For almost 400 years Arbroath Abbey was one of the grandest monasteries in Scotland. Founded in 1178 by King William I, ‘the Lion’, in memory of the martyr Thomas Becket, the abbey is famous in history for its association with the Declaration of Arbroath, in which Scotland’s nobles swore their independence from England.
The visitor centre tells the story of the Abbey and a new display relates how the Stone of Destiny came to the abbey in 1951.
1 April – 30 September, Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun, 9.30am to 5.30pm (last entry 5pm)
1 October – 31 March , Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun, 10am to 4pm (last entry 3.30pm)
Signal Tower Museum
Signal Tower Museum is located near Arbroath's picturesque and busy harbour, in a complex of buildings originally used as the shore station and family accommodation for the Bell Rock Lighthouse. Built in 1813, Signal Tower served the lighthouse until 1955. It was adapted for the museum in 1974.
Both the lighthouse and the Signal Tower were built for the Northern Lighthouse Board, by Robert Stevenson, founder of the famous Stevenson dynasty of lighthouse builders.
The Bell Rock Lighthouse still stands, 11 miles off-shore from Arbroath, on a dangerous semi-sunken reef. More than 200 years after its construction, the Bell Rock is Britain's oldest surviving and operational rock lighthouse.
Within the Signal Tower Museum, models, multi-media displays and historic objects explain the history of the lighthouse and allow visitors to explore the dangers of the sea. Stories of Arbroath's fishing and maritime industries are interwoven with tales of Arbroath Smokies and of the pirate Ralph the Rover.
There is also a wealth of information about Auchmithie and the hard lives endures by those who made their living from the sea. Entrance is free and the museum is open from 10am-5pm Tuesday to Saturday all year. Click the button below to find out more.
Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre
Address: Waldron Rd, Montrose DD10 9BD, Scotland
Phone Number: +44 1674 678222
This is a fascinating place detailing over 100 years of aviation history. Well worth a visit. The volunteers who run it offer a friendly welcome and have a wealth of knowledge.
Britain’s first operational military airfield was set up in Montrose by the Royal Flying Corps in 1913. The heritage centre’s collection of photographs and artifacts tell the story of RFC/RAF Montrose through the words and deeds of the men and women who served here through two world wars, bringing the airfield alive and sparking the enthusiasm and admiration of generations for whom the First and Second Wars exists only in others’ memories.
House of Dun Address: Montrose DD10 9LQ, Scotland
Phone Number: 44167481062
This handsome Georgian house boasts stunning interiors and outside, visitors can explore the garden and woodland walk.
House of Dun is a Georgian building overlooking the Montrose Basin, designed and built by William Adam in 1730 for David Erskine, Lord Dun.
A visit to this beautiful stately home and gardens are a lovely way to while away an afternoon. Of course there’s a tea shop too!
Dunninald House – Off A92 Montrose To Arbroath Road, Montrose DD10 9TD, Scotland
Phone Number: +44 1674 672031
Guided tours of the house and gardens are carried out by the family who own it. Fascinating insights into the family history are told through the personal possessions accumulated over nearly two hundred years. The walled gardens are stunning.
William Lamb Studio, 24 Market Street, Montrose, DD10 8NB.
The studio houses a unique collection of works by Montrose artist and sculptor William Lamb. He was born in Montrose in 1893. Lamb sculpted many society figures – including the Queen Mother and both the Queen and Princess Margaret, as young girls. Lamb’s main body of work was inspired by the everyday people and places around Montrose. The Studio was designed by Lamb himself and has been preserved much as it was when he worked there. Visitors can also see his workroom, with tools, and his living room, featuring self-styled furniture.
Steptoes – if you enjoy looking at old curios, china, pottery, and furniture and enjoy bartering then this is the place for you! There are three huge barns full of antiques (junk?) from old gramophones, top hats, dinner sets, clocks, dressing tables, chairs, books etc. Peter is the owner. Nothing is priced and it’s worth haggling a bit (well it’s all part of the fun!). Steptoes is signposted off the A92. Go through Montrose, follow signs for A92 and it’s a couple of miles out of Montrose.
Caledonian Railway Station Road, Brechin
The Caledonian Railway is volunteer run. You can sit back and watch the world go by on one of the heritage trains. Throughout the year special trips are organised from A Day Out with Thomas, the Easter Eggspress and the Frying Scotsman. You can also hop on board to visit House of Dun, or the Montrose Air Station.
The Jewel in the Crown of the seaside town of Stonehaven is Dunnotar Castle. It’s a spectacular ruined fortress with a cliff top setting. It’s a short walk from the town to reach it but one that would be best tackled in sturdy footwear. It’s all outdoors, so best to go on a nice day. Most famously though, it was at Dunnottar Castle that a small garrison held out against the might of Cromwell’s army for eight months and saved the Scottish Crown Jewels, the ‘Honours of Scotland’, from destruction.
Stonehaven has become a must visit destination at Hogmanay. The stunning Fireball Ceremony heralds in the New Year. Blazing cages of fire are swung around by a procession of locals beginning at midnight. The tradition aims to burn off the bad spirits of the old year. There is usually an open air concert too. This year it’s a throwback to the 80s with Deacon Blue!
Tolbooth Museum at Stonehaven harbour it's the town's oldest building and is now packed with displays showcasing the building's turbulent past and the town's rich history. Entry is free.
Stonehaven Heated Outdoor Pool - this olympic sized pool is unique. The sea water is heated to a comfortable temperature, it's even more fun to swim when it's raining!
No visit to Stonehaven is complete without a sampling an ice-cream or sweet treat from E. Giulianotti on Evan Street. It's a treasure trove of old fashioned sweeties and wonderful homemade ice-cream. Yum!
Fowlsheugh and Crawton One of the most spectacular birdwatching sites in Britain is four miles south of Stonehaven with 130,000 breeding seabirds packed into the towering North Sea cliffs at Fowlsheugh. In the spring and summer you can hear, (and smell!) them before you see them - the resounding chorus of guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, puffins and fulmars is spectacular. the cliffs are also a splending look out for seals, dolphins and minke whales.
Dundee is now home to the new £80m V&A museum of design. It's an amazing building in a spectacular setting on the city's waterfront. Well worth a visit!. The views from the restaurant and viewing balcony are stunning. Next door is Scott’s Discovery. You can Climb aboard Captain Scott’s research ship RRS Discovery where you will follow in the footsteps of him and his crew, see how they lived, what they ate and witness their hardships and their triumphs. It’s a fascinating tale of one of the most heroic voyages of exploration ever undertaken, two years locked in Antartic ice. There is also a cafe and gift shop.
Verdant Works. Scotland’s Jute Museum weaves the tale of jute with the life and work of old Dundee, from the incredible rise of the industry to its subsequent decline. It’s a story that transports you back over 100 years when jute was king and Dundee was its realm. There are great interactive displays that will appeal to kids and adults alike. It’s amazing to think that 50,000 people were employed in 100 mills Jute mills in the city making Dundee the jute capital of the world.
I really enjoyed visiting this museum, it’s really well done with lots of interactive.
The McManus Dundee's art gallery and museum is in a magnificent building in the city centre, the largest monument to Prince Albert outside London. Displays span 400 million years to tell the city's fascinating history. Nowhere else could you find the famous Tay Whale and a Rossetti painting under one roof!
Broughty Castle Museum Broughty Castle sits imposingly at the mouth of the River Tay.Built in 1496 on a rocky promontory it has faced many sieges and battles. It houses fascinating displays on the life and times of the town, its people and the environment. There's a wonderful view from the observation room at the top.
Glamis Castle. It won the best UK attraction award for 2015. You can easily spend hours here, it was the childhood home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and birthplace of Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret. The Castle and Gardens are fascinating and of course there’s a cafe too in the victorian kitchen.
St Andrews. The home of golf, it’s obviously worth visiting St Andrews if you are a keen golfer, but it’s also a lovely place to spend an afternoon exploring the historic old town with it’s quirky shops and coffee shops.
This pretty little village is renowned for it’s memorial archway errected in 1864 to commemorate a visit by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1861 while they were staying at Balmoral.
Fettercairn Distillery is worth a visit. In operation since 1824, it’s one of Scotland’s oldest malt distilleries. Guided tours are available. The whisky is lovely too!
Crathes Castle. A stunning 16th Century tower house with turrets and towers, winding staircases, ornate ceilings and formal gardens. There is a cafe and gift shop, Go Ape, an aerial assault course (great fun, if a bit scary!), and an art studio. Having been on Go Ape twice I would recommend it, but only for adults and older children. But there’s plenty at the Castle to amuse wee ones too.
Ballater. The most picturesque ‘Victorian’ village in the heart of Royal Deeside. Ballater is surrounded by glorious countryside including the Dee River, Craigendarroch hill, Loch Muick, and Lochnagar. Located in the Cairngorms National Park, Ballater is 43 miles (69 km) west of Aberdeen and just 8 miles (13 km) fromBalmoral Castle. A nice place for lunch in Ballater is
Balmoral Castle. Set amongst the magnificent scenery of Royal Deeside, in the shadows of Lochnagar is the Balmoral Estate.
In her journals Queen Victoria described Balmoral as “my dear paradise in the Highlands”
2015 opening times
During August, September and October the grounds, gardens and exhibitions are closed to the Public as The Royal Family are in residence.
However winter guided tours will be available on a limited number of dates during late October, November and early December.
Braemar Castle. Is there no end to the castles? A huge community effort has saved this castle from ruin. Braemar is the only community run castle in Scotland and the people of the village believe passionately that the Castle is worth preserving for a wider audience to enjoy. Braemar Castle was built in 1628 in a commanding position overlooking the River Dee. The lands around the castle were owned by the Earls of Mar, hence the name Braemar, which translates as the ‘hills of Mar.’ The castle was an excellent place for the Earl to survey his domain and all who passed through it. Great fun to visit and really inspiring to see how locals have rallied together to raise money and donated their blood, sweat and tears too!