Home to just under 500,000 people, Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city. However, don’t let its small size deceive you, Edinburgh’s population swells to more than double this when people come from all over the world for the summer festivals.  

Things to do in Edinburgh 

You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do in Edinburgh from exploring the treasures of the National Museum of Scotland and discovering Edinburgh Castle to climbing Arthur’s Seat to enjoy the spectacular views of the city.  

Edinburgh is a wonderful city to visit all year round. During August everything from small side-street venues to large concert halls brim with artists and festival goers. This is because Edinburgh is home to the world’s premier arts festival – the Edinburgh Festival Fringe!  

New Year is also an amazing time of year to visit Edinburgh when the Hogmanay celebrations take place and we play host to some of the world’s biggest parties! 

Scotland’s capital city also boasts an impressive range of dining options with more restaurants per head than any other city in the UK. This includes five Michelin-starred restaurants.

If you love getting up close and personal with some of the world's most impressive wildlife, then Edinburgh Zoo is the place to be. The 82-acre complex is just outside the city centre and is home to thousands of incredible animals from around the world. 

You’ll also have lots of opportunities to go shopping, with many designer brands set up in the city centre such as the UK’s own luxury department store Harvey Nichols.  

There's a great international feel to Edinburgh, with designer stores from all over the world, including Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Burberry, and Hugo Boss. No wonder people from all over the world bring a little extra spending money when visiting the city. 

If you love literature, Edinburgh is a great place to visit. In 2004, Edinburgh became a UNESCO City of Literature. It even has a 61-metre-tall monument to honour a great Scottish writer, Sir Walter Scott.

You can also visit one of the largest book festivals in the world, the Edinburgh International Book Festival.  

Not only is Edinburgh the UNESCO City of Literature, but the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh are one of six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Scotland.

You can explore the cobbled vennels and closes (another word for alleyways) of the medieval Old Town or enjoy the wonderful architecture that the New Town has to offer.  

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Glasgow is Scotland's biggest city, home to nearly 600,000 people. Glasgow was also known as the second city of the British Empire. There is incredible historic architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries which contrasts beautifully with modern buildings as the city continues to grow and thrive. 

Things to do in Glasgow  

There are plenty of things to see and do in the wonderful city of Glasgow from picturesque parks like Glasgow Green to award-winning museums like Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.  

Glasgow is also famous around the UK as a great shopping destination. From top fashion brands to quirky boutiques, Glasgow has something to suit everyone.  

Some of Britain’s greatest young fashion designers, including Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders and Deryck Walker, are from Glasgow. With the greatest concentration of creative industries in the UK outside London, Glasgow’s world-leading cultural life is constantly evolving. 

Glasgow dining is also hard to beat with over 2,000 bars and restaurants serving mouth-watering food! The city is packed with established Scottish restaurants as well as experimental establishments that are driving cuisine forward with the trademark Glaswegian charm. 

One of the reasons Glasgow has earned a reputation as such a fun place is its eclectic music scene - you'd expect nothing less from a UNESCO City of Music.  

Glasgow’s music scene covers every possible style of music over a staggering number of gigs each week. If you're a fan of live music, then Glasgow is the city for you. 

Glasgow is also a great city for cycling. Did you know that Glasgow is a UCI Bike City? In 2023, it hosted the first combined UCI Cycling World Championships! 

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With just under 150,000 people, Dundee is Scotland’s fourth largest city and in 2015 it became the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design.

Like Scotland’s other cities, it blends modern living with the opportunities afforded by the nearby countryside. Dundee is a centre of innovation, the birthplace of the best-selling video game Grand Theft Auto and is now the location of the V&A Dundee, the first V&A Museum outside of London.

Things to do in Dundee 

Dundee is a modern, vibrant, and compact city home to incredible attractions and hidden gems. 

Located on the waterfront of the city, the V&A Dundee is a must-see museum. The design museum was inspired by the dramatic cliffs of Scotland’s east coast and showcases the best of design from across Scotland and around the world. 

Dundee is also home to the Discovery Point and RRS Discovery (Royal Research Ship Discovery) where you can climb aboard the incredible ship, which carried Captain Scott on his first expedition across the Antarctic. Enjoy audiovisual shows and interactive experiences that will transport you to Antarctica to learn more about this heroic voyage.  

If you love the outdoors, Dundee is the place to be. The city has easy access to some incredible outdoor experiences such as hiking as well as wildlife-watching opportunities on the River Tay.  

The Riverside Walk is also a great trail to discover the main attractions of the city such as the V&A Dundee, the University of Dundee Botanic Gardens and Dundee’s recently transformed waterfront. You can also head along to Broughty Ferry Beach to enjoy spectacular views of the water. 

As a compact city, Dundee is a great place for exploring on foot or by bike. If you’re planning to get around the city by bike, Dundee’s Cycle Hub is the place to go to hire a bike and take a cycle tour. 

There are also great events in Dundee year-round. Make sure to check out the Jazz Festival and concerts in Slessor Gardens! 

More on Dundee at Visitscotland.com


Known as the granite city, Aberdeen is located on the northeast coast of Scotland. Aberdeen is famous for its granite buildings, monuments, beautiful beach, and dolphins. 

Aberdeen boasts the highest job density in Scotland, with over 500 energy companies based in the city, directly employing 25,000 people.

Aberdeen is changing and the city is using its knowledge of the energy sector to lead Scotland in a renewable energy revolution.

Things to do in Aberdeen  

Aberdeen enjoys a relaxed way of life, but with 195,000 inhabitants it’s still very lively and there is no shortage of things to do. Did you know that Aberdeen is home to key cultural attractions such as His Majesty’s Theatre?  

His Majesty’s Theatre is one of three venues operated by Aberdeen Performing Arts and is a great way to see a variety of musicals, family shows, ballet, dance, and opera.  

 As well as the ‘granite city’, Aberdeen is also known as ‘the city of the sea’. You can visit the Aberdeen Maritime Museum to learn about the city’s long relationship with the sea or explore the Greyhope Bay Centre to spot some dolphins.

With over 260 castles, stately homes and ruins, Aberdeenshire is known as ‘Scotland’s Castle Country’. Aberdeen is the perfect base to explore the surrounding castles and learn more about their history.  

Aberdeen has a great mix of city activities and lively outdoor opportunities due to its location. In Aberdeenshire, there is a golf course for every week of the year, and its coastline provides beautiful beaches for a relaxing getaway and a chance to surf and sail.   

You can also take a stroll in the beautiful grounds of Johnston Gardens, Seaton Park or one of many of Aberdeen’s green spaces such as Duthie Park. 

More on Aberdeen at Visitscotland.com


Inverness is Scotland’s most northerly city. At the heart of the Highlands, this city is placed perfectly for those who like to get out into the wild at the weekend while enjoying urban life in this compact but beautiful city. 

Inverness is rapidly changing and is one of Europe's fastest-growing cities with a third of the Highland population living in or around the city. 

Things to do in Inverness  

You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do and see in Inverness. You can learn more about the history of Inverness and the Highlands at the Culloden Battlefield or delve into the art and history of the Highlands at the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery. 

Located in the city centre, Inverness Castle is an ancient fortress which has been rebuilt several times. In 2025, the Inverness Castle Experience will be a new visitor attraction which will celebrate the Highlands of Scotland as a special place to live, work and visit. 

One of the most well-known locations in Scotland, Loch Ness, is only a 30-minute bus or car journey south from Inverness. It’s the perfect place to discover the tales and legends of the Loch Ness Monster as well as to explore the spectacular views.  

If you’re a fan of exploring the outdoors, Inverness has lots of beautiful trails to uncover such as the River Ness, an ideal walk for nature watchers. You can also explore Inverness and the surrounding areas on a famous long-distance trail known as the Great Glen Way. 

Inverness also offers a fantastic choice of events and festivals from music, golf championships and iconic Highland Games to art, history and heritage events. 

More on Inverness at Visitscotland.com


Perth received its city status from Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.

Known as ‘the fair city’ and the UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art, Perth is set on the banks of the River Tay in the east of Scotland.  

Perth is a city with a rich and influential history that stretches back over 800 years. Perth was once Scotland’s capital and has always been one of the most important political, judicial, and commercial centres in Scotland. At nearby Scone Palace, many of the Scottish kings were crowned on the Stone of Destiny

In March 2024, the Stone of Destiny moved to its new home at the recently renovated Perth Museum.

Things to do in Perth 

Today, Perth is a bustling city of around 50,000 inhabitants. It offers a range of entertainment, shops, cafés, and restaurants and is recognised as one of Scotland's premier culinary centres. 

Perth is also a fantastic city for exploring the outdoors, there is no shortage of trails and adventures to uncover. The River Tay Public Art Trail is a great place to view sculptures inspired by the river and its wildlife. Perth is also home to Kinnoull Hill, a hiking hotspot to enjoy spectacular views across the River Tay. 

You can also explore Perth’s incredible cultural attractions such as the new Perth Museum. The museum is the new home of the Stone of Destiny and displays Perth & Kinross’s Recognised Collections of National Significance as well as exhibitions from the UK and abroad. 

There’s also the opportunity to see the Unicorn – The Debut Exhibition at Perth Museum which runs until 22 September 2024. A great opportunity to learn more about Scotland’s national animal! 

Perth is also home to The Black Watch Museum, a building which is believed to date back to the 12th century where you can discover the history of Scotland’s oldest Highland Regiments.  

If you have a passion for art, you can explore the Perth Art Gallery, one of the UK’s oldest collections and discover works of art from local, Scottish and international artists.  

More on Perth at Visitscotland.com


Stirling is known as the 'Gateway to the Highlands', situated at the point where lowland Scotland and the Highlands meet.

It was once a pivotal strategic point and Scotland’s seat of power was at Stirling Castle. Nowadays it's a vibrant university city with great connections to the rest of the country. 

Things to do in Stirling 

There is so much to do and see in the historic city of Stirling. You can visit Stirling Castle and explore its stunning grounds and gardens or discover the famous National Wallace Monument to learn all about Sir William Wallace. Make sure to climb the spiral staircase of 246 steps to enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the city!  

Stirling is also home to the Battle of Bannockburn Visit Centre where you can experience medieval combat, discover the iconic statue of Robert the Bruce and learn more about Scotland’s history.

You’ll also be spoiled for choice when it comes to places to eat, shopping and events in Stirling. The city lights up at night, with many local pubs and bars gearing themselves towards a vibrant student population, with themed nights and DJs.

For those looking for a more relaxed experience, Stirling boasts a wide selection of traditional pubs and great restaurants. 

Stirling is also a great place to explore the beautiful countryside filled with glittering lochs, stunning mountains, and valleys. Take a stroll around King’s Park located at the foot of Stirling Castle or enjoy the spectacular views of Stirling, the Forth Valley and The Trossachs from Dumyat Hill.  

More on Stirling at Visitscotland.com


Dunfermline in Fife is Scotland’s youngest city, it received its city status in May 2022.  Did you know that long before Edinburgh held the title, Dunfermline was once the capital of Scotland?

Things to do in Dunfermline  

Dunfermline is one of Scotland’s historic cities with lots of unique sites and stories to uncover. The city is home to the Heritage Quarter, located at its heart. Here, you can visit Dunfermline Abbey and Palace, where some of Scotland’s medieval monarchs were laid to rest.  

The city’s 12th-century abbey is the final resting place of legendary Scottish figure, Robert the Bruce, as well as the burial site of 11 other Scottish monarchs. The city was also the birthplace of famous American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, in 1835. The city even has its own Carnegie Hall. 

Dunfermline is a fantastic city to explore on foot or by bike. You can take a stroll through Pittencrieff Park, a beautiful park gifted to the people of Dunfermline by Andrew Carnegie. Pittencrieff Park, or The Glen as it’s known locally, is a great place to see wildlife from squirrels to the park’s resident peacocks.  

Dunfermline is also known for its lively entertainment scene. From live music to comedy and theatre, there are so many ways to enjoy a range of cultural experiences. Visit the Alhambra Theatre to enjoy live performances by diverse artists or Fire Station Creative, a unique art gallery venue in the heart of the city. 

More on Dunfermline at visitscotland.com