Top Scottish visitor attractions for 2023
The cost-of-living crisis means that this may be the year of the staycation.
If you’ll be holidaying in Scotland this year, we’d like to suggest a few visitor attractions that deserve your attention.
You’ve probably visited a few of these before, but here are some additional reasons to get back along. Some have been refurbished and others have a few new tricks to show you.
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
If you’ve never seen a Dalek from any vantage point other than behind the sofa, the Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder exhibition runs until May 1. It involves eight zones featuring various creepy characters, our favourite robotic dog, K9, teleportation technology and a time vortex corridor, among other things. Other temporary exhibits at this museum include Japanese Contemporary Design, until March 5, and Inspiring Walter Scott, available to view until June 18. If you visit between July 1 and October 29, you’ll have an opportunity to see their upcoming Beyond the Little Black Dress exhibition, which will feature pieces by Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Jean Muir and others.
Chambers Street, www.nms.ac.uk/beyondthelittleblackdress
We can’t quite believe that the V&A Dundee is five years old already. To celebrate, they’ve organised their first major exhibition that’s been curated by their in-house team, along with the help of consultant curator Jonathan Faiers of the University of Southampton. Tartan will launch on April 1 and feature over 300 objects, including architecture, product design, and fashion pieces by the late Dame Vivienne Westwood, Chanel, Dior and the Highland Folk Museum. No See You Jimmy hats, we hope.
Not all of our must visit destinations for 2023 are indoor ones. This is one of the eight National Nature Reserves in the National Trust for Scotland’s care. If you’re a wannabe Indiana Jones, the Wester Ross attraction boasts a suspension bridge for viewing the mile-long canyon and the River Droma below. They’ve spent the last year improving access to the site, which will reopen this spring with a new 800m path, in order to allow a greater number of visitors, a welcome centre, plus a bigger car park, guided walks, toilets, takeaway cafe and grey waste provision for motorhomes.
The Burrell Collection
After being closed for five years, this refurbished gallery reopened last March to much excitement. Its inaugural temporary exhibition The Burrells’ Legacy: A Great Gift to Glasgow is still available to view until April 16. It covers the vision of collectors Sir William Burrell and his wife Constance Burrell, and features stained glass, Mediaeval textiles, sculpture, Chinese ceramics, 19th century French art, among other things. These pieces can be viewed alongside the thousands of other magnificent treasures in this space, from a bronze age bracelet to a Rodin sculpture.
Pollok Country Park, Bellahouston, Glasgow, www.burrellcollection.com
The Scottish Crannog Centre
This Kenmore destination will be expanding its attractions after a £12 million makeover that includes a new museum at Dalerb on the north side of Loch Tay in Perthshire. This visitor centre is due to open sometime in spring, and aims to be the most sustainable museum in Scotland, with displays of archeological finds, an interpretation of an Iron Age-inspired village of craft and technology collections, a cafe and shop.
House of the Binns, Linlithgow
After a major renovation, this National Trust for Scotland destination, once the home of the Dalyells, is due to open again this April. If you want to visit, pre-book a tour on the below website. The surrounding parkland has been open throughout the work, but soon you’ll be able to visit the 17th century house to peruse its collection of furniture, portraits, porcelain and check out the plaster ceilings that were commissioned for King Charles 1’s visit to Scotland in 1633.
The Kelpies, The Helix, Falkirk
You’ve probably made a trip to see these 30 metre high horses’ heads, created by Andy Scott, before. However, have you ever seen them at night, illuminated, while you take part in a 5k dash? Probably not. If that sounds like your bag, take part in the The Kelpies Supernova Run on March 17 and 18, at 8pm, and in aid of Alzheimer Scotland. See the below website for sponsorship and admission details. If you haven’t been yet, it’s worth noting that The Helix, Home of the Kelpies, won Best Visitor Attraction Experience 22/23 at the Scottish Thistle Awards.
The Scottish National Gallery
The project to deliver a new space for Scottish art is due for completion in 2023, after a series of delays. From summer onwards, fingers crossed, visitors can look forward to experiencing a brand-new suite of galleries at Edinburgh’s Scottish National Gallery, which will feature huge windows that look out onto Princes Street Gardens and a space that perfectly showcases the work of artists including Phoebe Anna Traquair and William McTaggart.