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Things to do in Scotland

Things to do in  Scotland

Welcome to Scotland

Scotland boasts centuries of colorful history, UNESCO World Heritage–listed treasures, and a rich culture. With lively cities sprinkled among unspoiled landscapes of beaches, lochs, peaks, and valleys, Scotland has plenty to offer visitors of all ages and interests. The capital city, Edinburgh, is an ancient settlement where efficient hop-on hop-off bus tours shuttle travelers to landmarks like mighty Edinburgh Castle, the creepy Edinburgh Dungeon, and the famous Royal Mile; travelers can also witness the pomp and ceremony of the annual Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Other cities such as Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness, and Stirling all offer experiences filled with history, culture, and natural beauty. Travel by road or rail into the Scottish Highlands to experience the magic of Loch Ness or Loch Lomond, or follow hiking trails through the wilderness of Glencoe. History lovers can explore Alnwick Castle and Stirling Castle—constructed to protect Scotland against attack—and Hadrian's Wall, where the country's Roman past comes to life. To experience the best of coastal Scotland, take a multi-day tour out to the Isle of Skye or the remote Orkney Islands, where dramatic skyscapes and wild pastures await. And if you're thirsting to sample some of the world's finest Scotch whiskies, make sure to visit a traditional distillery such as Bowmore or Laphroaig on an Isle of Islay tour.

Top 10 attractions in Scotland

#1
Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

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Edinburgh Castle—with its fortress walls, cobbled promenades, and winding stone steps—has loomed over Scotland’s capital city for more than 1,000 years. Steeped in history, the former royal residence is now a museum, featuring detailed exhibits; period artifacts, such as the Scottish Crown Jewels; and dark dungeons that illuminate the castle’s storied past.More
#2
Royal Mile

Royal Mile

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The atmospheric Royal Mile thoroughfare cuts through the historic core of Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, extending for slightly more than a mile from Edinburgh Castle all the way to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Both sides of the partly pedestrianized street are bordered by historic granite buildings bearing shop display windows piled high with symbols of Scotland, from tartan to whisky to shortbread. In between the former tenements and taverns are darkened arm-width-wide alleyways, known locally as closes.More
#3
Grassmarket

Grassmarket

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Steeped in history, the Grassmarket is located directly below Edinburgh Castle and is just a minute’s walk from the famous Royal Mile and the National Museum of Scotland. A vibrant and historic area, here visitors can soak up the medieval atmosphere while marvelling at one of the most iconic views in the city, the mighty Edinburgh Castle.A stroll over the George IV Bridge leads to the Greyfriars Bobby statue and through some of Edinburgh’s oldest and most famous streets, including Candlemaker Row, Victoria Street, and West Port.The Grassmarket was traditionally a meeting point for market traders and cattle drovers, with temporary lodgings and taverns all around. It was also once a place of public execution, and a memorial near the site once occupied by the gibbet was created in 1937 to commemorate more than 100 people who died on the gallows in a period known as The Killing Time.Nowadays, the old market area is surrounded by pubs, clubs, shops, and two large hotels. Most buildings in the area are Victorian, with several modern buildings on the area’s south side.More
#4
Edinburgh Old Town

Edinburgh Old Town

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The historic heart of Edinburgh, UNESCO-listed Old Town, is home to the city’s most visited sights. Its central artery is the Royal Mile, which connects Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and is lined with top attractions including St. Giles Cathedral, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, and the Scottish Parliament Building.More
#5
Loch Ness

Loch Ness

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While visitors flock to Loch Ness hoping to catch a glimpse of its elusive and eponymous monster, Loch Ness—a lake in the Scottish Highlands—is worth the trip even if you don’t believe the rumors. Vast and surrounded by magnificent Scottish scenery, Loch Ness is a popular boating and sightseeing spot.More
#6
Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus

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A village on the shores of Loch Ness, Fort Augustus is a popular destination in the Scottish Highlands. Once a garrison in the 18th century, the scenic village today attracts cyclists, hikers, and travelers in search of the Loch Ness monster. It’s also a gateway to the Great Glen Way, a 73-mile trail that runs from Inverness to Fort William.More
#7
George Square

George Square

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Dwarfed by haughty buildings on all sides and surrounded by statues of great Scots, George Square makes sense of poet John Betjeman’s claim that Glasgow is “the greatest Victorian city in the world.”Named after King George III and built in 1781, George Square began life as little more than a muddy hollow used for slaughtering horses. Today, it’s surrounded by some of grandest buildings in the city, not least the imposing Glasgow City Chambers on the east side.To Glaswegians, George Square is the city’s cultural center. Hosting concerts and events throughout the year, it comes alive during winter, when children skate around the ice rink and parents enjoy mulled wine at the Christmas market. In summer, George Square is a good place to find a bench and watch the world go by.George Square leads to Glasgow’s famous shopping streets in the Style Mile, as well as the ritzy Merchant City district. Glasgow’s main tourist information office sits on the south side, and sightseeing buses begin their journeys here, making this a handy place to get oriented with the city.More
#8
Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

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Perched above the city of Stirling on a chunk of volcanic rock, this mighty Scottish fortress has seen it all, from attacks by Robert the Bruce to the coronation of the infant Mary Queen of Scots to the premiere of the movie “Braveheart” in 1993. In addition to the impeccably recreated Royal Palace interiors and the sheer amount of history held within its robust walls, the castle also offers superb views over Stirling and Scotland’s green hills and valleys.More
#9
Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral

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Dating back to medieval times, Glasgow Cathedral is the only medieval cathedral on Scotland’s mainland to have survived the Reformation almost fully intact. A magnificent Gothic construction, it features stained-glass windows, a 15th-century stone choir screen, and the tomb of St. Mungo, Glasgow’s patron saint.More
#10
Forth Bridge

Forth Bridge

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The iconic Forth Bridge is a cantilever railway bridge that arches over the Firth of Forth in Scotland. Situated 14 kilometers from Edinburgh’s city center, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was designed by English engineers, John Fowler and Benjamin Baker. The bridge and its associated railway infrastructure is owned by Network Rail.The distinctive red bridge, which links the villages of South Queensferry and North Queensferry, was opened by the Prince of Wales in March 1890, although was only classified as a UNESCO site on its 125th anniversary in 2015. The bridge spans a total length of almost 2500 meters and is an iconic symbol of Scotland’s engineering and architectural prowess and ingenuity. It also transports approximately 200 local and intercity trains across the Forth every single day.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Scotland

The World Famous Underground Ghost Tour
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Ghost Bus Tour of Edinburgh

Ghost Bus Tour of Edinburgh

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1266
From
$27.12
Edinburgh Afternoon Tea Experience
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Private Central Highlands Driving Tour

Private Central Highlands Driving Tour

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$703.76
per group
The Chocolatarium Chocolate Tour Experience
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Rosslyn Chapel and Hadrian's Wall Small Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
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Fright Night Tour

Fright Night Tour

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$22.00

Recent reviews from experiences in Scotland

star-5
Fun and beautiful
Danielle_G, Jul 2021
Oban, Glencoe, Highlands Lochs & Castles Small Group Day Tour from Glasgow
You have to see it in person.
star-5
Get out into nature
Ahuv_d, Jul 2021
Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Highlands Day Trip from Glasgow
Having seen the highlights made me fall in love with Scotland!
star-5
Magnificent
Karol_J, Jun 2021
Glenfinnan Viaduct, Mallaig & Glencoe tour from Glasgow
Great drive through Scottish Highlands, Glencoe was magnificent, then a stop at the wonderful beaches near Mallaig which I never expected to see anything like that in Scotland, a lunch break in Mallaig where we could enjoy the coastline and the famous Hogwarts Express and the final stop was at the Glengfinnan Viaduct where we could enjoy the magnificent view and we could experience the Hogwarts Express crossing the viaduct as it can be seen in Harry Potter movie.
star-5
Wonderful tour
David_Y, Aug 2020
Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
When you like to see more of Scotland besides Edinburgh, I would highly recommend to book this tour.
star-5
Roslyn Chapel/Hadrian’s wall
thomas_s, Mar 2020
Rosslyn Chapel and Hadrian's Wall Small Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
We stopped at Melrose for lunch was just right as it gave us time to visit the Abby.
star-5
Had a blast!
mdierker824, Jan 2020
Private Central Highlands Driving Tour
I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone wanting to see the Highlands, castles and history of Scotland in your own private van.
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Nice drive around the city
Jiselle_W, Jan 2020
City Sightseeing Glasgow Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Given Jan 2nd is a banking holiday in Scotland which I did not know when booking this tour, all the attractions were closed but it was nice to see where everything was and listen to the commentary on Glasgow's significant locations, I was even able to use the bus as a transfer between my hotel and the train station :)
star-5
Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
Karenanne3280, Nov 2019
Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
It was a great way to see Scotland when I had limited time.
star-5
Excellent day, wonderful guide
Julie_L, Oct 2019
Stirling Castle and Whisky Small Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
It was a perfect way to see many things and learn a little about Scotland.
star-4
Nice experience
NICK_A, Oct 2019
Oban, Glencoe & West Highland Castles from Glasgow
We had the chance to see the beautiful landscapes of Scotland and learn a few things about it's history.
star-5
St Andrews & Fife
Diana_R, Sep 2019
St Andrews & the Fishing Villages of Fife Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
Enjoyed the entire tour and would recommend it for anyone wanting to see Scotland outside of Edinburgh.
star-5
Great tour!
Passport761861, Sep 2019
Oban, Glencoe, Highlands Lochs & Castles Small Group Day Tour from Glasgow
I was only in Scotland for a couple of days, so I took this tour to see some of the sights outside of Glasgow.
star-5
Desmond was a good tour guide
JemimahM_W, Aug 2019
Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Private Day Tour from Edinburgh
This trip is good for those who want to see the highlands and the lake without overdoing it.
star-5
Great trip
dpicard2018, Aug 2019
Rosslyn Chapel, Dunfermline Abbey and Stirling Castle Day Tour from Edinburgh
It was very interesting to see the battle place and learn about Robert the Bruce.
star-5
Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle
BryanF673, Jul 2019
Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle and the Kelpies from Edinburgh
Stirling Castle could have used a little more time for touring, but still great to visit.
star-5
Amazing castles
Rodrigo_F, Jul 2019
Scottish castles tour - private tour of four ancient castles
Totally worth it, we would love to visit again!
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Taste of Scotland in one action-filled day
Abigail_S, Jul 2019
Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands, Glencoe and Ben Nevis from Edinburgh
We were able to see the beauty of Scotland's Highlands, enjoy a cruise across the gorgeous Loch Ness, feed carrots to hairy coos, and stop for both much-needed bathroom breaks and photo spots!
star-4
Awesome Scotland Intro
Samone M, Jul 2019
Isle of Skye Day Trip from Inverness
Appreciated all of the lush lamdscapes and time taken off the bus by our guide to see areas.
star-5
Perfect trip
Beata_P, Jun 2019
5-Day Highland Explorer and Isle of Skye Small-Group Tour from Edinburgh
The agenda was packed with exactly what I wanted - great scenery, castles, local attractions, great food and and wonderful stories and tales about Scotland provided by Aaron from Rabbies - the best, most knowledgeable, funniest guide/driver ever!!!
star-5
Beautiful tour through the highlands
Wander20113578982, Jun 2019
West Highland Lochs, Mountains & Castles from Edinburgh
If you want to see Scotland as people live it,, then this is a terrific tour for you.
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