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9 City Tour Ideas in Scotland

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Visiting a new city can be a very fun and exciting experience where you can venture off and do your own thing, but with so many tours on offer providing lots of history and interesting facts, it’s hard to decide which one to choose. Explore Scotland’s cities with these great tour recommendations – highlights include ghost tours in Edinburgh and Stirling, artwork trails in Dundee, and walking tours in Dunfermline.

1. Delve into Scotland’s ghoulish past

What comes to mind when you think of spooky and haunted places? Ghosts, dark alleyways, abandoned buildings? If all those things are up your street then why not visit and discover Scotland’s dark and historic past by going on a ghost tour?

Edinburgh is notorious for giving people the ‘heebie jeebies’ when it comes to its spooky past! Try:

  • Mercat Tours offer a wide range of ghost tours where visitors can experience the city’s dark side.
  • If you’re looking to go on a day tour, be sure to go on the Ghostly Underground tour, giving you exclusive access to Edinburgh’s most haunted vaults.
  • Or if you prefer to explore the city after dark, then the Hidden & Haunted tour is a must! This strictly adults-only tour will give you an insight into some of the most gruesome stories which would make a perfect plot line for a horror film!
  • If that’s not enough to spook you out, then the City of the Dead Tours have a few tricks up their sleeve that will give you a real fright! Delve into some of Edinburgh’s most haunted and legendary underground vaults where you can hear the fascinating stories of the people who once lived here.
  • If you’re looking for something that mixes dark humour with spooky stories, try the Graveyard tour as you hear some of the weirdest and wildest stories. Make sure to pick a wee memento from the gift shop, based in a graveyard funeral parlour!
  • Stirling also plays a big part in the country’s dark and historic times. Enjoy an evening full of fun and fright on the Stirling Ghost Walk while learning more about Stirling’s colourful legacy of myths and legends!
  • Discover stories of Perth’s dark, often gruesome and sometimes spooky past on this walking tour of the ‘Fair City’. This is a fully accessible tour by History and Horror Tours, who also offer tours of Dunkeld.

2. Have a good old boogie

Put on your dancing shoes where the streets of Glasgow are your dancefloor! If you have the guts to sing and dance in public to your heart’s content then Silent Adventures is just what you need. From birthday parties to summer nights out, there are lots of excuses to get your friends together for an unforgettable day out!

3. Get a flavour of a city by going on a whisky tour

Whisky lovers will certainly be in high spirits when they visit The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh. Book yourself a place on one of the many tours that the attraction has to offer, from the Gold Tour where you compare and contrast four regional single malts, to The Taste of Scotland Tour where you can taste some of the finest whiskies. Make sure you tuck into the very best Scottish cuisine at the award-winning Amber Restaurant after.

Or head up north to Glen Ord Distillery, just north of Inverness. Make sure to sample the attraction’s very own Singleton of Glen Ord whisky which can only be bought at the distillery! Tour options include the classic Glen Ord Distillery Tour all about the different processes in making their Scotch malt whisky, or why not go on the Glen Ord Grain to Glass Tour to take a deeper look into the inner workings of modern dram making? At the end of the tour, you can taste six of their malts – Singleton of Glen Ord, 12, 15 and 18 year old, Teaninich, Clynelish and Talisker – all of which have malted barley supplied by Glen Ord.

4. Hop on a bus to see the sights

There is no better way to explore the city than by hopping on a bus. With frequent services and many routes to choose from, there has never been an easier way to get from A to B.

  • Take the City Sightseeing bus around Edinburgh or Glasgow as you soak up the city’s character and heritage. Want to stop off at an attraction that takes your fancy? No problem! With many designated pickup and drop-off points around both cities, you have the freedom to pick and choose what you want to do for your perfect city break.
  • Choose from two routes (red and blue) on the open-top bus tour with City Sightseeing Inverness. You’ll pass highlights such as Inverness Castle, River Ness and Ness Islands, and Caledonian Canal and connect to a pick-up-point for exploring Loch Ness with Jacobite.
  • Looking for something a bit more luxurious and ‘out there’? Take a tour around Dundee and the surrounding area with Henry the luxury vintage bus. With the bus taking up to eight passengers, this 2 hour tour will be a fun and exciting day out, delving into the history of Dundee and getting to mingle with your fellow passengers. There is even the option to pick where you want to be dropped off once the tour has finished.

5. Immerse yourself in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Not only is Edinburgh renowned for its rich history and heritage but it is also known as the birthplace of Harry Potter. Embrace your inner wizard while embarking on this magical tour of Edinburgh, taking in the sights which inspired JK Rowling to include in her books.

Head to the Elephant House where the origins of Harry Potter first started, pay your respects at the grave of Lord Voldemort and Tom Riddle in Greyfriars Kirkyard and most importantly learn about all the witches and wizards from Edinburgh’s medieval era – all completely free of charge!

6. Get outdoors and see some extravagant street art

Scotland is bursting with an array of talent especially when it comes to street art. Explore the nooks and crannies of the city streets as you marvel at some of the incredible artwork on public display. Glasgow and Dundee are two cities which take great pride in showcasing the talent of Scottish artists.

If you happen to be out and about in Glasgow, why not enjoy a day of delving into the city’s rich art culture with its very own Mural Trail? See unique and vibrant artworks including Glasgow’s most famous residents, such as comedy legend Billy Connolly.

If that’s not enough to fill your boots, make sure to head east for the Open Close Dundee Street Art Trail, which adds a splash of colour to some of the city’s most overlooked areas. There are many artworks around the city centre of Dundee, so you can discover and learn more about the history and background of them.

Aberdeen has held it’s own street art festival in previous years, the Nuart Festival, showcasing the very best of urban street art. A street art trail guide was produced by the festival and you can still spot much of the art on a wander around the city centre.

7. Indulge in some foodie delights

There really is nothing more appetising than going on a good food tour and what better way to experience this than Edinburgh’s Eat Walk tours. With its wide selection of cafés and restaurants to choose from, the capital is certainly a foodie lover’s paradise.

Work up an appetite as you sample some of the very best of Edinburgh’s local food and drink on Edinburgh Old and New Town Tour where a friendly guide will be keen to show you their favourite picks for you to try out and let your taste buds be blown away.

Feel like you want to push the boat out a bit? Cure your hunger by going on The Canongate Brunch Tour as you sample some foodie delights along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Fancy something a bit different? Go on a foodie expedition with Red Bus Bistro as you tour around the length and breadth of Edinburgh and Glasgow, stopping off at some of the tastiest hotspots while sampling delicious home-cooked cuisine. To finish it off, wash it down with your favourite tipple. Choose from the bistro’s wide selection of malt whiskies, have a glass of bubbly or taste one of their signature gin pots.

8. These cities are made for walking

Embrace the great Scottish outdoors in all of its glory! Walking tours help to bring a breath of fresh air to a city’s unique character, rich history and fascinating culture, and with most tours free of charge, there has never been a better excuse to get out and learn something new.

  • Explore Scotland’s newest city with Discover Dunfermline Tours. Their Right Royal Dunfermline Tour takes you to some key historic attractions including Dunfermline Abbey over an hour in the city centre.
  • Step back in time and follow in the footsteps of Anne Lister, a 19th century land-owning diarist. Take a wander through the Old and New Town, enjoying quotes from Anne’s diary and letters from her visit to the capital in 1828. Fancy a wee dram? Enjoy one of Anne’s favourite tipples by sampling a selection of whiskies at a local bar or venue.
  • Have a day of culture at Edinburgh and Glasgow’s Invisible Cities tours where you will discover the cities historical landmarks in great detail, making the cities what they are today.
  • Explore the city streets of Inverness with a local guide on foot. On the Inverness City Walking Tour, you’ll learn about how the city has grown from humble beginnings as a royal city, to the Jacobite risings and castle sieges. Key highlights on the tour include Inverness Cathedral, River Ness and the Old High Church.
  • Take a private guided walking tour of Stirling and learn about the medieval buildings of the Old Town, followed by a guided tour of Stirling Castle. It’s great for larger groups of friends or family.
  • This tour shows you the highlights of Aberdeen city centre and explains the stories of the city’s social history and quirky inhabitants. The Scot Free Tour is free but open to donations, and runs every Saturday.

9. Explore the city by water

  • Head out onto the Moray Firth on this boat tour with Moray Firth & Inverness Cruise with Dolphin Spirit. Look out for wildlife which can include seals, otters, dolphins, harbour porpoises and lots of birds! The onboard guide can tell you more about what you’re seeing while you travel, and about the local stories.
  • Climb into your kayak for a guided tour of Perth. Admire the city from the water while watching for seals, beavers, otters, and herons. You’ll be led by a qualified coach and guide, so you’ll hear stories of the area while exploring the wilder spots, as you head around Moncrieffe Island, home to the only island-based golf course in Scotland.
  • Take a fascinating tour from busy Aberdeen harbour, running daily through the summer months with Aberdeen Harbour Tours. You’ll head out to the windfarm, one of the world’s most powerful wind turbines, and look for dolphins feeding close to the anchored oil supply vessel in the bay.

We hope that we have given you enough inspiration for you to decide which tours take your fancy for your next city break to Scotland.