Known as the birthplace of Scotland thanks to the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath at Arbroath Abbey in 1320, Angus has a little bit of everything that makes Scotland great. Rolling hills, pure white beaches and championship golf courses are just a taste of what’s on offer. The region even dips its toes into Cairngorms National Park.
This east of Scotland hot spot boasts seven unique towns, some dotted along the stunning coastline and some further inland surrounded by vast, unfathomable lochs. Each of these characterful settlements showcases exciting festivals and events throughout the year, and offers world-class food for when you want a night off from cooking.
Keep scrolling to read more about this fabulous region or tap the button below to begin your Angus holiday cottage search.
The towns of Angus
The beaches of Angus
The golf in Angus
The food and drink of Angus
The walks in Angus
The festivals of Angus
Map of Angus
There are many more interesting facts about Angus than you might realise. Of course, get inspired and visit Angus for the magnificent glens (more on those in a moment) and the formidable castles, but first let us whet your appetite with a few truths:
- Angus produces 28% of Scotland’s potatoes
- The inventor of the sticky postage stamp came from Arbroath
- Glamis Castle was chosen by Shakespeare as the residence of Macbeth in his renowned Scottish play
- Peter Pan author JM Barrie was born in Kirriemuir, where the original Wendy house is believed to be located
- A smoked haddock can only be called an Arbroath Smokie if it has been prepared in the traditional way within 5 miles of Arbroath
There’s plenty to keep you occupied on a holiday to Angus, whether that’s exploring the green open spaces with your loved one or dog, brushing up on some history at one of the many castles, or taking a dip in a refreshing loch and having a wild swim.
Angus’ glens offer colourful moorland to traverse and sweet heather to smell. Ten of them are considered Munros, presenting opportunities for hiking, bike riding or driving. Stop off at Glen Clova before heading to Glen Doll to catch a glimpse of the Cairngorm Mountains and maybe some eagles.
Step back in time and visit Angus’ plethora of historic houses and castles. There are some truly majestic buildings which you can learn more about on fascinating tours, and the gardens on offer are stunning. Take a trip to Glamis Castle, the House of Dun, and Edzell Castle and Gardens to name just a few.
If you’re looking for something a little more exhilarating, why not try wild swimming in Angus? With plenty of beautiful coastline and numerous lochs to choose from, Angus is an ideal spot to take part in this popular pastime. There are many health benefits for taking a short dip out in the wild and Angus has some enviable settings: Lunan Bay, Montrose Beach, Arbirlot Falls and Loch Brandy are our suggestions.
The towns of Angus
Spend each day of the week in a different town when visiting Angus. Each of the seven destinations has its own unique character and plenty of visitor attractions to keep you occupied during your stay.
The largest town in Angus and the home of the famous 1320 Declaration, Arbroath is a seaside town that was also put on the map thanks to the renowned Arbroath Smokie (haddock smoked over wood fire). If you haven’t haddock enough of fish-related excursions, follow the Arbroath Smokie Trail.
Best attraction: West Links Fun Park is just 0.25 miles from Arbroath Harbour and offers hours of fun for kids and big kids alike. Take aim during a game of crazy golf or foot golf, or get behind the wheel in the mini-cars!
Place to eat: The Bell Rock was the first place to batter the Arbroath Smokie; it’s a great way to enjoy the delicacy without the hassle of fiddly bones.
Closest beach: Arbroath Beach has a designated swimming area, a children’s play area and plenty of rock pools to explore.
Place to stay: Hatton Lodge | sleeps 2 guest + 2 dogs
The second town on our list isn’t even a town. Owing to its medieval cathedral, Brechin is in fact a city. This cathedral has an 11th-century round tower; only one other of its kind remains in Scotland.
Best attraction: At Brechin Castle Centre, there are 70 acres of country park to wander. Stroll through the magical woodland fairy trail or play on the go-karts before practising your putt at crazy golf.
Place to eat: At Angus Grill + Larder, you can grab an excellent burger or club sandwich before shopping in the larder for a gift to take home.
Closest beach: Montrose Beach, 9 miles away, offers 3 miles of golden sands and incredible views of Scurdie Ness Lighthouse.
Place to stay: East Drums Farmhouse | sleeps 8 guests + 2 dogs
At just 200 years old, Carnoustie is the youngest town in Angus. Anyone with plus fours in their closet will love a holiday here as the Open Championship has been hosted here eight times. Lovers of the sea can enjoy superb coastal walks or an excursion on the sandy stretch of beach.
Best attraction: Carnoustie Golf Links has previously been voted the Best Golf Course in Scotland and for good reason. Check it out for yourself.
Place to eat: Located at Barry Downs Park near Carnoustie, The WeeCOOK Kitchen is an award-winning pie maker and a family-friendly/dog-friendly restaurant.
Closest beach: With a gentle slope down towards the sea, Carnoustie Beach is great for families. Just be aware that, when high, the tide comes all the way up to the wall.
Place to stay: Shank Of Omachie Cottage | sleeps 4 + 1 dog
Once the seat of Scotland’s King Malcolm Canmore, Forfar is now a magnet for shoppers looking to pick up a bargain at Angus’ Farmers’ Market. Forfar Loch is also a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts with kayaking, SUP and canoeing on offer. For a touch of history, follow the Forfar Heritage Trail.
Best attraction: Come and meet the animals at Murton Farm, a beautiful nature reserve where the kids can let off some steam and you can grab lunch before exploring the lochs and wetlands.
Place to eat: Head to either McLaren & Son Bakers or Saddler’s of Forfar to sample the Forfar Bridie. This meat and onion pasty may seem simple but it’s a comfort food that’s currently seeking protected status!
Closest beach: Being a little inland, Forfar is equidistant from a few beaches including Victoria Park Beach, East Haven Beach, Carnoustie Beach, Monifieth Beach and Broughty Ferry Beach. However, the Loch of Forfar is accessible within 2 miles.
Place to stay: Wallis' View | sleeps 2 guests + 1 dog
Known as the gateway to the glens, Kirriemuir is also linked with people who just don’t want to grow up. So, if you’re a child at heart, visit the place where Peter Pan creator, Sir JM Barrie, was born, which was also the childhood home of rocker Bon Scott, the former lead singer from AC/DC, whose bandmate's name was ... wait for it ... Angus!
Best attraction: The Neverland Play Park houses Peter Pan-themed equipment which will provide hours of fun for the kids. Adults might want to check out Kirriemuir’s Camera Obscura nearby which offers stunning panoramas of the surrounding countryside.
Place to eat: Whilst at Camera Obscura, stop off for a bite at Cafe Obscura. Freshly ground coffee, scones, cakes and light lunches are all on offer here.
Closest beach: Similar to Forar, Kirriemuir is inland so you’re looking at a 20-mile drive to the nearest beach. However, RSPB Scotland’s Loch of Kinnordy is just 2 miles away.
Place to stay: The Lodge At Logie House | sleeps 4 guests + 2 dogs
Found on the north shore of the Firth of Tay, Monifieth is a small coastal town that dates back to the 9th century. In fact, it was still a small village until the 19th century when the popularity of the textile industry caused it to expand. The town also has two excellent golf courses, one of which is used during The Open qualifying rounds. Follow the heritage trail to find out more about Monifieth.
Best attraction: Blue Seaway is an outdoor recreation area with two bowling rinks, three tennis courts, a children’s play park and a skate park.
Place to eat: Afternoon teas don’t come better in Monifieth than at Bowmans Coffee House. This family-run and dog-friendly café serves excellently presented breakfast, brunch and lunch.
Closest beach: Monifieth Beach is a long, sandy beach looking out over the Firth of Tay. There’s plenty of room for stretching legs and lots of rock pools to investigate.
Place to stay: 1a Harbour View | sleeps 4 guests
If you have a retail itch that you have to scratch, then head to Montrose. This coastal town has one of the widest high streets in Scotland featuring a number of great shops. After this, take a walk to Scurdie Ness Lighthouse which has been protecting ships for 150 years. There’s plenty of history at the 18th-century House of Dun, and at Montrose Playhouse, you can catch the latest Hollywood blockbuster.
Best attraction: Head to Seafront Splash on a warm day and get your own back on that cheeky family member with a water jet, or just let the kids run wild on the play equipment. You can also hire a bike, play pitch and putt or have a bite to eat in the café.
Place to eat: At the House of Dun, you can eat at either Erskine’s Café or Violet’s Café. Grab a takeaway to eat as you explore the National Trust for Scotland’s gardens or sit out in the sunny courtyard.
Closest beach: Montrose Beach stretches for 3 miles from Montrose to the North Esk River.
Place to stay: Yew Cottage - Dunninald Castle | sleeps 2 guests + 1 dog
The beaches of Angus
A big part of what draws visitors to Angus is the beaches. This beautiful stretch of coastline flows for miles from Monifieth to Montrose and includes some truly spellbinding bays. Before we sink our feet into the sand, it’s worth noting that if you want to see as many of the beaches as possible and you don’t mind a long walk, seek out the Wild South Esk Trail. This 50-mile route offers the possibility of seeing bottlenose dolphins and rare seabirds to one side, and further inland, you might spot the elusive pine martin and Scottish wildcat.
Starting furthest north, we have Montrose Beach and Lunan Bay. Montrose Beach is a golden sands beach that arrows north past a links course all the way to the North Esk River. It has the feel of a traditional family-friendly beach with a promenade to stroll along and shops and an amusement centre to keep young and old entertained. As previously mentioned, Seafront Splash is great fun on a summer’s day. Lunan Bay is a somewhat wilder affair, offering a secluded haven for those who like their beaches a little more off the beaten track. Sand dunes and rugged low cliffs surround this beach which is overlooked by the crumbling ruins of Red Castle and once hosted the hordes of Viking armies.
Moving south, we come to West Links Beach in Arbroath. Also known as Elliot Beach, this is a nice alternative to Arbroath Harbour as the wide expanse of sand means you can stretch out and enjoy a day by the sea. There are rockpools dotted around and the beach is backed by a grassy area which is perfect for a picnic with sandwiches (minus the sand). If the kids still have the energy, you are also proximal to West Links Fun Park.
If you move 4 miles along the coast towards Carnoustie, you’ll come to a small village named East Haven, which has a pretty little bay that’s well-liked by dog walkers and families. The village is known as one of the oldest recorded fishing communities in Scotland, dating back to 1214, so bring your rod if you want to become a part of the settlement’s history. The beach itself is sandy and is protected by the harbour, making it a safe place for children to play.
Just below the Carnoustie Championship Golf Course, you’ll find Carnoustie Bay, a gorgeous sandy cove that’s popular with windsurfers, kayakers and sailing enthusiasts. There are steps and a slipway to the beach, making it extremely accessible and if the tide is high, you and the children can head over to Sandy Sensation Adventure Play Area where there’s a paddling pool and some play equipment.
The last beach on our list (although there are more – check out Monifieth, Auchmithie and Carlingheugh) is Buddon Ness, a headland east of Broughty Ferry at the mouth of the Tay Estuary. If you fancy a long walk, start on Monifieth Beach and walk along Barry Sands to reach Buddon Ness and its two lighthouses. Said lighthouses are slightly inland and are surrounded by grass; roll out the picnic blanket and get the nibbles out.
The golf in Angus
As you’ve already gathered, Angus has a few golf courses to be proud of and with Scotland being the home of golf, it’d be rude to holiday here and not even have a quick round of nine or 18!
This area is awash with fabulous links courses and also those further inland encroaching on the Angus Glens. With 17 to choose from, including the fifth oldest course in the world (Montrose) and four Open qualifier courses, playing golf in Angus really is par for the course.
Which one will you choose?
The food and drink of Angus
Angus is full to the brim of traditional and well-known food and drink so make sure you try as many local delicacies as you can when staying here. Some you’ll even be able to take home with you so you can relive your Angus excursions from the comfort of your own home wherever that may be.
Where you can find local produce
You can’t visit the Arbroath area without trying an Arbroath Smokie, a food so unique that it’s protected under European law in the same way as Champagne and Parma Ham. This is one of Angus’ biggest and best exports and it has also been modified over the years to accommodate different palates. It can now be found in fishcakes, quiches and risottos. Take a stroll along the Arbroath Smokie Trail to find out the full story of this classic.
Known globally as the benchmark for quality beef, Aberdeen Angus cattle are found in large numbers in every major beef-producing country around the world. Each and every one can trace its origins back to this area of Scotland. Follow the Aberdeen Angus Trail to find out more.
As previously mentioned, the Forfar Bridie is another local treat that shouldn’t be missed. Seeking the same prestigious status as the Smokie, this meat and onion pasty can be found in most bakers in Forfar, most notably Saddlers and McLaren’s.
Angus wouldn’t be a Scottish county without having a whisky distillery, but that’s not all that’s being produced here. Carnoustie Distillery, one of the oldest distilleries in the UK, produces a number of vodkas and rums, and the Gin Bothy in the Angus Glens uses local ingredients to create all manner of infused gins. But if it is whisky you’ve come here for, visit Glencadam Distillery which has been making single malts since 1825. And for high-quality ales and craft beers, pay a visit to Redcastle Brewery, MoR Beers and Shed 35.
Where you can eat out
There are hundreds of places to eat out in Angus as well as a few foodie experiences too if you want to learn about where the food comes from.
Head to The Grill 21 for a taste of Turkey and the Mediterranean, as well as crowd pleasers such as pizza, steak and pasta dishes. For some fine dining, you should book into the award-winning Gordon’s Restaurant near Lunan Bay. This family-run restaurant focuses on British cuisine, influenced by classic cooking techniques – it’s an experience not to be missed.
Pavilion Cafe in Montrose gets consistently good reviews on Tripadvisor and is the number one place to eat in the town. This former bowling pavilion has accommodating staff delivering honest food in a beautiful setting. Dogs are welcome outside and there are even treats available for your four-legged friends. A top restaurant in Arbroath, Andreou's Bistro offers up homemade Greek recipes and their very own branded lager. And The WeeCook Kitchen in Carnoustie serves up traditional Scottish fare including award-winning pies and a secret weekend menu.
More top bars, restaurants and pubs:
The walks in Angus
There are lots of walks in Angus to suit most needs, whether you want to learn about the history of a particular town on a heritage trail or you just want to enjoy some countryside and coastal serenity.
Angus’ town trails highlight the historical stories behind each town, and our top choices include:
- Montrose Sculpture Trail
- WW1 Angus Heritage Trail
- Angus Maritime Heritage
- The Pictish Trail
- Carnoustie Heritage Trail
- Angus Kirkyard Trail
If you’re more interested in nature and miles of unspoilt landscapes, discover Angus’ network of paths that crisscross over verdant hills and glens and run parallel to the exquisite coastline.
If we had to choose one walk to cater for different levels of ability, we opt for:
- Caddam Woods, Kirriemuir – Grade: easy, 2 miles. Take in JM Barrie’s birthplace and Camera Obscura on this woodland circuit.
- Cortachy River Walk – Grade: moderate, 2.5 miles. Visit Airlie Monument on this somewhat steep walk that follows the river.
- Mount Keen and Queen’s Well – Grade: difficult, 11 miles. If you’re ‘keen’ to climb a mountain, this is for you. You’ll even get to see Invermark Castle.
Festivals and events in Angus
There’s plenty to keep you entertained throughout the calendar year in Angus, with a rich choice of comedy performances, live music, festivals, markets and workshops catering to all tastes.
Glamis Castle, for example, has various events throughout the year including the Summer Festival in July, which celebrates the best local businesses and produce, as well as giving you a chance to explore the wonderful gardens. Later in the year in November, you can visit the castle to browse the Christmas Market or pop back in December to have breakfast with Santa.
Another fantastic event in November is the Angus Bookfest. Held this month to coincide with Book Week Scotland, you can enjoy live talks and storytelling with some of your favourite authors. You might discover local talent that you didn’t know existed or just enter some competitions and try to win a new book.
If you want to be a bit more active during your stay but still want to experience the feel of an Angus festival, check out the Angus Cycling Festival in September. This 2-month programme of events climaxes in a 2-day event in Reid Park, Forfar. There’s live music, food, a cycle skills course and a stunt airbag contest.
If, when you hear the word festival, you think of music and beer, fear not. Brewfest in October is an annual event celebrating local alcohol and food producers. So, you can have the chance to sample some of those local establishments we mentioned earlier.
For all the country bumpkins out there, the Angus Show in June is an agricultural show that becomes a platform for all manner of exciting goings on such as vintage vehicle displays, Highland games, carnival rides, and best-in-show viewings of local cattle, sheep, horses, goats and dogs.
For a full calendar of live shows, visit Angus Alive.
Map of Angus
Self-catering cottages in Angus
Now that we’ve covered most of what there is to do in the area, it’s time for us to help you find a self-catering holiday home in Angus so you can rest your head each night.
With properties ranging from cottages with waterside views and open fires to retreats with enclosed gardens and hot tubs, we’ve got the Angus break just for you. Tap the button below.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.