We’re in the middle of May, which means that the days are longer, the temperature is higher, and the weather is (hopefully) sunnier. Summer is the perfect time of year to go on trips nearby and further afield, and we have compiled a list that is perfect for all you bookworms: Scottish literary day trips! Combining literature and the fun of a day away – what could be a better mix?
Nestled in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh is the garden of artist and poet Ian Hamilton Findlay. With over 270 of his artworks displayed, the beautiful garden is a wonderful realisation of Hamilton Findlay’s ideas regarding the artistic fusion of poetry and sculpture. If you’re experiencing writers’ block, need some inspiration, or even just fancy wandering around an elegantly constructed ode to art and the natural world, then this is the place to be.
Stonypath, Dunsyre ML11 8NG
Open June – September, Thursdays to Sundays, 12.30pm to 5pm (last admission at 4pm)
As Scotland’s official book town, Wigtown is always worth a visit. With over a quarter of a million old and new books to choose from, Wigtown’s large selection of independent bookshops is second to none. Our favourite? The wonderfully named At The Sign of the Dragon, but The Bookshop – whose owner Shaun Bythell recently saw considerable success with the publication of his charmingly eccentric memoir The Diary of a Bookseller – is a close second. The lure of so many books is impossible to resist.
The Jacobite Steam Train
Come for the inevitable Harry Potter associations, stay for the incredible vistas and the unforgettable experience. Although it’s not quite the Hogwarts Express, the famous train journey will take you on a spectacular 84 mile round trip, passing by lochs, beaches, Ben Nevis (Britain’s highest mountain) and, of course, the famous Glenfinnan viaduct.
Wardlaw Mausoleum and the Culloden Trail
If you haven’t heard of Diana Gabaldon’s incredibly successful Outlander (and the equally sensational TV series based on the books), then where have you been? Although the spots mentioned above will obviously appeal to anyone with a passing interest in Scottish history, the Wardlaw Mausoleum (the real-life resting place of Simon Fraser, Jamie’s grandfather) and Culloden Trail will particularly pique the curiosity of any insatiable Outlander fans. Check out Visit Scotland for more information on Outlander-themed trips.
Has anyone visited any of these locations or has any literary day trip recommendations of their own? If you’re looking for more literary day trip inspiration, then check out our article on more literary-themed locations in Scotland here.