆; Amazonia ★★★☆☆