Central Scotland & Tayside

Doune Castle

Central Scotland

Central Scotland encompasses the country’s central belt, sitting north of Edinburgh and Glasgow and including both Lowland and Highland areas. The geography of Central Scotland is a delightful mix of rolling hills, lush farmlands, and vast lochs. The Grampian Mountains to the north and the Southern Uplands to the south define the area and offer a variety of different terrains for all types of adventurers.

The landscape of central Scotland is nothing short of breathtaking. The Campsie Fells (north of Glasgow) and Ochil Hills (north of Stirling) offer a combination of rugged beauty and tranquilly, as does the River Forth, a major waterway that flows through the region and merges with the River Teith a few miles west of Stirling.

Central Scotland also boasts a multitude of cities, towns and villages, each with their own unique charm. Stirling, known as the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’, is a city steeped in history, just like Falkirk, which is another must-visit thanks to the impressive Falkirk Wheel, the world’s only rotating boat lift that connects the Forth and Clyde Canals with the Union Canal.

Perth, once the capital of Scotland, is a great tourist destination as it features stunning architecture, a friendly community atmosphere, and the beautiful River Tay which separates the city from Scone Palace, the former crowning place of Scotland’s royalty.

Stirling Castle, a beautiful palace-fortress that rivals Edinburgh Castle, is an absolute must-see, just like the National Wallace Monument which commemorates the famed Scottish national hero, William Wallace.

For a unique experience, Helix Park and The Kelpies, the world’s largest equine sculptures, are just a stone’s throw away, while ancient sites like Dunblane Cathedral and Doune Castle (famous for appearing in TV shows such as ‘Outlander’) are a short drive away.

Stirling Castle

Tayside

Tayside, a region in eastern Scotland, is a mesmerising combination of gorgeous scenery and rich history, yet it’s one of the least visited areas in the country. Tayside is strategically located between the Central Lowlands to the south and west, the Grampian Mountains to the north, and the North Sea to the east. Its location makes it easily accessible from major cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as Aberdeen and Perth, so it’s a great area to use as a base to explore Scotland.

Geographically, Tayside is a study in contrasts. The landscape varies between rugged mountains, the fertile plains of Strathmore (also known as ‘Scotland’s larder’), an exceptionally pretty coastline from Carnoustie to Montrose, and the 120-mile River Tay, Scotland’s longest river, which flows through the region.

This diverse geography provides a habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna and makes it a haven for nature enthusiasts, especially at places like Seaton Cliffs Nature Reserve which is well known for its spectacular red sandstone cliffs.

Tayside also hosts a variety of towns and villages. Dundee, the region’s largest city, is a cultural hub that has become synonymous with innovative design thanks to the V&A Dundee which is Scotland’s first design museum. The city is also home to the RRS Discovery, Captain Scott’s Antarctic Expedition Ship, and the McManus which is one of the finest museums in the country.

The picturesque villages of Blairgowrie and Kirriemuir, meanwhile, are renowned for their quaint charm and offer a slower pace of life, even though they’re close to major tourist attractions like Glamis Castle which is widely regarded as being one of Scotland’s most beautiful fortresses. Additionally, nature lovers can explore the Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve or hike into the depths of Cairngorms National Park, while golfers can test their skills at the world-renowned Carnoustie Golf Links.

River Tay

Subcategories


Find places to visit and things to do in Central Scotland & Tayside with these visitor guides.

  • 13 Free Things to Do in Central Scotland

    13 Free Things to Do in Central Scotland

    Visiting Scotland’s tourist attractions can be an expensive business, especially for those visitors travelling with a family. In this article you will discover a list of free attractions in Central Scotland that are suitable for all ages, from historic buildings to nature trails.

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  • Ben Lawers

    Ben Lawers

    Ben Lawers is situated within a national nature reserve near Loch Tay in Perthshire. This mountain is the 10th-highest Munro in Scotland at 3,984 feet (1,214 metres) but it’s a popular destination for beginner mountain hikers thanks to the mid-way car park that offers a welcome shortcut to the summit. Discover Ben Lawers and the…

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  • Ben Ledi

    Ben Ledi

    Ben Ledi is an 879-metre high mountain in the lower Scottish Highlands. It can be found 5 miles north-west of the popular country village of Callander in the Trossachs National Park. The Trossachs are famous not just for their mountain ranges but also for their lochs which include the mighty Loch Lomond – one of…

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  • Blair Castle

    Blair Castle

    Blair Castle – situated near Blair Atholl in Perthshire – has been the ancestral home of Clan Murray since its construction in the 13th century. The castle is privately-managed but is open to the public for tours. Discover Blair Castle in this guide which features an overview and handy visiting advice.

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  • Blair Drummond Safari Park

    Blair Drummond Safari Park

    Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park is Scotland’s only safari park. The family-friendly attraction is home to over 350 animals, many of which are free to roam the 120-acre estate. Visitors can enjoy a drive through several animal enclosures before entering a large animal-themed adventure park.

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  • Bracklinn Falls

    Bracklinn Falls

    The Bracklinn Falls are a series of waterfalls situated within thick woodland near Callander in Central Scotland. Visitors to the site can follow a popular walking trail that follows the Keltie Water which offers close-up views of the falls. Discover the Bracklinn Falls with this complete visitor guide.

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  • Burncrooks Reservoir

    Burncrooks Reservoir

    Burncrooks reservoir is a man-made body of water that offers a picturesque walk as part of the John Muir Way between Balloch and Strathblane. There is a rough track that circles the reservoir and visitors can easily deviate onto single-track roads that cut through woodland alongside other bodies of water.

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  • Crieff Hydro

    Crieff Hydro

    The Crieff Hydro is a popular resort in the Perthshire countryside that offers a range of health-based activities as well as large grounds for walking and relaxation. The hotel boasts over 200 bedrooms and over 50 self-catering properties, as well as restaurants, cafes and bars that are open to both overnight guests and day visitors.

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  • Devil’s Pulpit

    Devil’s Pulpit

    The Devil’s Pulpit is a deep sandstone gorge hidden amongst the woodland and rolling fields of Finnich Glen, around 14 miles north of Glasgow. This geological curiosity earned its name from an unusual rock outcrop that legend says was the site of sermons given by the devil, perhaps inspired by the fact that the swirling…

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  • Dollar Glen & Castle Campbell

    Dollar Glen & Castle Campbell

    The 15th-century Castle Campbell is located on top of an outcrop overlooking the National Trust for Scotland-managed Dollar Glen in Clackmannanshire. The medieval castle is situated near the town of Dollar where it served as the ancestral home of the earls and dukes of Argyll, until being passed into the care of Historic Environment Scotland.…

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  • Doune Castle

    Doune Castle

    The medieval Doune Castle is one of the best-preserved curtain wall fortresses in Scotland. It has been made famous for its use in films including Outlander, Game of Thrones and Monty Python. Discover what it’s like to visit this famous historic attraction with this guide which includes an overview and handy visiting tips.

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  • Falls of Dochart

    Falls of Dochart

    The Falls of Dochart are a series of waterfalls on the River Dochart in the village of Killin, Perthshire. Find out everything you need to know about visiting the Falls of Dochart with this visitor guide which includes a 360° virtual tour, an overview, visiting advice, and a photo slideshow.

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  • Firth of Forth

    Firth of Forth

    The Firth of Forth is an estuary of several rivers, particularly the River Forth, located on Scotland’s east coast. It meets the North Sea with Fife to the north and the Lothian counties to the south, spanning approximately 50 miles from the west of Stirling to its widest point near the Isle of May. The…

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  • Glen Ogle

    Glen Ogle

    Glen Ogle lies in a particularly scenic area of Stirlingshire, 2 miles northwest of the village of Lochearnhead. The Glen is a popular tourist destination thanks to the Sustrans Route 7 which offers a superb cycle and walking route through the glen, where stunning views are on offer from Loch Earn to the Glen Ogle…

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  • Inchmahome Priory

    Inchmahome Priory

    Inchmahome Priory is a ruined monastic sanctuary located in an idyllic setting on an island in the lake at Port of Menteith, Stirlingshire. The historic attraction is managed by Historic Environment Scotland and is open to the public for self-guided tours. Discover Inchmahome Priory with this complete visitor guide.

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  • Loch Katrine

    Loch Katrine

    Loch Katrine is a freshwater loch situated in the heart of the Trossachs national park within the county of Perthshire. This famous body of water is 8 miles long and 1 mile wide, and in addition to being a popular destination for local day-trippers it is frequently visited by tourists due to its wide range…

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  • Loch Leven

    Loch Leven

    Loch Leven is a large expanse of water situated in the rural Scottish county of Perth and Kinross. The National Nature Reserve is renowned for the number of wildfowl that live there and in fact, it’s home to more breeding ducks than anywhere else in Europe.

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  • Loch Lomond Shores

    Loch Lomond Shores

    Loch Lomond Shores is a shopping and leisure complex located at the southern end of Loch Lomond in the town of Balloch. Visitors will discover a multitude of activities at the site including several high-end shops, cafes and restaurants, a sea life centre, a bird of prey centre, woodland walks, a food and craft area,…

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  • Rob Roy Way, Callander

    Rob Roy Way, Callander

    The Rob Roy Way is an 80-mile walking and cycling route between Drymen in Central Scotland and Pitlochry in Perthshire. This part of the route runs through the town of Callander to the village of Strathyre on attractive paths that border rivers, lochs, steep hills and open glens. The trail is flat and level so…

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  • Schiehallion

    Schiehallion

    Schiehallion is a 3,553-foot high mountain in Perth & Kinross which is one of the easiest Munros to climb in Scotland. The wide and rough footpath offers visitors superb views of the surrounding countryside on a hike to the summit that should take 3-4 hours in total. Discover Kelvingrove Park with this complete visitor guide.

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  • Scone Palace

    Scone Palace

    This red sandstone palace is located in the village of Scone just outside of Perth. As the original crowning site for the ancient kings of Scotland, it is one of the most important historic buildings in the country. Visitors can explore both the palace and the extensive grounds on self-guided tours as well as enjoy…

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  • Stirling Castle

    Stirling Castle

    Stirling Castle sits on top of Castle Hill in the historic city of Stirling where it has served as both a military fort and royal palace for over 900 years. Today, it is managed by Historic Environment Scotland and features guided and self-guided tours. Discover Stirling Castle with this article which includes an overview, visiting…

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  • The Best Things to Do in Central Scotland for Families

    The Best Things to Do in Central Scotland for Families

    The central belt of Scotland lies between the Scottish Borders and the Highlands, where it combines the best of both regions with some of the country’s finest mountains, lochs, and forests. You’ll find the pick of Central Scotland’s top family attractions in this article, along with an overview of each one and 360° photographs that…

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  • The Best Things to Do in Perthshire for Families

    The Best Things to Do in Perthshire for Families

    Perth & Kinross is the perfect location for family outings. The region has some of Scotland’s most scenic lochs and hill ranges, including Loch Leven and the Ochil Hills, and it’s a great place for hiking, cycling, fishing, and bird-watching. In this article, you’ll discover a few of the best family-friendly attractions in Perth and…

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