GETTING an education can be a painful business, as you may recall from your school days. Locked inside a musty classroom. The dust-dry drone of a dreary history teacher buzzing on (and on) like a bluebottle trapped in a jam jar. And gazing out the window doesn’t help, because that’s when you notice the wispy clouds in the sky, that have somehow configured themselves into a message, just for you.

Yet – believe it or not - education can also be entertaining, energising and eye-opening. For there are numerous walking tours to enjoy in Scotland where a guide will take you to amazing places, show you incredible things and tell you astounding tales… that also happen to be true.

The following are our favourite Scottish guided walks, where you can immerse yourself in the worlds of art, sport, magic and music...

Street Art

GRAFFITI is one of the oldest artforms in the world, and can be traced back to the earliest cave dwellers. On numerous occasions an exasperated cavewoman would screech at her husband: “Harold!” (A common name for cave-chaps. )

The cave-chap would nervously reply: “Yes, dear?”

“Have you been out hunting today?”

“Um, no.”

“But you know we’re having a dinner party at eight, and we’re all out of woolly mammoth to put on cocktail sticks.”

Harold would explain that he was far too busy, working on his new cave painting, to consider anything as passe as socialising, and didn’t the missus understand that it was vitally important that he express himself creatively? A cave-chap has yearnings, after all…

Anyway, that’s how scrawling stuff on walls began. (Honest.) And it remains a popular pastime in Glasgow, as you’ll discover on this tour of the way-out and wacky walls of west coast Scotia.

Like a house-hunting troll, you’ll find yourself under bridges, enjoying majestic murals; or ambling down alleyways to discover gritty and groovy graffiti.

On the way you’ll learn about local street-artists and hear the stories behind their artworks.

St Andrews: Guided Walks of the Old Course

THE American humourist Mark Twain argued that golf is a good walk spoiled. In other words, if it wasn’t for all those pesky wee balls to whack, and irritating holes studded round the green, it would be a perfectly painless pastime.

Even with its glaring deficiencies, golf remains popular with masochists. The very same folk who delight in swimming with sharks, or skydiving while strapped to a colander instead of a parachute.

Such people will also enjoy this guided tour of the world’s most famous course, which is actually better than a round of golf, for there’s no swinging and missing, or shaking your fist impotently at the heavens, while wailing: “Where’s my bleedin’ ball?!”

Instead, you’ll be taken round the 1st, 17th and 18th holes of the Old Course, and walk in the footsteps of golfing icons, while experiencing a player's view of the links.

The guide provides insights into the game and its Scottish roots.

The Herald: Guide Fiona Shepherd leads tour group on Barrowland PathwayGuide Fiona Shepherd leads tour group on Barrowland Pathway (Image: free)

Gothic Glasgow Walking Tour

GLASGOW has a history as rich, dark and bitter as one of those fancy-schmancy chocolate bars. (And we ain’t talking about Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut.)

The Gothic Glasgow Walking Tour explores the city’s terrifying yet titillating past, where you’ll learn about ghostly goings on, ghoulish murders and Gothic mythology.

Carry Grant rubs shoulders with Count Dracula by way of Scotland’s last public hanging.

Groups are encouraged to share their own supernatural experiences.

Silent Adventures Glasgow Tour

WANT to look exceedingly silly and have oodles of fun while doing so? Then the Silent Adventures Glasgow Tour is a must.

This wacky wiggle-and-a-wander is a mix of flashmob and silent disco. With earphones blasting uplifting tunes into your lugholes, you’re guided round the city centre, shaking your booty all the while, as Glasgow is transformed into an open air nightclub. (Though it’s better than a genuine nightclub, cos there’s no surly, burly bouncers or overpriced drinks to contend with.)

The Herald: Silent adventureSilent adventure (Image: free)


THERE have been many famous moustaches in the annals of history. The hirsute handlebar that obscures the top lip of actor Tom Selleck; Otto von Bismarck’s plush Prussian plumage…

But surely the finest example of facial foliage belongs to Glasgow’s Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Not many people know that when Chuck Mac wasn’t busy keeping his ‘tach looking terrif’, he had a bustling sideline as an architect.

In this enlightening tour you’ll wander round Glasgow enjoying Big Mac’s most majestic buildings, with lesser-known piles of bricks also highlighted.

The guide provides a lowdown on the great man’s life. You’ll dip into his marriage, influences and discover what made him a unique creative presence in the city.

Plenty of Mac – absolutely no tosh.

Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour

FANS of a certain boy-wizard will enjoy this mystical mosey round Edinburgh, home of Harry Potter’s mum, J.K. Rowling, who found much to inspire her in Auld Reekie.

If you’re potty about Potter, this is the ultimate trip.

The Herald: The football museumThe football museum (Image: free)

The Scottish Football Museum & Hampden Park Stadium Tour

FOOTBALL is almost as agonising as golf - as any Scotland fan will testify - though with bigger, squishier balls.

Explore our nation’s tangled, torturous and occasionally triumphant relationship with the gruesomely glorious game.

You’ll share the players’ experience of the pitch on matchday, visit the underground roadway, and also pop into the hallowed changing rooms.

Though remember to put a peg on your nose when you’re in those changing rooms. Andy Robertson might have left a used sports sock lying around…

Music Mile Tour

BEALE Street in Memphis and Bourbon Street in New Orleans are two of the great destinations for popular music

Close behind them is groovin’ Glesga, which has been the springboard for a lot of top tunes over the decades.

This walkin’ an’ a-rockin’ tour round the city centre will take you to the Royal Concert Hall, King Tut’s and the Conservatoire, amongst others.

You’ll hear tales of the late, lamented Apollo and learn about the early gigs of Oasis, Blur and many more.

Inverness City: Daily Walking Tour

A 2014 survey concluded that Inverness is the happiest place in Scotland, and no wonder. All that fresh air, frisky scenery and great wodges of history.

This walking tour will make you almost as happy as the locals as you visit and learn about landmark sights, including Inverness Cathedral and Balnain House.

Goofy grins (almost) guaranteed.

Walking Tours in… Stirling

EVERYBODY adores Stirling, apart from the citizens of neighbouring rival town, Falkirk, which sniffily claims that Stirling is just the Betamax version of mighty Falkirk.

Decide for yourself on this informative tour, which will take you from jails to markets while you learn about Robert the Bruce and graverobbers.

Instructional and entertaining – in yo face, Falkirk!