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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 09 November, 2022
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.

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.

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

Scottish Highland Games Day Trip from 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 i...

£97 | Rating 4.36 / 5 [36 ratings]

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Fife Arms

Braemar , Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)[0.4 miles]

This Victorian hotel in Braemar is the place to stay for those seeking a sumptuous, maximalist, modern art-clad Highland hideaway.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands, United Kingdom (UK)

Magnificent mountain scenery slashed by silvery lochs and peppered with brooding castles: all laden with rich Scottish heritage, history and tradition.

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Royal Lochnagar Distillery

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Ballater, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)[12.3 miles]

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Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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