Length 68 miles / 109 km
Curving gracefully along the east coast, the Angus Coastal Route links the cities of Dundee and Aberdeen, passing a range of charming towns, beautiful nature reserves and more than a few great attractions. Enjoy splendid views of the Grampian Mountains to the west and sparkling North Sea to the east as you drive north.
DUNDEE SCIENCE CENTRE
Try hands-on science experiments.
Wee ones will be in their element at this fun hands-on attraction – get their minds whirring as they learn about the fascinating world of science. Whatever your age, you’ll find something to amaze you with brilliant exhibitions and festivals that change regularly at Dundee Science Centre. Fancy something else? Dundee offers plenty of other great attractions to explore. Step aboard the RSS Discovery and discover what life was like for the crew that manned this historic ship, pop into The McManus (admission is free) to see fascinating objects, artwork and exhibitions, or enjoy a peaceful stroll to the Mills Observatory, where you can learn about space exploration and use the observatory’s powerful working telescopes (also for free).
BROUGHTY FERRY CASTLE
Enjoy sweeping views of the beach and firth from the observation point.
A fantastic free attraction in a beautiful town, Broughty Ferry Castle has stood since the 15th century (it was built in 1498) and offers absolutely stunning views of Broughty Ferry beach and the sparkling waters of the Tay estuary from its high-level observation point. Dolphins have been spotted here so keep your eyes peeled! Inside the castle there are plenty of curious objects to discover and stories to read, as well as beautiful artwork to linger over from the Orchar Collection (paintings, drawings and prints collected during the Victorian period by the successful Dundee businessman James Guthrie Orchar).
Discover the 200 year old method for grinding grain into flour.
Step back in time at this historic water mill. Since the early 1800s Barry Mill has ground grain into flour using the power generated from its giant water wheel. See the wheel in action and learn about the traditional milling process. On Sundays the mill powers up to show visitors live milling and the attraction boasts some lovely tranquil walks along the ladeside and burnside. Nearby you could also stop off at Monikie Country Park to stretch your legs in the fresh air while keen golfers shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to play Carnoustie Golf Links.
Step inside the towering walls and delve into Scotland’s past.
Even in its ruined state you can’t help but feel a sense of awe standing beneath the towering walls of Arbroath Abbey. Founded in 1178, discover the events that have unfolded there, including the role the abbey played in the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath. Afterwards, head to the harbour where you can enjoy a traditional Arbroath Smokie and pop into the Arbroath Signal Tower Museum to learn about the 200 year history of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, built on a semi-sunken reef 11 miles offshore (boat tours to the lighthouse are available too). Kids will be delighted with a turn on Kerr’s Miniature Railway or nearby, Hospitalfield House is a fascinating arts centre where you can enjoy some great events.
Stroll along gorgeously fine sands and see a natural sea cave.
Enjoy some time in the fresh air with a stroll along the gorgeously fine sands of Lunan Bay. Divided in the middle by the Lunan Water, the 4 km beach is surrounded by high sand dunes and sea cliffs. This three hour Lunan Bay walk will take you to the natural sea cave at the north end of the beach, and the sea arch nearby, before heading to the south end of the beach to visit the ruined Red Castle which dates from the 1100s. Look out for birds, including great grey shrikes and rough-legged buzzards, as well as washed up gemstones on the beach.
HOUSE OF DUN
Explore the impressive period rooms and see objects owned by the family.
Designed by the famous Scottish architect William Adam and begun in 1730, the House of Dun was home to the Erskine family for over 200 years. Tour this beautiful Georgian mansion to take in the impressive period interiors, see objects owned by the family and hear about the trials of building the house.
Afterwards, enjoy a stroll in the manicured gardens or stretch your legs on the woodland walk. If you fancy a bit of wildlife spotting head to the nearby Montrose Basin reserve, which is home to extensive populations of wildfowl and geese. Why not enjoy a walk around the beautiful reserve, topped off with a hot drink in the reserve visitor centre?
MONTROSE AIR STATION HERITAGE CENTRE
See a replica spitfire up close and discover WWI stories.
Before you leave Montrose, stop off at the Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre to learn about the station’s part in aviation history. Built in 1913, just before the beginning of WWI, Montrose Air Station was Britain’s first operational military airfield. Discover the stories of the people who lived and worked at the station, step back in time in replica rooms and snap pictures of the centre’s replica spitfire. Alternatively golfers can enjoy a round of links golf at nearby Montrose Golf Links.
ST CYRUS NATIONAL NATURE RESERVE
Look for rare wildflowers and peregrine falcons as you explore.
Pull on your walking boots for a wander around this gorgeous nature reserve. Famed for its rare wildflowers, butterflies and moths (as well as its superb sandy beach) St Cyrus NNR is the perfect place to soak up the raw beauty of the gorgeous coastline. Follow this St Cyrus walk for beautiful views of Montrose bay and the towering cliffs surrounding the beach, as well as historic places, including abandoned salmon bothies and the Nether Kirkyard. Look out for peregrine falcons as you wander too – these impressive birds live here year-round.
Find out why the Scottish crown jewels were once hidden here.
Sitting proudly atop towering sea cliffs looking out over the North Sea, there has been a structure on the Dunnottar Castle site since at least the fourth century. With a fascinating history dating back centuries, Dunnottar is well worth a stop on your trip to learn its stories and soak up the awe-inspiring views from the cliffs. Discover why William Wallace laid siege to the castle and how this clifftop fortress protected Scotland’s crown jewels, known as the Honours of Scotland, from being destroyed by Oliver Cromwell.
If Dunnottar Castle tempts you into seeing more historic fortresses, why not explore Scotland’s Castle Trail?
Spot dolphins from the shore or take a boat tour to get closer.
Did you know… Aberdeen Harbour is one of the best places in Scotland to see dolphins? You can often spot them from the shore but there are also boat tours available that will take you closer. Discover more about the harbour’s history as a fishing port, ship building site and hub for the offshore oil industry at the Aberdeen Maritime Museum nearby. While you’re in Aberdeen why not visit St Machar’s Cathedral and explore the historic streets of Old Aberdeen? You could even do some shopping at Union Square Shopping Centre or catch a show at His Majesty’s Theatre.