Scotland is renowned for its beautiful scenery and sensational whisky – but there is much more to the country than that.

By Dan Parton

Scotland’s profile as a holiday destination has increased in recent years. In all, nearly 166 million tourism trips were made to Scotland in 2017 – overnight and day trips – a 6.2% increase on the previous year, according to figures from Visit Scotland. The increase is understandable, given the wealth of attractions, as well as its welcoming reputation. Indeed, Glasgow was described by travel publication, Rough Guide, as the world’s “friendliest” city.


Glasgow is a great city break destination and there are a multitude of accessible hotels situated right in the heart of the city. Venues such as the SEC and the SEE Hydro Arena are also located in the city, and always have shows and events on. There are many other tourist attractions to visit, including The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens where you can learn about Glasgow’s cultural history and explore the exotic gardens, not to mention vibrant nightlife to enjoy.

Further afield, there are attractions and destinations to suit a variety of tastes all around the country.

Art lovers

For art lovers, the Scottish National Gallery, in the centre of Edinburgh, is a must-see. It houses masterpieces by some of the greatest artists in history, including Raphael, Turner, Monet, Van Gogh, Botticelli and Rembrandt. The most famous names in Scottish art, such as McTaggart, Raeburn and Wilkie are also well represented.

The gallery is fully accessible over all levels, there are BSL trained staff available and if you contact the gallery in advance, tours that cater for a range of disabilities can be arranged. Blue Badge parking is close by, as is Edinburgh Waverley railway station.

A few streets away from the Scottish National Gallery is the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. This houses a history of portraits from the Reformation to the present day, with a diverse range of subjects from the poet, Robert Burns to football manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. The gallery is fully accessible and includes rooms that can be used as quiet spaces for people with autism.


Scotland is also the home of whisky. There are 120 distilleries in the country with many offering fascinating tours. For instance, you can visit the oldest working distillery in Scotland at The Famous Grouse Experience at the Glenturret Distillery in Crieff.

Visitors can see the traditional handmade distilling process that has been used to craft whisky for generations. You also find out how the Glenturret single malt is blended with other grains and malt whiskies to create The
Famous Grouse. And, of course, you get to sample the whisky on the tour.


Further north, the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre in Inverness is well worth a visit. The visitor centre is located at the scene of the last battle fought on British soil in 1746, where the Jacobite rising met its end.

Guided and self-guided tours are available, as well as hands-on activities. The centre features artefacts from the battle, as well as interactive displays that reveal the story of the conflict. Fully accessible throughout – including the rooftop viewing area – there are also accessible toilets and disabled parking bays at the front of the centre. Wheelchairs and powered scooters are available to hire, but it is best to book these in advance.

Scottish Gliding Centre

Why not try something completely different? You can get airborne at the Scottish Gliding Centre near Kinross. Here, the centre, in partnership with charity, Walking on Air, gives disabled people the chance to fly in a modified glider. From the air you get a completely different perspective on the beautiful Scottish scenery.

St Andrews

Another popular tourist destination is St Andrews in Fife. Fabled as ‘the home of golf’, the world-renowned Old Course is in the northwest of the town and open to the public on Sundays. The British Golf Museum is also located in the town and is fully accessible, including Braille guides. (A BSL interpreter can be pre-booked.)

Of course, the town is also famous for its historic university. St Andrews University is the oldest in Scotland and boasts buildings with impressive 16th-century architecture. St Salvator’s Chapel is also worth a visit for its stained glass windows and carved medieval tomb of Bishop Kennedy.

However, there are few accessible hotels in the town, so a visit here is probably best done as a day trip. There is plenty of parking – including disabled spaces – in St Andrews and public transport links to Edinburgh and Glasgow are frequent.

Where to stay

Many chain hotels throughout the country are fully accessible and cater for people with a variety of disabilities, but it is always best to check with the establishment prior to booking.

Likewise, there are holiday cottages throughout the country that cater for people with a range of disabilities – and budgets. These are perfect if you want something that is more like a home-from-home, with quieter spaces or to go self-catering. Two of our favourite places to stay in Scotland are The Moat House Annan in the South and Crathie Opportunity Holidays in the North.

The Moat House Annan
Tel: 0800 024 8641

Crathie Opportunity Holidays
Tel: 01339 742100