Visit the Best of the Rest of Scotland
We do love the Highlands – but the rest of Scotland has endless opportunities too, whether you’re a city type, mountaineer, archaeologist or culture lover. Here we showcase the ‘best of the rest’ – the sights, attractions and must-see places outside the Highlands!
The Aberdeenshire coastline is dotted with fishing villages where you can taste freshly-landed North Sea mackerel, prawns or cod straight from the boat. The coastline changes from rocky shore on the Moray Firth to headland cliffs, then a 20-mile sandy beach between Peterhead and Aberdeen, and further inland fertile farmland turns to mountains as the Cairngorms rise to the west. For those who want to get out of the city, the old harbour town of Stonehaven, just south of Aberdeen, is well worth a visit – particularly at Hogmanay for the fireballs ceremony! Aberdeenshire is well-known for its castles, most famously Dunottar Castle which is perched on a rocky outcrop looking like it might break away at any moment and float into the North Sea!
Just south of Aberdeen lies Angus and Dundee. From glen to sea it provides the prefect blend of city and countryside. The Montrose Basin attracts thousands of migratory birds and Arbroath is home of one of Scotland’s culinary delights – the ‘Smokie’. Visit the birthplace of Peter Pan in Kirriemuir or tour Glamis Castle; home of the Queen Mother. Dundee, the UK’s first Unesco City of Design , welcomes V&A Dundee in 2018. A City on the rise overlooking Scotland’s biggest river, the Tay.
Fife is a patchwork of pretty farmland with a rich history of Scottish kings and queens, and boasts several important archaeological and historic sites including stone circles and an ancient royal palace. St Andrews is home to one of the world’s oldest Universities and a world-class golf course, as well as a two mile long beach (of ‘Chariots of Fire’ fame!) leading to a nature reserve of coastal forests and dunes.
Perthshire has some of the prettiest and most accessible walks in the lowlands, with dense forests, tumbling waterfalls, hidden lochs and open moorland all within a reasonable drive from Perth itself. Attractive towns and villages throughout mean that you can reach both shops and amenities as well as mountains and lochs without having to drive for hours!
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is a little bit of Highlands in the lowlands, with mountainous terrain and wild lands. Loch Lomond is easily accessible from Glasgow (so much so that we recommend travelling that extra half hour to the north of the loch to escape the crowds!) and offers spectacular scenery whether you’re admiring it from the lochside or from the peak of Ben Lomond, Scotland’s most southerly Munro.
The central belt of Edinburgh, Stirling and Glasgow offers culture, nightlife, shopping and sightseeing whatever your interests are. Glasgow’s museums are unparalleled and the city is a popular destination for those seeking arts and culture. Glaswegians are famed for their friendliness and hospitality, so you can be sure to receive a warm welcome! Edinburgh is home to world-famous attractions and spectacular architecture, as well as a historic Old Town full of nooks and crannies to be explored. Stirling is a miniature Edinburgh, complete with a castle on a rocky outcrop overlooking the city, the Wallace Monument standing high on the hill above, and the Ochill hill range stretching far into the east.
South of the central belt, Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders feature rolling hillsides, farmland and historic towns. On the west, the Solway Firth estuary separates Scotland and England, while on the east rocky coastline and cliffs make for spectacular scenery from the train as it winds its way north. Romantics at heart can pay a visit to Gretna Green, the historic town in which young couples eloping from England would marry – the town is a popular wedding location to this day!
So if you can tear yourself away from the spectacular Highlands, you won’t be disappointed by what the rest of Scotland has to offer!