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20 Fascinating Historic Places To Enjoy In Scotland

If you could time travel to any point in Scottish history, where would you go? Maybe you would stay the night in an ancient stone village in Neolithic times. Or you might watch an epic battle unfold during the Jacobite rebellions. Perhaps a walk through the streets of Victorian Edinburgh with Sir Walter Scott is your cup of tea?

In this article we’ll show you historic places in Scotland that will transport you back to the past in no time.

1. Edinburgh Castle 

Exterior of Edinburgh Castle and the surrounding cityscape with hills in the background

The most famous of Scottish castles – the oldest part dates from the 12th century! Take a guided tour with a castle steward or walk around at your own pace with an audio tour.

Find out more about Edinburgh Castle

2. Gladstone’s Land

Interior of historic bedroom in Gladstone's Land

Ever wondered what life used to be like in Edinburgh back in the day? Find out all about 17th century tenement living at Gladstone’s Land, an Old Town institution recently reopened after a £1.5m restoration. The winding stone staircase, tiny windows and period decoration gives visitors a real taste of Edinburgh’s history.

Find out more about Gladstone’s Land

3. Rosslyn Chapel 

Exterior of Rosslyn Chapel

This remarkable building is famous for its ornate and mysterious stonework as well as its appearance in The Da Vinci Code. Explore the myths and legends associated with this unusual place on a tour – advanced booking is essential.

Find out more about Rossyln Chapel

4. R&A World Golf Museum

Exterior of the British Golf Museum

This must-visit attraction in St Andrews will take you through 500 years of the history of golf in Scotland and around the world. It couldn’t be better placed, within touching distance of the famous St Andrews Old Course.

Find out more about the R&A World Golf Museum

5. Falkland Palace and Gardens  

Exterior of Falkland Palace ruins

Explore one of Scotland’s finest Renaissance palaces on a trip to the village of Falkland in Fife. Packed with authentic 17th century artefacts, painted ceilings and tapestries, this is a real hidden gem. Loved by Mary Queen of Scots, the palace is home to the world’s oldest ‘real’ tennis court.

Find out more about Falkland Palace

6. Fort George  

Exterior of Fort George

If you’re travelling up to Inverness you won’t want to miss Fort George, a mighty garrison created after the Battle of Culloden in 1746 to deter further Jacobite rebellions. This big and imposing fortification will give you a fascinating insight into 18th century military history. Advance booking is required.

Find out more about Fort George

7. Skara Brae  

Exterior of Skara Brae

The Neolithic village of Skara Brae was built around 5,000 years ago and is one of the best-preserved prehistoric villages in Europe. Older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge, this is a chance to see how ancient people lived their daily lives. Take a trip to Orkney and explore other ancient sites which form the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.

Find out more about Skara Brae

8. The National Wallace Monument  

Exterior of the Wallace monument uplit with hills in background

Fans of Braveheart won’t want to miss this epic monument in Stirling dedicated to William Wallace. Inside the stone structure you’ll discover the story of the warrior who led the Scottish army to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.  The views at the top are worth the climb, too.

Find out more about the National Wallace Monument

9. Stirling Castle  

Exterior of Stirling Castle from the bridge with tourists walking around

Imposing walls, ornate sculptures and beautiful gardens are just some of the things you’ll find at Stirling Castle. One of the most historically important sites in Scotland, the stronghold was once a favoured residence of the Stewart dynasty who ruled Scotland for hundreds of years.

Find out more about Stirling Castle

10. Culloden Battlefield 

Image of a wall at the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre with a famous quote on

Ancestry enthusiasts and those with a passion for Jacobite history will enjoy a visit to Culloden Battlefield. Site of the last pitched battle on British soil, the visitor centre will take you through the confrontation with a series of interactive exhibits and displays. Visit this poignant site and learn how one battle changed the history of the Highlands forever.

Find out more about visiting Culloden Battlefield

11. Abbotsford  

Exterior of Abbotsford House

Country houses don’t come much grander than Abbotsford, the ancestral home of 19th century novelist Sir Walter Scott. A fitting residence for a literary giant, you’ll find artefacts and curiosities, a grand library with a richly carved ceiling, and peace and tranquility in the gorgeous grounds.

Discover more places associated with Sir Walter Scott, or find out more about Abbotsford

12. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Exterior of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Head to Glasgow and discover one of Scotland’s most popular free attractions. Kelvingrove’s fascinating galleries are home to over 8,000 objects, including famous works of art by Salvador Dali and others.

Find out more about Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

13. Crathes Castle   

Exterior of Crathes castle in the sunshine

Set within glorious gardens and complete with towers, turrets and stories of resident ghosts, Crathes Castle is a great visit for the whole family. Inside the building you’ll find antiques, paintings and painted ceilings. Outside, you can explore the famous gardens or even take the kids to explore the Wild Wood Adventure Play Centre!

Find out more about Crathes Castle

14. Scone Palace

Exterior of Scone Palace

Perthshire’s premier palace and the ancient crowning place of Scottish monarchs is a wonderful place to spend the day. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and filled with treasures from the past and mementoes of former kings and queens, Scone Palace breathes history like nowhere else in Scotland.

Find ticket information and take a tour of Scone Palace

15. Perth Museum & Art Gallery   

One of Scotland’s oldest established museums, Perth Museum and Art Gallery is home to more than half a million objects from Scotland and around the world. Family-friendly exhibitions that feature trails, puzzles and games mean that everyone will have fun here. Take a trip to the fair city of Perth and explore this brilliant attraction.

Find out more about the Perth Museum and Art Gallery 

16. Grampian Transport Museum

Close up of cars in Grampian Transport Museum

Get clued up on transport history at the Grampian Transport Museum. Dramatic displays, working exhibits and tablet tours await you at this unusual and interesting museum. Kids will be able to climb aboard vehicle exhibits and delve into some great temporary exhibitions – there’s even a junior driving school!

Find out more about the Grampian Transport Museum

17. The McManus: Dundee’s Museum & Art Gallery 

Exterior of the McManus museum and art gallery

The McManus is a magnificent Victorian, Gothic building at the heart of art and culture in the city since 1867. Eight beautiful open gallery spaces house stunning exhibitions of art, history and the environment offering a fascinating day out.

Find out more about the McManus

18. V&A Dundee

Interior of the V&A Dundee

Calling all creatives – explore the history of design at the V&A Dundee, the first museum of its kind outside of London. This unique building was inspired by the cliffs along the east coast of Scotland and stretches out onto the River Tay, reconnecting the city with its historic and beautiful riverside. Inside you’ll find changing exhibitions showcasing the best of design from around the world.

Find out more about the V&A Dundee

19. Glamis Castle 

Exterior of Glamis Castle from the driveway

Glamis Castle is the legendary setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth and arriving at this magnificent building will take your breath away. Architecturally stunning and filled with ancient treasures, the building is brought to life by knowledgeable tour guides. Exploring the grounds is also a delight, with beautiful walks for the family.

Find out more about Glamis Castle

20. Culzean Castle  

Exterior of Culzean Castle from the beach

This Ayrshire gem has gardens, beaches, woods, trails and a new adventure playground to explore and, to top it off, a cliff-top castle! Take a guided tour and learn about the best features of the castle, including the oval staircase, as well as a fine collection of paintings and furniture.

Find out more about Culzean Castle

Enjoy a historic day out in Scotland today! Find out more about our attractions and historic places

 

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