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Enjoy a compelling glimpse into the epic history of Stirling and its surrounding area by going back in time at Stirling Castle, the National Wallace Monument, and the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre. Then explore other family-friendly attractions and the vibrant, independent boutiques around the Old Town and the Victorian Stirling Arcade. And be sure to budget time to visit majestic Loch Lomond – Britain’s largest body of water – and the Trossachs National Park, just a short ride away.
Packed to the gills with antique silver, porcelain and furniture, the red sandstone Brodick Castle is one of the highlights of the Isle of Arran. The castle overlooks Goatfell, a majestic hill that’s a popular day hike. The Machrie Moor stone circles make for a mystical field trip, as does a tour of The Arran Malt whisky distillery.
Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city, renowned for its heritage, culture and festivals.
Take a long walk around the centre to explore the World Heritage Sites of the Old Town and New Town, as well as all the area’s museums and galleries. Then stop for a delicious meal made from fresh Scottish produce before heading out to take in one of Edinburgh’s many events — including the famous summer festivals of culture, or the Winter Festivals of music, light and ceilidhs.
A short distance from Edinburgh is a landscape strewn with sturdy hill forts, ancient castles and ruined abbeys that hints at the tumult of the past. It's quite at odds with the picturesque rolling, if windswept, sheep-studded hills and quiet valleys that make all seem agreeably placid to today’s visitor. At its heart are the ruins of four medieval abbeys with Jedburgh, the most complete, the best to visit first for its insights into monastic life. Of the others, Melrose is both the pick of the bunch, and also close to Abbotsford, the sometime home of the Romantic novelist Sir Walter Scott, and a splendid receptacle for his engrossing collection of historical curios. There are fine country houses to visit, notably Mellerstain for its exquisite Robert Adam interiors, and Manderston, the enjoyable swan song of the Edwardian Country House. Anglers should note that the River Tweed is also one of Scotland’s finest salmon-fishing rivers.
Known as the Home of Golf, pretty St. Andrews appeals to even those with no interest in the game. Set on a wide bay, the town is dotted with medieval ruins, stately architecture, and—thanks to its large student population—plenty of cozy pubs.
Known as the Outdoor Capital of the UK, Fort William is at the heart of a wide range of exciting activity centres. Visitors enjoy easy access to exhilarating hillwalking, mountain climbing, snow sports and water sports — as well as the gentler pleasures of a refreshing day spent fishing, walking in the country or cycling. Capture the spirit of the Scottish Highlands by taking in its stunning landscapes, tasting the area’s authentic whiskies and ales, and exploring its fascinating museums.
From Shoreditch’s swaggering style to Camden’s punky vibe and chic Portobello Road, London is many worlds in one. The city’s energy means that no two days are the same. Explore royal or historic sites, tick off landmarks from your bucket list, eat and drink in exclusive Michelin-starred restaurants, enjoy a pint in a traditional pub, or get lost down winding cobbled streets and see what you stumble across – when it comes to London, the possibilities are endless.
Stroll Las Ramblas and enjoy Barcelona's unique blend of Catalan culture, distinctive architecture, lively nightlife and trendy, stylish hotels. You'll find Europe's best-preserved Gothic Quarter here, as well as amazing architectural works by Gaudi. La Sagrada Familia, considered Gaudi's masterpiece, is still under construction (your entrance fee helps to fund the project). Feel like a picnic? Look no further than the rambunctious La Boqueria market, where you can stock up on local delicacies.
Palma, the economic and cultural hub of Majorca, is a delightful base for exploring the island's many gold and white beaches. A former Moorish casbah, or walled city, Palma's Old Town is an appealing maze of narrow streets that are a delight to explore on foot. Hop on the Soller Railway for a 17-mile scenic trip, visit 14th-century Bellver Castle and the museum of contemporary art, and check out the nightlife.
Bask on four miles of golden beaches, hit the Mediterranean Sea on water skis or stroll along Benidorm's promenade and revel in its seaside charms; it's a true Spanish beauty of the Costa Blanca. Originally a fishing town, the city's historic center wows with its blue-domed 18th-century church and picturesque alleyways. Panoramic views reward those who climb into the surrounding Canfali hills, and nearby rocky coves reveal underwater riches for scuba enthusiasts. End a day in the sun with a feast of local seafood.
The Algarve's sunny shores offer perfect escapes for all types, from those seeking the hot nightlife of flashy, energetic Lagos to those desiring secluded stays in rambling Sagres. Portugal's most southerly region offers historical attractions in former Moorish capital Silves and fascinating Tavira, great golf, fabulous beaches from Praia da Luz to Armacao de Pera, thermal springs at Caldas de Monchique, and miles of limestone caves and grottoes, cliffs and bays along its rugged coastline.
Malaga, Pablo Picasso's birthplace and the gateway to the Costa del Sol, is a hectic, sometimes unruly city of 550,000. An impressive number of museums and monuments, including the 11th-century Alcazaba fort and Museu Picasso Malaga, provide plenty of diversions for those who opt not to spend all their time on the coast's famed beaches and in their accompanying bars. The old city bustles with taverns and bistros. The generous Paseo del Parque offers a delightful stroll past banana trees and fountains.
The Costa del Sol juxtaposes gorgeous Mediterranean old towns and inland national parks with developed beach resorts. Famed for being the birthplace of Picasso, Malaga serves as a gateway to family-favourite stops such as Benidorm and Fuengirola.
Strongly influenced by the tribal culture of the Guanches (the original inhabitants), Tenerife was conquered by the Spanish 500 years ago. It's home to Mount Teide, Spain's tallest peak, and to the popular beach resort of Los Gigantes. Today visitors flock to Loro Park to see tropical birds, to Tenerife Zoo Monkey Park and to Parque Nacional Las Canadas del Teide's volcanic rock formations. Explore by car or with a "bono bus" ticket, which offers reductions on regular prices.