Scotland should be high on your list of fantastic locations to visit in the UK if you’re searching for a wonderful holiday or weekend trip packed of historical attractions, endless amazing cultural experiences, and other interesting things to do. Part of the attraction is that, being a tiny nation with a population of just over five million people, Scotland offers a wealth of wonderful sightseeing possibilities and intriguing sites to visit.
Edinburgh, the country’s capital, is the place to go if you’re looking for world-class cultural events and the best spa hotel Scotland. Glasgow, too, is a must-see, with some of the best museums and art galleries in the country. Smaller Scottish cities in the north, such as Aberdeen and Inverness, have their own charms and provide excellent homes for exploring the magnificent Scottish Highlands and beautiful natural.
Use our list of the greatest places to visit in Scotland to help you decide where to go.
1. The city of Edinburgh
If you only have time to see one Scottish city, make it Edinburgh. The country’s capital has well-preserved architecture from a variety of eras, from medieval times (Edinburgh Castle and the wonderful shop-lined Royal Mile) to the more modern New Town district, much of which was erected in the 18th century and houses some of best spa hotel Scotland.
Wandering around the numerous exquisite Georgian townhouses and taking in the Grassmarket is a highlight of this younger area of the historic city. Shops, galleries, and cafés abound in this pleasant pedestrian-friendly public area.
Edinburgh is also a major cultural hub, holding a variety of notable events and festivals throughout the year. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, one of the world’s major cultural events, draws massive crowds, as do the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, both staged in the castle grounds.
2. Glasgow Cathedral (Glasgow)
Glasgow, on Scotland’s west coast, is situated on the River Clyde and has remade itself as a major European cultural hub in recent decades. Its numerous superb museums, art galleries, and events now draw visitors all year. Because of its many gorgeous parks and pedestrian-friendly streets, Glasgow is an excellent city to see on foot, especially if you include the famed Glasgow School of Art.
After visiting the city center, make your way to the Riverside Museum and the shoreline. This outstanding contemporary facility, one among the best free things to do in Glasgow, concentrates on the city’s transportation heritage with its enormous collections of historic steam engines, trams, buses, carriages, vehicles, and maritime vessels. There’s even a replica of a 1930s storefront and house.
3. Highlands of Scotland
Few tourism places have captivated the public’s imagination as much as Scotland’s stunning Highlands. This area of outstanding natural beauty, which stretches from the attractive garden city of Inverness on the country’s rugged east coast all the way to John O’Groats in the north, is where you’ll find some of the most romantic scenery anywhere – it’s been the setting for hit movies and TV shows, including the hugely popular Outlander series.
Begin your journey across the Scottish Highlands at Inverness, then on to Loch Ness. Scotland’s most renowned lake, known for its monster and the stunning remnants of Urquhart Castle, is part of Glen More, a geological fault line delineated by the Caledonian Canal. You may easily spend a few hours (or days) touring by boat along the canal, which is one of the country’s most magnificent achievements of engineering.
4. The town of St. Andrews
St. Andrews is well-known as one of the best golf destinations in the world. Golfers from all over the globe go to St. Andrews to play the seven traditional links courses, drawn by the grandeur of playing the world’s oldest golf course, the par-72 Old Course, and the chance to tee off where so many golf superstars have done so before them. It’s also one of the most dramatic courses, with beautiful scenery that includes a length of rough coastline and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club’s lovely old Clubhouse. It is the world’s oldest golf club, founded in 1754, and due to its renown as a golf paradise, you should book your tee time at least six months in advance to prevent disappointment.
St. Andrews is also well-known for being a university town. Spend some time looking around the University of St. Andrews’ many beautiful historic buildings.
One of the best free things to do in St. Andrews is just walk about the university grounds, enjoying the well-preserved medieval buildings, and if time allows, visit the institution’s natural history museum and art galleries. St. Andrews Castle’s remains and the town’s medieval cathedral are also worth visiting.
Aberdeen, a charming North Sea port city, is definitely worth a visit if you’re planning a trip to Scotland. Aberdeen, like many of the country’s best metropolitan locations, is a wonderful spot to walk about and explore. If you put on your walking shoes, you’ll be able to see the city’s many outstanding examples of ancient, well-preserved architecture as well as spend time in its many peaceful parks and gardens.
St. Machar’s Cathedral is a highlight of a self-guided walking tour. It was built in the 1300s and is one of Scotland’s best-preserved examples of medieval architecture. There are also numerous magnificent examples of historic residences and merchant buildings fashioned of the peculiar native granite that gleams in the sunlight, earning the town the endearing nickname “Silver City.”