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Travel: Magnificent seven cities in Scotland with sights galore

© KENNY LAMWater of Leith flows through Dean Village
Water of Leith flows through Dean Village

From fine dining to gorgeous green spaces and great days out, Scotland’s cities are packed with hidden gems, rich histories and stunning views.

Whether you are a culture vulture, history buff or adventure seeker, there is something for everyone in Scotland’s cities.


Edinburgh Castle and skyline seen from Salisbury Crags

A short walk from some of the capital’s most famous sights lies Dean Village.

Bordering the Water of Leith, it boasts breathtaking architecture. Take a relaxing stroll along the water’s edge, admiring the distinctive sandstone mills and stylish Tudor revivals. The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is nearby.

Elsewhere, St James Quarter is set to become a hub for art, culture and fashion.


Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre’s mechanical exhibits © Robin Mitchell
Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre’s mechanical exhibits (Pic: Robin Mitchell)

Enjoy a peaceful walk in Botanic Gardens. Visit Kibble Palace, a striking greenhouse designed by inventor and engineer John Kibble, which features fine marble statues surrounded by vivid flowers, tropical palms and the National Collection of Tree Ferns.

Founded by sculptor-mechanic Eduard Bersudsky and theatre director Tatyana Jakovskaya in St Petersburg in 1989, Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre has been captivating Scottish audiences for almost two decades.

Its enthralling performances see carved figures controlled by steampunk-style machinery, combining with lights and music to tell beautiful stories.


Dundee’s urban beach opens last month © Mhairi Edwards
Dundee’s urban beach opens last month (Pic: Mhairi Edwards)

The UK’s first Unesco City of Design made headlines around the world when V&A Dundee opened in September 2018.

Since then the city has set its sights on becoming one of the country’s top destinations. Feel the sand beneath your toes at the Waterfront Place urban beach, looking out on to the River Tay.

Open/Close Dundee, an exciting street art project, showcases the best in local and international talent. The city-centre art trail aims to brighten up unexplored nooks and crannies.

Take a self-guided tour, heading off the beaten track and discovering hidden alleyways of artwork.


© Supplied by Atmosphere1/Shutters
Union Street, Aberdeen

Think of Aberdeen and it’s likely its famous granite buildings and monuments are among the first things that come to mind. Whether it’s admiring its architecture and street art or strolling to the harbour to catch sight of dolphins, Aberdeen is packed with exciting experiences.

Beneath a historic railway arch, you’ll find City of Aberdeen Distillery. Sample delightful gins, take a tour and try a masterclass.

Winner of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2020, Aberdeen Art Gallery is home to one of the finest collections in the UK, housed in one of the city’s finest buildings.

Having reopened after a multi-million-pound transformation, it is one of the city’s most exciting attractions boasting a collection of works by important artists, designers and makers.


An aerial view of Inverness © Jeff Holmes JSHPIX/Shutterstock
An aerial view of Inverness (Pic: Jeff Holmes)

A compact, cosmopolitan city, Inverness has the wonders of the Highlands on its doorstep.

Take a walk along the banks of the River Ness. Seals and seabirds can be spotted between the two road bridges that run through the city. Upstream are the beautiful Ness Islands.


© Steve MacDougall/DCTMedia
A walk through Perth

Home to palaces, museums, gardens and stunning scenery, there is plenty to discover in Perth.

After a spot of sightseeing, grab a bite in one of the city’s great independent coffee shops or restaurants.

Perth Medieval Trail gives visitors a glimpse of what the Fair City was like in the 15th Century.

Follow the River Tay Public Art Trail. The sculptures are inspired by the river and its wildlife, the city, its history, its poets, and its life.


© Shutterstock / mountaintreks
Stirling Castle with Ben Vorlich, right, and Stuc a’Chroin in the distance

What Scotland’s smallest city lacks in size it more than makes up for with historic attractions, stunning scenery and character, not to mention shopping, places to eat and exciting events.

Follow in the footsteps of Robert the Bruce at an award-winning visitor centre. The Battle of Bannockburn experience uses 3D technology to bring history to life. View the battleground and restored commemorative monuments, including the iconic statue of Robert the Bruce.

P.S. The south of Scotland has launched a campaign to become the UK’s City of Culture in 2025. The combined bid aims to secure the status for Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.


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