Dunnottar Castle

7 Days in the East of Scotland

Want a real flavour of Scotland? Coastlines and castles, beaches and breweries, cathedrals and cashmere, whisky and walks; all this lies ahead of you (and much more) as you spend seven days exploring the east coast of Scotland. Taking in a range of cities and towns, stretching from Edinburgh to Aberdeen, you can explore St Andrews, Dundee, Pitlochry and more. You'll also explore miles of countryside, weave through rural communities and even journey through one of our National Parks! Are you ready to tour the north east coast of Scotland?

Start / Finish
Edinburgh - City Centre / Edinburgh
  • Days
  • Distance

  • Transport
  • Main theme
Edinburgh's attractions
Fishing villages of East Neuk
St Andrews
RRS Discovery
Arbroath Abbey
Dunnottar Castle
Strathisla Distillery
The Hermitage
Areas covered

Day 1Take in the highlights of Scotland's capital


Edinburgh, Scotland's historic capital city, is bound to leave an impression on you. You could easily spend weeks discovering its many fantastic attractions, hidden gems and vibrant cultural scene. Today's stops will give you a real feel for this beautiful city's unique character, fascinating past and unbridled charm.

  • Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh - City Centre

    Edinburgh Castle in the sunshine

    Towering over the city, you won't be able to miss Edinburgh Castle. As well as offering spectacular views of the skyline, it's home to the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny. On your visit, uncover Scotland's military history in the National War Museum and take in the haunting National War Memorial. Once you've explored the castle, wander down the Royal Mile to take in this famous thoroughfare - it's lined with an eclectic range of shops, pubs, eateries and historic closes, and you can also find St Giles' Cathedral in the middle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the bottom of the street.

    Plan your trip to Edinburgh Castle
    Castle Hill,Edinburgh - City Centre,EH1 2NG
    Key facilities
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Level Access
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  • National Museum of Scotland Edinburgh - City Centre

    National Museum of Scotland

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    Not only is the National Museum of Scotland free to visit and full of thousands of incredible objects, the building is an architectural masterpiece that should not be missed by fans of design. Take in the vast airy space of the Grand Gallery before moving into the galleries on art, design and science, which covers everything from Dolly the Sheep, a marvel of genetics, to the couture fashions of Vivienne Westwood, and the late Alexander McQueen. There are also fantastic temporary exhibitions to see. It's a real treasure trove!

    Discover the National Museum of Scotland
    Chambers Street,Edinburgh - City Centre,EH1 1JF
    Key facilities
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Hearing Loop
    • Level Access
    • Accessible toilets
    • WiFi
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  • Calton Hill and the National Monument Edinburgh

    The Edinburgh skyline viewed from Calton Hill

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    Edinburgh is a city best explored on foot, and for budding photographers or those keen to admire the stunning cityscape, it's time to head to Calton Hill to enjoy great views in the lingering light of the late afternoon. You'll see the National Monument, and art lovers can also pop into the Collective Gallery, one of the city's many art galleries. Afterwards, if you are ready for dinner, you could catch the 22 Lothian Bus to the Leith area of the city. It's one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in the UK and boasts three Michelin-star restaurants. Alternatively, wander along Princes Street or George Street to the city's West End.

    Walk up Calton Hill
    32 Greenside Road,Edinburgh,EH1 3AJ
  • Real Mary King's Close Edinburgh - City Centre

    Bottom of The Real Mary King's Close

    If you're keen to pack in one more attraction in the evening and want to find out more about the history of Edinburgh's Old Town, then take a tour of the Real Mary King's Close. Step into the past as you head below the Royal Mile to discover a warren of old streets and living and working quarters from the 17th century which have been forgotten for hundreds of years. As well as fascinating and detailed accounts of the people who occupied the close, there are also a few chilling tales to unearth - a must for any history lover or fans of the macabre! Alternatively, take a supernatural-themed walking tour to uncover more of Edinburgh's spooky side.

    Experience the Real Mary King's Close
    High Street,2 Warriston's Close,Edinburgh - City Centre,EH1 1PG
    Key facilities
    • Hearing Loop
    • Accessible toilets
    • WiFi
    • Cafe or Restaurant

Day 2Explore Fife & St Andrews


Leave Edinburgh and venture out into the Kingdom of Fife, taking the Queensferry Crossing. Look out for the remarkable structure of the Forth Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Forth Road Bridge. Follow the brown signs for the Fife Coastal Route to take in the sparkling coastline and the picturesque villages of the East Neuk.

  • The villages of the East Neuk of Fife Pittenweem

    Pittenweem perches on the rocks above the sea, its pink, white and grey houses topped with terracotta roof tiles and reflected in the water below.

    © Kenny Lam, all rights reserved.

    The East Neuk refers to a scattering of quaint fishing villages in the north east corner of Fife. With curious winding streets, ancient stone harbours, and original white-washed fisherman's cottages, they make the perfect place to stop, breathe in the sea air, and perhaps grab a refreshing cup of tea or coffee. In Pittenweem, wander to the pier to see colourful bobbing boats, or walk up Cove Wynd to find the tiny St Fillan's Cave, said to have been used as a chapel by the saint in the eighth century. Head to Anstruther to try famous fish and chips, before visiting the town's Scottish Fisheries Museum. It's here that you can hop on board The Reaper, a Fife sailing herring drifter featured in the TV series Outlander (access available by prior arrangement).

    Explore the East Neuk
  • St Andrews West Sands and Town Centre St Andrews

    Looking along West Sands towards the town, St Andrews, Fife

    © Richard Campbell, all rights reserved.

    Next, head to beautiful St Andrews, an historic university town. Work up an appetite before lunch with a bracing stroll along the town's iconic West Sands - a long, flat beach famously featured in Chariots of Fire (1981). West Sands lines the town's world-famous golf courses and lying not far from the south end of the beach is the famous Swilcan Bridge on the Old Course. Wander through the streets of the town and you'll find a range of boutique shops, cosy pubs, cafés and restaurants, as well as the ancient university campus, St Andrews Cathedral and St Andrews Castle.

    Visit St Andrews
    St Andrews
  • Eden Mill Distillery & Brewery Guardbridge

    Eden Mill new distillery

    If you fancy trying a local tipple, then book a late afternoon tour at Eden Mill Distillery & Brewery, just a 10 minute drive from St Andrews' town centre. Producing craft beer, small-batch gin and Scotch whisky, there's bound to be the perfect tour to match your palate. Perhaps you'll fall head over heels for the Love Gin, or enjoy a fusion of flavours as you sample the whisky barrel beer (but remember: it's against the law to drink and drive). From Eden Mill, head north and take the Tay Bridge across the waters of the silvery River Tay to Dundee.

    More about Eden Mill Distillery & Brewery
    Main Street,Guardbridge,Guardbridge,KY16 0US

Day 3Make Discoveries in Dundee

Day 4Head north to Aberdeen

Day 5Adventure from Aberdeen to Elgin

Day 6Weave through Royal Deeside to Highland Perthshire

Day 7Journey from Pitlochry to Edinburgh

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