So you think you’ve heard mention of Angus? What would be the first thing you think of? Would it be Arbroath Abbey and the Declaration of Independence or a famous style of fish – the Arbroath Smokie – or perhaps Aberdeen Angus beef? Maybe it’s golf and the beginning of Tiger Woods’ comeback at The Open in Carnoustie last year or the fairytale Glamis Castle – birthplace of The Queen Mother – and its connection to William Shakespeare’s Macbeth?
Let’s delve deeper – where exactly is Angus? Literally a step away from the every day. Getting to Angus is rewarding, following the dramatic east coastline it’s well-placed on the east coast main train line, where you’ll arrive after one of Scotland’s most scenic rail journeys.
It is also a stone’s throw away from Dundee, Scotland’s coolest city (according to the Wall Street Journal) and within easy reach of Scotland’s other six cities if arriving in Scotland by air or touring by car! There are seven towns in Angus, each with their own unique character and attractions – Arbroath, Brechin, Carnoustie, Forfar, Kirriemuir, Monifieth and Montrose – and in between many quaint villages to discover.
Glens & Munros. No, they’re not just male names – it’s the natural setting that adds to Angus’s beauty. The Angus Glens are spectacular for walking and wildlife. Visit the ornamental well at Glen Esk, erected to commemorate a visit by Queen Victoria. You’ll find ten Munros in Angus a nice number to ‘bag’. They are from a list of Munros (that’s a mountain in Scotland with a height over 3,000 feet) that was created by Sir Hugh Munro, who lived in Angus. It’s become a bucket list for many to achieve.
Pens, poets and music that rocks! Peter Pan creator JM Barrie was born in Kirriemuir. Visit his childhood home where he performed his plays in the washhouse! The Neverland play park in the town is also a fun playground for kids. Contemporary Scots poet and writer Violet Jacob, who was born at the House of Dun, was well-known for her Scottish history novels written in the rich dialect of Angus. Ready to rock? Bon Scott, lead vocalist and lyricist of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, was born in Angus and every May is celebrated in Kirriemuir with a dedicated music festival – Bonfest.
Its collection of planes, trains and automobiles. Catch the steam train on the Caledonian Railway and step on board for some of their special fish n’ chips or sloe gin themed train rides. Kids just love Kerr’s Miniature Railway in Arbroath while adults and kids alike will relish the Red Lichtie spitfire at Montrose Air Heritage Station, the first base of its kind in the UK. If you’re a motor fan, don’t miss the Scottish Transport Extravaganza held at Glamis Castle every July.
Surprising inventions. The modern-day lawnmower, designed by Alexander Shanks, had its humble beginnings in Angus, while Brechin was the birthplace of Robert Watson-Watt who developed radar technology. The Davidson family and founders of the Harley-Davidson® Motor-Cycle Company emigrated to the USA from a humble cottage in Netherton, Aberlemno ,which has been lovingly restored and is now a site of pilgrimage for many dedicated Harley Davidson fans.
Beach life. You’ll also find some of the best unspoilt beaches here. Lunan Bay is a great find with a magnificent sweep of sand to sink your toes into, and for explorers, a cave and arch at its northern end are all overlooked by a dramatic ruined 12th century castle – the Red Castle. Throw in some great surfing conditions and what more could you ask for? It’s well worth rounding off a day at the beach with a stop off at the Lunan Bay Diner for some delicious home baking.
Land of legends. Many a golfing hero has tested their mettle on Angus’s legendary courses. Carnoustie Golf Links, which was host venue of the 147th Open in 2018, is known as one of the world’s most challenging links courses with its thick rough and devilish bunkers.
Meanwhile, Montrose Medal is thought to be the 6th oldest course in the world with testing holes facing the North Sea. Inspired to play?
Stunning architecture. Looking for some grand designs? You’ll find a good and varied sprinkling here. Sail out from Arbroath to the Bell Rock Light House designed by Robert Stevenson or marvel at House of Dun, near Montrose, a William Adam masterpiece. Looking for a fairytale castle? Look no further than the beautiful Glamis Castle. Hospitalfield House in Arbroath sparked Sir Walter Scott and inspired Monkbarns in The Antiquary. It is now a stunning arts centre and well worth a visit.
Record breaking. The Glenesk Hotel in Edzell has broken the world record for the largest number of whiskies for sale behind its bar. That’s something to raise a glass to!
Get ready for an adventure in Angus with a step away from the everyday!