Angus is a hidden gem on the Scottish east coast, full of spectacular scenery, interesting history and outstanding adventures. From dramatic coasts to dreamy castles and stunning glens, the Angus Tour route makes it easy to explore the highlights of the region away from the main roads. Here are some of my favourite things to do in Angus and a travel guide to help you make the most of your trip.
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Most people don’t think twice about visiting Angus, a region on the east coast of Scotland – they simply don’t. Instead, they make their way up the road north as quickly as they can.
But they don’t know what they’re missing!
I’ve been to Angus on several occasions and every time I discover something new. To me, there are many reasons to visit Angus:
- Angus is very dramatic coasts to dreamy castles and stunning glens. Whether you want to visit mountains and glens, picturesque rural towns or beaches and cliffs, it’s all there.
- Angus is amazing for outdoor activities in the water and in the mountains.
- It’s manageable in size. You don’t have to decide between visiting the coast or the mountains – it’s all so close together.
- It’s easy to reach and less than 2 hours away from the Glasgow and Edinburgh.
- There are no crowds in sight. That is, for now!
This travel guide includes some of my favourite experiences in Angus and lots of practical travel advice, such as how to get there, where to stay and where to find delicious vegan food.
Table of Contents
The Angus Tour: Adventure Designed by You
The Angus Tour is a new route designed to help you discover the best of Angus whether you want to explore the outdoors, learn about history and heritage, indulge in food and drink, entertain the kids or travel with your dog. There are things to do in Angus for anyone!
However, the Angus Route is a road trip with a twist. Rather than one fixed route, it allows you to pick and choose from a number of suggested itineraries – exploring one theme across the region, or experiencing a mix of activities and places to see in a specific area. It turns your Angus road trip into an adventure designed by you.
The themed itineraries take one to three days and range from wildlife experiences to fascinating history, delicious local produce and breathtaking scenery. You can find the suggested itineraries here.
Angus is a stop on my East Scotland itinerary. If you like what you read here, why don’t you follow it on your next trip to Scotland?
Angus Travel Guide
Where is Angus?
Angus lies on the east coast of Scotland, north of Fife across the River Tay, east of Perthshire and south of Aberdeenshire and the Cairngorms National Park.
No matter where you arrive, Angus is easy to reach – just over 1-hour drive from Edinburgh or Aberdeen and under 2 hours from Glasgow.
Angus is a great place to stay as you can reach many places in East Scotland within a short drive. From the Cairngorms National Park to the picturesque forests of Perthshire, the coast of the East Neuk of Fife or the beaches of Aberdeenshire, your adventure doesn’t stop in Angus.
How to get around Angus
A car will give you the greatest flexibility when visiting Angus, but there are also great public transport links.
The train connects the coastal towns from Dundee to Montrose which makes it easy to explore the Angus coast by public transport. Further inland, you can make use of a great network of local buses which connects all the major towns from Brechin to Kirriemuir.
How long to stay in Angus
I recommend spending at least 3 days in Angus to get a taste. That way you can spend one day on the coast, one in the rural countryside and one in the glens.
Of course, there is plenty to do to fill up an entire week in Angus if you have the time to explore longer!
Where to stay in Angus
There are many great places to stay in Angus. You could base yourself in one central location and explore from there, or book several accommodations in different parts of the region.
Here are some of my top accommodation picks in Angus:
Newton Farm Holidays is a great B&B on a small working farm near Forfar. There is one en-suite guest room which can also serve as a family room with a pull-out sofa. Guests have access to a small fridge to store any essentials and an atmospheric dining room. The farm is about 20 minutes from Forfar and ideally located to explore the countryside of Angus.
Lodge on Lochside is a B&B in the serene settings of the Lintrathen Nature Reserve near Kirriemuir. There are five en-suite rooms as well as a guest lounge and kitchen, that is fully equipped to prepare breakfast or even an evening meal. The B&B is well located to visit the Angus Glens. The cafe on-site serves breakfast, lunch and cakes from early morning.
Glen Clova Hotel is a beautiful 4-star hotel at the top of Glen Clova, a picturesque glen at the southern edge of the Cairngorms National Park. The hotel has 18 bedrooms and 9 self-catering lodges, each with its own private hot tub. There is a great restaurant on-site and many hiking trails that start at or near the hotel.
All of these accommodations also have dog-friendly rooms.
13 Things to do in Angus
Visit Glamis Castle
From the mile-long scenic driveway across the grounds to the playful turrets and towers of the castle, a visit to Glamis Castle is a feast for the eyes. The castle was the setting of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. It looks back at a long and legendary history.
Join a guided tour of the castle, explore the formal gardens or wander the generous grounds to discover this fascinating place.
Hike the Angus Glens
Nestled on the southern edge of the Cairngorms National Park, the Angus Glens are a true hidden gem in the Scottish mountains. From Glen Esk past Glen Lethnot, Glen Clova, Glen Doll and Glen Prosen to Glen Isla in the west, these glens are tranquil and picturesque places to visit.
Enjoy the landscapes from the roadside, go on a hike or bag a Munro, and join a wildlife tour to spot some of the wild animals in the glens – these are among my favourite things to do in Angus.
Corrie Fee and Loch Brandy at Glen Clova/Glen Doll and the Loch Lee circuit at the top of Glen Esk are my top picks for walks in Angus.
Discover history at Arbroath Abbey
While there are many older historic sites to visit, when it comes to the more recent political history of Scotland – Arbroath is the place to be.
In 1320 Scottish noblemen sent a letter to Pope John XXII to declare the independence of the Kingdom of Scotland. This document is known as the Declaration of Arbroath and it is believed that it was drafted and written at Arbroath Abbey.
Visit the ruins of the 12th-century abbey and learn about its political and cultural significance at the award-winning visitor centre.
Afterward, enjoy a wander down to the harbour of Arbroath and the Signal Tower lighthouse.
Birdwatching at Montrose Basin
The Montrose Basin is a large estuary of the River South Esk, just west of Montrose. Before the river meets the sea, it forms wide mudflats that offer food and shelter for over 100,000 migratory birds. During the summer months, many of them arrive here to form large breeding colonies, but there are also birds that live here year-round. It’s the perfect place for birders!
The visitor centre has panoramic views and many telescopes and binoculars to spot wildlife. There are also a few hides around the basin that can be reached on a network of trails. From September to February this is a great place to see kingfishers!
Another great place for birdwatching is the RSPB nature reserve at Loch of Kinnordy near Kirriemuir. There are three hides along the loch shores.
You might also like: 11 Educational & Science-Based Tourism Experiences in Scotland
Chase waterfalls at Reekie Linn
There are many waterfalls in Angus, especially in the Angus Glens. One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the region is Reekie Linn on the river Isla. The waterfall has its name from the powerful spray that fills the gorge with mist – “reekie” means smokey.
The walk from the car park to the waterfall is very short – about 20 minutes – but the ground can be quite wet and the slopes of the gorge are steep, so take great care. There are several picnic benches along the river, which makes this a great spot for a lunch break.
Indulge in local (vegan) cuisine
Angus is Scotland’s larder on the east coast. The region is known for abundant farming and rich fisheries, from the obvious favourites like Aberdeen Angus cattle to local delicacies like Forfar bridies (meat pastries) and Arbroath smokies (smoked haddock).
But even if you are vegan, you will find plenty of food to indulge in! Much of Scotland’s vegetables and fruits hail from this part of the country, and like everywhere, there is a growing trend to offer delicious, plant-based options.
Here are some of my favourite eateries in Angus that cater to vegans and other dietary requirements. I’d generally recommend giving restaurants a call to book a table and let them know if you’re vegan.
- Cashley’s, Forfar – a deliciously modern spin on Scottish classics. Great vegan dessert options!
- The Giddy Goose, Forfar – a trendy restaurant with burgers and pizza. Would be great for a night out with cocktails.
- 88 Degrees, Kirriemuir – a quirky cafe in the centre of Kirriemuir.
- Wee Bear Cafe, Lintrathen – a cafe adjacent to Lodge on Lochside, popular with walkers and cyclists. They always have a huge selection of cakes with some vegan options.
- Drovers Inn, near Kirriemuir – a popular countryside restaurant with a big garden and delicious Scottish menu.
- Glen Clova Hotel – excellent food at the hotel’s restaurant in the beautiful setting of Glen Clova. There is a spacious terrace and plenty of tables inside.
- The Old Brewhouse, Arbroath – a quirky pub near the harbour of Arbroath. I loved all the marine decor.
- East Coast Burgers, Montrose – a bright burger joint in the dunes of Montrose beach.
Explore Angus’ picturesque towns & villages
Edzell, Brechin, Forfar, Glamis and Kirriemuir in the countryside; Montrose, Arbroath, Carnoustie and Monifieth along the coast – there are many picturesque towns and villages in Angus.
I recently enjoyed a wander through Forfar – the county town of Angus, which was formerly called Forfarshire. It has a very pretty town centre with lots of independent shops and businesses. Discover quirky pubs and beautiful cobble-stone lanes, or walk up Castle Hill for a view of the area.
Go for a gentle walk in the Sidlaws
The Sidlaws are the local hills of Dundee. Volcanic in origin, the range extends for about 30 miles from Kinnoull Hill near Perth to close to Forfar.
Some of the summits to climb in the Sidlaws are Auchterhouse Hill, Balluderon Hill and Craigowl Hill – the highest in the range. Another popular viewpoint is the top of Carrot Hill which can easily be reached by car.
Explore Glenisla by bike
With its flat coastal trails, far-stretching countryside and winding roads into the glens, Angus is a cyclist’s paradise.
To hire bikes, head to Lintrathen Cycles on the edge of the Lintrathen nature reserve. From here, you can explore the foothills of the Angus Glens, and discover the castles, lochs and tearooms off the beaten path.
I hired an e-bike and cycled from Lintrathen to Kirkton of Kingoldrum and Balintore Castle, which took about 2-3 hours.
Explore more cycling trails in Angus.
Meet the animals at Newton Farm Holidays
The farm at Newton of Fotheringham is small and family-run. Like most farms in the area, they mostly farm cows and sheep, but they also have a plethora of other animals – many rehomed to enjoy the rest of their lives in the beautiful Angus countryside.
Chickens and ducks, a riot of goats, a peacock couple, Highland cows, several alpacas and Lucy, the miniature pig – who isn’t all that miniature.
You can meet the animals on a farm tour or by joining in on one of the farm experiences. From walking the alpacas to brushing Highland cows, bottle-feeding lambs in the spring or getting the goats in – it’s a lot of fun to be around these animals!
The farm is also a great way for people to learn about where their food comes from and regenerative approaches to farming.
Visit the Bothy Experience
The Bothy Experience combines two of my favourite things: gin and bothies.
At the Gin Bothy visitor centre you join a gin tasting or purchase a bottle to take home. Shop local produce and hand-selected gifts at the larder and bakery, or learn about Scottish mountain bothies in the Bothy Tales exhibit.
Spend a day on the beach
The Angus coast is a great place for a beach day. One of my favourite beaches in Angus is Montrose beach which stretched for miles just north of the town. You could follow the trails and the sands all the way to the estuary of the river North Esk.
South of Montrose is a smaller, but beautiful beach at Lunan Bay. Other popular Angus beaches include Carnoustie and Broughty Ferry.
If you want to see the coastline from the water, check out Sup2Summit who do SUP lessons and tours along the Angus coast.
Discover geology at Seaton Cliffs
The Seaton Cliffs extend north from Arbroath and are a great place to see spectacular red sandstone formations – sea caves, stacks, blowholes and arches. There is a great trail along the cliffs and you caneither walk all the way to Auchmithie and take the bus back, or turn around anytime to retrace your steps.
To explore the cliffs and caves from the seaside, get in touch with Arbroath Cliff Tours.
As you can see, Angus has a lot going for itself. No matter what aspect of Scottish culture you want to experience – there are things to do in Angus that will help you dive right in!
Planning a trip was never easier than with the Angus Tour route. I hope I’ve inspired you to do just that and discover one of Scotland’s hidden gems.
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