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14 must-enjoy experiences in the east of Scotland

We’d like to introduce you to Tay Country, an area of beautiful beaches and serene glens, with a buzzing culture and tantalising food scene. Bringing together the central east coast areas of Perthshire, Fife, Angus and Dundee, Tay Country sits in-between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, which means it’s really easy to get to by car, bus, bike, train or plane.

The river and hills of Glen Mark in the Angus Glens

Glen Mark in the Angus Glens

But what can you do when you get here? We’ve put together just a few amazing experiences to sample on a trip here. Once we’ve whet your appetite, head on over to Scotland’s Tay Country website, where you can select the pictures you love, and get a customised itinerary for your trip.

Scenery

Take the coastal path

Seafield beach in Kirkcaldy

Seafield beach in Kirkcaldy

Make your first date with this area a trip along the coast for beautiful beaches, sea views and fresh air. Follow a section of the Fife Coastal Path, a 117-mile walking and cycling route right the way around the south, east and north coasts of Fife, through pretty seaside villages like Anstruther and Crail, and watch the fishermen bring in their catch of the day. Over in Dundee, you can walk along the coastal path from Dundee to Montrose and gaze back over to Fife or head north to Arbroath and see the golden sands of Lunan Bay, and into Montrose.

Bag a Munro

A man stands looking down on Loch Brandy in Glen Clova, Angus Glens

Loch Brandy in Glen Clova, Angus Glens

It’s only right that you should climb a Munro in Tay Country – after all Sir High Munro who gave them their name after he spent much of his childhood at the family estate in Kirriemuir. There are 44 Munros to choose from throughout the area, from Schiehallion in Perthshire, which offers views out to the peaks of Glen Coe, to Mount Keen, our most easterly Munro. Get your practise in amongst the Angus Glens, and the surrounding peaceful valleys are ideal for country rambles or even a cycle ride.

Find forest wonders

The waters of the Linn of Tummel, Pitlochry

Linn of Tummel, Pitlochry

Enjoy a moment to yourself and soak up the colours, smells and sounds of our forests. Appreciate the power of our rivers in Pitlochry, at the dam visitor centre; smell the pine trees around the beachside forest trails of Tentsmuir Forest in Fife; or in October, watch the colours explode during Enchanted Forest in Faskally Wood, a beautiful sound and light show.

Book a rural retreat

Kinnoull Hill and Tower, with the River Tay below

Kinnoull Hill and Tower, with the River Tay below

If you really want the best outdoor relaxation experience, why not book a rural retreat? Turn off the gadgets and embrace the Tay Country way of life. You can choose from quirky eco-pods, family-run working farms, treehouses and lodges with hot tubs.

Find accommodation in Perthshire, Fife or Angus.

Culture

Be the first at the V&A Dundee

V&A Dundee © V&A / Ross Fraser McLean

V&A Dundee © V&A / Ross Fraser McLean

The world’s first V&A museum outside of London will open on 15 September 2018 – V&A Dundee. Be one of the first to step inside this stunning building by Kengo Kuma, inspired by the Arbroath cliffs, and making the absolute most of its sparkly riverside setting. Experience design and innovation from video games to fashion and comic strips and see the original restored Oak Room by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Enjoy our cool culture

Britain’s coolest little city (as named by GQ magazine) – Dundee is a great place to get your first dose of culture. Explore Dundee Contemporary Arts, a converted brick factory that houses art galleries, a print studio, shop, two cinemas and a cool bar and restaurant. They have a regular programme of exhibitions and classes, so pop by and just see what’s happening that day. Make sure to take a few hours to explore the McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum, which is running a Bash Street and Beano exhibition until late October. Enjoy art in a turreted mansion-house at Hospitalfield in Angus, or stop by Pittenweem every August, when a living exhibition of creators at work takes over the seaside village.

Take in a live performance

The outside of the Dundee Rep Theatre

Dundee Rep Theatre

Music and storytelling are two of Scotland’s great passions. In Tay Country you can swing by the Dundee Rep for a show, home to the only full-time company of actors, Perth Theatre which has a state of the art space for live dance, opera, comedy and theatre, Pitlochry Festival Theatre which has large-scale productions in the heart of Perthshire, and the state of the art Perth Concert Hall which offers some of the finest acoustics in Europe.

Stretch your legs and be inspired

Looking over Dundee City Square to the Caird Hall

Looking over Dundee City Square to the Caird Hall

Learn more about the UK’s only UNESCO City of Design and the people who’ve called it home. There are more than 120 artworks to discover around Dundee, including bronze comic book characters, Desperate Dan and Oor Wullie, or follow the Open/Close street art trail, created by local artists in unexpected nooks and crannies. Take a leisurely stroll along either Discovery Walk or Dundee Women’s Trail, which both commemorate artists, social reformers, scientists and suffragettes.

See books come to life

A statue of Peter Pan in Kirriemuir

A statue of Peter Pan in Kirriemuir

Explore the literary heritage of Tay Country beginning with a walk along Broughty Ferry beach – the young Mary Shelley, writer of Frankenstein, spent time here with family friends right back in 1812. Discover the full rags to riches story of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie at the world’s first Carnegie Library in Dunfermline. Kirriemuir was the birthplace of JM Barrie and you can see a statue of Peter Pan, and visit the National Trust for Scotland cottage which was Barrie’s family home.

History

Step back in time

The outside of Falkland Palace in Fife

Falkland Palace in Fife

There’s plenty of historic stories to uncover in Tay Country. Falkland Palace was the country residence of Mary Queen of Scots, while the town of Falkland and nearby Culross, both in Fife, feature in the hit-show Outlander. Go back in time with travel at the Dundee Museum of Transport, and step onboard both the RRS Discovery, sailed by Scott and Shackleton to Antarctica, and HMS Unicorn, one of the oldest warships left in the world.

Go castle hunting

The outside of Broughty Castle and Museum, Broughty Ferry

Broughty Castle and Museum, Broughty Ferry

Take your pick of castles or explore them all! Glamis Castle was the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth thanks to its fairytale turrets, elegant gardens and even a ghostly spirit, known as the White Lady. Enjoy the sight of what is possibly Scotland’s oldest standing castle, Aberdour, or the beautiful views at Broughty Castle which sits right by the golden sands. Blair Castle offers not just a classic castle experience, but is also home to a museum on the Atholl Highlanders, Europe’s last remaining private army.

Indulge your curiosity

Looking at an old map in Innerpeffray Library in Crieff

Innerpeffray Library in Crieff

Perthshire is home to Scotland’s first public lending library. Innerpeffray Library dates back to 1680 but you can still visit and see the original Borrowers Registrar to see what was on the bestsellers list over 300 years ago! Keep your eyes peeled between St Andrews and Anstruther – an innocent looking Scottish farmhouse is actually home to Scotland’s Secret Bunker, designed to survive a nuclear war and a secret for over 40 years. You can also see an important Pictish collection at St Vigeans Sculptured Stones Museum, or get the key from the Cocoa Tree Shop next door and explore St Fillan’s Cave in Pittenweem.

Food

Eat like a local

Iain R Spink preparing Arbroath Smokies on the beach at Auchmithie

Iain R Spink preparing Arbroath Smokies on the beach at Auchmithie

With the perfect mix of local produce and great cooking, you can enjoy a trip filled with delicious meals in Tay Country. Try out cultured cafés in art galleries, Michelin-recommended fine dining restaurants, and bars and eateries with beautiful sea views.

There’s a number of great food events to enjoy, such as Taste of Angus in March, Crail Food Festival in June, Dundee Flower and Food Festival in August, and the Great Perthshire Picnic in September.

Make sure to try the local produce and delicacies. The Arbroath Smokie is a type of smoked haddock which has European protection and must come from within 5 miles of the town of Arbroath. Tayberry is a sweet fusion of raspberry and blackberry and is also unique to the area, the Forfar Bridie is a special Scottish meat and onion pasty made here since 1833, while Dundee Cake is a tasty mixture of sultanas, orange peel and almonds.

Sample a dram

JL Gill, whisky shop, in Crieff

JL Gill, whisky shop, in Crieff

We’ve always loved our whisky, but we’ve got a sweet spot for gin as well, and in Tay Country especially! There’s plenty of distilleries to visit where you can find out more about how we use herbs and fruits to flavour our gin, or why our famous whisky tastes the way it does. And of course, the distillery tours include a drop for you to try, and a bottle selection for you to buy! Look out for the Gin Bothy and Lindores Abbey, Eden Mill, and Kingsbarns distilleries.

What’s your favourite Tay Country experience? Head over to our iKnow Scotland Community to share tips and learn other hidden gems from locals, or plan your trip to Dundee, Fife, Perthshire, Angus or all four!

 

Comments

  • Hartmut Wolf

    No discussion – it is awesome…

  • Patricia Hainzelin

    to do

  • Anne Woodcock

    Great feature – don’t forget this region has some of Scotland’s best places to fish from sea to game. The River Tay is home to record breaking salmon and the famous story of Miss Georgina Ballantine who caught a 64lb salmon – the record still stands today. Anne Woodcock FishPal

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