Ah, the bright lights of Scotland’s cities. There’s no denying that all seven are completely unique – and where better to admire them than from up above?
Try cocktails at a rooftop bar, book a stylish dinner at a sky-high restaurant or stay the night on the top floor of a glamourous hotel. And, there’s no shortage of ancient structures, monuments, museums and public buildings with panoramic vistas too.
Wherever you go, there’s a perfect skyline view waiting for you on your next city break.
Scotland is now operating a 5-level Covid-19 system on a local basis. This means different areas of Scotland will have different restrictions.
Find out what level each area is under and read more about the 5-level Covid-19 restrictions to plan and book ahead when considering your trip. You can search for businesses that are open, and Good to Go, where they have a Covid-19 risk assessment.
The city known as the ‘Dear Green Place’ in Gaelic, certainly has a colourful and ever-changing skyline. Whether it’s a wall mural stretching across the side of a building, or Gothic-inspired cathedral, it can be admired from many spots around the city.
- Mackintosh at the Willow – treat yourself to views of Glasgow from the elegant Mackintosh at the Willow, inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s designs and modelled on Kate Cranston’s Ingram Street Tea Rooms from the early 1900s. The south-facing roof terrace is the perfect spot to enjoy a champagne afternoon tea.
- Ubiquitous Chip – the only rooftop on Ashton Lane, the leafy décor is matched by the fresh ingredients served every day here. Grab a seat on the roof terrace to watch over the twinkling fairy lights of Ashton Lane.
- Record Factory – this Byres Road gem is a music venue and restaurant inspired by dive bars in New York City. It’s also a hidden sun trap, with large beer garden offering views looking towards the handsome tenements of the West End.
Standing astride the River Ness, the Inverness skyline is everything you’d expect from a city nestled in the heart of the Highlands. With ancient spires, a castle and a flowing river leading out to Loch Ness and the Great Glen, Inverness is just the beginning of your Highland adventure.
- Inverness Castle – For 360-degree views of the city, the viewing point from the north tower of Inverness Castle is one of the best places to admire the famous landmarks, including the River Ness, Chanonry Point and Fort George. It only costs £6 for entry and is open until the end of October.
- Black Isle Bar – Famous for its craft lagers and ales, which you can enjoy all over Scotland, the bar menu is packed with its local specialities and delicious wood-fired pizzas. Enjoy from the rooftop in the heart of Inverness, just across the water from where the beer is made in the Black Isle.
Dundee is a cool, creative and cultural city. Famous for inventing marmalade, The Beano and Grand Theft Auto – what bright ideas will you have while you stay in the city?
- Overgate Centre – A car park might not sound like the most glamourous option on this list, but this spot offers magnificent views of Dundee, the River Tay and the sparkling waterfront. Spend a day treating yourself to some retail therapy in the shopping centre, which is full of all your high street favourites, before snapping some pics of Dundee before you head off.
- Apex Hotel – The views of the Tay from the Quay View Rooms in this hotel are some of the best in the city. And, the pool and spa are also perfect places to relax. True story – many years ago, an Egyptian businessman booked a room here for a week so he could count the number of ships leaving Dundee docks with seed potatoes!
- Sleeperz Hotel – The corner rooms on the top floor of this hotel offer wonderful views of V&A Dundee and RRS Discovery, with ceiling to floor windows throughout the hotel showcasing the city’s unique skyline. A stylish and modern hotel with glamourous touches, it’s a great base for a city stay.
The Stirling cityscape has a bit of everything – a mighty hilltop castle overlooking cobbled streets, the Wallace Monument which can be seen for miles around, and surrounding views of Bannockburn, Ochil Hills and the Trossachs countryside.
- Stirling Old Town Jail – Explore the dark and fascinating history of Stirling before enjoying some of the best vistas in the city from the Observation Tower.
- The Wallace Monument – Climb the 243 steps via a spiral staircase to the top of this monument, celebrating the life of William Wallace. See Wallace’s legendary battle sword – the centerpiece of the magnificent Hall of Heroes – and admire stunning panoramic views from the top over Stirling and beyond.
The capital city’s views are nothing short of spectacular, no matter which direction you are facing. To the south, look over the Old Town’s ancient, winding streets. Gaze northwards to the New Town and see handsome Georgian streets fill the frame.
- Harvey Nichols Forth Floor Brasserie and Bar Restaurant – A table on the fourth floor of this department store is set to impress, with indoor and outdoor seating offering views over St Andrews Square and across Princes Street.
- Cold Town House – This Grassmarket spot, in a converted church will not stay a secret for long with its rooftop terrace and beer garden nestled beneath the castle. Yes, we’re talking about Edinburgh Castle! Sip on a pint and take in this amazing spot.
- The Lookout – For clear views and exceptional food, this restaurant on top of Calton Hill is not only a feast for the eyes. Try six plates of seasonal delicacies and inventive flavour combinations perfectly served with Edinburgh vistas.
- Cheval Old Town Chambers – Book a night or two here and the views can continue after you’ve stopped exploring for the day. Its location in the heart of Old Town makes it the perfect base.
- Camera Obscura & World of Illusions – The rooftop at this mesmerising attraction is just one of the highlights as you wind your way up through the floors with lots of visual feasts and tricks on the way! From the rooftop, you can enjoy 360 degree views to Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, the Pentland Hills, the three bridges crossing the Firth of Forth, and across to Fife.
The ‘Fair City’ of Perth is gracefully placed beside the River Tay, with two green spaces and a picturesque city centre filled with attractions, restaurants and historical stories weaved throughout.
- Black Watch Museum – The museum explores the journey of Scotland’s oldest military regiment, through turbulent times of the Jacobites to the World Wars. Housed in Balhousie Castle, the castle’s terrace overlooks the city’s leafy green space, the North Inch.
- 63@Parklands Restaurant– A short walk from Perth’s train station, Parklands is a boutique townhouse hotel. Try the exquisite delights from chef Graeme Pallister’s 63@Parklands Restaurant, where you can enjoy the food with excellent views from the conservatory or outdoor terrace.
Up in Aberdeen, granite buildings sparkle with the knowledge that the city is one of the most architecturally unique in Europe. The Old Town dates back even as far as the Picts, with beautiful cathedrals and university buildings framing the north, and the easterly harbour looking out to the North Sea.
- Jury’s Inn Aberdeen – A city centre hotel with a little something extra special – it’s simply sensational views of Aberdeen! From the 7th floor, enjoy panoramas over the rooftops and spires of the city.
- Aberdeen Art Gallery – This museum is a fascinating place to while away the hours and delve into the story of this seafaring town, which is also home to a romantic tale or two. Head out onto the new rooftop extension, for views, a cuppa, or just to relax!
- Aberdeen Maritime Museum – Spend a few hours learning about the nautical heritage of Aberdeen. This museum is one of the only places you can see exact replicas of North Sea oil rigs as well as exhibitions featuring sailing ships, fishing and an exploration of the port’s history. The top floor has beautiful views of the harbour.