A HISTORIC site in Argyll has been named as one of the New York Times’ 52 top places go in 2023.
Kilmartin Glen, located between Oban and Lochgilphead in the west of Scotland, has made the prestigious list alongside locations such as Cuba, Kangaroo Island in Australia, London, Madrid and Palm Springs in California.
The travel list celebrates the area’s many archaeological monuments, naming it as ‘one of the most significant prehistoric sites in Britain’. It also highlights Kilmartin Museum which is due to reopen this year and tells the story of the region’s natural treasures, and Kilmartin Castle which is now a boutique hotel.
Spanning 5000 years, Kilmartin Glen, which surrounds the village of Kilmartin, is best known for its ancient monuments which include standing stones, a henge monument and a ‘linear cemetery’ comprising five burial cairns, several of which are decorated with cup and ring marks.
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland’s Chief Executive, said: “Scotland’s history, heritage and culture is what defines the country for many people, and one of the top reasons for visiting. To be included on such a prestigious list will undoubtedly introduce this incredible site, Argyll, and Scotland as a whole, to audiences across the world. This will provide a welcome boost to the recovery of our valuable tourism industry and encourage them to explore the region more widely. The reopening of Kilmartin Museum marks a valuable addition to Argyll’s offering, helping inspire and inform visitors about the significance of some of the west of Scotland’s most important natural and cultural assets.”
Dr Sharon Webb MBE. Director and Curator, Kilmartin Museum, said: “From ancient stone circles and enigmatic rock art to the early medieval Capital of the earliest Kings of the Scots, Kilmartin Glen has some of Scotland’s most important and intriguing prehistoric archaeological sites, not to mention amazing ancient artefacts. We are absolutely delighted that this wee corner of Scotland has been recognised as being amongst some of the most fascinating places to visit. Kilmartin Museum has been caring for Argyll’s archaeological collections for more than 20 years, and we’ll be showcasing the Glen’s archaeology in the new Museum when it opens later this year. We are sure that everyone to comes to explore will receive a very warm welcome.”
Simon Hunt, co-owner Kilmartin Castle, with his wife Stephanie Burgon, said: “We’re ecstatic to see Kilmartin Castle recognised as the incredibly special castle it is. Restoring her has completely changed our lives and we are thrilled to be able to share her magic with others, for the first time in nearly 500 years. Leaving our comfortable jobs felt like a huge leap before we took it, but once we got to work, it felt like the best decision we’ve ever made. Even through the tough times, of which there were many!”
Cathy Craig, CEO of the Argyll and Isles Tourism Cooperative, said: “It’s wonderful to see Kilmartin Glen in the top 5 of New York Times top 52 Places to go in 2023. With the newly refurbished Kilmartin Museum, some fantastic accommodation options and Kilmartin Sprits’ gin, which is produced using hand foraged botanicals from the fascinating and mysterious Glen, we wholeheartedly agree that the area has so much to offer including ‘food, culture, adventure and natural beauty’.
“Argyll and the Isles is steeped in rich, history, heritage and culture, and filled with incredibly fascinating and atmospheric sites and visitor attractions – from Kilmartin to Dunadd Fort the birthplace of the nation, to Mount Stuart the fabulous gothic mansion on the isle of Bute. And there will be so many great new experiences to discover in the destination, known as Scotland’s Adventure Coast, in 2023 from new eco-pods at the historic Glenegedale House to sailings aboard the newly-refurbished 1924 Brixham Trawler, Provident. It is the perfect year to visit.”