Scotland has hundreds of quirky and unique things to do and experience across the country – from conquering a Corbett, and escaping amongst the forests, to tasting potato vodka and more – you’ll never be lost for something to do. Plan a short break away, organise a family day out, make some of these part of a longer holiday in Scotland or just add these to your spontaneous day-out list!
Many Scottish attractions, tours and more are now offering up to 50% off your visit. Find out more and book your visit now with Scotland’s Great Days Out.
Here are just a few suggestions we know you’ll love.
1. Have a drink at Scotland’s Highest Pub
Nestled in the Lowther Hills in Dumfries & Galloway, Wanlockhead is known for being Scotland’s highest village, sitting at an altitude of 467 m, as well as featuring a strong lead mining heritage near the Mennock Pass on the Southern Upland Way. Near to the town, you can uncover numerous attractions and things to do, including Drumlanrig Castle, Crawick Multiverse, and Sanquhar Tolbooth Museum, alongside many cycling and walking trails to explore too. You can even stop off for a drink, or some hearty pub grub, in Scotland’s Highest Pub – Wanlockhead Inn. This popular pub is also known for starring in the TV series, Hope Springs, and there are also wigwams available for rent if you wanted to stay over and continue exploring the next day.
2. Master your surfing skills
This summer, visit Scotland’s very first purpose-built surf centre in Dunbar. Belhaven Surf Centre provides a home for the Coast to Coast Surf School, alongside East Lothian Countryside Ranger Service, The Wave Project, and Dunbar Surf Life Saving Club, creating a community base where you can learn or perfect your surfing skills.
3. Scale a Corbett
Have you ever considered scaling a Corbett? These Scottish mountains range from 2,500 to 3,000 ft with at least 500 ft of descent on all sides, so they tend to be smaller than Munros and therefore good practice! There are currently 222 Corbetts to choose from, including Beinn Tarsuinn on the Isle of Arran, Fuar Tholl near Strathcarron, and Carn Mor near Spean Bridge, to name a few. Once you’ve had fun practising on the Corbetts, why not try a Munro? Scotland is home to 282 Munros, mountains over 3,000 ft (914.4m), which boast some of the most stunning panoramic views you could possibly imagine. Challenge yourself to conquering one (or five) of these beauties across the country, from Ben Nevis near Fort William, to the Black Cuillin on the Isle of Skye.
Please note that Corbetts and Munros can be treacherous and should be undertaken by experienced walkers with the correct safety equipment.
4. Rent a motorhome or caravan
Hit the road and explore the marvellous outdoors from the comfort and freedom of your own motorhome. In the same way you can rent a holiday home in a variety of locations and places, you can now rent a motorhome or caravan with Camptoo. You could be cruising the open road, hopping aboard a ferry to one of the many islands off Scotland’s coast, soaking up a sunset by the beach, or whatever it is that takes your fancy across the country in your very own campervan. Bring the family, a group of friends, or go it solo – there’s a caravan to suit everyone.
5. Have an eco-break on the Isle of Eigg
Scotland’s islands are as diverse and as special as they come. From sampling peaty whiskies on Islay, and exploring ancient abbeys on Iona, to admiring Fingal’s Cave on Staffa and trying windsurfing on Tiree, there are hundreds of things to do and unique places to stay on each one. The Isle of Eigg is Britain’s most eco-friendly island, so why not stay here for a relaxing break without having to worry about leaving any traces behind? Or head to the Isle of Rum where you can stay in a traditional bothy, reconnect with nature and soak up the incredible views out to sea.
Please read the Covid-19 guidance before planning a visit.
6. Explore Cramond Island
Connected to the shoreline of Edinburgh, Cramond Island is a great place to visit. Head out at low tide across the causeway and admire the amazing views over towards Granton and Leith, explore old ruins, and see fascinating remains of World War I and II defences. Make sure you check the weather and tide forecasts before setting out.
7. Hop onboard a steam train
Travelling by train is a great way to sit back and relax, all whilst taking in the beautiful landscapes that pass you by. From misty mountains and scenic glens to sparkling lochs and quaint villages, there are spectacular sights to see no matter where in Scotland you travel to. Hop aboard one of the many steam trains that chug their way up and down the country, from The Jacobite Steam Train in the Highlands and The Belmond Royal Scotsman that departs from Edinburgh, to the Strathspey Steam Railway in Aviemore, there are plenty of journeys and routes you can explore that make for a great family-friendly day out.
8. Indulge in a spa getaway
Scotland is home to many a spa break, pamper day and luxury getaway in extravagant locations up and down the country. Treat yourself to a spa day, or a night or two away, to enjoy luxurious spa treatments, decadent afternoon tea, enchanting views and a truly tranquil atmosphere. Some popular spots include the Old Course Resort & Spa in St Andrews, but there are hundreds more that offer indulgent treatments to enjoy.
9. Experience a Common Riding in the Scottish Borders
Join in with one of the oldest equestrian festivals in the world and experience true horsemanship, pageantry and community spirit across the towns of the Scottish Borders when the annual Common Ridings charge into town. These ridings have a deep-rooted history in the towns and date back to the late 13th century to a time when the Borders Reivers would raid and pillage the lands around the Anglo-Scots border. Today’s residents commemorate the times when their forbearers patrolled the boundaries of their settlements on horseback, defending against these fearsome marauders.
Please note that the 2021 Return to the Ridings have been cancelled but you can still enjoy a fantastic trip to the region with the Borders Explorer Past. This all in-one-rail and bus ticket allows you to travel from Edinburgh to the beautiful historic Borders towns and villages.
10. Escape into the Scottish wilderness
Lush green fields, towering Caledonian pine forests, rolling hills, and picturesque glens are just some of the magical elements you can find across Scotland’s countryside. Get back to nature and camp out among the wilderness, spend the weekend in a wigwam or yurt, or stay in an eco-friendly glamping pod – there are countless options. Uncover the lavish forests and land around you through the many cycle trails, walking routes and outdoor activities on offer.
11. Learn about Scotland’s potato vodka
Introducing Scotland’s own potato vodka, which is home-grown and produced near Glamis Castle, it will be sure to tingle your taste buds with its sweet, creamy character. Nestled in the heart of Angus, head to the Ogilvy Farm where you can venture on a tour and learn about the authentic tale which inspired the creation of this premium potato vodka, see for yourself the lands and fields which grow the potatoes, and take in the scenic surroundings of the Strathmore Valley.
12. Uncover the Bridge to Nowhere
Belhaven Bay in Dunbar is home to a most peculiar bridge. At low tide you can see a footbridge appear, known as the Bridge to Nowhere, which seems to have no purpose whatsoever. This beach stretches from Belhaven to the north of the River Tyne, surrounded by low sand dunes, salt marshes and rich grasslands. It’s the perfect spot for walking, enjoying a picnic, or soaking up the warm weather.