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Cultural opportunities in the Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands is a land of stunning natural beauty, rich history and culture that offers visitors many unique and memorable opportunities and experiences. Whether you're a keen sportsperson, a cultural enthusiast, or simply looking for a place to relax and enjoy the great outdoors, the Highlands have something to offer everyone.

The Scottish Highlands is a place of considerable cultural significance. The Highland landscape itself has been a source of inspiration for many artists and writers throughout history. The region's towering mountains, sparkling lochs, and lush forests have been captured in countless works of art, song, and literature.

Today, you can visit the Highlands to discover and enjoy many cultural opportunities and experiences. We’ll explore just some of these in this article, including:

Arts and culture in the Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands are a region of rich and diverse arts and culture. From traditional music and dance to contemporary art and theatre, there is something here for everyone to enjoy.

Art galleries and museums

The Scottish Highlands are also home to a thriving contemporary art scene. There are many galleries and museums in the region that showcase the work of local artists.

  • Perth Art Gallery: Visit to learn more about influential modern Scottish artists and their contributions to 20th and 21st-century art. The artworks on display span over a century and demonstrate the innovative ways Scottish artists found inspiration from the past and Europe.

  • Perth Museum: A newly refurbished Perth Museum will open its doors in Spring 2024 after a £26.5 million redevelopment project. This world-class cultural and heritage attraction will highlight the fascinating objects and stories that put Perth and Kinross at the centre of Scotland’s story. At its heart will sit the Stone of Destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone, one of Scotland and the UK’s most significant historical objects. Returning to Perthshire for the first time in over 700 years, the Stone will be the centrepiece of the new Museum and will be free for all to view.

  • Black Watch Museum: Explore the history of Scotland's oldest Highland Regiment, The Black Watch, at The Black Watch Castle and Museum in Perth, a 5-star award-winning visitor attraction

  • The Scottish Crannog Centre: The Scottish Crannog Centre is a Museum situated on the banks of Loch Tay where you can enjoy a guided tour of a fascinating Iron Age dwelling, with history exhibitions, crafts and music demonstrations

  • V&A Dundee: The first design museum in Scotland – and the first building in the United Kingdom designed by internationally acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma – the V&A Dundee offers unique and memorable exhibitions showcasing the very best of design from around the world

  • The Loch Ness Centre: A 5-star visitor attraction offers state-of-the-art exhibitions about the geological formation of Loch Ness and its legendary monster. Take a walk through 500 million years of history to explore the myths of the loch, delve deep below the surface of its waters to uncover hidden secrets, and look into scientific research inspired by sightings of the Loch Ness Monster.

  • Inverness Museum and Art Gallery: One of the most popular art galleries in the Scottish Highlands, this museum houses a collection of over 100,000 objects, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and textiles. The gallery also has several temporary exhibitions throughout the year featuring the work of local and international artists.

  • Highland Folk Museum: Discover how Highland people lived, worked and played at this award-winning museum. Experience life portrayed from the early 1700s to the mid-1900s.

  • Highlanders Museum (Queen's Own Highlanders Collection): Situated within the stunning grounds of Fort George, Inverness, the Museum covers three floors of Fort George's former Lieutenant Governors' House and is the largest regimental military museum in Scotland, outside Edinburgh


There are some fantastic theatres across the Scottish Highlands that host a variety of performances, including plays, concerts, and comedy shows.

  • Pitlochry Festival Theatre: Home to a professional theatre company that produces a season of plays and musicals throughout the summer months, Pitlochry Festival Theatre is known for its high-quality productions and its beautiful setting in the heart of the Scottish Highlands

  • Perth Theatre and Concert Hall: One of Scotland's oldest theatres, Perth Theatre regularly presents a lively mix of music, theatre, dance, art and events.

  • Eden Court Theatre: Located in Inverness, Eden Court is a multi-arts venue with two main theatres, a cinema, and various other performance spaces. The theatre hosts a wide range of productions throughout the year, including plays, musicals, concerts, and comedy shows. Eden Court is also home to the Highland Orchestra, one of the leading professional orchestras in Scotland.

Traditional music

One of the most iconic aspects of Highland culture is its traditional music. The bagpipes are perhaps the most famous Highland instrument, and their sound can be heard throughout the region. Other popular instruments include the fiddle, accordion, and bodhrán (a frame drum).

Highland dance is another significant part of the culture here. There are many different styles of Highland dance, including the sword dance, the reel, and the jig. Highland dancers perform at competitions and festivals throughout the year, and their colourful costumes and intricate footwork are a sight to behold.

There are many places where you can hear traditional music in the Scottish Highlands. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Ceilidhs: Ceilidhs are traditional social gatherings where people can dance, sing, and play music together. Ceilidhs are held in a variety of venues, such as pubs, hotels, and community centres. You can find information about upcoming ceilidhs on the websites of local tourist information centres and online calendars.

  • Pubs and bars: Many pubs and bars in the Scottish Highlands have traditional music sessions on a regular basis. You can find information about upcoming sessions on the websites of the pubs and bars or by asking around locally.

  • Music festivals: There are many music festivals held throughout the year in the Scottish Highlands, many of which feature traditional music. Some of the most popular festivals include the Blas Festival, the Shetland Folk Festival, and the Orkney Folk Festival

  • Concerts: There are also a number of concerts held throughout the year in the Scottish Highlands featuring traditional music. You can find information about upcoming concerts on the websites of local arts centres and online calendars.

Local cinema and film

The Scottish Highlands have a vibrant and growing local cinema and film scene. There are a number of independent cinemas throughout the region, and there is also a thriving independent film production sector.

Local cinemas in the Highlands offer a variety of programming, including new releases, classics, and independent films. Some cinemas also host special events like film festivals and Q&A sessions with filmmakers.

  • Perth Playhouse: A fantastic refurbished and restored independent cinema showing largely mainstream films plus unusual events.

  • The Birks Cinema: A unique state-of-the-art cinema showing the latest movies in a spacious auditorium, with a relaxed café bar right in attractive Aberfeldy's town centre

  • Eden Court Cinema: A state-of-the-art cinema with six screens, including a Dolby Atmos screen and an IMAX screen, showing a wide range of films, including new releases, classics, and independent films. Eden Court Cinema also hosts some special events, such as film festivals and Q&A sessions with filmmakers.

  • The Highland Cinema: Based in Fort William, this fantastic one-screen cinema shows a variety of films, including new releases, classics, and independent films

  • Screen Machine: The UK’s only 80-seat, air-conditioned mobile digital cinema, touring more than 40 communities in the Highlands and Islands – each tour lasts around 12 weeks

Here are just a few examples of films that have been set or filmed in the Scottish Highlands:

  • Local Hero (1983)

  • Rob Roy (1995)

  • Braveheart (1995)

  • Trainspotting (1996)

  • Harry Potter (all films)

  • The Eagle (2011)

  • Skyfall (2012)

  • The Outlaw King (2018)

  • The Batman (2022)

Historical sites in the Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands are home to a number of ancient historical sites, such as standing stones, castles, and battlefields. These sites provide a glimpse into the region's rich and varied past.

  • Scone Palace: This former royal palace is located near the town of Perth and was the site of the Scottish coronations for centuries. Now a fantastic museum and visitor attraction, it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Scotland.

  • Blair Castle: This castle is located near the town of Blair Atholl and is one of the largest and most impressive castles in Scotland. Blair Castle was built in the 13th century and is still the home of the Duke of Atholl. You can tour the castle and its grounds and also enjoy many traditional activities, such as falconry and archery.

  • Hunting Tower Castle: This handsome and atmospheric old castle near Perth comprises of two well-preserved tower houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries – visit to uncover some dramatic episodes in Scotland’s story

  • Dunkeld Cathedral: One of the oldest cathedrals in Scotland, Dunkeld Cathedral stands in a beautiful location beside the River Tay and is well worth a visit

  • Branklyn Garden: A National Trust for Scotland site, this enchanting hillside garden established in 1922 is a place of pilgrimage for plant lovers that features rare and unusual plants and flowers from all over the world – a peaceful haven within walking distance of Perth city centre

  • Clava Cairns: This Bronze Age burial site near Inverness is one of the most impressive in Scotland and consists of three large passage tombs and several smaller cairns. The tombs are surrounded by a ring of standing stones, and the site is thought to have been used for religious and ceremonial purposes.

  • Eilean Donan Castle: This picturesque castle, located on a small island in Loch Duich, was built in the 13th century and has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries – now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Scotland.

  • Fort William: This town is located at the head of Loch Linnhe and is home to a number of historical sites, including Fort William itself, which was built in the 17th century to defend the Highlands from Jacobite rebels. Fort William is also the starting point for the Jacobite Steam Train, which travels to Mallaig via the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct.

  • Glenfinnan Viaduct: This iconic railway viaduct is one of the most photographed landmarks in Scotland. It was featured in the Harry Potter films as the bridge that the Hogwarts Express crosses. The Glenfinnan Viaduct is located on the Jacobite Steam Train route, and visitors can take a train ride across the viaduct to enjoy the stunning views.

  • Inverness Castle: This castle is located in the heart of Inverness and is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. The castle was built in the 12th century and has been used as a royal residence, a military barracks, and a courthouse over the centuries

  • Urquhart Castle: This ruined castle is located on the banks of Loch Ness and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Highlands

Shopping in the Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands is home to a variety of shops, from traditional Highland craft shops to independent boutiques to large department stores.

Here are a few specific shops that you may want to check out during your shopping trip to the Scottish Highlands:

  • House of Bruar: This large department store, located near Pitlochry, offers a wide range of high-quality items that all share a distinct sense of refined rural style – from time-honoured tweeds to high-performance modern outdoor wear that can handle the worst excesses of the Scottish weather, their selection covers the full spectrum of country clothing

  • Scottish Antique & Arts Centre: Located in Abernyte, Perthshire, the Scottish Antique & Arts Centre offers a unique and fascinating shopping experience with a selection of antiques and collectables complimented by contemporary gifts, furniture, home accessories and quality clothing brands

  • Perth Farmers' Market: Taking place on the 1st Saturday of every month, Perth Farmers’ Market offers an opportunity to browse an impressive range of local produce and products, including antiques, jewellery, and arts and crafts

  • The Highland Store: This shop in Inverness sells a variety of traditional Highland goods, such as knitwear, pottery, and jewellery

  • Mackenzie & Co.: This independent boutique in Inverness sells a variety of high-quality clothing and accessories

Festivals and celebrations in the Scottish Highlands


One of the most popular cultural events in the Scottish Highlands is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This annual festival takes place in Edinburgh every summer and features a wide range of performances, including theatre, comedy, dance, and music. The Fringe is one of the world's largest arts festivals, attracting visitors from all over the globe.

Other festivals across the Highlands include:

  • Celtic Connections Festival (January)

  • Soutar Festival of Words (April)

  • Birnam Book Festival (May)

  • Perth Festival of the Arts (May – June)

  • Solas Festival (June)

  • Rewind Festival (July)

  • Enchanted Forest (October – November)

Burns Night Celebrations

Burns Night is a celebration of the life and works of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet. It is held on or around January 25th, the anniversary of Burns' birth, in pubs, hotels, and community centres nationwide.

The celebrations typically include a dinner, speeches, poetry readings, and traditional music and dancing. The dinner typically begins with a soup or starter, followed by a main course of haggis, neeps (turnips), and tatties (potatoes), often accompanied by a dram of whisky.

Christmas in the Scottish Highlands

Christmas celebrations in the Scottish Highlands are a unique and memorable experience. The region's rich culture and stunning scenery combine to create a truly magical holiday season.

Christmas traditions in the Scottish Highlands are similar to those in other parts of the UK, but there are also some unique aspects to the celebrations. For example, many people in the Highlands attend Christmas Kirk services, which are special church services held on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

If you plan to visit the Scottish Highlands during Christmas, check out some local Christmas markets and events. There are many Christmas markets held throughout the region, as well as special Christmas events like concerts and plays.


Hogmanay is the traditional Scottish New Year celebration held on December 31st. Hogmanay celebrations often include bonfires, fireworks, and ceilidhs.

Luxury accommodation for exploring Scotland and the Highlands

The Logiealmond Estate is conveniently located at the gateway to the Highlands in stunning Perthshire while also allowing easy access to Scotland’s cities, including historic Edinburgh and vibrant Glasgow.

You’ll find our bespoke five-star lodges, cottages, and farmhouses spread throughout the estate in stunning locations, each designed with luxury, comfort, and convenience in mind.

You can check property availability on our website or contact our team, who will be happy to provide more information about our properties and the many activities to enjoy on and near the estate.

Tell us what you need from your Scottish Highlands getaway

Are you considering visiting the Scottish Highlands to enjoy some sporting, recreational, and cultural opportunities but aren’t sure where to start? Reach out to our hospitality team, who can guide you in creating an unforgettable escape to the incredible Highlands of Scotland.

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