Best Monuments
in Scotland

Monuments in Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is known far and wide as Scotland's capital. This amazing city has played host to countless tourists over the years as its cobbled streets and narrow, dark architecture offer tourists an amazing collection of culture and of course, entertainment. This town is known fondly by its residents as “Auld Reekie”, which means “Old Smokey”, and makes its way on many a bucket list as a must-see. So what's so special about this Scottish city and why do you need to see it?

Monuments in Edinburgh

The Scottish capital has many impressive monuments that you must see.

Walter Scott Monument

The beautiful Walter Scott Monument in Edinburgh

The Walter Scott Monument has the honour of being the tallest building to commemorate a writer. And it makes sense that it's in Edinburgh. As we mention in the Old Town Tour, Walter Scott is one of the most loved figures in Scotland.

His monument is an excellent example of Victorian neogothic architecture. Many projects were presented to the city, some of them by the most prestigious architects of Great Britain. Oddly enough, a complete stranger named George Meikle Kemp won it. He was a carpenter and self-taught architect that lacked experience in projects of this magnitude.

Today the Walter Scott Monument is one of the most recognisable pieces of Edinburgh. Many people find a resemblance with a church, and the truth is that the architect we have just mentioned recycled a previous design that he presented to renovate the Glasgow Cathedral that didn't make it through.

In the monument, they explain the history, meaning of its statues and the difficulties that Edinburgh faced to complete it. As a prize for climbing up the 288 claustrophobic stairs, you can enjoy some magnificent views of Edinburgh.

Dugald Stewart Monument

Beautiful views of Edinburgh from Calton Hill
Calton Hill has some of the most amazing views in Edinburgh

The Dugal Stewart monument is the most photographed in Edinburgh. However, this has not so much to do with the monument itself but with the privileged location where it is, at the top of Calton Hill. Probably the best views that you can find in the Scottish capital are on this hill, as we mention in our Edinburgh Free Walking Tour. When people take a photo here, this neoclassic monument tends to be featured, which was inspired by the Lysicrates Monument in Athens.

Dugal Stewart was a remarkable teacher of moral philosophy at Edinburgh University, a member of the Masonry and one of the founders of the Scottish Royal Society. He was friends with Robert Burns, one of the most laureate poets of Scotland, who has a similar monument very close to Stewart's.

Nelson Monument

Horatio Nelson was the famous great British hero in the sea battle against Napoleon. Almost a mythical figure, one can't be surprised that the most important square in London, Trafalgar Square, commemorates him. As it couldn't be otherwise, in Edinburgh, Nelson has its monument too.

National Monument of Scotland

The national monument of Scotland at the top of Calton Hill

Very close to Nelson's Monument, you can find the National Monumento of Scotland. Originally built to be a replica of Greece's Parthenon, things didn't go quite well, and the monument was left unfinished due to a lack of funds. Some people even refer to it as "Scotland's Folly", "Edinburgh's Disgrace", and "the Pride and Poverty of Scotland". If you want to know more, in the Ghost Tour we mentioned the stories related to Calton Hill and its monuments.

Melville Monument

The monument erected to commemorate Henry Dundas is one of the tallest landmarks in the historic town of Edinburgh. However, is not usually depicted in the "skyline" of the city, and many people just ignore it.

That might be due to the fact that the statue is quite small. Or maybe because the figure of Henry Dunda is surrounded by polemic. A politician that amassed immense power and fortune in Scotland and was heavily against the abolition of slavery. He even resigned due to arising doubts regarding some corruption scandals where he was involved.

Glasgow Monuments

The biggest city in Scotland has many places of interest worth a visit.

Duke of Wellington statue

The famous Duke of Wellington statue in Glasgow
Duke of Wellington statue on the Glasgow Free Tour

The Duke of Wellington was one of the great figures of 19th century Britain. He was two times prime minister for the conservative party. Most importantly, he became one of the greatest military heroes for the United Kingdom when he defeated Napoleon in the famous Waterloo battle. There are statues of him around the whole country, but the most famous is the one you can find in Glasgow. Why? Because it has a cone in the head. The council has removed it many times, spending thousands of pounds... but people keep putting the cone.

People tend to say that this sums up the unique humour of the Glaswegians. So unique that Lonely Planet listed the statue of the Duke of Wellington as one of 10 most bizarre monuments in the world. In the Glasgow Free Tour, you can learn more about the statue, among other points of interest.

McLennan Arch

Robert and James Adam were two prestigious architects at their time in the United Kingdom. Among other buildings, in Glasgow, they designed the Assembly Room, a building whose entrance was a spectacular arch. The building was demolished, but the arch was relocated to the oldest park in Glasgow, Glasgow Green.

Doulton Fountain

The Victorian fountain in Glasgow's west end

This ceramic fountain was built in the year 1887 to commemorate the jubilee of Queen Victoria. It was a very popular attraction at the time, gladly received by Glasgow's inhabitants. Doulton Fountain shows the power of the British Empire, including nations and colonies, with remarkable allegorical figures portraying Canada, India, Australia and South Africa.

Originally, the fountain was an important landmark for a scientific exposition that happened in Kelvingrove Park in 1888. In 2004 it was relocated to Glasgow Green, in front of People's Palace.


Lighthouse, honouring Mackintosh

The Lighthouse was the first building by Charles Rennie Mackintosh on a public offering. At its time, it was built for the newspaper Glasgow Herald. The architect designed the tower to keep 30.000 litres of water in case of a fire to protect the building.

Nowadays, the Lighthouse hosts the Scottish Centre of Design and Architecture, besides showcasing pieces from Mackintosh and his wife. That tower mentioned earlier is today one of the best points to see Glasgow's skyline. If you are interested in seeing more Mackintosh artworks, there are a few more monuments that might call your attention, such as the Mackintosh House on the West End.

The Tall Ship

The Tall Ship in Glasgow

The Glenlee is a ship built in Glasgow's shipyard in 1896. The Spanish Navy bought it in 1922, changing its name to Galatea. The Spanish used the ship until it was ineffective and broken. In 1990 they decided to destroy it, but luckily, a British navy architect discovered it and saved it. In 1993, the British bought it back.

The Tall Ship returned to Glasgow for the first time in almost 100 years. It got its original name back, Glenlee, and since 2011 it's part of the Riverside Museum. Today is a family attraction in Glasgow.

Monuments in Stirling

Along with its incredible castle, Stirling proud itself of having another significant landmark.

Wallace National Monument

Monument to Scotish national hero William Wallace

The Wallace National Monument observes the city of Stirling from the top of Abbey Craig. This impressive tower of victorian style is a monument to commemorate the Scottish hero Willian Wallace. Why in Stirling? Because that's where Wallace delivered a massive victory against the English.

Since the monument was built after the unification of Scotland and England, there wasn't much interest from London to build it. Oddly enough, Garibaldi, the leader of the unification of Italy pay for part of the construction. The William Wallace monument is an enormous tower that providers a perfect view of Stirling.

If you are considering visiting Stirling, have a look at our tour from both Edinburgh and Glasgow including Stirling, Loch Lomond and a whisky distillery.

Highlands Monuments

Among the beautiful lochs, castles and mountains of the Scottish Highlands you can find some interesting monuments too.

Commando Memorial

Glencoe is one of the most recommendable places to visit on the way to Loch Ness. Actually, it's one of our stops in the Loch Ness day trip from Edinburgh. The landscapes, with impressive trees, hills and lakes everywhere is a feast for the eyes. In addition to that, in Glencoe there is one of the most famous monuments in Scotland, the Commando Memorial.

It's a memorial to remember the British commandos that participated in the Second World War. The place couldn't have been chosen better, since the military used to train under the extreme weather conditions in the Highlands.

Fyrish Monument

Scotish monument in the Highlands

Hector Munro, a Scottish military that was India's commander in chief, built the Fyrish monument in the 18th century. The building represents the Gate of Negapatam, an Indian port captured by Munro.

The path to visit Fyrish Monument is one of the most popular in the area of Fyrish. If you are willing to visit it, check this guide to visit Fyrish Monument.