Top Historic Sights in Isle of Arran, United Kingdom

Explore the historic highlights of Isle of Arran

Lochranza Castle

Lochranza Castle dates from the 13th century when it was owned by the MacSweens. In 1262, King Alexander III granted the castle and its lands to Walter Stewart, the Earl of Menteith. It is believed that Robert the Bruce landed at Lochranza in 1306 on his return from Ireland to claim the Scottish throne. By 1371, the castle was the property of Robert II. It is thought that at this time it was used as a royal hunting lodge. ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Isle of Arran, United Kingdom

Brodick Castle

Brodick Castle stands on a slope above the north side of Brodick Bay and under the shadow of Goatfell, which rises behind it. It can best be described as a strategically important castle developed over four centuries between the 1200s and the 1600s, with an 1800s stately home wrapped around it. The location was probably first used as a defensive site by the Vikings until they were driven from Arran, and the rest of the we ...
Founded: 1510 | Location: Isle of Arran, United Kingdom

Machrie Moor Stone Circles

Machrie Moor Stone Circles is the collective name for six stone circles on the Isle of Arran. Six stone circles are visible on the moor immediately east of the derelict Moss Farm. Some circles are formed of granite boulders, while others are built of tall red sandstone pillars. The moor is covered with other prehistoric remains, including standing stones, burial cairns and cists. Several hut circles can also be seen as lo ...
Founded: 1800-1600 BC | Location: Isle of Arran, United Kingdom

Torrylin Cairn

Torrylin Cairn is the remains of a Neolithic chambered tomb. The cairn has been interfered with by stone robbing and later dumping of field stones and its original shape and size are uncertain. The chamber is 6.7 metres long by about 1.2 metres wide with each compartment about 1.4 metres long. Torrylin Cairn is of a type found across south-west Scotland known as a Clyde cairn, of which a better preserved example can be fo ...
Founded: 3300 BC | Location: Isle of Arran, United Kingdom

Auchagallon Stone Circle

Auchagallon Stone Circle is the remains of a Neolithic or Bronze Age burial cairn, surrounded by a circle of fifteen stones. The cairn and stone circle is situated on a slight ledge of a west-facing slope, overlooking Machrie Bay. The circle comprises fifteen blocks varying in height from 0.5 metres to 2.3 metres. The stones are of red sandstone, except two which are a pale grey granite. The circle has a maximum diameter ...
Founded: 2000 BC | Location: Isle of Arran, United Kingdom

Giants' Graves

The Giants' Graves are the remains of two Neolithic chambered tombs on the Isle of Arran. They are situated within 40 metres of each other, and stand on a ridge 120 metres above the sea in a clearing in a forest, overlooking Whiting Bay to the south. The northern cairn has been much robbed, but the edges are still well-defined. The chamber is 6 metres long, and around 1 metre wide. It was excavated in 1902, and among the ...
Founded: 4000-2500 BCE | Location: Isle of Arran, United Kingdom

Kildonan Castle Ruins

Kildonan Castle stands on the southern coast of the Isle of Arran. The castle"s name is derived from the name of a former resident, Saint Donan, who is said to be buried on the island. It was built in the 13th century by the MacDonalds, the Lords of the Isles. The castle stands on the cliffs, overlooking the island of Pladda and the entrance to the Firth of Clyde. It was built to defend against enemies attacking thro ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Isle of Arran, United Kingdom

Carn Ban

Carn Ban is a Neolithic chambered tomb located on the Isle of Arran. It is considered as one of the most famous of the Neolithic long cairns of south-west Scotland. It is of a type found across south-west Scotland known as a Clyde cairn. It is trapezoidal in shape, with a semicircular forecourt at the upper northeast end. The forecourt has an entrance leading into a long chamber divided into compartments by cross-slabs, s ...
Founded: 2000 BC | Location: Isle of Arran, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Luxembourg Palace

The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.

The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.

In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.

During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.

Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.

The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.

During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.