Scottish history

From the stone circles that are scattered across Scotland’s islands, which are thought to date back 5,000 years, to the opening of the new Scottish Parliament in 1999, Scotland has a rich and colourful history. As you travel around Scotland, uncover stories of heroes, villains, fallen monarchs and bloody battles. Find out more about Scotland’s literary greats, trace back your family history and marvel at some truly breathtaking castles, monuments and architecture.

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Year of Natural Scotland 2013
Year of Natural Scotland 2013

Celebrate Scotland's natural beauty throughout 2013

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Cast of the tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots. The original is in Westminster Abbey, London. © Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Mary Queen of Scots

Explore the epic story of Mary Queen of Scots, one of the most famous and controversial figures in Scottish history.

A portrait of Robert Burns and exhibits at the Robert Burns House Museum in Dumfries

Who was Robert Burns?

Learn about the inspiring life of Robert Burns and how his passion for Scotland and social justice informed his timeless works.

Looking up at a statue of Robert the Bruce on the castle esplanade with the National Wallace Monument behind, Stirling

Robert the Bruce

Experience the story of Robert the Bruce by visiting buildings, fields and caves which played an important role in his life.

The inscription on a memorial cairn at Culloden Visitor Centre marking the site of the Battle of Culloden in 1746 near Inverness

Historic sites

Discover Scotland's past at historic sites ranging from battlefields to crumbling ruins and Edinburgh's medieval Old Town.

A replica of the Declaration of Arbroath on display in Arbroath Abbey

Declaration of Arbroath

Learn about the origins of the Declaration of Arbroath which signified the beginning of Scottish independence.

Scotland's protected historic places

Protected historic places

Uncover Scotland’s protected historic places, such as ancient monuments, archaeological sites, and historic buildings.

History across Scotland

Culzean Castle
History itineraries

Follow our ideas and itineraries around Scotland and discover the colourful history of the country.

The Forth Rail Bridge - built between 1883-90 from a design by John Fowler
Timeline

Discover the story of Scotland with this timeline which charts its development from its earliest inhabitants to the present day.

A piper in full Highland Regalia pipes in the haggis which is being carried on a tray by the chef behind him.
Traditions

Discover the traditions that make Scotland's culture so unique, from Highland Games to Burns Night and Hogmanay.

Looking up to Edinburgh Castle at the top of Arthur's Seat
Castles

Plan a trip around some of Scotland’s fascinating castles with ideas on what mysterious ruins and imposing properties to visit.

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