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Last updated : Nov 2009
East Coast Scotland
East Coast -

Some 56km or 35 miles north of Montrose is the ‘Granite City’, Scotland’s third-largest, largely built, as its nickname suggests, of granite. It is the centre of Britain’s North Sea oil industry. The city has a university, 16th-century cathedral and a 14th-century bridge, the Brig O’Balgownie. Attractions include the Art Gallery, Maritime Museum and Marischal Museum. Inland on Royal Deesside, Braemar is the site of the most famous of the Highland gatherings. There are several National Trust properties within reach of Aberdeen, including Castle Fraser and Fyvie Castle. For additional information contact the Tourist Board of Aberdeen


North across the Firth of Tay in the former county of Angus is Dundee. A city of jam, printing and jute, Dundee is also home to the Discovery Point Visitor Centre, based around Captain Scott’s exploration ship, RRS Discovery, which sits alongside. Another popular attraction is Sensation, which provides a hands-on exhibition about the senses. Verdant Works tracks Dundee’s long tradition of jute trading, in the Textile Heritage Centre. For additional information contact the Dundee Tourist Board


In 1437 King James I’s own relatives murdered the unpopular monarch here, and later John Knox preached one of his earliest sermons in the town. Today, Perth boasts Scotland’s Garden and the National Tartan Centre, along with two castles and Scone Palace, where Scottish monarchs were once crowned. For additional information contact the Perthshire Tourist Board


St Andrews is northeast of Edinburgh in the ‘Kingdom’ of Fife, is known to be the home of world golf. The town has a university, castle and cathedral. The Lammas Fair takes place every month of August. Some 25km or 15 miles to the north is Glamis, whose castle features in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

West of Dundee is the former county of Perthshire. This region was centre of the Pictish realm, and also the northernmost area in Britain occupied by the Romans.

Up the coast from Dundee is Carnoustie, also famous in golfing circles around the world. Next is Arbroath, which has a ruined Abbey and a strong fishing heritage – the famous ‘Arbroath Smokies’ (smoked haddock) originate from here. Further north, the town of Montrose has sandy beaches and fine broad streets.

North past Aberdeen to Peterhead and Fraserburgh, the coastal trail leads through small fishing villages, then west along the Moray Firth to the Georgian town of Banff and the magnificent Duff House, where part of the collection of the National Galleries can be seen. Further along this coastline is Elgin, which has a ruined cathedral and a restored abbey church. There are many highland gatherings and games in this area. Beyond Inverness, the countryside is mainly glens, moorland and forests, and home to some of Britain’s rarest fauna, including wildcats and golden eagles.

Most of the towns and villages in this area are small. Highlights include Dingwall and Invergordon. The towns of Thurso and Wick mark the end of the railway line. John O’Groats, north of Wick, is the northernmost village on the British mainland.