Scotland’s capital, financial centre, and home of the Scottish Parliament is deeply steeped in history. With buildings dating from the 12th century, Edinburgh Castle dominates the city landscape from high above Princes Street and its gardens. At the other end of the Royal Mile is the 16-17th century Palace of Holyroodhouse, the home of the Royal Family when in town. Immediately opposite, in total contrast, is the award winning, contemporary Scottish Parliament Building, opened in October 2004.
Whether you look at the crowded Old Town with its narrow closes on the hill near the Castle, the elegant wide streets of the spacious New Town, or the fine examples of contemporary architecture, Edinburgh is a city of contrasts. At the time of the highly acclaimed Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo which take place in the late summer, it is believed that the population of the city doubles! To the north of the city, the ancient port of Leith is a lively venue with bars and restaurants for all tastes, and has varied, quality shopping at the new Ocean Terminal. Moored alongside is the Royal Yacht “Britannia”.
Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city, and was the focal point of the Industrial Revolution. James Watt’s invention of the improved steam engine, combined with ready supplies of coal nearby, saw Glasgow’s heavy engineering and ship building industries blossom and become of world wide importance.
Glasgow’s wealth and success is reflected in its many examples of magnificent Victorian architecture, built as the city expanded westward. Glasgow School of Art and Scotland Street School are just two excellent examples of the work of Glasgow’s most celebrated architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh(1868-1928).
Glasgow is justly famed for its fine attractions: these include The Burrell Collection, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow Cathedral, the Botanic Gardens & Kibble Palace, and the new Glasgow Science Centre.
The city is a lively cultural and arts centre, boasts the best shopping in Britain (second only to London). In the football world, it is home to the famous “Old Firm” rivals, Celtic and Rangers.