As Scotland basks in a seemingly never-ending summer heatwave, heading to your local park can be a great way to enjoy the sunshine for free. There are a wide variety of public parks across the country: offering activities to enjoy, landmarks to visit and open spaces to relax in. Here’s a roundup of some of the best.

1. Pittencrief Park, Dunfermline

Elgin Street, Dunfermline, Fife

0345 155 0000

Much loved by locals, this park is a real gem in the heart of Dunfermline. It is best known for its resident peacocks, which can be spotted wandering round the grounds along with a variety of other wildlife (including red squirrels). There are also ornamental and walled gardens to explore, with the beautiful cherry blossom trees a particular standout.

2. King’s Park, Stirling

25 Albert Place, Stirling

01786 471482

Historically used as the hunting ground for the Royal Court at Stirling, King’s Park is now a great place for people to keep active: with tennis courts, outdoor gym equipment, a BMX track, and a kids play area featuring sand and water play. If you head up the hill at the back of the park, you can also enjoy great views of Stirling Castle and the city skyline, as well as the Ochil Hills and the Hillfoots in the distance.

3. Duthie Park, Aberdeen

Polmuir Road, Aberdeen

01224 585310

Despite being located just a stone’s throw from the centre of Aberdeen, the spacious Duthie Park feels a world away from city life. The land was donated to the city by Elizabeth Duthie and opened as a park in 1883, becoming a much-loved institution since. It is a hub of activity during the summer months, with cricket played on the grass and the cast-iron bandstand used for special events like Opera in the Park.

4. Hay Lodge Park, Peebles

Neidpath Road, Peebles, Tweeddale

01721 722080

This park runs along a picturesque section of the banks of the River Tweed, with plenty of riverside paths and benches to enjoy the view. There are a variety of trees to admire, including a pair of oak trees planted in 2009 in memory of the publishing brothers William and Robert Chambers. It’s best to head down in late afternoon to enjoy the view of the setting sun.

5. Whin Park, Inverness

Bught Rd, Inverness

01463 234286

Whin Park is perfect for kids- with an extensive play area (the largest in Inverness), a mini golf course, a zip line, and miniature railway to enjoy. On top of all that there is a picturesque boating pond right in the middle of the park, with 27 rowing and paddle boats available to hire if you are feeling adventurous.

6. Dean Castle Country Park, Kilmarnock

Dean Rd, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire

01563 554734

As the name suggests, the star of this park is the 14th century Dean Castle, an impressive structure used in the filming for series two of the popular TV show Outlander. There are also plenty of trails and country paths to explore, as well a recently renovated urban farm with rabbits, llamas and donkeys. Undoubtedly one of Ayrshire’s best free attractions.

7. Almondell & Calderwood Country Park, Livingston

Broxburn, West Lothian

01506 882254

Not one park but really two, this country park is based around two adjoining estates (Almondell and Calderwood) and their respective rich woodlands. There is a wealth of wildlife to be spotted in the grounds, with roe deer, heron and otters all calling the area home. But if the riverside walks and birdwatching all gets too tiring, there is a cosy visitor centre to relax in afterwards.

8. Calderglen Country Park, East Kilbride

Strathaven Rd, East Kilbride, Glasgow

01355 236644

With over eight miles of nature trails to enjoy, this large park offers plenty of opportunities to get away from it all and appreciate Scotland’s natural beauty. One path follows a scenic wooded glen split by the Calder River -a tributary of the River Clyde- with the northern section officially qualifying as a Geological Site of Special Scientific Interest. If that wasn’t enough, there is also a zoo and tropical glasshouse to enjoy: with wallabies, monkeys, meerkats among the animals to visit. There is a small fee for the zoo, but it is very reasonable at £1.45 for adults and 50p for children.

9. Crombie Country Park, Monikie

Monikie, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Angus

01241 860360

The striking Crombie Loch is the highlight of this park, and its popularity is proven by the sheer number of people cycling, jogging and walking around it. The surrounding woodlands are great to spot wildlife, with red squirrels, roe deer, woodpeckers and waterfowl to be found. There’s also an adventure playpark, and picnic and barbecue areas too.

10. Dock Park, Dumfries

St Michael's Bridge Road, Dumfries

0303 333 3000

This riverside park -running adjacent to the lovely River Nith- has undergone a massive regeneration in recent years and is now one of Dumfries’ best attractions. The nineteenth century bandstand has been given new lighting to accommodate modern events, the old bowling pavilion is now an information hub and a locally-designed Peter Pan themed mini golf area has been created. But if you just fancy a quiet stroll then you will also be well catered to, with information boards dotted on paths throughout the park detailing the history of the local area.

11. Macrosty Park, Creiff

Comrie Road, Crieff, Perthshire

01738 476476

As you might expect from Perthshire, there is an impressive collection of trees to behold in the woodland that surrounds Macrosty. You can find Douglas Fir, Norway Spruce, and Cedar varieties to name but a few- and enjoy a peaceful walk round the pathway networks to appreciate them. There is also a picturesque Victorian bandstand that hosts concerts on some evenings in the summer.

12. Rouken Glen, Giffnock

Rouken Glen Road, East Renfrewshire, Giffnock

0141 638 7411

It might not be the biggest park on the list, but Rouken Glen certainly packs a lot into its 143-acre grounds. There is a tranquil pond (complete with a renovated café, The Boathouse), a walled garden, large play area, basketball court, outdoor exercise equipment and even a popular skatepark. Not to mention the spectacular waterfall which can be viewed from two different points in the woodland- a wood that is well worth a walk through to discover the ruins of a meal mill hidden within the trees. Keep an eye out for the Electric Glen event in February, when the park is illuminated at night by an array of coloured lights.

13. Dalkeith Country Park, Edinburgh

King's Gate, Dalkeith, Edinburgh

0131 663 5684

After being in the Buccleuch family for over 300 years, Dalkeith Country Park was officially opened to the public in 2016 after a £8.9million investment. ‘Restoration Yard’ offers a shop, café and courtyard for adults while ‘Fort Douglas’ is a purpose-built kids adventure playground with a treehouse, secret tunnels and a high-rise walkway. If you don’t fancy paying the entry fee for Fort Douglas then don’t fear- there are plenty of green spaces in the park to walk, cycle and relax in for free.

14. Drumpellier Country Park, Coatbridge

Townhead Road, Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire

01236 422257

This extensive park is set in over 500 acres of moorland, woodland and grassland and contains two lochs where visitors can hire boats and enjoy water sports. But if that isn’t enough, the Monklands Canal lies at the southern edge of the park and offers further opportunities for walking and cycling. The unique wildlife and biodiversity of the park has been recognised with a dedicated conservation programme, so if you are a nature lover it is well worth a visit.

15. Cooper Park, Elgin

Cooper Park, Elgin, Moray

01343 557051

Named after Colonel George Cooper, who gifted the grounds to the town of Elgin for use as a public park, Cooper Park was officially opened in 1903. It now boasts a cricket pitch, tennis courts and plenty of play equipment, as well as the much-loved biblical garden. The garden has immaculately maintained flowers and shrubs alongside tablets inscribed with bible passages, and is a great place to enjoy some quiet time regardless of your religious convictions.