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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 28 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Lucy Gillmore

For centuries, the Highland Games have been taking place between the Scottish clans. Today, they are held from May to September and range from small local gatherings to big-spectacle events. Visitors roll up with a picnic to enjoy a great day out of caber-tossing, hammer-throwing, tug’o’war, traditional dancing and pipe bands.

Braemar is the most famous, drawing thousands of visitors every year. Queen Victoria attended the games here and today the Queen is their patron.

Some of the smaller events dotted around the Highland communities allow visitors to sign up as contestants on the spot (in events where spaces remain). If you’re athletic, and fancy stretching your legs (or arms), get stuck in.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
Frequency: annually
When: 1st weekend Sept
Duration: 1 day

Getting there & doing it

Braemar is located on the A93, inside the Cairngorms National Park. It’s very crowded and if you’re arriving by car be prepared for a very slow crawl into the car park. The Royal Family traditionally attends in the afternoon so if you leave just after they arrive you’ll miss some of the departing jams.

Book tickets in advance online for Braemer, as thousands flock here every year. First-time visitors to Braemar might want to book Grandstand seats to make the most of the experience.

There are always plenty of food stalls at the games offering venison burgers but many people bring a picnic. Remember this is Scotland, so bring an umbrella, a warm jumper (it can get nippy standing around), a raincoat and wellies if it’s been raining, as the ground can get churned up and muddy.

When to do it

Highland Games are held around Scotland from May to September. Braemar’s Gathering is held the first weekend in September.

Don’t arrive right at the start, leave it until mid-morning to avoid the worst of the queues and time your visit to leave just after the Royals arrive mid-afternoon.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Scottish Highland Games Day Trip from Edinburgh

Edinburgh

Scottish Highland Games Day Trip from Edinburgh
Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the color and energy of the unique Scottish Highlands Games on a day trip from Edinburgh. See men in kilts tossing the caber, putting the shot and throwing the hammer, and enjoy a memorable day out in the scenic Highlands. Highland Games Programme for 2024: Sun 26/05/2024 Blair Atholl Sun 9/06/2024 Glamis Sat 6/07/2024 Luss Sun 4/08/2024 Bridge of Allan Sun 18/08/2024 Crieff Sat 07/09/2024 Braemar Sat 14/09/2024 Pitlochry

Price: £100

Min age: 5

Rating 4.31 / 5 [41 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands, United Kingdom (UK)

Ruins of Kilchurn Castle on the edge of Loch Awe with brown hills behind

Magnificent mountain scenery slashed by silvery lochs and peppered with brooding castles: all laden with rich Scottish heritage, history and tradition. Drive the NC500 road trip, or ride on the spectacular West Highland Line.