We round up the top ten free attractions in Scotland as suggested by data released by Glasgow Caledonian University in 2018.
1. National Museum of Scotland
Topping the ranks for the top ten free attractions in Scotland is the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Running until May, catch the Robots exhibition which explores the cutting-edge technology used in the journey to make machines more human, featuring 100 objects. Other exhibitions include The Art of African Metal work, running until August, and a new Ancient Egypt, East Asia, and Ceramics gallery.
2. Scottish National Gallery
Located in Edinburgh, this gallery houses some of the finest collections of art in the world. When visiting you might see artworks from masters such as Botticelli, Raphael, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Tuner, Monet and Van Gogh. Groups can book guided tours, discovery sessions and workshops to make a visit even more memorable.
3. Loch Lomond Shores
Located on the banks of Loch Lomond, this visitor attraction offers a great place for shopping, dining and incredible vistas. Plus, if you’re looking for fun activities, you can book canoeing, biking and aerial adventures, as well as a loch cruise and more when visiting. There’s also a calendar of events and markets to look out for. Coach and group benefits are available too.
4. Riverside Museum
Those interested in transport should head to this museum where more than 3,000 objects are displayed. This covers everything from skateboards to locomotives, cars and even a Stormtrooper. Interactive displays allow visitors to get involved and uncover Glasgow’s shipbuilding history and the development of transport of the years.
5. Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
This art gallery and museum house collections in 22 galleries which include paintings, sculptures, silver, ceramics, armour, weapons, firearms, furniture and more. Plus, you’ll see relics and artefacts from Scotland’s rich history and prehistory.
6. St Giles Cathedral
This cathedral was known as the church of John Knox during the Reformation. It is renowned for its stained-glass windows, its Reiger organ and its Thistle chapel too, so make sure you spot these when paying a visit. There’s also a Cathedral shop and a restaurant, and groups can enjoy guided tours. Groups must pre-book a visit in advance.
7. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
This garden covers around 70 acres of landscaped grounds, plus incredible glasshouses, a Rock Garden, and Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden as well as holding a variety of events and exhibitions throughout the year. The attraction also offers the John Hope Gateway visitor centre, a Gateway restaurant, and Terrace Café. Guided tours are also available.
8. Gretna Green Famous Blacksmith’s Shop
If you want to indulge in some shopping, visit Great Green where you’ll find an array of Scottish gifts, merchandise, luxury brands and more. Plus, if you’re hungry you can enjoy some traditional Scottish foods in the Luxury Scottish Foodhall to the Blacksmiths Foodcourt.
9. National War Museum
Here, discover the history of Scotland’s wars. This museum is located within the walls of Edinburgh Castle and tells the stories of the battles fought, lost and won throughout the centuries. Enjoy a variety of exhibitions such as Conscience Matters, running until January 2020 which follows the stories of the British conscientious objectors during World War Two.
10. Regimental Museum of The Royal Scots Dragoon
This museum displays more than 300 years of regimental history of the Scottish cavalry. It features weapons, uniforms, medals and paintings. Different galleries house various stories and objects, such as Gallery One where you’ll learn about three ancestor regiments which began life in the late 1600s and developed over the years.