A Hume

A Hume
Un-sung Attractions

Un-sung Attractions

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5 Hidden Gems to visit this Easter

 

As we head towards Easter Weekend and the bank holiday/day trip season we take a look at some hidden gems, exceptional, unique places in Scotland and the North of England that might somehow have escaped your attention.

 

Innerpeffray Library, Crieff, Perthshire

 

Innerpeffray is Scotland’s oldest, free public lending library, founded around 1680 by David Drummond the 3rd Lord Madertie. In 1739 the library moved into a specially commissioned Georgian building where it continues to this day.

 

Innerpeffray Library

The Georgian Interior of Innerpeffray Library, Perthshire – Scotland’s oldest public lending library.
Image courtesy: Innerpeffray Library.

 

The original Founders collection of around 400 books offers a fascinating insight into the literary preoccupations of the day, a selection clearly aimed at achieving educational improvement in the local community “for the benefit and encouragement of young students.” The collection includes titles on witchcraft, animals, farming, medicine, European history and a 17th century atlas – incredibly, all of them available for visitors to hold and browse.

 

It seems quite incredible that books so rare and priceless should be so readily available to the public but their accessibility is entirely in keeping with the founding ethos. Highlights include a copy of Poems: Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, a first edition (one of only 600 copies) of Robert Burns’ first ever book of poetry. Another treasure is the Borrowers’ Register, an incredible ledger covering the period 1747-1968, of equal interest to social anthropologists, genealogists and visitors looking for evidence of relatives who lived close by.

 

For more information see: www.innerpeffraylibrary.co.uk

 

Amisfield Walled Garden, Haddington, East Lothian

Spring Open Day 27th April

 

Established in 1783, Amisfield Walled Garden covers an area of 8 acres, it is surrounded by imposing stone walls 4.9m high and is the largest surviving walled garden in Scotland.

 

amisfield walled garden 2

Amisfield Walled Garden: Amisfield Preservation Trust are committed to restoring the gardens for the benefit of the public and local community. Getting the structure and bones of the garden right is high on their list of priorities.
Image courtesy: Amisfield Preservation Trust.

 

In its heyday Amisfield Walled Garden housed a magnificent pineapple house enabling it to grow the highly fashionable fruit and ultimate horticultural status symbol.

 

Having fallen into decay, the gardens have recently been rescued by the Amisfield Preservation Trust. The Trust is committed to restoring and developing the garden for visitors and community use. Key structural features such as the maize and the artful beech hedges are the current focus of attention.

 

amisfield walled garden 1

Amisfield Walled Garden: the garden is home to stunning borders filled with shrubs, perennials and annuals.
Image courtesy: Amisfield Preservation Trust.

 

The Trust have launched an ambitious and already successful programme of gardening and archaeology events to support the re-development, including: a Veg Growing Workshop on 26th April and the Spring Open Day on 27th April, featuring another chance to take part in an archeological dig of the Pineapple House. Full info on the website.

 

Volunteers are encouraged to come along and help on Monday and Friday afternoons, and Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Previous gardening experience isn’t necessary, the Volunteer Coordinator June Tainsh welcomes any help and tailors volunteer sessions to suit all abilities.

 

For more information see: www.amisfield.org.uk

 

Glasgow Necropolis, St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life

 

The Glasgow Necropolis was established in 1832 by the Glasgow Merchant’s House as an interdenominational burial ground and it is estimated that 50,000 souls were laid to rest on the 37acre site.

 

Following the creation of Pere-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, British cities fell under pressure to build cemeteries for their dead. At the height of the Victorian era Glasgow was a wealthy city with a growing population and it became the first British city to heed the cries.

 

glasgow necropolis

The Necropolis, Glasgow.
Image source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/501940320939429821/

 

The Necropolis is filled with fascinating architecture, sculpture and stories. Many of the biggest names in arts and architecture created monuments to the wealthy entrepreneurs of the “Second City of the Empire,” including Charles Rennie MacIntosh, Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, and JT Rochhead.

 

The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis run guided walks and tours of the cemetery and this is by far the best way to get the most from your visit. There is also a guide to the 60 most famous monuments for those who prefer to go their own way.

 

For more information see: www.glasgownecropolis.org

 

 

Bell Pettigrew, St Andrews University, Fife

 

Tucked away through a gated arch on St Andrew’s South Street, at the end of the historic St Mary’s Quad, lies The Bell Pettigrew Museum.

 

Originally conceived as a teaching museum for the University’s zoology department The Bell Pettigrew is both deeply fascinating and wonderfully atmospheric. It is a rare survivor of an era renowned for it’s obsessive collections and passion for learning.

 

The displays, which include examples of several extinct species, are arranged to allow the evolutionary and taxonomic relationships between animals to be clearly understood, appreciated and marveled at.

 

A visit to the Bell Pettigrew is a must. It is open through July and August, Tuesday – Friday 2-5pm but also by appointment throughout the year. Visitors need not have any special interest or qualification to visit by appointment and family groups and individuals are encouraged.

 

For more information see: www.st-andrews.ac.uk/museum/bellpettigrew

 

 

Northumberlandia, Nr Cramlington, Northumerland

 

Located close to the New Town of Cramlington, Northumberlandia is a unique piece of public art set in a 46-acre community park with free public access and 4 miles of footpaths on and around the landform.

 

Northumberlandia

The Lady of the North, Northumberlandia.
Image courtesy: The Land Trust

 

The centerpiece of the park is a landform sculpture of a reclining lady, 100 feet high and quarter of a mile long, designed by famed landscape designer and architect Charles Jencks. She is formed from 1.5 million tonnes of rock, clay and soil and is rather like a grassy, supine version of the Angel of the North.

 

Those familiar with Charles Jencks other landforms will be used to their highly manicured appearance but the ethos at Northumberlandia is more naturalistic. Living and growing as she lies inert on the land it is expected that her form will evolve and change as nature and the season ebb and flow.

 

The Visitor Centre, opened just last month, takes it’s inspiration from archeological findings of the Anglo Saxon settlement that once existed on the site. Instead of a single modernist build, of the sort you might normally find, the centre and café are housed in a series of simple wooden and thatched buildings arranged to give the impression of an ancient settlement in the woods.

 

For more information see: www.northumberlandia.com

 

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