A Blast from Past; Have Fun Exploring Scotland's History
Byline: Craig McQueen
WITH 5000 years of history waiting to be discovered at Historic Scotland sites across the country, the October holidays might not seem long enough.
From majestic castles and palaces to magnificent cathedrals and abbeys, each of the attractions promises a great day out for all the family.
You may already have your own favourites but Edinburgh Castle, St Andrews Castle and Cathedral, Urquhart Castle or Melrose Abbey are rated as some of the nation's finest historic sites and worth a visit.
During the holidays there is also a huge range of events on offer across the Historic Scotland properties, from children's quizzes to more hands-on activities. Gareth Cheeseman of Historic Scotland said: "The programme on offer over the October holidays is ideal for families.
"We want visitors to get involved and try things out for themselves, which means our events are not only enjoyable, but bring history to life in an exciting way." There are more than 45 Historic Scotland sites open during October, with normal winter opening hours from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
One of the main attractions on offer is of course Stirling Castle, which is now more magnificent than ever with the reopening of the refurbished Renaissance Royal Palace.
Discover the castle vaults with costumed performers and musical instruments, plus a new exhibition looking at the history of the castle.
aMMart This weekend also sees the Michaelmas Merriment event at the palace, recreating the traditional feast day celebrating the harvest collection. Gareth t said: "Michaelmas was a time of celebration, and for this event we've got dancing and fashion, with children being able to try on costumes.
"There's musketry demonstrations, the chance to try out games of the renaissance period, and there's music too to add to the sense of atmosphere."
More than 400 daytime events take place every year at Historic Scotland attractions, and most are included in the admission price, or are free to members of Historic Scotland.
Another event taking place soon is For King and Country on October 8 and 9 at Edinburgh Castle.
Visitors will be transported back to 1650 to witness grand parades of English and Scottish troops, hear the thunder of musket volleys and meet soldiers defending the castle's walls.
scho Gareth said: "It's going to be a spectacular event. Edinburgh Castle changed hands many times during its history, and this will see troops holding out against Oliver Cromwell's army. …