If Scotland has an equivalent of the Magna Carta or the U.S. Declaration of Independence, it’s the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath—a letter sent by nobles to the pope swearing their independence from England. The document was signed here in this magnificent abbey, founded by William the Lion in 1178 in memory of the martyr Thomas Becket. Complete with a stunning, twin-towered church facade, the abbey remained one of Scotland’s grandest monasteries for nearly 400 years. Today, travelers can visit to soak up the atmosphere of a site long associated with Scotland’s sense of independence. Step inside one of the most complete abbot’s residences in Britain, then gaze up at local landmark the “Round O,” a circular window that was lit nightly to guide mariners home. Also keep an eye out for the impressive marble effigy, thought to depict William the Lion.

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