Tours and activities
The Highlands attractions & tourist information
Find places to visit and things to do in the Scottish Highlands with these visitor guides.
13 Best Free Attractions in The Scottish Highlands
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 completely free-to-visit attractions in the Scottish Highlands that are suitable for all ages, including historic buildings, walking routes, museums, and public parks.
Bealach na Ba: Complete Visitor Guide
The Bealach na Ba is a twisting mountain pass on the Applecross Peninsula in Wester Ross, Highland. This single-track road rises over 2,000 feet (0.61 km) at its highest point and is famous for being one of the most scenic drives in the world, as well as one of the most dangerous due to its tight hairpin bends.
Ben Hope: Complete Visitor Guide
Ben Hope is a 3,170-foot Munro (a mountain over 3,000 feet) in the Sutherland area of Scotland. The mountains is best known for being the most northerly peak in mainland Britain and it offers a superb hike into the Highlands with spectacular views from the summit. Discover Ben Hope with this complete visitor guide.
Bidean Nam Bian: Complete Visitor Guide
Located on the south side of Glen Coe, Bidean nam Bian is the highest mountain in the county of Argyll. It rises to a 1,150-metre elevation but there are several flat plateaus along the ascent, making it a favourite with beginner and advanced hill walkers alike. Discover Bidean nam Bian in this guide which includes an overview and 360° photos.
Cairngorm Mountain Funicular: Complete Visitor Guide
Cairngorm Mountain is home to Scotland’s only funicular railway, which offers spectacular views from its highest point at 3,500ft (1.07 km). The Cairngorm mountain range is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts and year-round hill walkers, but many visitors go there just to experience the funicular. Discover this exciting attraction in this complete guide which features an overview and lots of handy visiting tips.
Castle Sinclair Girnigoe: Complete Visitor Guide
This castle (actually castles – more on that later) stands on one of the most dramatic viewpoints in Scotland (in my humble opinion) with a wild and windswept coastline that instantly brings to mind a scene from Game of Thrones rather than a tourist attraction thanks to its near-impenetrable cliff-face setting.
Castle Varrich: Complete Visitor Guide
Perched on top of an exposed promontory on the Kyle of Tongue sits Castle Varrich, a small fortified tower that offers superb views of Ben Loyal mountain from its sturdy viewing platform. The castle is easily accessed from a well-managed footpath that runs from the village of Tongue through woodland and fields. Discover Castle Varrich with this complete visitor guide.
Causeymire Wind Farm: Complete Visitor GuideTag: Trails & Routes
This pleasant walk will take you across Dale Moss near Thurso and up close to the Causeymire wind farm where you will see the impressive turbines generating power for the local area. There are lovely views to take in along the way on paths that are gravelled and well-maintained, making this wild part of northeast Scotland ideal for a winter stroll.
Culloden Battlefield: Complete Visitor Guide
The battle of Culloden was the last pitched battle to be fought on British soil, which saw the Jacobite uprising come to a final bloody end in 1746. The battlefield is open to visitors and features a large museum with interactive exhibits, a restaurant, and a viewing platform. Discover everything you need to know about Culloden Battlefield with this complete guide.
Duncansby Head: Complete Visitor Guide
Duncansby Head is located approximately 5 miles along the coast from John o’ Groats. It is the furthest northeast point of mainland Britain. The area is popular with visitors due to the number of seabirds that thrive in the area, especially the adorable puffins that are frequently seen nesting on the immense rock pinnacles of the Duncansby Stacks.
Dunrobin Castle: Complete Visitor Guide
Dunrobin Castle, located in Sutherland in the Northern Highlands, is the most northerly ancestral castle in Scotland and dates back to the early 1300s. The castle is styled after the great châteaus in France and it is widely recognized as the most beautiful historic building in Scotland.
Eilean Donan Castle: Complete Visitor Guide
The beautiful Eilean Donan Castle dates from the 13th century and is located on an island where three lochs meet in the Kintail National Scenic Area. The castle is a popular stopping-off point for tourists on their way to the Isle of Skye which lies just 10 miles to the west. Discover Eilean Donan Castle in this guide which includes an overview and useful visiting tips.
Faraid Head: Complete Visitor Guide
Faraid Head and Balnakeil Bay are located on a peninsula on the north coast of Scotland, 3 miles north of Durness. The peninsula is a popular tourist destination thanks to the wide expanse of golden beach at Balnakeil Beach which faces a shallow bay. The area behind the beach is covered in dunes and grasses that are a favoured nesting site for a variety of seabirds.
Fort George, Inverness: Complete Visitor Guide
Fort George was built in 1746 in the wake of the Battle of Culloden, and it is recognized as one of the largest 18th-century fortifications in the world. The fort is still in use today by the British Army, but it is also open for tourists to explore thanks to Historic Environment Scotland which maintains the on-site museums, munitions depot, and collections of historic weaponry.
Glen Etive: Complete Visitor Guide
Glen Etive is located in the Scottish Highlands between Loch Etive and the A82. The valley is surrounded by mountains and offers one of the most scenic walks in Scotland thanks to the combination of snow-capped peaks and the River Etive which runs alongside a single-track road for 12 miles. Discover the stunning landscape of Glen Etive with this guide which features an overview and useful visiting advice.
Glencoe Visitor Centre: Complete Visitor GuideTag: Trails & Routes
Glencoe Visitor Centre, set in the breathtaking landscape of Glencoe, contains a café, shop, and an exhibition about Glencoe and the infamous massacre. Discover Glencoe and the visitor centre in this handy guide which includes an overview and visiting advice.
Glenfinnan Monument: Complete Visitor Guide
The 18-metre Glenfinnan Monument commemorates the Jacobite uprising of 1745. It was built on the northern end of Loch Shiel in 1815 and is now managed by the National Trust for Scotland. Discover this fascinating historic monument and the stunning landscape it’s situated in with this complete guide.
Highland Wildlife Park: Complete Visitor GuideTag: Zoos & Animals
Sitting in around 260 acres of beautifully managed parkland in the Cairngorms, the Highland Wildlife Park showcases some of the wildlife that can be found in the mountains and wilderness areas of Scotland, as well as several species that are currently endangered in mountainous regions all over the world.
How to Plan a Trip to the Scottish Highlands: Ultimate Guide
The Scottish Highlands is a wild and mountainous region situated in the northwest of Scotland. Visitors to the Highlands can immerse themselves in a landscape of serene lochs and towering mountains along with some of Scotland’s largest forests and a rugged coastline that’s rich with wildlife. Discover how to plan a trip to the Scottish Highlands with this guide which covers how to travel, what the weather’s like, what to pack, and where to stay.
John O’ Groats: Complete Visitor Guide
John O’ Groats is a popular tourist destination on the northernmost tip of Scotland that has gained popularity since becoming a major stop on the NC500 tourist trail. The site includes several family-friendly attractions including an art gallery, gift shops and restaurants, but it is the signpost that’s the real draw and getting a photograph taken under it is at the top of most North-Scotland visitors ‘must-do’ lists.
Kilchurn Castle: Complete Visitor Guide
Kilchurn Castle is located near the A85 at the foot of Loch Awe in Argyll. The castle was built in the 15th century as the power base of the Campbells of Glenorchy but it is now managed by Historic Environment Scotland. Admission is free. Discover Kilchurn Castle with this complete visitor guide.
Loch Morar: Complete Visitor Guide
Loch Morar is a freshwater loch in the Lochaber region of the Scottish Highlands. The loch is the fifth-largest in Scotland and is the deepest body of freshwater in the United Kingdom, with the deepest sections plummeting to an incredible 310 metres. As well as being a popular location for water sports, Loch Morar offers visitors a number of superb lochside walking trails and several secluded beaches.
Loch Morlich: Complete Visitor Guide
Loch Morlich is a stunning freshwater loch located deep in the heart of the Cairngorm mountain range and Glenmore forest. The loch features a sand beach, a sports centre, and a yacht club. There are lots of paths surrounding the loch that run through the forest, and the Glenmore Forest Visitor Centre and the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre are just a 10-minute walk away.
Loch Ness: Complete Visitor Guide
Loch Ness is one of the most famous, most visited, and most photographed tourist attractions in Scotland. It is best known for the mysterious monster that’s rumoured to live in the loch’s 230-metre depths but it is also a popular tourist destination with visitors who come to sail along it on pleasure cruises. Discover everything you need to know about visiting Loch Ness with this complete guide.
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