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Forth Bridge, South Queensferry

Attractions

How to draw famous landmarks from Scotland

If you've ever thought that you're not talented enough to try drawing, we're here to prove you wrong. And with Scotland as your inspiration, we'll have you sketching away in no time!

We're going to show you how to create Scottish drawings of 20 iconic landmarks, with easy step-by-step video tutorials that are perfect for beginners. Held a pencil before? No worries - we've got more challenging sketches for you.

There will be new videos added every week, so keep checking back to see what's next and "travel" right around Scotland with us, or look below for a sneak peak of the images we'll be using.

Whatever your sketching ability, grab a bit of paper and a pencil and start drawing our famous landmarks from home and before long, you'll be planning a trip in real life to your favourite spots and sketching in person. Wouldn't that be a day out to remember?!

What you'll need to create your Scottish drawings:

  • A piece of paper is enough, but a hardback spiral sketchbook works well if you're planning to tackle our full series!
  • Any pencil, but a range of different ones will help if you want different tones (HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, etc)
  • A pencil sharpener
  • A rubber (or eraser if you're from across the pond!)
  • A good seat and desk

Tutorials by difficulty rating

Choose a drawing and have a go yourself:

Check out your drawings and share with us:

Easy sketches of Scotland

These sketches are a great place to start for anyone new to sketching. Try out the following landmarks, including the Dark Sky Observatory, Scottish Crannog Centre, Italian Chapel, Bow Fiddle Rock, Duff House, Caerlaverock Castle and Tobermory.

Let's see what you can create!

The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, Ayrshire

Scotland enjoys some of the darkest skies in Europe thanks to large areas of low light pollution, especially in rural areas hidden away from large centres of urban settlement.The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory is a public observatory located on a hilltop site in south west Scotland.

The observatory is situated in the Galloway Forest Park, an area famous for its amazingly dark skies. This corner of Scotland owns the proud title of the UK's first 'Dark Sky Park' and is a part of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere. An ideal spot for anyone wanting to appreciate the wonders of the universe, on clear nights you can spot over 7,000 stars and planets visible to the naked eye.

Although the observatory remains closed at the moment, it is a great attraction to bookmark for the future, with a powerful telescope and planetarium to enjoy as well as a programme of educational events.

Learn more about Scotland's dark skies - we've got a new video series featuring expert guidance, what to look out for in Scotland's night sky and a handy toolkit to download.

The Scottish Crannog Centre, Perthshire 

The Scottish Crannog Centre is a thatched roundhouse built in the shallows of Loch Tay. This awe-inspiring attraction, combined with its moody loch-side setting, is a real sight to behold. The crannog (which means basket) is timber-built and features a pointed thatched roof. With the picturesque Ben Lawers mountain range framing the background, this is the perfect Scottish landmark to sketch.

The centre is a stroll from Kenmore village, a few miles from Aberfeldy or Killin and within two hours of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

It opened following the reconstruction of an Iron Age Crannog as an archaeological experiment.

Although you cannot visit right now, why not plan to visit in the future for a unique insight into life in Scotland during the Iron Age?

Italian Chapel, Lamb Holm, Orkney

The northerly isles of Orkney played an important role in both World Wars, and hauntingly powerful wartime relics remain today. The beautifully ornate Italian Chapel is an excellent subject for your next sketching session. It was built by Italian prisoners of war seeking a place to worship on the island of Lamb Holm while stationed in Orkney during the Second World War. 

Among the Italians in the camp was an artist, who was given the task of transforming two Nissen huts into a chapel. He worked together alongside a blacksmith, a cement worker as well as many others, to create and construct this incredible building. 

Why not learn more about the history of the Orkney isles and start planning for a future trip?

Bow Fiddle Rock, Portknockie 

Bow Fiddle Rock is a stunning rock formation which juts out of the sea on the stunning coastline between Portknockie and Cullen in Moray Speyside.

Resembling the tip of a bow, this striking rock formation is actually part of a huge quartzite (called the Cullen Quartzite) that forms the coastline from Buckpool in the west end of Buckie to Logie Head on the east side of Cullen. The distinctive sloped sides were caused by the impact of two ancient continents colliding hundreds of millions of years ago.

Once travel restrictions ease, the fastest route to Bow Fiddle Rock is from Portknockie. If you have more time to explore, the 2.5 hour walking route Cullen Bay and Portknockie Circuit begins at Cullen and follows the dramatic coastline to Portknockie, passing Bow Fiddle Rock along the way.

A rare occurrence takes place for around a week twice a year. If you are able to visit during May and August, you may be lucky enough to catch the sun rising through the arch.

Duff House, Banff

Duff House in Banff, Aberdeenshire, is a baroque-style mansion built in 1740 by William Duff, the 1st Earl Fife and Viscount Macduff.

The house was a hugely expensive project, built around the time of the Jacobite Risings and the start of the industrial revolution. At this time, Scottish lords were abandoning old castles in favour of spacious and comfortable houses. Duff and his architect, William Adam, fell out over money so the curved east and west wings of the original plan were never built!

The exterior of the house is perfect for sketching, with its grand Georgian aesthetic - two sweeping outside staircases meeting on the first floor, lavish carved details and tall windows. These are classic features of the Adam's architecture and the building epitomises Georgian glamour at its best. The interior of the house a significant art collection, the walls are adorned with magnificent paintings, and now displays collections from the National Galleries of Scotland.

Once it reopens, visit the restored house to learn about its many stories, and enjoy a wander through the landscaped grounds, set out with carriage drives and ornamental follies.

Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfries & Galloway

Not only is Caerlaverock Castle a stunning example of a medieval fortress, it’s also the contender for the title of the most unusual castle in Scotland. 

Found within National Nature Reserve not far from Dumfries in the south west of Scotland, this striking yet lonely structure looks quite ordinary from a distance; it’s not until you're closer that you get a glimpse of its unusual character – its triangular shape. 

Built in the 13th century, Caerlaverock survived several sieges. Although in a ruined state today, it maintains many of its atmospheric features. Step inside the walls of this castle and you'll feel like you've stepped back in time. Admire the beautiful red sandstone, explore the twin-towered gatehouse and take note of the imposing battlements.

Don't forget, we've got hundreds of stunning castles in Scotland!

Tobermory, Isle of Mull

The Isle of Mull's main town, Tobermory is bursting with colour and is one of Scotland's prettiest ports.

Built as a fishing port in 1788 on a design by Thomas Telford, the town curves around the harbour and rises into the hillside beyond.

The town's main street is a mix of shops, eateries, hotels, a wonderful local museum, guest houses and has an excellent selection of locally produced arts and crafts.

When you can visit again, don't miss a visit to the Tobermory Distillery and enjoy a delicious chippy at The Mishnish, a pub selling the fresh seafood straight from the harbour. You can sail to the island from Oban in 45 minutes.

Learn more about the Isle of Mull, part of Argyll & The Isles and Scotland's third largest island.

Medium Sketches of Scotland

These sketches are a little more of a challenge. Grab your pencil and capture the magic of the Calanais Standing Stones, Riverside Museum, V&A Dundee, the Old Man of Hoy, Culross Palace, The Kelpies, St Abbs Lighthouse and Dunfermline Abbey.

Riverside Museum, Glasgow

Situated on the banks of the Clyde, the Riverside Museum is a celebration of Glasgow's ship building history and heritage.

Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the building is a prominent landmark on the Clyde, which opened to visitors in 2011. The building's design, with its unique zig zag roof, is thought to flow and connect the modern city to the river.

Berthed outside you will find the Tall Ship Glenlee, the UK's only floating Clyde-built sailing ship, which has been around the world four times.

When the museum reopens, look forward to seeing over 3,000 exhibits and the chance to wander down a recreated old Glasgow street, complete with shops and trams, and imagine life back in the olden days. 

Find out more about visiting Glasgow and make plans for a future visit.  

Calanais Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis

The Calanais Standing Stones are located on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis are ancient monoliths said to be older that the Pyramids of Giza.

A mysterious circle of 13 stones with a monolith in the centre, it is believed that the majestic stones date back to around 2,900 BC. Forming one of the most complete stone circles in Britain, the site's ageless mystery, impressive scale and undeniable beauty leaves a lasting impression.

No one really knows why the standing stones exist. One guess is that they formed some kind of astronomical observatory. See if you can recreate the unique atmosphere of this historic site in your next drawing.

Learn more about the Outer Hebrides and make plans for a future island adventure.

V&A Dundee, city of Dundee

Dundee, a UNESCO City of Design, has built a memorable reputation over the years for being a hub of innovation and creativity.

The city is now the proud home to V&A Dundee, Scotland’s first design museum. It opened its door to the world in September 2018 and is the only V&A museum in the world, outside of London. It has become the global home for Scotland’s design heritage. 

Although the museum is currently closed, the building itself is a striking piece of architecture – so sketchbooks at the ready! Anchored in the River Tay, the museum reconnects Dundee with its historic waterfront. Designed by internationally acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the unique shape is inspired by the dramatic cliffs of Arbroath, along the east coast of Scotland. 

The iconic Dundee waterfront is home to another incredible attraction. Located on the shoreline adjacent to V&A Dundee lies Discovery Point, home to Captain Scott’s RRS Discovery, a ship that sailed to the Antarctic on one of the most heroic voyages of exploration ever undertaken.

Keep an eye on the V&A Dundee website for details about future exhibitions.

Old Man of Hoy, Orkney

The Old Man of Hoy is a famous 450 ft sea stack standing tall off the coast of the Orkney island of Hoy. The sea stack is surrounded by swirling seabirds and sandstone cliffs, with waves crashing onto the rocks below.

When travel restrictions ease, one of the best ways to see this feature is along the three-hour round trip walk from Rackwick to the Old Man of Hoy. Sunset is the perfect time to admire its beauty before heading back.

Keep an eye out for the majestic peregrine falcon which can be seen circling along the route as it hunts for prey.

You can also see the 'Old Man' from the daily Scrabster to Stromness ferry route, when it is running again.

Learn more about visiting Orkney.

Culross Palace, Fife

Culross (pronounced coo-russ) is a jewel of a village - a living museum and one of the most complete examples of a burgh in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The village is now cared for by the National Trust for Scotland.

Step into the past as you wander along the charming, peaceful cobbled streets which were once full of the hustle and bustle of a thriving port on the River Forth; admire the white-harled houses with red-tiled roofs; and in the centre of the town discover the mustard-yellow painted Culross Palace.

It features tiny rooms, mysterious passageways and intricately painted ceilings. Together with beautifully reconstructed period garden, complete with herbs, fruit and vegetables and rare Scots Dumpy hens, the Palace makes for great day visit.

It's little wonder that Culross is often referred to as one of the most picturesque villages in Scotland and frequently features as a film and television location, incuding in the the famous Outlander TV series.

The Kelpies, Falkirk

The Kelpies, designed by Scottish sculptor Andy Scott, are the largest pair of equine sculptures in the world.

Towering 30 m above the Forth & Clyde Canal, The Kelpies are a feat of engineering, each made with 300 tonnes of structural steel, and are a monumental tribute to the horse power heritage that was vital to the early industries of central Scotland.

You can also see them from the road if you're driving along the M9.

These two steely steeds are the centre piece of The Helix, which lies between Falkirk and Grangemouth in the Forth Valley. This recreational space, which has 27 km of pathways to discover, opened in September 2013.

Why not plan a weekend in the region and check out other incredible attractions in the area, such as the Falkirk Wheel?

Find out more about visiting Helix Park

St Abbs, Scottish Borders

The Berwickshire coastal village of St Abbs in the Scottish Borders is simply gorgeous.

The lighthouse itself was built by the Stevenson brothers (famous for their lighthouses as well as family connection to Robert Louis Stevenson) in 1872. Although it is not open to the public, you can admire it along the St Abbs Circular walking route. Or, you can even book a stay in one of the lighthouse cottages.

St Abbs is surrounded by amazing views and wildlife - it is part of the clifftop St Abb's Head National Nature Reserve which stretches across 200 acres of wild and rugged coastline and is home to thousands of nesting seabirds in the summer.

It makes for an idyllic day out with the lighthouse, crystal clear waters and a lovely circular walk to enjoy. Be careful around the clifftop section, and don't forget to look out for the clear waters below. The great visibility in the waters makes it a popular spot for scuba divers.

You can drive there in about an hour from Edinburgh. Why not continue south to Coldingham to check out the beach there too? It's a haven for surfers.

Fans of the Marvel series of films might recognise the village from its starring role in Avengers: Endgame. It acts as the fictional village of New Asgard.

Dunfermline Palace and Abbey, Fife

Dunfermline Palace and Abbey is in the heart of Scotland's ancient capital, Dunfermline, Fife.

Founded by Queen Margaret as a priory in the 11th century, and later elevated to abbey status by King David I in the 12th century, over time it became arguably one of the grandest abbeys in the whole of Scotland. 

Substantial remains of the original church, domestic buildings and palace still stand, and it's easy to see why this ever-glorious ruin have all who visit in awe. Admire the building's hugely impressive nave, beautiful wide mullioned windows and elaborate vaulting, and make sure you go up a level and take in the breathtaking views across the glen from the palace windows.

Dunfermline Abbey is also a royal mausoleum. Some of Scotland's greatest medieval monarchs were laid to rest here, including King Robert the Bruce (whose name is memorialised in the parapet of the church tower) and seven other Scottish kings.

Difficult sketches of Scotland

Now, these sketches are even trickier, but the end result will be well worth it. Sketch these beautiful landmarks, including the Forth Bridge, The Pineapple, Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, Abbotsford House and Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Don't forget to show off your masterpieces on social media using #SketchingScotland.

The Forth Bridge, between Edinburgh & Fife

For over 125 years, the Forth Bridge has been carrying train passengers over the Firth of Forth between the capital city of Edinburgh and Fife, all in the east of Scotland.

It's made of 53,000 tonnes of mild steel (that's also 10 times the amount used to build the Eiffel Tower!) creating an immense red structure with three diamond-shaped cantilevers.

The bridge is Scotland's sixth World Heritage Site and was built by 4,500 men over the span of eight years, finishing in 1890.

It stretches two and half kilometres between the villages of South Queensferry and North Queensferry, making it the world's longest cantilever bridge and Britain's first all-steel bridge.

Celebrate this icon with a walk or cycle in the area in the future, and make sure to stop at one of these 10 top Forth Bridges viewpoints  when you are able to see it in real life - why not try sketching all three bridges over the Forth?

The Pineapple, near Falkirk & Stirling

It's often described as the most bizarre building in Scotland, but we love sketching this exotic structure!

The Pineapple is a detailed summerhouse which sits in Dunmore Park in Airth, near Falkirk, and was built for the 4th Earl of Dunmore in 1761 as a birthday present for his wife. It's thought the fruity dome was added to in 1777 when Lord Dunmore returned to Scotland from serving as Governor of Virginia.

In the Caribbean, sailors would put pineapples on the gatehouse to announce their return home. Lord Dunmore, who was fond of a joke, announced his homecoming more prominently. At this time, pineapples were among Scotland's most exotic foods.

The structure sits in a walled garden, where you can take a walk in the future through the orchard of crab-apple trees or enjoy a peaceful stroll around the pond and through the surrounding woodland. The grounds are also an oasis for wildlife, where you may catch a glimpse of the rare great crested newt, as well as palmate newts and common frogs.

The most impressive architectural rendering of this fruit, the Dunmore Pineapple has been available to rent as a holiday home before.

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, Shetland

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse is a visitor centre, nature reserve and a must-visit attraction on Shetland, situated on the Sumburgh cliffs on the southern tip of the Shetland Mainland. You can see the lighthouse from land and sea for miles around.

It is the oldest lighthouse in Shetland, designed by Robert Stevenson in 1821. In 2014, the site underwent a redevelopment to preserve the lighthouse's amazing history and heritage.

For a truly unique experience, you can book a stay at Sumburgh Head Lighthouse or just pop in for a visit and find out about this well-known Shetland lighthouse.

Set high on the cliffs, you can explore the smithy, engine rooms and radar huts but also enjoy panoramic views from the Education Centre and in the new Marine Life Centre. 

This coastal spot is a haven for wildlife, with whales and nesting seabirds known to frequent in the summer months. Meet puffins up close in Shetland on the Sumburgh Head webcams.

It also appeared in the BBC 1 drama series, Shetland.

Sumburgh is also a transport hub on Shetland, with an airport serving several Mainland locations in Scotland, including Aberdeen, Kirkwall and Edinburgh.

Abbotsford House, Melrose, Scottish Borders

Abbotsford House is located near the town of Melrose in the Scottish Borders.

Set in beautiful grounds on the banks of the River Tweed, the house was built by one of Scotland's most-loved novelists, Sir Walter Scott. Abbotsford sits amongst the landscape that inspired some of Scott's best novels such as The Waverley Novels and Lady of The Lake.

Scott began work on the house and gardens in the early 1800s. The house is an example of Scottish Baronial architecture from this time period and it started its life as a modest farmhouse. As Scott's writing career flourished, he acquired more land and increased the size of his estate.
 
The gardens at Abbotsford House are extensive and full of paths, trees and character. Sir Walter Scott was ahead of his time, in terms of looking after his health and wellbeing. He believed in fresh air and outdoor activities to boost his wellness. This belief perhaps inspired the grounds of Abbotsford House which still inspire a sense of calm as you explore.

Glenfinnan Viaduct, Highlands

Part of the legendary West Highland Line between Fort William and Mallaig (which is widely regarded as one of the greatest railway journeys in the world), the Glenfinnan Viaduct needs little introduction.

Built in 1901 by rail and road engineer Sir Robert McAlpine, this 1,248 ft (116 m) long iconic structure is made up of 21 arches that curve around the valley and support the railway line 100 ft (30 m) above the River Finnan.

It overlooks the Glenfinnan Monument and the waters of Loch Shiel and is surrounded by some of Scotland's most splendid scenery.

Glenfinnan Viaduct is one of the most recognised film locations in Scotland - mainly as the bridge that carries the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts in Harry Potter series of films.

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