Scotland has 5 other cities, the biggest of which is Aberdeen with a population of 197,000 and the smallest, Stirling, being home to just 37,000 people. Each has a compelling history and reason to visit.
Aberdeen is located in the driest region in Scotland and its hours of daylight are long, with the sun rising at around 4 am and setting after 10 pm in mid to late June. It is bordered by beautiful and lush Royal Deeside, the magnificent Cairngorms National Park and the North Sea.
Famed for its granite buildings, Aberdeen is the hub of the UK energy industry, the access to point to Scotland’s abundant oil fields and with more than 900 energy companies resident. 52 golf courses inhabit Aberdeenshire, including Royal Aberdeen and Trump International, and it is blessed with beautiful beaches, ripe for surfing and sailing.
Inverness is Scotland’s most northerly city and home to 47,000 people. Close to the Bronze Age Clava Cairns and Culloden battlefield, the scene of the final, fateful clash of the Jacobite Risings and situated on the Moray Firth, where the resident pod of dolphins, and sometimes whales, are regularly spotted.
Inverness is a rapidly changing city with a flourishing foodie scene. Its proximity to Speyside makes it a fantastic base to explore the region’s plethora of renowned distilleries, including The Macallan and The Glenlivet as well as fantastic golf courses, including Castle Stuart, Nairn, Moray GC and Boat of Garten.
Dundee is Scotland’s fourth largest city, with a population of around 150,000. Traditionally a working-class city built on the textile and print industries, Dundee has enjoyed a renaissance of late. In 2015 it became the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design and is a centre of innovation, being the birthplace of the Grand Theft Auto video game. But it has also become a city of culture. It is home to the RSS Discovery, the famed ship Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton ventured to the Antarctic between 1901 and 1904.
Museums, a Jazz Festival and Scotland’s biggest food festival further enhanced its cultural reputation before V&A Dundee, the world’s only V&A museum outside of London, opened in late 2018. Dundee is also handily place for golf, just a short journey across the Tay Bridge to St Andrew’s and the golfer’s paradise of the East Neuk of Fife.
Perth is Scotland’s smallest and newest city, receiving that status from the Queen as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. But Perth is an ancient and influential place, stretching back more than 800 years. Once the capital of Scotland, it has always been one of the country’s most important political, judicial and commercial centres. Just a couple of miles along the road at Scone Palace, many of Scotland’s kings were crowned on the Stone of Destiny. Indeed, it was at nearby Methven that Robert The Bruce was attacked by King Edward’s men shortly after his coronation, forcing him to flee to the Highlands.
Today Perth is a vibrant city, with the Perth Festival one of the highlights of Scotland’s cultural calendar, featuring classical music, opera, jazz, rock, folk and visual art. Golfers are well catered for with three world class courses at Gleneagles, just a short drive away, and countless other hidden gems located around the area. Perth is the gateway to the Highlands and just a short journey up the A9 sees the landscape change dramatically, bringing with it woodland, mountains, rivers, lochs and picture postcard towns such as Pitlochry, whilst the A93 take you a breath-taking journey through Glenshee and Royal Deeside toward Balmoral.
Stirling is another ancient and important city. Home to just 37,000, Scotland’s seat of power was once based at Stirling Castle, reminiscent of Edinburgh Castle as it sits atop a rock. Stirling is home to the National Wallace Monument, constructed in honour of William Wallace, who defeated the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge during the First War of Scottish Independence on 11th September 1297.
Its historical influence doesn’t stop there, either. In 1314 Scotland won its independence, or freedom, from England when Robert The Bruce defeated King Edward’s Army at nearby Bannockburn. Today, Stirling is a gateway to the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.