Top 20 Most-Visited Tourist Attractions in Scotland

Looking for the most popular attractions in Scotland? This list is based on actual visitor numbers from 2021*. We've got iconic castles, incredible museums, beautiful gardens and much more for you to explore.

Or if you're looking for something more off-the-beaten-track, check out these hidden gems for a unique experience.

*provided by the Moffat Centre Scottish Visitor Attractions Monitor 2021

  1. National Museum of Scotland Edinburgh

    Image: National Museum of Scotland entance (c) Andrew Lee

    © © Andrew Lee

    Free

    Set on Edinburgh's Chambers Street, the National Museum of Scotland is a treasure trove of ancient artefacts and precious objects. Not only a top tourist spot in Scotland, it's also one of the most popular attractions in the UK outside of London and offers a great, year-round programme of temporary exhibitions.

    Key facilities
    • WiFi
    • Hearing Loop
    • Accessible toilets
    • Level Access
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  2. Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh

    Image: Edinburgh Castle

    Paid

    Edinburgh Castle is a true icon of Scotland and has dominated the skyline of the capital for centuries. Unusually, it's set atop an extinct volcano. It takes the title of Scotland's most-visited paid-for attraction, and is, of course, one of the most popular tourist sites in Scotland.

    Key facilities
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Level Access
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  3. Scottish National Gallery Edinburgh

    Image: Scottish National Gallery

    © Owen Carey

    Free

    The Scottish National Gallery houses Scotland's national collection of fine art from the early Renaissance to the end of the 19th century. The walls of this top attraction are adorned with masterpieces, from Raphael, Velázquez and Vermeer to Monet, Cézanne and Van Gogh, as well as works of Scottish artists.

    Key facilities
    • WiFi
    • Hearing Loop
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Accessible toilets
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  4. Riverside Museum Glasgow

    Image: Riverside Museum

    Free

    Opened in 2011, the spectacular Riverside Museum sits on the River Clyde and is home to the Glasgow Museum of Transport. It is full of fascinating objects and vehicles which tells the story of Scotland's past and present. It's one of the top things to do in Scotland and a must-visit when in Glasgow.

    Key facilities
    • Hearing Loop
    • Level Access
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Accessible toilets
    • Parking
  5. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Glasgow

    Image: Exterior of the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    Free

    You'll want to keep coming back to this museum time and time again. Set next to a classic Victorian park by the River Kelvin in Glasgow's west end, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum houses a staggering 8,000 objects in over 22 beautiful galleries.

    Key facilities
    • Hearing Loop
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Accessible toilets
    • Level Access
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Parking
  6. St Giles' Cathedral Edinburgh

    Image: St Giles' Cathedral

    Free

    Located halfway down the historic Royal Mile, the framed crown spire of St Giles' Cathedral is one of the most recognisable features of Edinburgh's skyline and one of the best tourist attractions in Edinburgh.

    Key facilities
    • Pets Welcome
    • Level Access
    • On Public Transport Route
  7. Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

    Image: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

    Free

    Founded in 1670 and considered to be one of the finest gardens in the world, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh offers 72 acres of peace and tranquillity and is only a stone's throw from the bustling city centre.

    Key facilities
    • WiFi
    • Hearing Loop
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Accessible toilets
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  8. National War Museum Edinburgh

    Image: Red and white striped military jacket on display at the National War Museum

    Free

    Set within the walls of one of the top tourist attractions in Edinburgh, the National War Museum can be found in Edinburgh Castle and is filled with exhibits and artefacts that tell the tale of the impact of war on Scotland's history, identity and reputation abroad.

    Key facilities
    • Accessible toilets
    • Hearing Loop
  9. Edinburgh Bus Tours Edinburgh

    Image: A City Sightseeing Bus in the Grassmarket

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    Paid

    One of the most popular paid-for attractions in Scotland, Edinburgh Bus Tours provide a selection of themed open top tours that take you to some of the city's most remarkable sights and attractions.

  10. Greyfriars Kirkyard Edinburgh

    Image: The graveyard of Greyfriars Kirk

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    Free

    A famous attraction in Edinburgh for children and adults alike, the tale of Greyfriars Bobby has been a popular one for decades. Wander around the kirkyard, embark on a fascinating guided tour and take pictures next to the memorial statue. We know everyone loves to pet Greyfriars Bobby, but try not to - it wipes away his lovely black coat and makes the statue very fragile.

  11. Edinburgh Zoo Edinburgh

    Image: A sleepy panda © P Tomkins/Scottish Viewpoint

    Paid

    With over 1,000 animals from every corner of the globe, including giant pandas, a visit to Edinburgh Zoo is a fantastic family day out. At this top attraction in Edinburgh you can meet the penguins at the famous Penguin Parade and get closer than ever before to chimpanzees on the Budongo Trail.

    Key facilities
    • WiFi
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Accessible toilets
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Parking
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  12. Camera Obscura Edinburgh

    Image: Vortex Tunnel at Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, Edinburgh

    © Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, Edinburgh

    Paid

    Camera Obscura has been an incredible outing destination since 1853! With optical illusions, mirror maze, a shrinking room, as well as a rooftop terrace and more, it's a fun attraction that the whole family can get involved in.

    Key facilities
    • WiFi
    • Pets Welcome
    • Hearing Loop
  13. Culzean Castle & Country Park Ayrshire

    Image: Culzean Castle & Country Park

    Paid

    This majestic cliff-top castle is tucked away in the Ayrshire countryside in an outstanding coastal location. Boasting a regal exterior, intricate interior, pristine gardens and 260 hectares of grounds to explore, you are all set for an enjoyable family day out.

    Key facilities
    • Pets Welcome
    • Hearing Loop
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Parking
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  14. Highland Wildlife Park The Highlands

    Image: Highland Wildlife Park

    Paid

    Bringing together native Scottish wildlife and endangered animals from across the world, the Highland Wildlife Park is a treat to visit! Located just south of Aviemore, you can see a range of wildlife species, from wolves, polar bears and lions to Scottish wildcats, snowy owls and wild horses, to name a few. With stunning panoramic views to enjoy too, it's a great place to take the whole family.

    Key facilities
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Parking
  15. Stirling Castle Stirling

    Image: Stirling Castle

    Paid

    Not only one of the finest and best-preserved Renaissance buildings in the whole of the UK, Stirling Castle was also the favoured residence for many of Scotland's kings and queens.

    Key facilities
    • Hearing Loop
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Accessible toilets
    • Level Access
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Parking
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  16. Robert Burns Birthplace Museum Ayrshire

    Image: Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

    Paid

    Uncover the life and works of Scotland's National Bard, Robert Burns, at this detailed and fascinating museum. Make sure to follow in Tam o' Shanter's footsteps to the Alloway Auld Kirk and over the Brig o' Doon bridge too.

    Key facilities
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Hearing Loop
    • Parking
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  17. Crathes Castle Aberdeenshire

    Image: Crathes Castle, Garden & Estate

    Paid

    Aberdeenshire is home to hundreds of castle and stately homes, and Crathes Castle is a magnificent one to see! This fairy-tale castle boasts painted ceilings, turrets, towers, and ancient artefacts, as well as towering trees and serene nature trails to explore.

    Key facilities
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Parking
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  18. Glenfinnan Monument The Highlands

    Image: Glenfinnan Monument & Visitor Centre

    Paid

    An iconic attraction amidst Scotland's stunning landscapes built to honour the fallen Jacobite clansmen, the Glenfinnan Monument overlooks Loch Shiel and is backed by the world-renowned Glenfinnan Viaduct. Learn more about this turbulent time in Scotland's past and the kilted highlander who stands on top of the monument.

    Key facilities
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Hearing Loop
    • Parking
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  19. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Edinburgh

    Image: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two)

    © Keith Hunter

    Free

    If you're a lover of art, don't miss out on a trip to one of Edinburgh's most iconic buildings. Here you can delve into Scotland's past through an array of entrancing imagery, paintings, photography, sculpture, film and more.

    Key facilities
    • WiFi
    • Hearing Loop
    • Accessible toilets
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Parking
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  20. V&A Dundee Dundee

    Image: V&A Dundee

    Free

    The first V&A museum in the world outside London, and the first ever dedicated design museum in Scotland, the V&A Dundee is not to be missed! You're guaranteed a fantastic experience with permanent and changing displays showcasing work from around the world in this UNESCO City of Design.

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