There is a huge amount to do in Scotland, with distilleries, castles, museums, gardens and walks attracting visitors from around the world. You can find below a selection of some of the best places to visit.
We make no apologies for placing Distilleries at the head of the list. Whisky is Scotland’s largest national export and visits to distilleries are amongst the most popular of places to visit in Scotland.
Blair Athol Distillery Established in 1798, Bell’s Blair Athol Distillery is one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland, producing the signature malt of the best selling Scotch in the UK. Find it just off the main street running through Pitlochry.
Deanston Distillery A former Cotton Mill dating back to 1785… now Deanston distillery produces a Single malt Scotch whisky. On the banks of the River Teith, eight miles from the historic town of Stirling. It is the largest distillery owned by Scotch whisky producer Burn Stewart Distillers Ltd, who also own Bunnahabhain Distillery on the Isle of Islay and Tobermory Distillery on the Isle of Mull.
Dewar’s Distillery in Aberfeldy – Established in 1898 this traditional distillery is situated in the magnificent surroundings of rural Perthshire. Well worth a visit.
The Famous Grouse Distillery Scotland’s Oldest Distillery. Home of The Glenturret single malt, Scotland’s oldest distillery and spiritual home of Scotland’s best selling whisky. The Famous Grouse Experience is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Scotland, telling the story of Scotland’s best selling Scotch. Based at Glenturret Distillery just outside Crieff, Matthew Gloag first created his “Grouse” whisky brand in the 1896.
Glengoyne Distillery – Just under 40 minutes from Glasgow and offering tours of this beautiful distillery. Founded in 1833 as the Burnfoot Distillery, its long and illustrious history make it a must for whisky lovers.
Tobermory Distillery – The Isle of Mull is a stunning location for this traditional building. Beginning life in 1798 Tobermory single malt has gone on to become one of Scotland’s most popular brands.
Tullibardine Distillery An independent distillery since 2003, this is a traditional Highland working distillery where they don’t use modern methods to produce what is known as a “drop of gold from the Perthshire Highlands”. The water used at Tullibardine Distillery is sourced from the surrounding Ochil Hills, which is renowned for crystal purity.
Strathearn Distillery is Scotland’s newest micro-distillery and probably also the smallest commercial distillery. It offers many different experiences, maybe a simple tour of the farm based distillery, or a day spent distilling, an afternoon making and drinking gin, right up to the ultimate experience of becoming a member of the Strathearn Distiller’s Club.
Dalwhinnie Distillery The highest distillery in Scotland. Located only a few miles outside the “Big County’s” boundaries, the Dalwhinnie 15 year old single malt scotch whisky is a gentle spirit, and a tour of the distillery has an original end with a taste of Single malt whisky paired with specially selected handmade chocolate.
Castle Menzies Situated near the highland town of Aberfeldy a fine example of a 16th century fortified tower house.
Blair Castle Home of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl. Unique amongst Scottish castles, Queen Victoria’s famous stay led to the creation of Europe’s only private army, the Atholl Highlanders.
Dunottar Castle – This ruined fortress located on top of the majestic cliffs of the east coast is a popular tourist stop with unforgettable views.
Edinburgh Castle – A visit to Scotland’s capital wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this fantastic castle. The large fortification looms over the city and there are spectacular views. The castle also provides a spectacular backdrop to the annual military tattoo.
Glamis Castle – Referenced in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Glamis Castle is a modern home with large grounds.
Scone Palace 19th century restoration of 16th century and earlier buildings. The crowning place of the Kings of Scotland and once home of the Stone of Destiny now housed in Edinburgh Castle.
Balvaird Castle – Castle ruins used in the filming of Macbeth.
Loch Leven Castle – Castle ruins where Mary, Queen of Scotswas imprisoned in 1567.
Elcho Castle is a handsome and complete 16th century fortified mansion with three projecting towers on the banks of the River Tay.
Huntingtower Castle has two fine and complete towers, built in the 15th and 16th centuries and joined by a range in the 17th century.
Stirling Castle – Once the political centre of Scotland, Stirling castle has seen its fair share of kings and queens as well as battles. You can also visit the Battle of Bannockburn Centre and Wallace Monument nearby and enjoy one of the most thrilling stories of Scottish history.
THE GARDENS AND WALKS
Early season snowdrops, followed by daffodils and bluebells, azaeleas and rhododendrons right through to the spectacular colours of autumn, each season brings something to enjoy. Check out the gardens open before you come on holiday.
Arduaine Garden – With a selection of plants from around the world, from East Asia and South America, this is a magical place to visit as you are transported to a world full of fantastic scents and colours.
Ben Lawers Perthshire’s highest mountain (3984ft) with views from the Atlantic to the North Sea.
Branklyn Garden – Wonderful two acres of garden in the country.
Bruar Falls – 3 miles to the west of Blair Atholl River Bruar cascades down through rocky chasms and over great gleaming slabs of granite (visited by Robert Burns).
Cluny House Gardens – Cluny House, Aberfeldy. Woodland garden with many specimen trees, shrubs and rhododendrons
Drummond Castle Gardens – One of the finest formal gardens in Europe. Created in the early 17th century.
Inveraray Castle Gardens – Situated in the grounds of the spectacular 18th Century castle and with broad lawns and a range of trees and flowers.
Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park – Woodland walks and views across Perth to the Tay and beyond.
Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh – A fantastic visitor attraction in Scotland’s capital.
The Hermitage at Dunkeld – Mixed conifer and deciduous woodlands with folly built in 1758. Lovely walks – near Dunkeld
The Pass of Killiecrankie and the Soldier’s Leap – Splended wooded gorge with the famous Soldier’s Leap – a 54ft jump made by one of Mackay’s soldiers to escape from the Highlanders
Scotland’s Garden Scheme – Each year some 350 Scottish gardens, most of them privately owned, open their gates to the public under the banner of Scotland’s Gardens Scheme. Founded in 1931, it is an independent charity and the money raised from garden visitors supports two main beneficiaries – the Queen’s Nursing Institute (Scotland) and the Gardens Fund of NTS.
The Black Watch Regimental Museum Housed in Balhousie Castle, Perth.
National Museum of Scotland – In Edinburgh, with exhibitions running throughout the year.
British Golf Museum – A 5* museum at the “Home of Golf” St. Andrews.
Fergusson Gallery Converted former waterworks (1832) containing the most extensive collection of J.D. Fergusson’s paintings.
Innerpeffray Library The oldest public lending library in Scotland, founded in 1690.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – Opened in 1901 this is now one of Scotland’s most popular free art galleries, with exhibitions of classical and contemporary art and a focus on being family friendly.
Perth Museum and Art Gallery Excellent display of Scottish glass and silver as well as paintings by Scottish colourists.
Robert Burns Birthplace Museum – Celebrating the legacy of Scotland’s favourite bard.
The Scottish Crannog Centre Travel back in time 2,500 years to see how crannog dwellers lived.
Scottish Maritime Museum – In the west of Scotland with a collection of historic ships, artefacts and shipbuilding equipment.
Scottish Tartan Museum Over 1300 tartans. Look up your name and discover which tartan you are eligible to wear.
Stanley Mills A high-tech interactive visitor experience at the spectacular 18-century water mill complex.
Aberdeen – Stroll along Union Street and enjoy all the Granite City has to offer.
Edinburgh – Princes Street offers a great high street shopping experience in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle and with the park providing a fantastic opportunity to rest. Just off the main street you can find several smaller independent shops.
Glasgow – A vibrant city that is packed with fun places to explore. Buchanan Street and the Princes Square Shopping Centre are a great start but there is a huge amount to discover in this city.
Perth – Outdoor shops and traditional crafts and the famous House of Bruar, known as the “Harrods of the North”.
Stirling – Visit the Thistle Centre for a selection of high street retailers or the Old Town Arcade.
Visit Scotland – A huge amount of information on things to do during your trip.
Scottish Explorer Ticket – Holders get unlimited entry to over 60 of Scotland’s top heritage visitor attractions including Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles. You can purchase a 3-day, 7-day or 14-day pass, or a family ticket.
The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) – Consider membership which will give you access to some of Scotland’s greatest country houses and fortified castles, along with many of the nation’s finest gardens, the battle sites of Bannockburn and Culloden with this excellent interpretative centres, and conservation sites such as Ben Lawers, Ben Lomond, Cairngorms and Glencoe.