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  • There’s no dearth of things to do in Scotland – a land where natural landscapes steal the show and where medieval castles are so common that they’re spread across the country. Scotland’s beauty is famed the world over. The rolling hills, miles of green and rugged mountains are every outdoor lover’s dream. You could hike every day here and never get bored. 

    Old buildings, some in ruins, create an air of mystery and history that will leave you yearning to go back again and again. You’ll instantly be caught up in the fairytale-like atmosphere and forget there’s a world to get back to.

    Yet, it’s not just mountains, glens and castles. Scotland has a lively contemporary culture that perfectly balances its reputation as a land of wild beauty. Pubs and cafes are found in every corner where you can dine on fine world cuisine and traditional food (read, haggis). Its museums and galleries house extensive collections of art, artefacts and even the remains of Dolly the Sheep. You get a real sense of time in these places and feel closer to the Scottish fabric of society.

    Make your next holiday all about Scotland and plan a visit to this land of plenty. Since there’s so much to take in here, we’ve created a list of activities to fill your itinerary. Tick them off as you travel to each place one at a time.

    Here is the list of things to do in Scotland: 

  • 01Things to Do in Edinburgh

    Things to Do in Edinburgh
    Image Credit : hotairballoonflights.co.uk
    1. Visit Edinburgh Castle - The imposing fortress of Edinburgh Castle is one of the most visited attractions in the country. While here, you can learn about the castle’s history, buy souvenirs from the gift shop and have a snack at the tea rooms.

    2. Visit Museum of Scotland - Find out the history and culture of this part of the world at the Museum of Scotland. Explore the natural world galleries and those of art, fashion and design.

    3. Visit Arthur's Seat - Hike up Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano, where you can enjoy terrific views of the city. It’s located in Holyrood Park and is the highest point in the area.

    4. Eat haggis at Balmoral Hotel - You can’t visit Scotland without sampling a little haggis. Try it at the luxury Balmoral Hotel where you can also taste other Scottish favourites.

    5. Camera Obscura and World of Illusions - Enter a world where illusions seem like reality. Camera Obscura and World of Illusions will keep you entertained for hours.

    6. Visit HMY Britannia - See Queen Elizabeth II’s royal yacht, the HMY Britannia, and imagine what life was like aboard the striking vessel. Visit the gift shop for exclusive souvenirs.

    7. Hot air ballooning at Midlothian -See Scotland from above by hot air ballooning over it. The picturesque countryside and spectacular landscapes will take your breath away.

    8. Shopping on Victoria Street - Rumor has it that the famed Diagon Alley from Harry Potter is based on Victoria Street. That alone should be the reason to visit! There’s a mix of shops ranging from bookstores to clothing stores.

    9. Scotch Whisky Experience - Another Scottish favourite that you don’t want to miss is the Scotch Whisky Experience where you can sample the best of the best. It boasts a collection of over 3,000 bottles of Scotch!
     
    10. Have tea at Colonnades - Afternoon tea will never feel more special than at Colonnades. Tickle your taste buds with savouries and pastries as you sip fine tea.

    11. Enjoy Edinburgh's Hogmanay - Travel to Scotland at the end of the year and you can celebrate the New Year like the Scottish. Hogmanay is held from December 30th to January 1st with marchers carrying torches and fireworks creating a magical display of light and colour.

    12. Experience a gig at the Queen's Hall - Enjoy folk, jazz and world music at Queen’s Hall, which hosts a couple of hundred shows a year. Renowned musicians like Mumford & Sons and Ravi Shankar have played here.

    13. Film at The Cameo - Catch a film at The Cameo, which offers a mix of movies to cater to all audiences. It also has an outdoor cinema that’s open from December to March.

    14. Visit Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station - Historic Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station is almost 200 years old and is an economic backbone of the country. There are shops nearby where you can pick up stationery and snacks.

    15. Sip a cocktail at Bramble - Bramble ranks at the top of the most popular bars in Edinburgh and savouring a cocktail here is one of the best things to do in Scotland. Try the Bramble, Queen St. Boulevard and Mint 500.

    16. Visit Potter Trail - Whether you’re a Potter fan or not, Potter Trail is an exciting place with a lot to see around. Find out where Voldemort was buried and in which cafe Rowling wrote her first book.

    17. Helicopter tour of Edinburgh - Take a tour of the capital by flying over it in a helicopter. Soar over Forth Bridge, Ochil Hills and the Scottish Parliament Building.

    18. Haunted Edinburgh tour - Go on a tour on the spooky side of Edinburgh. Narrow streets heavy with gruesome history and tales to send a shiver down your spine! Choose from several ghost tours to get your fix of the macabre.

    19. Visit Calton Hill - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Calton Hill is home to landmarks such as the Nelson Monument and the National Monument. It has great views of Edinburgh and attractions like parks, gardens and art galleries.

    20. Deep Sea World - Scotland’s National Aquarium - See the majesty of underwater life at Deep Sea World. Explore UK’s longest underwater tunnel, get close to sharks and go on a Behind the Scenes tour.

    21. Visit Forth Rail Bridge - This iconic cantilever structure is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you definitely need to see it. The distinctive design is a symbol of creativity in bridge design.

    22. Visit Scottish National Gallery - The best of fine art finds its home at the Scottish National Gallery. See renowned artworks by Paris Bordone, Titian, Monet and Velazquez.

    23. Go-karting in Edinburgh - Race your way to the finish line by go-karting in the country’s capital! It’s a thrill that both kids and adults will enjoy.
  • 02Things to Do in Glasgow

    Things to Do in Glasgow
    Image Credit : bungeejumpscotland.co.uk
    24. Visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum - One of the top things to do in Scotland (Glasgow) is to visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It’s one of the most popular in the city and showcases a wealth of items from Ancient Egypt to art to animals.

    25. Visit Gallery of Modern Art - If you have a taste for modern art, the Gallery of Modern Art is the place to see it. The neoclassical building it’s housed in is a sight to behold in itself.

    26. Highland Fling Urban Bungee - Enjoy the thrill of bungee action at Highland Fling Urban. You’ll jump off Titan Clydebank, which is the jump location in Glasgow.

    27. Visit Glasgow Cathedral - The towering Glasgow Cathedral is a stunning example of Scottish Gothic architecture. Go on a guided tour of the magnificent landmark to really appreciate it.

    28. Enjoy at Air Space Trampoline Park - The ultimate thrill awaits at the Air Space Trampoline Park. Not only does it boast a performance trampoline but it also has a huge free jumping area, dodgeball and basketball courts, and a performance wall.

    29. Visit Glasgow Necropolis - Walk through beautiful Glasgow Necropolis and feel the weight of ages past at this Victorian cemetery. Listen to fascinating stories of those buried here and admire the architecture.

    30. Visit People's Palace, Glasgow - People's Palace is a wonderful place that showcases the lifestyle and culture of Glaswegians. The idyllic Winter Gardens are the perfect spot to slow down and relax.

    31. Shopping on Buchanan Street - One of the best things to do in Scotland is to shop on Buchanan Street. You’ll find high street stores, high-end shops, jewellers, boutiques and eateries.

    32. Surf at Partick - If you love water places, go surfing in Partick. There are sports shops in the area where you can buy surfing equipment.

    33. Grosvenor Riverboat Casino - Try your luck at slots and roulette or show off your skills at poker and blackjack at Grosvenor Riverboat Casino. It’s located on Broomielaw and is easily accessible.

    34. Eat at Black Sheep Bistro - Hearty fare prepared with love is what you’re treated to at Black Sheep Bistro. The family-owned restaurant serves delicious items like haggis, ribeye steak and homemade desserts.

    35. Visit the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - Scotland’s leading conservatoire of music, drama and film offer visitors a look at how it shapes future artists. Feel the energy here as you go behind the scenes.

    36. Enjoy eating at Tiffney’s Steakhouse - Few places make succulent steaks like Tiffney’s Steakhouse. You can finish your meal with desserts like mulled wine, poached pear and carrot cake.
  • 03Things to Do in Aberdeen

    Things to Do in Aberdeen
    Image Credit : aceadventures.co.uk
    37. Visit Balmoral Castle - The sprawling estate house of Balmoral Castle is a must-visit with its Scottish baronial architecture and landscaped gardens. There are cottages for rent too.

    38. Drink at GlenDronach Distillery - Signature whiskies from more than 200 years - GlenDronach Distillery sets the bar way up high for whisky lovers. It’s been making single malts for 200 years. Book a guided tour and visit the gift shop.

    39. Visit Craigievar Castle - The distinctive pink Craigievar Castle is set among the green hills of the Grampian Mountains. The fairytale-like structure contains artefacts, art, weapons and armour. It also has cottages for rent.

    40. Eat local seafood at Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant - Savor fresh local seafood at Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant. Its innovative menu features delicious items like whole roasted sea bass, Loch Fyne oysters and local squid among many other equally terrific choices.

    41. Visit St. Machar's Cathedral - St. Machar’s Cathedral is a wonderful place to visit with its heraldic ceiling and impressive stonework. Learn about the history of the church and visit the graveyard.

    42. Whitewater rafting at Relugas - Go for whitewater rafting during your visit to Aberdeen. The River Findhorn will put your skills to the test with its grade 4 rapids.

    43. Visit Aberdeen Art Gallery - Founded in the 19th century, Aberdeen Art Gallery showcases Scottish and international art. Paintings, sculptures and contemporary metal works are a few examples.

    44. Hot air ballooning at Sauchen - There something about seeing the Earth from above that’s so memorable. At Sauchen, you can do just that by hot air ballooning over the picturesque Aberdeenshire countryside.

    45. Visit King's Museum - King’s Museum, situated in the University of Aberdeen’s Old Aberdeen campus is a great place to visit with its permanent display of zoological specimens. Some of the collections date back to the 17th century.

    46. Explore The University and King’s College of Aberdeen - The University and King’s College of Aberdeen is stunning in its beauty. King’s College Chapel with its distinctive Crown Tower is not to be missed.

    47. Visit Aberdeen Maritime Museum - Learn about Aberdeen’s rich maritime history at the Aberdeen Maritime Museum. It showcases this through collections revolving around shipbuilding, port history and fishing.

    48. Explore Pitfour Observatory, Aberdeenshire - Pitfour Observatory was built by Admiral Sir George Ferguson to watch horse racing. Today, it offers visitors panoramic views of the surroundings and landmarks.

    49. Visit Dunnottar Castle - Explore the ruins of Dunnottar Castle, a medieval fortress known for its strategic position. The Scottish crown jewels were hidden here in the 17th century to keep them from Oliver Cromwell’s invading army.
  • 04Things to Do in Highlands

    Things to Do in Highlands
    Image Credit : scottishcanals.co.uk
    50. Inverness Kart Raceway - Compete with your mates at Inverness Kart Raceway as you speed towards the finish line on zippy go-karts. Kids can get in on the fun too.

    51. Canoeing in Inverness - Explore the Highlands in more depth and get an adrenaline rush at the same time by canoeing in Inverness. It’s one of the best things to do in Scotland as you get to appreciate the stunning Scottish landscape up close.

    52. Hike Ben Nevis Mountain - Ben Nevis is not just the highest mountain in the British Isles but its summit is actually a collapsed dome of a volcano. As you hike to the top, you’ll be greeted with the remains of an observatory.

    53. Visit Urquhart Castle - One of the most romantic sites you’ll ever see, Urquhart Castle is located along Loch Ness and offers the best views of the loch. Explore a prison cell and roam the grounds to imagine what life was like here in the past.

    54. Visit Dunrobin Castle - Dunrobin Castle is a spectacular structure that’s home to the Earl of Sutherland. Tour the castle and the many rooms within and visit the museum that displays archaeological relics and ethnographic items.

    55. Dolphin watching at Chanonry Point - Witness bottlenose dolphins in all their glory at Chanonry Point, you can see them at any time of the year here. However, they make their presence felt more in summer.

    56. Watch Falls of Foyers - Falls of Foyers is a beautiful waterfall set in a gorge. It feeds Loch Ness, which you can visit during your time here.

    57. Visit Inverness Cathedral - Inverness Cathedral with its characteristic red facade is a must-visit in the Highlands. The tranquil surroundings are a wonderful escape and are perfect for quiet reflection.

    58. Watch Plodda Falls - Incredibly dramatic and idyllic, Plodda Falls is not just about the waterfall but the surrounding trees. Together, they create a magical spot fit that’s right out of a storybook.

    59. Sailing at Caledonian Canal - Gota Canal’s (Sweden) sister canal, the Caledonian Canal, offers visitors picture-perfect views of the Great Glen. Sail along it and take in the beauty of the Highlands.

    60. Visit Inverness Castle - It’s not open to the public but that doesn’t mean you can’t see it. Inverness Castle stands tall and proud right near River Ness, creating a lovely picture you’ll want to capture.

    61. Visit Glen Coe - Glen Coe is so scenic it seems from another world! The River Glen running through it only serves to magnify this. A guided walk or a hike is the best way to see it in all its beauty.

    62. Enjoy at Loch Ness - No Scotland holiday is complete without a visit to Loch Ness, the famed home of Nessie. Take a cruise or go on a hike to immerse yourself in it.
  • 05Things to Do in Dundee

    Things to Do in Dundee
    Image Credit : tankdrivingscotland.com
    63. Action Glen - Scotland's Premier Adventure Centre - The Scottish outdoors is the best place to spend your time in the country. If you’re in Dundee, Action Glen is where you should be. Watersports, shooting, archery and aerial adventures await.

    64. Highland Fling Bungee, Killiecrankie Visitor Centre - If you missed bungee jumping in Glasgow, try it in Dundee at Highland Fling Bungee. Garry Bridge is the jump point where a special platform has been constructed.
     
    65. Kayaking in River Tay - Scotland’s longest river, River Tay, is one place you can’t miss visiting. As you kayak, keep an eye out for fishermen eager to catch Atlantic salmon.

    66. Canyoning in Dundee - Get yourself close to nature by canyoning in Dundee. Jump, abseil and navigate your way through the region's canyons.

    67.  Virgin Balloon Flights - Perth - Fly over Perth with Virgin Balloon Flights. The ride lasts for up to 4 hours and you get a certificate of completion that you can proudly show off back home.

    68. Quad Ride Experience in Dunkeld - Explore the charming village of Dunkeld by quad riding through it. You’ll ride up steep hillsides, woodland paths and wide open tracks.

    69. Tank driving in Dundee - Is there anything cooler than commandeering a tank? We don’t think so! Feel like a boss by driving an actual army tank that’s seen real action.

    70. Boat rides at Tay River - Head back to the River Tay, this time in Dundee, and take in priceless views of your surroundings. You can opt for short tours of less than 30 minutes or choose hour-long tours.

    71. Whitewater rafting in Tay River - Go for white water rafting on a 6-mile stretch of the Tay River. The rapids range from grade 1 to 5 so you can choose according to your skill.

    72. Watch Tay Rail Bridge - See the historic Tay Rail Bridge, which replaced the first that collapsed soon after being opened. It’s 3 km long and crosses the estuary of the Tay River.

    73. Visit Broughty Castle - This 15th-century castle has seen a lot of action through the ages. It witnessed two wars before being acquired by the War Council and later opened as a museum in 1969.

    74. Watch McManus Galleries - McManus Galleries is a gorgeous Gothic Revival-style building that’s home to a museum and an art gallery. Learn about Dundee’s history and see artworks by renowned artists.

    75. Visit RRS Discovery - The RRS Discovery takes you on a journey to the past to a successful Antarctic expedition. The 3-masted ship showcases the lives of the people who travelled there through intriguing artefacts.
  • 06Other Things to Do in Scotland

    Other Things to Do in Scotland
    Image Credit : visitscotland.com
    76. Jacobite Steam Train from Glenfinnan Viaduct - Steam trains have become a thing of the past but in Glenfinnan, there’s one that, that takes you through Scotland’s impressive scenery and the Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous by the Harry Potter films.

    77. Boat rides on West Coast - Explore the west of Scotland by boat and take in scenic locations such as Treshnish Isles and Isle of Mull. Spend the night at the Isle of Iona or Oban and experience Scottish hospitality.

    78. Wear a kilt - It may sound clichéd but you definitely should consider wearing a kilt! Keep in mind that most Scotsmen today wear kilts as part of formal ceremonies although a few wear it daily.

    79. Bag a Munro - Famous hiking - Avid trekkers and outdoor lovers should make scaling Munros their goal while in Scotland. The group of mountains with 282 peaks offers plenty of opportunities for climbing.

    80. Isle of Skye - Swim in Fairy Pools - Medieval castles and villages dot the landscape of the Isle of Skye and if you head towards the base of Black Cuillin, you’ll come across mesmerizing Fairy Pools. The shimmery waters look like something out of a fairytale.

    81. Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park - Loch Lomond is a national park that includes hills and The Trossachs. There’s a lot to do here including kayaking, canoeing and windsurfing.

    82. Visit Fingal's Cave - Fingal's Cave is a stunning sea cave on Staffa Island. It’s entirely formed from hexagonally jointed basalt. The 227-foot cavern is known for its natural acoustics.

    83. Watching puffins in Scotland - Cute puffins make their home in the coast of Scotland. You can see them at The Shetland Islands, Hermaness Nature Reserve and the Firth of North.

    84. Visit Orkney Island - Orkney Island has plenty of sights to see to keep you entertained. Stromness with its old stone town, Kirkwall with its rich culture and the West Mainland with the famed UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Heart of Neolithic Orkney, are just a few gems to visit.

    85. The Devil's Pulpit in Finnich Glen - When you’re in Loch Lomond, make time to visit the Devil’s Pulpit in Finnich Glen. The 100-foot gorge and the distinct red river that flows through creating an otherworldly setting for adventure.

    86. Visit Adventure Golf Island - Adventure Golf Island offers golf with a big twist. You’ll play amidst fountains, waterfalls and even a pirate ship!
     
    87. Cruise the Crinan Canal - Miles of gorgeous scenery consisting of charming houses, well-kept lawns and lush green trees will take your breath away as you cruise the Crinan Canal.

    88. Visit The Elephant House - If you’re a Harry Potter fan, visiting The Elephant House is one of the best things to do in Scotland. This is where JK Rowling penned her famous novels over mugs of coffee.

    89. Drive on North Coast 500 - Feel the wind in your hair and appreciate the beauty of the Scottish coastline by driving on North Coast 500. It starts from Inverness and moves through Ullapool, Caithness and John o’ Groats.

    90. Stay in Pineapple House - A house topped by a pineapple – it really does exist! Pineapple House is a bizarre structure built by the Earl of Dunmore. It features a carved stone pineapple that forms a cupola.

    91. Callanish Stones, Hebrides - Standing stones dating back to the Neolithic era invite you to take a step back in time. The Callanish Stones consist of a centre stone, stone circle, rows of stones and a chambered tomb.

    92. Visit Stirling Castle - Stirling Castle is an imposing structure that sits atop Castle Hill. It’s one of the country’s most noteworthy castles and has witnessed at least 8 sieges.

    93. Swim with seals in The Sound of Mull - See seals in all their majesty by swimming with them in The Sound of Mull. You can also kayak here.

    94. Drink at Sheep Heid Inn Pub - A visit to Sheep Heid Inn Pub is one of the top things to do in Scotland. It’s an old favourite among locals and just the place to sit down for a drink.

    95. Test your driving skills on a single track road - Think you’ve mastered driving? Not until you’ve proven your worth on Scotland’s many single track roads! Maneuver your way past other cars on narrow roads and see how well you score.

    96. The Dog Suicide Bridge - Visiting Dog Suicide Bridge will leave you with a mix of emotions. This is where hundreds of dogs have leapt off, apparently without reason. Some believe the ghost of the White Lady of Overtoun could be responsible.

    97. Visit The Kelpies - Marvel at The Kelpies, which are sculptures of horse heads measuring 30 meters tall in Falkirk.

    99. Remains of Dolly the Sheep - See the remains of the world’s first cloned mammal, Dolly the Sheep, created from an adult cell. She’s located in Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland.

    100. Shetland - A Fire Festival - Up Helly Aa is an enthralling spectacle that’s held to mark the end of Yule. ‘Vikings’ and torchbearers parade through Lerwick in Shetland.

    101. Try land (or sand) yachting - Yes, you read that right! You can sail on land and feel the adrenaline rushing through your veins as you race towards the finish line.

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