Scottish attractions have seen tourism at an all time high due to popular sights that keep visitors flocking back. Famous sights like The Royal Mile, Glasgow Science Centre and the National Museum of Scotland hold something of interest for everyone.
Things to do in Scotland would obviously have to include a visit to Edinburgh Castle, and I have featured it on my Scottish Castles page. I have had the privilege of seeing many of Scotland’s great attractions and some of them are pretty awesome. Everyone has different tastes of course, but those listed here offer something for everyone.
I’ve varied this list as much as I can, in the hope that everyone of all ages will find something that appeals. Most of these attractions are suitable for a family day out.
TOP SCOTTISH ATTRACTIONS
My top Scottish attractions are listed here in no particular order….
KELVINGROVE ART GALLERY & MUSEUM
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow is our top (free entry) Scottish Attraction. This museum hosts a fabulous collection of paintings and natural history. One of the galleries features the work of Glasgow’s ‘celebrated son’, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. You should allow a full day for a visit here.
THE ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA
The Royal Yacht Britannia, recommended by BBC News as “Scotland’s leading visitor-friendly attraction” is an essential visit if you happen to be in Edinburgh. Following fierce competition from cities in the United Kingdom, Edinburgh was successful in her bid to become Britannia’s new home. She is one of the popular paid-for Scottish attractions, and well worth seeing.
THE SCOTCH WHISKY EXPERIENCE
Situated beside Edinburgh Castle, the Scotch Whisky Experience offers a choice of five virtual tours, available in many different languages.
You’ll learn about the history of whisky making, the art of blending, have a wee taster or two, and be well looked after with helpful staff and excellent disabled facilities.
THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SCOTLAND
Your visit to The National Museum of Scotland will take you back in time. Here you can follow and discover the history of life in Scotland, and the world. You’ll also learn about how nature, art and design, fashion, science and technology have progressed throughout the ages. There’s also activities to keep the children amused.
BLAIR DRUMMOND SAFARI PARK
The children won’t get bored, that’s for sure, when you consider the number of attractions that make up the whole adventure that is Blair Drummond Safari Park. It’s a fabulous day out for all the family, young and old alike. You start by driving through the animal reserves, then when you park you can take a walk of….
THE FALKIRK WHEEL
An engineering design wonder, The Falkirk Wheel is our #3 visitor attraction. This huge structure was built to connect the Union and Forth and Clyde Canals for east to west coast access for boats.
The technical genius makes this a fascinating sight, and it’s a great day out for adults and children alike.
Another attraction in the Falkirk area is The Helix, where you can get up close and personal with The Kelpies, (mythical water horses) as seen here. These are thought to be the largest equine sculptures in the world.
There’s also the visitor centre, kids adventure zone, great walking and cycling facilities, and much more.
GLENMORANGIE DISTILLERY TOUR
Do you like your whisky? If so, you’ll love this tour, not least the sampling part, of course. Whisky distilleries have always been popular visitor attractions in Scotland, and none more so than the famous Glenmorangie Distillery. If you enjoy the tour experience, I can promise that you’ll be drooling with delight when….
In Scotland, around AD550 St Mungo, the first Bishop of the British Kingdom of Strathclyde, founded a religious community around a small church, which was built in an area that was to become known as Glasgow. The present building was built during the 13th century, on the site where He is believed….
Melrose Abbey, now a ruin, is considered one of Scotland’s most beautiful buildings, and it’s fascinating history provides you with a sense of romance. An unopened casket containing King Robert the Bruce’s heart lay in Edinburgh until 1998, when it was buried again at Melrose Abbey (as was his wish) on 22 June.
EDINBURGH’S ROYAL MILE
How long does it take you to walk one mile? For the Royal Mile in Edinburgh you will probably need about a week. Here you will follow the city’s history, starting from Holyrood Palace at the bottom, to Edinburgh Castle at the top, a journey taken by many famous (and infamous) Kings and Queens of the past.
GLASGOW SCIENCE CENTRE
Here you’re guaranteed to have a fabulous time exploring 300 hands-on exhibits, interactive workshops and live science shows.
The science and technology museum, was awarded a five star rating in the attraction category by the Scottish Tourist Board. This is a fabulous day out for the family.
The zoo has been open since 1913, and it’s still one of the top Scottish attractions. Edinburgh Zoo gives you the opportunity to meet over 1,000 animals, and it is probably the most exciting wildlife attraction in Scotland. Of all the things to see and do in Scotland, this is one of them. The highlight of your visit, and something definitely not to be missed, is the daily “Penguin Parade.” It’s brilliant.
THE RIVERSIDE MUSEUM OF TRANSPORT
This is one of Glasgow’s best attractions in my opinion. Take a trip back in time with a look at the trams, buses and vintage cars that once filled the city. Alongside the museum is the S. S. Glenlee, a tall ship built in 1896. You can have a tour aboard Her, and it’s FREE.
Scotland has an abundant wealth of great attractions to discover with some of the United Kingdom’s finest Victorian architecture, internationally acclaimed museums and galleries to inspire, as well as Glasgow’s own unique atmosphere to soak up.
The great National Museums of Scotland show Scotland to the rest of the World with exquisite and extensive collections that have been built up over a period of more than two centuries. There are nearly 300 museums and galleries in the country, so it’s not surprising that they are among some of the most popular Scottish attractions.
See the Scotland Travel Information page for all the information you need for travelling to and within Scotland. Get helpful advice on passports and visas, currency, weather, holiday extras, useful travel links and much more.
MORE SCOTTISH ATTRACTIONS
In and around Edinburgh
Apart from the castle, the City has a multitude of visitor attractions, including 5 more castles, 25 museums, 2 cathedrals, Holyrood Palace and the Edinburgh Dungeon.
In and around Glasgow
UK City of Architecture and Design in 1999, and second only to London for UK shopping. Museums, parks, science centre, historic houses, ballet and opera.
In and around Dumfries & Galloway
A popular destination for Scottish attractions, with 17 museums, 11 art galleries, 5 nature reserves, 4 wildlife parks and 16 gardens. An unspoiled corner of the country.
In and around The Highlands & Skye
You’ll enjoy breathtaking panoramic views, a leisurely pace, but with plenty to see and do. 24 museums, 17 nature reserves, 14 galleries, 5 wildlife parks, 6 castles and 3 lochs.
AND THAT’S NOT ALL….
If you come to Scotland anytime between MAY and SEPTEMBER you’ll capture the true flavour of Scottish culture, with lots of Highland Games Events around the country.