Must-see attractions in Scotland

  • Museum of Lead Mining

    Dumfries & Galloway

    ‘Lead mining’: even the phrase has a sort of dulling effect on the brain, and you’d think it’d be a tough ask to make the subject interesting. But this…

  • Hermitage Castle

    Borders Region

    The 'guardhouse of the bloodiest valley in Britain', Hermitage Castle embodies the brutal history of the Scottish Borders. Desolate but proud with its…

  • Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

    Southern Scotland

    This impressive museum has collected a solid range of Burns memorabilia, including manuscripts and possessions of the poet, like the pistols he packed for…

  • Iona Abbey

    Oban, Mull & Tiree

    Iona's ancient but heavily reconstructed abbey is the spiritual heart of the island. The spectacular nave, dominated by Romanesque and early Gothic vaults…

  • Mount Stuart

    Southern Highlands & Islands

    The family seat of the Stuart Earls of Bute is one of Britain's more magnificent 19th-century stately homes, the first to have a telephone, underfloor…

  • Paxton House

    Borders Region

    Paxton House, 6 miles west of Berwick-upon-Tweed, is beside the River Tweed and surrounded by parkland and gardens. It was built in 1758 by Patrick Home…

  • National Museum of Scotland

    Old Town

    Elegant Chambers St is dominated by the long facade of the National Museum of Scotland. Its extensive collections are spread between two buildings: one…

  • Surgeons' Hall Museums

    Edinburgh

    Housed in a grand Ionic temple designed by William Playfair in 1832, these three fascinating museums were originally established as teaching collections…

  • Kinloch Castle

    Central Highlands

    When George Bullough, a dashing, Harrow-educated cavalry officer, inherited Rum along with half his father’s fortune in 1891, he became one of the…

  • Kilchurn Castle

    Southern Highlands & Islands

    At the northern end of Loch Awe are the scenic ruins of the strategically situated and much-photographed Kilchurn Castle. Built in 1440, it enjoys one of…

  • Hill House

    Loch Lomond & the Trossachs

    Built in 1902 for Glasgow publisher Walter Blackie, this is perhaps architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh's finest creation – its timeless elegance still…

  • Caerlaverock Castle

    Dumfries & Galloway

    The ruins of Caerlaverock Castle, by Glencaple on a beautiful stretch of the Solway coast, are among the loveliest in Britain. Surrounded by a moat, lawns…

  • Melrose Abbey

    Borders Region

    Perhaps the most interesting of the Border abbeys, red-sandstone Melrose was repeatedly destroyed by the English in the 14th century. The remaining broken…

  • Innerpeffray Library

    Lowland Perthshire & Kinross

    Scotland’s oldest lending library (founded in 1680) houses a huge collection of rare, interesting and ancient books, some of them 500 years old. If you…

  • Rothiemurchus Estate

    The Cairngorms

    The Rothiemurchus Estate, which extends from the River Spey at Aviemore to the Cairngorm summit plateau, is famous for having one of Scotland’s largest…

  • Dumfries House

    Southern Scotland

    A Palladian mansion designed in the 1750s by the Adam brothers, Dumfries House is an architectural jewel: such is its preservation that Prince Charles…

  • Dryburgh Abbey

    Borders Region

    This is the most beautiful and complete of the Border abbeys, partly because the neighbouring town of Dryburgh no longer exists (another victim of the…

  • Tomb of the Eagles

    Orkney

    Two significant archaeological sites were found here by a farmer on his land. The first is a Bronze Age stone building with a firepit, indoor well and…

  • St Magnus Cathedral

    Kirkwall

    Constructed from local red sandstone, Kirkwall's centrepiece, dating from the early 12th century, is among Scotland's most interesting cathedrals. The…

  • New Lanark Visitor Centre

    Southern Scotland

    The main attractions of this World Heritage mill town are accessed via a single ticket. These include a huge working spinning mule, producing woollen yarn…

  • Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre

    Glasgow

    This extraordinary mechanical theatre is located at the Trongate 103 arts centre. Russian sculptor and mechanic Eduard Bersudsky, now resident in Scotland…

  • Whithorn Timescape

    Dumfries & Galloway

    Ruined Whithorn Priory (Scotland's earliest recorded church) is part of this excellent complex, which introduces you to the history of the place with a…

  • Jacobite Steam Train

    Fort William

    The Jacobite Steam Train, hauled by a former LNER K1 or LMS Class 5MT locomotive, travels the scenic two-hour run between Fort William and Mallaig…

  • Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park

    Loch Lomond

    Two areas of great natural beauty, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, became the heart of Scotland's first national park, created in 2002. The park extends…

  • Mull of Galloway

    Dumfries & Galloway

    Scotland's southernmost point is a spectacular spot, with windswept green grass and views of Scotland, England, the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland. The…

  • Jedburgh Abbey

    Borders Region

    Dominating the town skyline, this was the first of the great Border abbeys to be passed into state care, and it shows – audio and visual presentations…

  • Oronsay Priory

    Southern Highlands & Islands

    If the tide is right, don't miss walking across the half-mile of cockleshell-strewn sand linking Colonsay to smaller Oronsay. Here you can explore the…

  • Midhowe Cairn & Broch

    Orkney

    Six miles from the ferry on Rousay, mighty Midhowe Cairn has been dubbed the 'Great Ship of Death'. Built around 3500 BC and enormous, it's divided into…

  • Bonawe Iron Furnace

    Southern Highlands & Islands

    Bonawe Iron Furnace is one of the region’s most unusual historical sights. Near Taynuilt (not Bonawe), and dating from 1753, it was built by an iron…

  • Knap of Howar

    Orkney

    By the seashore, this sturdy stone-built farmhouse and storeroom are solidly built testimony to crofting life on Papa Westray island…5500 years ago. An…

  • Ruthwell Cross

    Dumfries & Galloway

    Seven miles east of Caerlaverock Castle, in tiny Ruthwell, a church holds one of Europe’s most important early Christian monuments. The 6m-high 7th…

  • Highland Park Distillery

    Kirkwall

    This distillery, South of Kirkwall's centre, is great to visit. Despite a dodgy Viking rebrand, it's a serious distillery that malts its own barley; see…

  • Northwest Highlands Geopark

    North & West Coast

    As you head south from Durness, heather gradually gives way to a rockier landscape of Lewisian gneiss pockmarked with hundreds of small lochans. This is…

  • Glasgow Necropolis

    Glasgow

    Behind Glasgow Cathedral, this sizeable 19th-century necropolis stretches picturesquely up and over a green hill. The elaborate Victorian tombs of the…

  • Duff House

    Moray

    One of Scotland's underappreciated treasures, Duff House is home to an art gallery with a superb collection of Scottish and European art, including…

  • Kelpies

    Central Scotland

    The Kelpies, the stunning equine statues gracing the eastern entrance to the Forth & Clyde Canal, are named after mythical Scottish water-horses. The two…

  • Stromness Museum

    Orkney

    This superb museum, run with great passion, is full of knick-knacks from maritime and natural-history exhibitions covering whaling, the Hudson's Bay…

  • Bruichladdich

    Islay

    A couple of miles from Port Charlotte, Bruichladdich (brook-lad-dy) is an infectiously fun distillery to visit and produces a mind-boggling range of…

  • Sandwood Bay

    North & West Coast

    South of Cape Wrath, Sandwood Bay boasts one of Scotland’s best and most isolated beaches, guarded at one end by the spectacular rock pinnacle Am…

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