5 day West of Scotland architectural tour
Day 1 (Edinburgh ‘A Tale of Two Cities’)
- AM Guided tour of The Georgian House in
Charlotte Square, Robert Adam’s masterpiece of urban architecture,
situated in Edinburgh’s New Town. For a complete contrast,
visit to Gladstone’s Land, the best example of a 17th-century
high tenement building, typical of the Old Town during this
- PM Free time to explore Scotland’s
capital city or visit the famous Castle and Holyrood Palace,
both on the Royal Mile.
Day 2 (Glasgow/Helensburgh From
Art Nouveau to ancient ‘Greek’)
- AM Morning coffee and guided tour of The
Hill House, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s finest domestic
creation. Sitting high above the Clyde, with excellent views
over the river, The House conveys the union of two architectural
opposites – traditional Scottish values and modern international
aspirations. Enjoy the sheer timeless elegance of these rooms,
as well as the gardens, which reflect Mackintosh’s architectural
- PM Lunch and guided tour of Pollok House,
one of Scotland’s grandest Edwardian country houses. Ancestral
home of the Maxwell family, the present house was begun in 1747,
replacing 3 earlier structures, and contains some of the finest
Spanish paintings in Britain. Guided tour of nearby Holmwood
House, described as the finest domestic design by Alexander
‘Greek’ Thomson. The architectural style of the
house is a picturesque adaptation of classical Greek with rooms
richly decorated in ornamental plaster and marble.
Day 3 (Ayrshire: fortified towers and Brig o'Doon)
- AM Visit to Culzean Castle and Country
Park near Ayr. Guided tour of the Castle, converted by Adam
in the late 1700s, from a fortified tower house into an elegant
bachelor residence for the 10th Earl of Casillis. The Circular
Saloon offers panoramic views over the Clyde while the beautiful
Oval Staircase is Adam’s final masterpiece of interior
design. There are over 40 architectural features to discover
within the Country Park, from the elegant Camellia House to
the more practical Gas House. Lunch and refreshments are available
at the excellent restaurant.
- PM New for 2009! Visit to Burns National Heritage Park . Visit the original thatched cottage where Burns was born 250 years ago; see the Burns monument, designed by Edinburgh architect Thomas Hamilton, the first to commemorate Burns memory; visit the Auld Kirk, thought to date from the 1200s and take a stroll over the romantic, Brig o'Doon . Built in the 1400s with a strikingly tall, narrow arch, the bridge was immortalised in the famous tale of Tam o'Shanter.
Day 4 (Stirlingshire From Medieval to Modern)
- AM Guided tour of Alloa Tower, the largest
surviving keep in Scotland. Dating from the 14th-century, the
tower has undergone 6 major alterations, including the impressive
Italianate staircase. It has a beautiful simplicity, retaining
many of the original medieval features such as the magnificent
oak timbers and dungeon.
- PM Visit to nearby Bannockburn Heritage
Centre, built in the 1960s and scene of the famous Battle of
Bannockburn in 1314. The result was a decisive victory for the
Scots over the English, led by the renowned Robert the Bruce.
Menstrie Castle, near Stirling, is also of interest: a small
3-storey L-plan tower house. Late 16th-century with 17th –century
additions, it was the birthplace of Sir William Alexander, first
Earl of Stirling and founder of Nova Scotia, in 1572. Visit
to The Pineapple, a bizarre structure (14m high) built in 1761
as a garden retreat in the shape of a pineapple.
Day 5 (Arran Architecture)
- AM Take a ferry over the sea to Arran. Enjoy
morning coffee and home baking before a guided tour of Brodick
Castle, which dates from the Middle Ages, and formed part of
the strategic defence of the Clyde Estuary. The 19th-century
aspect of the Castle belies a long building history with a 16th-century
baronial-style tower and 17th-century Cromwellian extensions.
- PM Arran is steeped in history with links
to the earliest people to inhabit Scotland – the Picts
and legendary stone circles cover the island. Travel to the
north of the island to Lochranza Castle, built in the 13th-century
as a fortress against Scandinavian invaders.