Scottish Clan Tours
Researching your family tree is a voyage of discovery. Full of intrigue, exotic names and fascinating histories. It is a pastime that rewards again and again. But those who simply trace their family tree from the comfort of their own home are missing out on the real story of their heritage.
For the whole exciting picture, you need to visit the places you read about. And that means a trip to Scotland. To help you plan your trip, we've compiled a number of clan-themed touring itineraries . So if you see your clan name, just follow the trail and walk in your ancestors' footsteps.
The ancient and powerful Lennox Earldom included much of Dumbartonshire and parts of West Stirlingshire amongst other lands. The clan history is intertwined with that of Scotland's Kings and Queens and your ancestral journey will take you to some of Scotland's most famous historic sites.
Today you arrive in the cosmopolitan city of Glasgow, Scotland's largest urban centre and a popular destination for a short break. Glasgow's fine museums and galleries are complemented by the Mitchell Library, one of the largest public reference libraries in Europe and home of the city archives.
In the north of Glasgow is Strathblane and the original site of Lennox Castle. Built by John Lennox in the 15th Century, this was the family home for the next eight generations. A new castle was built in the 19th century and following its sale in 1927 became a hospital for people with learning difficulties. The clan seat moved to Downton Castle near Ludlow in Shropshire, England. The hospital closed in 2002. Continue northwards towards Loch Lomond as you journey through The Lennox, as the Lennox Earldom has been called. The urban landscape of Glasgow and its suburbs gives way to a lusher, greener environment and you will feel closer to the land your ancestors knew. Between the 12th and 14th centuries much of the land around Loch Lomond belonged to the Earl of Lennox. Amongst the rhododendrons and azaleas in the country park at Balloch at the southern end of the Loch, you can still see faint traces of one of the earliest Lennox castles.
Inchmurrin Island, situated on Loch Lomond, is the largest inland island in Britain and is easily defended. Because of this the Lennox Earls built a castle here and the remains can still be seen. Today the island is in private hands but can be visited. In fact you can stay on the island in self catering accommodation or in the Inchmurrin Hotel. Truly a unique way to get close to your ancestors!
Your journey takes you first southwards today, towards Dumbarton Castle. This dramatically situated castle has links with the Earls of Lennox and Mary Queen of Scots. The castle was captured by the Earl of Lennox in 1514 in the wake of the Battle of Flodden and some years later the child, later Queen, Mary stayed here. Today is a day of castles as you travel now towards Stirling Castle, one of the most famous sites in Scotland. Parts of Stirlingshire were in The Lennox and you are, quite literally, travelling through your heritage. The impressive Stirling Castle was a favoured royal retreat for the Stuart dynasty and the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots.
Edinburgh, Scotland's magnificent historic capital, is your destination. You'll be spoilt for things to do and places to visit. A good starting point is the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street. Here, you'll find the history of Scotland from early geological times through to the present day. If time allows, call in at the nearby Scottish Genealogical Society library in Victoria Terrace where you'll find plenty of fellow travellers and enthusiastic researchers, as well as a wealth of genealogical information and guidance. No appointment is necessary but there is a small charge for non-members.
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and son of the fourth Earl of Lennox, was the second husband of Mary Queen of Scots. You can visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the end of the Royal Mile to see the place where Lord Darnley married Queen Mary in a private chapel on 29 July 1565. Born a year later, their son James became King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England. Lord Darnley later played a part in the murder of the Queen's Secretary David Rizzio at Holyrood but soon met his own fate. At the other end of the Royal Mile is Edinburgh Castle, from the battlements of which you can enjoy commanding views out over both the New and Old towns of the city.
Before leaving Scotland, and Edinburgh, behind you might like to relax and enjoy one of the excellent bus tours of the city or take a stroll through the elegant New Town.
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