Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

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From Edinburgh Castle to the Wallace Monument, the Glenfinnan Viaduct to glorious Loch Ness – holidaymakers in Scotland are spoiled for choice when it comes to places to visit.

But as we ease out of lockdown and plan family days-out and staycations where are the undiscovered and secret spots that we have never visited?

We asked the people who know best…Scotland’s amazing tourist guides.

Alasdair Northrop is chair of the marketing committee of the Scottish Tourist Guide Association.

ALASDAIR NORTHROP

He says every one of their more than 500 members are experts at guiding visitors off the beaten track.

He said: “Scotland has so many wonderful places to visit – some of which are very well known and some of which really are hidden gems.

“By nature tourist guides tend to be curious people – as well as knowing about the history of the places they visit they like to find interesting and beautiful places that most people don’t know about.

“It might be a place with a wonderful view, a church with a historic plaque, or a beach few people visit.”

Alasdair is the author of a new ebook Guiding Lights: A History of the Scottish Tourist Guides Association 1959-2019 which is available via Amazon.

Here he and other members of the STGA share some of the ‘secret’ spots they love.

Alasdair added: “It’s very important that visitors check in advance any restrictions that might be in place when planning trips as a result of the coronavirus – as well as checking when attractions reopen.”

Edinburgh and Lothians

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Dr Neil’s Garden, Duddingston

Tourist Guide: Debbie Davidson

Secret Spot: Dr Neil’s Garden, Church Lane, Duddingston, Edinburgh, EH15 3PX

Nestled in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat this tranquil lochside garden was created from a wilderness by GPs Andrew and Nancy Neil who encouraged their patients to help out as a healthy and therapeutic outdoor activity.

Tourist Guide: Jane Roy. 

Secret Spot: Torphichen Preceptory, Torphichen, West Lothian, EH48 4NB

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Torphicen Preceptory (Image: West Lothian Courier)

Step into the footsteps of Sir William Wallace who as Guardian of Scotland held a final parliament here before the Battle of Falkirk in 1298.

Borders

Tourist Guide: Alasdair Northrop

Secret Spot: Eyemouth Harbour, TD14 5SD

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Eyemouth (Image: West Lothian Courier)

Enjoy an ice-cream while wandering along the picturesque harbour looking at the colourful fishing boats and keeping an eye out for seals at this hidden coastal gem, then visit the new memorial to the 129 men from Eyemouth who drowned in Scotland’s worst fishing disaster in 1881.

Tourist Guide: Alasdair Northrop

Secret Spot: Lang Sandy Armstrong statue, Rowanburn, Eskdale, DG14 0RG

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Lang Sandy Armstrong

Visit the little publicised Reiver Trail to find out more about the notorious cattle stealers. The trail includes museums, graveyards and monuments including a statue of Lang Sandy Armstrong who was hanged with his 11 sons in the so-called ‘pacification’ of the Borders.

Dumfries and Galloway

Tourist Guide: Susan Napier. 

Secret Spot: Sorbie Tower, nr Sorbie, Dumfries and Galloway, DG8 8AG

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Sorbie Tower

The ancient keep of Sorbie, owned by the Clan Hannay Society, was built in the 16th century.  Visitors can see the remains of a 12th century motte and wooden fort built close by.

Tourist Guide: Alasdair Northrop

Secret Spot: Logan Botanic Garden, DG9 9ND

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Logan Botanic Garden

With origins dating back to 1869 these stunning gardens benefit from a climate which is warmed by the Gulf Stream so feature sub tropical plants from Australia, New Zealand, South America and Southern Africa.

Ayrshire and Inverclyde

Tourist Guide: Margaret McCann 

Secret Spot: Loudon Hill, near Dykehead Farm, KA17 0LU

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Loudon Hill

We know so much about the Battles of Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn, but not many people have visited this equally important site.  Loudon Hill, near Darvel saw both William Wallace (1297) and Robert the Bruce (1307) win victories against the English ten years apart.

Tourist Guide: Alasdair Northrop

Secret Spot: Wemyss Bay Railway Station, Wemyss Bay, PA18 6AR

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Wemyss Bay Station (Image: kilmarnock standard)

This spectacular railway station with its stunning glass roof and curved platform was designed by James Miller in 1903 to cater for the thousands of holidaymakers who once flocked to the area to take the steamer across the Clyde.

Highlands

Tourist Guide: Susan Brown 

Secret Spot: Camusdarach Beach, near Arisaig, off the B8008 between Back of Keppoch and Morar.

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

(Image: UGC)

The films Highlander and Local hero were both filmed at this beautiful beach which has views to the islands of Rum and Eigg.  There is one big beach or cross the grassy headland and discover a few hidden smaller beaches.

Tourist Guide: John Harbour

Secret Spot: Attadale Gardens, Strathcarron, IV54 8YX

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Attadale Gardens

Most tourists heading for Skye visit Eilean Donan Castle and go straight over the bridge to the Misty isle, but if they took a quick detour to Loch Carron, they would find this oasis of tranquillity. The gardens are run by Lady Laird Joanna Macpherson and her husband Alec.

Stirling and Trossachs 

Tourist Guide: Alasdair Northrop

Secret Spot: Cambuskenneth Abbey, Ladysneuk Road, Cambuskenneth, FK9 5NG

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Cambuskenneth Abbey (Image: Getty Images)

Visit the grave Queen Victoria ordered should be built to mark the final resting place of James III of Scotland who died under mysterious circumstances in 1488.

Tourist Guide: Alasdair Northrop

Secret Spot: Dumyat Hill, start at Pendreich Forest car park, reached by heading up the Sherrifmuir road from Bridge of Allan.

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Dumyat Hill (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Enjoy picturesque views of the Trossachs and the Firth of Forth from the peak of Dumyat Hill which is 1371 ft (418m) high and can be scaled in a couple of hours.

Perth, Kinross and Fife

Tourist Guide: John MacEachen

Secret Spot: The River Ericht, Blairgowrie. Start at the Riverside car park, Blairgowrie.

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

River Ericht (Image: Getty Images)

A beautiful eight mile long walk along the River Ericht can allow you to see leaping salmon, breath-taking scenery and wildlife galore.  Stop at Cargill’s Leap, where Covenanter Donald Cargill leapt across the river to escape pursuing dragoons in the 17th century.

Tourist Guide: Kilted Guide ( Jim Leslie) 

Secret Spot: Scottish Crannog Centre, Kenmore, Perthshire, PH15 2HY.

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Scottish Crannog Centre (Image: submitted)

This fabulous living history museum tells the story of an iron age loch dwelling. 

Glasgow 

Tourist Guide: Alasdair Northrop

Secret Spot: The Necropolis, Castle St, Glasgow G4 0UZ 

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William Miller Grave in The Necropolis

Scotland’s historic graveyards can be fascinating places to visit, especially if you have someone alongside you who can tell you stories of the people buried there.  Look out for the memorial to William Miller – who penned the popular children’s poem, Wee Willie Winkie.

Tourist Guide: John Duthie

Secret Spot: Crookston Castle, Brockburn Road, Glasgow, G53 5RY

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Crookston Castle

Built around 1400 by the Stewarts of Darnely this unusual castle is the only surviving medieval castle in the City of Glasgow. Its layout is almost unique in Scotland – with a high central tower and four square corner towers, although only the north-east tower remains fully intact.

Argyll and Bute

Tourist Guide: Kirsten Griew 

Secret Spot: Tobermory Lighthouse Walk, Tobermory, Mull

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Tobermory Lighthouse

An easy 30 minute hike along the coast north of the town brings you to beautiful Tobermory Lighthouse with its stunning views.

Tourist Guide: Iris Marhencke

Secret Spot: Templewood Stone Circle, Kilmartin Glen, nr Kintyre, Argyll.

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Templewood Stone (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

While Orkney’s standing stones may have taken all the fame these 13 standing stones located in the Kilmartin Glen are just as atmospheric.

Dundee and Angus

Tourist Guide: John MacEachen

Secret Spot: Lunan Bay, north of Inverkeilor on the A92 between Arbroath and Montrose.

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Red Castle at Lunan Bay (Image: Alamy Stock Photo)

The ruined Redcastle towers over the stunning beaches at Lunan Bay.  In 1579 James Gray married the owner of Redcastle, then fell in love with her daughter. He was kicked out by his scorned wife – Lady Elizabeth Beaton – and burned the building down.

Tourist Guide: Elma McMenemy

Secret Spot: Aberlemno Stones, Aberlemno, DD8 3PE.

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Pictish Celtic Cross, Aberlemno (Image: Atlas Photography)

A trip to Aberlemno will reveal three Pictish Stones by the roadside on the edge of the village and one hidden away in Aberlemno kirkyard nearby.

Aberdeenshire

Tourist Guide: Colin Murdoch 

Secret Spot: Balnagask Golf Course, Torry, Aberdeen, AB11 8TN

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

View from Balnagask Golf Club

Stand at the edge of Balnagask golf course for a coastal view that reveals much of the spirit of Aberdeen, from its beach, cliffs and dunes to the colourful oil supply boats and even wind turbines.

Tourist Guide: Alasdair Brodie

Secret Spot: Cullykhan Bay, between Fraserburgh and Macduff off the B 9031.

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Cullykhan Bay (Image: UGC)

The sheltered sandy beach of Cullykhan Bay, with its caves and rock pools, lies just one mile from the village of Pennan, made famous in the film Local Hero.

Orkney and Shetland

Tourist Guide: Patricia Long. 

Secret Spot: Kirbuster Farm Museum, Birsay, Orkney, KW17 2LR

, Scotland's top travel guides on their favourite spots to visit, TravelWireNews | World News

Kirbuster Farm Museum

This is the last unrestored ‘firehoose’ in Northern Europe. Here the peat fire still burns on the central hearth and the neuk bed is in the wall. The museum gives a fascinating look at how life in Orkney used to be.

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Tourist Guide: Jolene Garriock

Secret Spot: Westerwick Beach, Shetland

The coastline around Westerwick has some of the best cliff scenery in Shetland. 

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