Must Visit Museum & Gallery Destinations in The Highlands and Islands

Museum-goers have listed their top Scottish museum and gallery destinations to visit this Summer for the top food, best views and fun family outings.

With hundreds of sites spanning the length and breadth of Scotland now re-opened, there’s something to appeal to everyone.

Museums Galleries Scotland have highlighted some of the favourites in the Highlands and Islands to help visitors plan their next visit. 

Top museums & galleries with the best views in the Highlands and Islands

There’s no surprise that the Highland and Islands region features strongly in the ‘top views’ category of Scotland’s top museums and galleries with Orkney Pier Arts Centre with views across Stromness harbour, Shetland Museum overlooking the harbour, Armadale Castle Gardens & Museum (pictured) on the Isle of Skye, and Glencoe Folk Museum with world-famous vistas in the top ten.  

Foodie museums and galleries

For the foodie and culture vultures, museums and galleries in the Highlands and Islands are now also adept in the culinary arts.

Alongside stunning exhibitions and fascinating artefacts, visitors will also relish creative cuisine.

From locally sourced food, artisan coffee, homemade cakes and ice cream Scotland’s top museums and galleries are tapping into the nation’s love of fresh, local and delicious food.

Topping the menu in this category is Taigh Chearsabhagh in the Western Isles with mouth-watering local dishes like fresh crab sandwiches and Lochmaddy fish chowder.

In the Scottish Highlands, Gairloch Museum has grown a reputation for its savoury cheese scones baked with Loch Ewe Salt and Seaweed and Timespan in the very North East, with fantastic home baking from its own bakery and a new jerk Drum and BBQ from Jam Fire Deli.

For fascinating family outings 

Just in time for the holidays, here are just some of the best places to head to, to keep little ones entertained when school’s out. 

With a focus on outdoor space, perfect picnic spots and even farm animals, families will be spoilt for choice.

Make a day of it at the UK’s first open-air museum, the Highland Folk Museum which celebrates Highland heritage with plenty of outdoor space for the kids to run around including picnic areas, and farm animals to visit.

Collections reflect Highland life from the 1700s up to the mid 1900s and the agricultural collection is a must-see with thousands of items!

For something different… Timespan in Helmsdale is a cultural organisation providing a new place for art, research, heritage, local history and future dreams and actions!

If you’re interested in shaping a better and brighter new world, this is the spot for you!

Timespan comprises a local history museum, contemporary art programme, geology and herb gardens, shop, bakery, and a café.

Get interactive

To help explorers of all ages discover new and exciting places to visit, Museums Galleries Scotland has launched an interactive map as part of its #MuseumsAreGo campaign showing which venues are open for summer.

Lucy Casot, CEO, Museums Galleries Scotland added:

“We want to entice everyone to put a visit to a museum and gallery on their ‘must-do summer 2021’ list and rediscover the magic held inside and around Scotland’s museums and galleries.

“There’s so much to see on your doorstep and on your Scottish staycation! Use our map to plan a fun family day out and make memories.” 

Top ten lists

10 of the Best Museums and Galleries in Scotland with Views

RRS Discovery and V&A Dundee

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Glencoe Folk Museum, Highlands 

Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum of the Isles, Isle of Skye

Shetland Museum, Shetland Isles

Pier Arts Centre, Orkney 

Leadhills Miners Library, South Lanarkshire

Trimontium, The Scottish Borders 

Ellisland Farm Museum, Dumfries & Galloway 

The Scottish Crannog, Perthshire

10 of the best museums and galleries in Scotland for food 

The McManus Art Gallery & Museum, Dundee

Lismore Gaelic Heritage Centre, Argyll and Bute

Auchindrain, Argyll and Bute 

Timespan, Highland 

Gairloch Museum, Highland  

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh 

The Museum of Piping, Glasgow

Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen

Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre, Western Isles

The Devil’s Porridge Museum, Dumfries and Galloway

10 of the best museums and galleries in Scotland for families

Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life, North Lanarkshire

Aberdeenshire Farming Museum, Aberdeenshire 

Scottish Fisheries Museum, Fife

Moat Brae, Dumfries and Galloway 

Paxton House, Scottish Borders 

Highland Folk Museum, Highland 

Falkirk Museum of Scottish Railways, Falkirk

Almond Valley, West Lothian 

Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Perth and Kinross 

Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum, Fife