The 6 Top Entertainment Activities You Can Do in Scotland in 2024

Scotland offers many opportunities for musical experiences, from opera performances to rock concerts. If you really want the full effect of Scottish music, visit during Edinburgh Festival for the best show.

The National Portrait Gallery boasts three floors filled with impressive portraits and sculptures organized by era, offering visitors the opportunity to gain knowledge about Scottish history as they tour its halls.

best entertainment activities in Scotland

1. Glenfinnan Viaduct

Fans of Harry Potter films will recognize Glenfinnan Viaduct as an iconic railway bridge that passes over four of them, but regardless of your interest in Harry Potter or not, its magnificent structure still provides stunning views of Scotland’s highlands.

Standing at the viewpoint and watching the Jacobite steam train (known as “Hogwarts Express”) cross the viaduct is an unforgettable experience that transports you right into Harry Potter’s world. During peak tourist season between Fort William and Mallaig it operates twice daily for just this magical experience!

Once parked at the visitor centre, follow the sign pointing left uphill towards the viewpoint. Please be mindful of slippery areas along your route – shoes with good gripping soles would be most advisable!

2. The Real Mary King’s Close

Scotland offers many iconic landmarks and attractions to see during any visit, while those seeking thrills should try snow-gliding down a mountainside for a guided snow-gliding experience.

Travelers typically enjoy taking the historic tour of Mary King’s Close, where costumed guides provide stories about life before the Royal Exchange was constructed over it. But those prone to feeling cramped should take note; the underground tour features low ceilings and narrow passageways.

Real Mary King’s Close offers an annual Herstory Tour as part of Women’s History Month, taking the same route but with more emphasis placed on Edinburgh’s leading ladies.

3. The National Portrait Gallery

Scotland offers an abundance of history, breathtaking architecture and vibrant culture for you to explore. While Scotland’s cities boast plenty of noteworthy sights to see, rural Scotland can feel more like an enchanted fairytale, featuring towering mountains (bens), still lakes (lochs) and lush farmland.

The National Portrait Gallery is an eye-catching red sandstone building that stands out among its more plain surroundings. Inside you’ll discover an opulent Neo-Gothic dream with arches crowned by stars adorning its ceiling.

An exhibition like this one provides a great way to put faces with names that you have heard about on television or read in books and novels, as well as admire some famous Scottish poets like Robert Burns (Auld Lang Syne) and Walter Scott (Ivanhoe and Rob Roy).

4. The National Museum of Scotland

One of Scotland’s premier attractions, this sprawling museum combines two former sites (the Museum of Science and Royal Scottish Museum) into a spectacular exhibition hall. Explore Scotland’s history, natural world, art histories and other aspects from its various rooms; take your photo with Dolly the Sheep, admire machinery used to smash atoms or gain more information on Mary Queen of Scots among many other highlights!

With Scotland’s expansive mountain ranges, glens, and rivers offering plenty of outdoor adventure, there is never any shortage of thrills! Canyoning offers an entirely unique way to experience its stunning landscape – providing fun family days out climbing rocks or rappelling through them for an unforgettable adventure!

5. The Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal history enthusiasts and viewers of Netflix’s The Crown must visit HMY Britannia. This iconic yacht played host to members of the Royal Family for 44 years between 1954 and 1997 and can now be found berthed at Edinburgh Ocean Terminal shopping centre/mall.

Explore this opulent vessel’s teak-panelled rooms to experience how the Royal Family would unwind and play aboard it. Marvel at its views from decks or explore The Bridge, Admiral’s Cabin, or Officers’ Quarters for insight into its working side.

If you need a break, head to the Royal Deck Tea Room where you can indulge in freshly made snacks and speciality teas to unwind during your Scotland vacation. This relaxing activity offers an excellent way to unwind.

6. Balmoral Castle

Visits to Balmoral Castle are always highlights for many visitors. Each August, members of the Royal Family gather there for their summer holiday – an annual ritual continued today by Prince and Duchess of Cambridge as they join their extended royal clan in this summer gathering.

At Balmoral Castle you’ll also find the Balmoral Highland Games where competitors compete in traditional Scottish athletic competitions like caber tossing, tug of war and hammer throwing while enjoying highland dancing and piping performances. Nearby Lochnagar Distillery should also not be missed!

Edinburgh is Scotland’s vibrant capital and home to top-class restaurants, fascinating museums, and breathtaking architecture. Each August for three weeks during Edinburgh Festival Fringe the city transforms into an entertainment hub with performances in pubs, clubs, theatres, and restaurants throughout its streets.