Author: Susan

Castles and countryside

Bannockburn House in Bannockburn has been empty for many decades. However we enjoyed an open day there in September when we heard about the plans to restore this marvellous mansion house back to its former glory. Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed here for four weeks in 1746 planning for the Battle of Falkirk, nearby. It is very exciting since a local trust has been formed to buy the house and to begin a project of restoration. It is clearly a very significant part of our local, and national, heritage and Sublime Scotland looks forward to keeping in touch with progress. During the September open day we enjoyed exploring the house and imagining how it was when Bonnie Prince Charlie was welcomed to stay. After the Battle of Falkirk he left from here to travel to Inverness and Culloden. The Jacobites had to be very clever when travelling and we saw how they enjoyed smoking their food in a whisky barrel. Our guests enjoyed a private tour to Inveraray Castle and the town of Inverary on Loch …

Love Scottish History – then visit the Border Abbeys

The Scottish Border region, close to England, has been a part of Scottish history since the middle ages. The number of beautiful Abbeys, within a short driving distance of each other, make this a perfect place to based yourself to be immersed in some of the highlights of Scotland. We visited Melrose Abbey in August in a private tour of the Borders. This beautiful building grew to become one of the wealthiest and most majestic medieval monasteries in Scotland. Today it is within just a few miles of the splendid ruins of Kelso, Dryburgh and Jedburgh Abbeys. One of the most touching features at Melrose Abbey is the casket said to contain the heart of Robert The Bruce. Discovered in 1921 in a lead casket this is now carefully protected in the Abbey grounds. Only a few miles away sits the stunning Jedburgh Abbey standing on an elevated position overlooking the Jed Water of Jedburgh. Founded in 1138 this major Augustinian Abbey is one of the most complete in Scotland. The scale and quality of …

Enjoy a hike with John

Scotland has been voted one of the top countries in the world to visit in 2017! Rough Guide has said this is a wonderful place to explore and we agree. This is why Sublime Scotland has expanded this season and is now a husband and wife business. John joins us with his own new range of tours. He has spent 20 years hiking across Scotland and always loves to introduce people to new corners of the country. He also has had a lifetimes interest in Scottish history and especially the many battlefields which were important in shaping the country. Hiking Explore some of our stunning Scottish scenery on foot. There are so many options and it is great to have help from John to choose a hike which suits your group. Even a one hour stroll around a beautiful loch shore results in memories to last a lifetime. More remote walks are also offered by John taking account of the experience of the guests. July tours July is peak season in Scotland for visitors so …

Visit the Scottish gardens in spring or summer

Blair Castle and walled garden This Spring our tours have included many beautiful Scottish gardens across our country. We visited the stunning 9 acre walled garden at Blair Castle. Created between 1747 and 1760 by the 2nd Duke of Atholl. Sadly it was abandoned in the 1960’s but very happily it has now been restored and is an excellent addition to any visit to Blair Castle. The entrance to the Hercules Garden through the south wall was created in 1924, when the 8th Duke and Duchess received a set of beautiful gates from friends and family. After the second world war the lack of labour and difficult economic times took their toll and the gardens fell into decline. Finally in 1989 the importance of the gardens were realised and restoration work began. The pathways, the very unusual Chinese bridge, many yew tress and statues were all restored. Many of our tours include this part of Perthshire and can easily include a visit to this special castle and the walled garden. Scone Palace and maze We …

Awesome April springtime private tours

We have had a busy start to the season with tours in April to the Scottish Highlands, Isle of Skye and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. The weather was very kind to us and the scenery looked great in the sunshine. We  had some great guests which made the trips lots of fun. This was  followed up with an ancestry tour to the lovely East Lothian region. Tennis fans from the USA were delighted to visit the home town of Andy Murray, the world’s tennis number one, to see the tennis courts he played on as a child. No matter what special interests our guests have we seem to surprise them with a few local secrets along the way.

Isle of Skye road trip with snow

Glen Coe waterfalls We enjoyed a road trip around the Highlands and the Isle of Skye last week. An interesting time of year to visit since many places are getting ready for the new season. The weather was also different – we had snow, some rain, some hail and quite windy. This is not too surprising for Scotland in the month of March so we wrapped up well and took advantage of the quieter roads. Day One took us from the capital city of Edinburgh and a  visit to Dalwhinnie Distillery in the Highlands.  A lorry had lost its load of fish on the road but we made it with minutes to spare for the afternoon tour. This was well worth it as we had a very small group and all the fascinating processes of making a Highland malt whisky were well explained along the way. Of course at the end of the tour a wee dram was poured for all and this very special whisky was enjoyed.   After a very cosy night in Inverness, the …

Scottish Ancestry Tours – find out who you are?

Scottish Ancestry Tours are always very special days for our guests. Sublime Scotland is delighted to be recognised by VisitScotland as an Ancestral Ambassador. Our personalised ancestry tours are enjoyed by people from Canada, the United States and also Australia. The tours are each unique to the family, connecting each person with the landscape, history and places of their own forebears. It is a very special experience to walk in the footsteps of your own family from 200 years ago. We can help you do this by personalising your own ancestry tour. This experience is exciting and emotional and fun to be part of.   Research your family tree There is a great deal of expertise in Scotland to help with researching your family tree. VisitScotland can point you in the right direction with information. Local experts such as Jane Harris can help you find places and people you did not even know existed.

Historic Culross and Outlander

There are many great reasons to visit the delightful historic village of Culross on the River Forth. The village has a long history with a busy coal mining and salt industry during the 16th and 17th century. King James VI visited this mine shaft in 1595 which was on a tidal island in the middle of the River Forth. He was rather shocked at the one mile depth of the shaft beneath the sea. Culross Palace has been extensively restored and although it was never a royal residence it is a unique example of a house belonging to a wealthy merchant of the early 17th century. A pathway known as Stinking Wynd leads uphill along a cobbled way, where the centre is slightly higher and poorer people had to walk in the gutters. The Town House was built in 1626 with the clock tower added 150 years later. This amazing building now houses a photographic exhibition  of many of the iconic places and scenes of Scotland and is well worth a visit. A delightful café nearby is …

History, heritage and archaeology in 2017

2017 is a special year in Scotland. Designated as the year of History, Heritage and Archaeology there will be much to see. There is certainly a lot to celebrate and all the people who look after our ancient buildings will  help us enjoy this amazing heritage. Jackie is a steward at one of our castles and she tells us what she loves about her job here. Tours Our tours are never far away from some fantastic examples of our great castles, stately homes, and buildings such as Stanley Mills which are part of our social heritage. Just north of Perth, the visitor centre tells the story of the weaving and the people who worked in the mills. Built in 1787 we see the best example of an 18th century workplace, anywhere in the world. 200 years of cotton making with all its innovations and the impact on the local communities perfectly explained. In 2017 we will visit more than 20 of our great castles. Stirling Castle is one of the most visited and tells the story of the Stewart …

Whisky Distillery

New three day private tour for 2017

See the best of Scotland in a three day  private tour. No need to pack a suitcase each day! In 2017 we offer a new multi-day tour based in the bustling town of Callander in the heart of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Sublime Scotland guests will receive special discount at the excellent Abbotsford Lodge Guesthouse. Day One Day one will take you from Callander, through the national park, to stunning Loch Lubnaig. We  visit Crainlarich and the quirky Artisan Café for morning refreshments. We then explore the beautiful west coast villages and towns of Connell Bridge and the ferry port of Oban. Perhaps take a ferry over to the island of Lismore or Kerrera. Returning to Abbotsford Lodge you have time to explore Callander and its many pubs and restaurants in the evening. Day Two On day two be picked up from Abbotsford Lodge to head eastwards to the ancient medieval and university town of St Andrews. Visit the astounding  ruins of the 12th century  St Andrews Cathedral. This was once the largest church in Scotland and …