Digging old Britain: museums, castles, battlefields and ruins, part I

Maybe because I’m a relic myself, I enjoy historical museums much more than I did when I was younger.

But they’re also much better. Every museum we visited was well designed and arranged, with beautiful and interesting displays. From the small local Preston Park Museum in Stockton-on-Tees, where my cousin and her husband took us, to the world-class British Museum, each had up-to-the-minute technology, making the stories, people and artifacts come to life.

There were so many I won’t go into great detail. All allowed photography, so I’ll share websites and pictures and encourage visits to any of them if you’re in England or Scotland.

British Museum

Sky-lit atrium, British Museum

Sky-lit atrium, British Museum

The Grande Dame of museums, the British

The Grande Dame of museums, the British

British museum fish

Love this guy.

Preston Park Museum, Stockton-on-Tees

Friendly greeting from the local "Bobby"

Friendly greeting from the local “Bobby”

Preston Museum and Park, a grand old house. The solarium is an event space.

Preston Museum and Park, a grand old house. The solarium is an event space.

Wedgwood

Wedgwood

Replica of a gypsy caravan. I remember real ones from my childhood.

Replica of a gypsy caravan. I remember real ones from my childhood.

Interesting way to display china--vertically!

Interesting way to display china–vertically!

Sideways swing at Preston Park.

Sideways swing at Preston Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edinburgh Castle looks so remote, looming over the city, but it’s easily accessible, a short walk up the Royal Mile.

Near the castle entrance

Near the castle entrance

Castle in the mist

Castle in the mist

Armament room

Armament room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Georgian House, a town house in Edinburgh’s New Town that provides a peek into life upstairs and downstairs in 18th Century Edinburgh.

Jill Georgian House

Friends told us the Royal Yacht Britannia was not to be missed, so we found a bus to take us out to Edinburgh harbor, and our friends were right.

Queen Elizabeth's bedroom, with embroidery above the bed.

Queen Elizabeth’s bedroom, with embroidery above the bed.

Piano in the parlor, played by, among others, Princess Diana

Piano in the parlor, played by, among others, Princess Diana

Part of the engine room

Part of the engine room

If it weren’t for a nice lady named Margaret we met on the train, we would have missed Culloden Battlefield, near Inverness. We learned it was the place where the forces of Bonnie Prince Charlie were defeated, changing the course of Scottish, English, and probably world, history. A fabulous museum that takes you through the whole story from both sides, blue for Scotland and red for England. After experiencing a film that puts you in the middle of the battle, walking around the battlefield itself was almost anticlimax, but threatening rain and spectacular Scottish skies enhanced the mood.

Culloden Battlefield Museum discreetly set into the landscape.

Culloden Battlefield Museum discreetly set into the landscape.

A rock memorial on the battlefield

A rock memorial on the battlefield

We took the boat ride to Urquhart Castle mostly for the pleasant trip on Loch Ness. I don’t have sufficient imagination to fully appreciate ruins, but the scenery was terrific. Gary doesn’t shop, so I perused the gift shop, finding a book about Loch Ness for my grandson and a little stuffed Nessie for my granddaughter.

Loch Ness from the hill overlooking Urquhart Castle

Loch Ness from the hill overlooking Urquhart Castle

My favorite sign on the whole trip

My favorite sign on the whole trip

Who's scaring whom?

Who’s scaring whom?

 

 

 

 

 

Despite Rick Steves’ lukewarm attitude about Inverness, we loved it. The local museum features both art and history. It’s modest but worth an hour or two. Next door is the “castle,” which is not very historic, and it functions as a courthouse, but it’s photogenic and situated on an overlook of the River Ness.

Inverness castle

Inverness castle

Outside the castle, a statue of Flora Macdonald, who spirited Bonnie Prince Charlie away after the defeat, disguised as her maid.

Outside the castle, a statue of Flora Macdonald, who spirited Bonnie Prince Charlie away after the defeat, disguised as her maid.

 

 

 

 

 

River Ness view from the castle

River Ness view from the castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next: Bath, Cambridge, Greenwich and more London museums.

 

 

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