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.
Preston Park Museum, Stockton-on-Tees
Edinburgh Castle looks so remote, looming over the city, but it’s easily accessible, a short walk up the Royal Mile.
Georgian House, a town house in Edinburgh’s New Town that provides a peek into life upstairs and downstairs in 18th Century Edinburgh.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next: Bath, Cambridge, Greenwich and more London museums.