Scotland’s Epic Art and Design

A bridge over a river at night. It is held by a large arch.

Scotland may be world-famous for its stately castles, jagged sea cliffs, and verdant lochs—but it’s also a treasure trove of architecture, art, and design. The city of Dundee, for example, is a UNESCO City of Design and home to the awe-inspiring V&A Museum, a must-visit for any purveyor of Scottish design. And Glasgow holds countless architectural glories as well, from the Corinthian Club and Grand Central Hotel to the Glasgow Cathedral and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

This four-day tour will take you into the heart of Scotland’s two most artistically relevant cites: Glasgow and Dundee. You’ll discover the edgy outdoor murals, top-notch Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and enigmatic architecture of Glasgow; and then you’ll venture about one-and-a-half hours to the northern shore of the Firth of Tay, where Dundee’s mind-blowing modern arts scene will impress even the most discerning art lover. By evening, you’ll peruse culinary masterpieces and eclectic nightlife, to boot. Get ready to be inspired.

Eric Maryanov, the president of All-Travel and a member of the AFAR Travel Advisory Council, is ready to design a trip around your interests that includes the artistic highlights of Scotland.

V&A Dundee · Scotland's first design museum


V&A Design Museum

Visit one of the United Kingdom’s newest and most exciting museums, the stunning V&A Dundee, which was designed by acclaimed Japanese firm Kengo Kuma & Associates and opened last September.
A Purple Flower-like Logo



VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourist board, works to ensure that visitors experience the very best of Scotland—its famous sites and best hotels, resorts, restaurants, and more. The organization provides information and inspiration to travelers ready to discover Scotland’s unique music, language, dance, culture, and cuisine. Whether you want to walk in the footsteps of famous Scots—from Rabbie Burns to Macbeth—as you explore historic castles, stone circles, and other landmarks, or experience the best of contemporary Scotland, VisitScotland will help you plan an unforgettable visit.
A mural of a man hailing a taxi lifted by balloons

DAY 1Arrive in Glasgow

Check into Hotel du Vin, a five-star Victorian property that’s full of sophistication and charm and located in the trendsetting West End of Glasgow.

On the first day of your art and design tour, dive in by taking a walking tour of Glasgow. Following your stroll, enjoy afternoon tea at the beautifully restored Mackintosh at the Willow Tearooms. Designed by Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the 1903 Art Nouveau rooms are an integral part of Glasgow’s architectural heritage. After your fill of fine tea and finger sandwiches, check out House for an Art Lover, designed by Mackintosh 110 years ago and set in the beautiful grounds of Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park.

Later, venture to the Butterfly and Pig, Bar and Restaurant for vintage settings full of friendly locals. For an after-hours crowd, Finnieston neighbourhood is a must-visit, often described as “hip, arty, and lively” and voted one of the “top 10 coolest neighborhoods” in Europe
A tall building across a sweeping lawn

DAY 2Explore Glasgow

Begin your second day at the stately sandstone structure, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, located in Kelvingrove Park. Here, you can gaze at over 8,000 objects of art, archaeology, and natural history—and it’s free to enter. All that eye candy can work up an appetite, so wander to Byres Road and refuel at one of the cosmopolitan eateries or chic coffee houses. Next, head back to the city center and to the impressive Gallery of Modern Art in Royal Exchange Square—and then just wander around. Admire the living museum all around you: The Art Deco Glasgow Film Theater, Mitchell Library, Corinthian Club, and Glasgow Cathedral are all works of art.

Later, savor some authentic Scottish dining at Mharsanta (Gaelic for “merchant”), located in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City a popular destination for sophisticated locals.
A ship floats by a striped museum

DAY 3Arrive in Dundee

Today, travel one-and-a-half hours from Glasgow to the UNESCO City of Design, Dundee. Settle in at the cozy Newport, which has just four rooms themed around some of Dundee’s cultural influences—choose from the Canadian, French, Nordic, and, of course, Scottish suites.

Sprawling along the northern shore of the Firth of Tay, the waterfront around Discovery Point has undergone a massive redevelopment, all centered around the architecturally outstanding V&A Dundee—Scotland’s first design museum, which opened in 2018. The museum showcases the best of Scottish design and is a don’t-miss. While you’re there, grab lunch at the in-house Tatha Bar and Kitchen—the food is as good as the river views.

After lunch, walk the street-art trails of Open/Close Dundee, a series of quirky, painted doors spread around the city. Or, if architecture is more your cup of tea, take the Dundee Architectural Trail. Or visit Verdant Works, a beautifully refurbished mill which showcases Dundee’s textile history. Polish off day three of your adventure by browsing the modern art at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA), and grab a burger with smoked bacon and sweet-potato fries at the Jute Café Bar on the ground floor.
A tall gothic building in a Scottish city

DAY 4Explore Dundee

On the fourth and final day of your journey, take in more of Dundee’s art scene with a visit to the McManus Art Gallery and Museum. The historic Victorian building has been gorgeously renovated and is home to an impressive collection of fine art. Next, venture four miles east of the city and to the pretty seaside suburb of Broughty Ferry. Here, you can take a break from the museums and shop, mingle at a stylish bar, or simply stroll the esplanade.

Later, head back to Dundee’s waterfront for an aperitif at The Wine Press, and then hop over to the iconic Bridgeview Station Restaurant—the perfect place to complete your design tour. Nominated for two architectural awards, Bridgeview Station is based on the original design of Dundee’s old Magdalen Green Railway Station. Enjoy a delish Black Isle flat-iron steak and toast your surroundings—and all the epic Scottish architecture and art you’ve devoured over the last four days.
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