With foreign travel essentially a write-off for most of 2020, we’ve all been spending a lot more time closer to home. This might have encouraged you to take another look at the area around you: the buildings you might have otherwise rushed past in your busy, pre-lockdown life. So why not take the time to admire them now? Travel restrictions might apply at the moment, but you can visit those which are close to you while making a ‘building bucket list’ of the ones you want see when the rules are eventually loosened. Here’s 10 of the best.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

Argyle Street, Glasgow, 0141 3573929,

Open every day, 10am-5pm (from 11am on Friday and Sunday). Free entry

(booking online required)

As well as housing 8,000 artefacts –including a Spitfire plane and an elephant – the architectural design of Kelvingrove makes it just as interesting from the outside as it is indoors. Refurbished in 2006, but first opened in 1901, the striking Locharbriggs red sandstone used to build the museum looks sublime both in the daytime and when illuminated at night. A favourite tale of Glaswegians is that the museum was inadvertently constructed back to front, with the unfortunate architect killing himself upon discovering his masterpiece was the wrong way round. In fact, the museum’s grand entrance was designed to face to Kelvingrove Park, where the majority of visitors would enter at the time it opened.


V&A Museum, Dundee

1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee

01382 411 61. Open Thursday-Monday, 10am-5pm. Free entry (booking online required)

Another museum, but far more modern, the V&A Dundee has only been around for a little over two years after opening to the public in September 2018. Scotland’s first design museum, it was the brainchild of Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who won a competition to design it – with the exterior inspired by the cliff edges of the surrounding Angus coastline. The £80m structure has undeniably livened up Dundee’s waterfront: make sure to pay it a visit if you haven’t already.


3. Kelburn Castle, Ayrshire

Kelburn Estate and Country Centre, Fairlie, Largs, Ayrshire 01475 568685

Open every day 10am-4pm

Entry to the grounds is free but there is a parking charge of £5 per vehicle

Memorable for the brightly coloured murals on its walls, Kelburn Castle stands out from the crowd. The original building was constructed in 1143, with its Victorian Wing being added in 1879, but it was in 2007 that the castle got a makeover. A group of Brazillian graffiti artists came to live at Kelburn for a month, during which they worked to transform the castle’s conservative exterior into a brightly coloured cultural tapestry. Take time to spot all the different artwork, before exploring Kelburn’s trails and waterfalls.


4. Wemyss Bay Railway Station, Inverclyde

Shore Road, Wemyss Bay, Renfrewshire, Inverclyde 07532083778

Forget blindly running through a train station and leaping on your train at the last second. At Wemyss Bay the station is a destination in itself, a 100-year-old category A listed building, the last remaining Clyde railway pier, that was created by James Miller in an ode to Edwardian design. It looks at its best on a sunny day – if you can find one during the winter – when the sun comes pouring in through its curved glass canopies and on to the platform below. Thanks to the efforts of a local group of volunteers it is kept in pristine condition and was recently nominated for a World Cup of Stations award.

5. Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian

Chapel Loan, Roslin, Midlothian

Open Monday- Saturday, 9.30am-5pm, Sunday, 12pm-5pm (pre-book a timeslot online in advance) Adults £9, concessions £7, children free

0131 440 2159

It might have been founded in 1446, as the Collegiate Church of St Matthew, but it took until the premiere of the 2006 film the Da Vinci Code for Rosslyn Chapel to come to international prominence. The mystical interior of the church was a crucial part of the film’s climax and visitor numbers soared consequentially, so it now has a new state-of-the-art visitor centre that tells its story through the ages. Walking around the church is enough of an attraction in itself, with almost every surface boasting intricate carved stonework – many of which have Biblical stories or moral messages. Make sure you give yourself long enough to take it all in, and don’t forget to look up at the ceilings for some of the most impressive artwork.


6. Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen

Schoolhill, Aberdeen 0300 020 0293

Open Wednesday-Monday, 10am-4pm

Free admission

This recently renovated gallery is possibly Aberdeen’s finest building. It reopened last November following a £35million transformation and its spectacular entrance hall, supported by granite columns in a variety of colours, is a standout. The façade is also an ode to the city’s famous granite, with Alexander Marshall Mackenzie’s neo-classical design looking just as good today as it did in 1884. It has been awarded as one of five winners of the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2020, arguably the most prestigious museum prize in the world.

7. Hill House, Helensburgh

The Hill House, 8 Upper Colquhoun Street, Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute

01436 673900.Open Thursday-Monday, 10am-5pm (booking online is advised) Adult £12.50, child £5.50

You might think it odd to mention a building that is currently shrouded within a protective scaffolding ‘box’. But although you can’t see much of the Hill House from afar, the current restoration project underway at the property gives you a chance to view this unique building like never before. The Hill House was constructed at the turn of the 20th century, with almost everything within it being designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, but its external structure has not persevered well and the building is crumbling under weather damage. Rather than close it to the public during the nearly 10-year process of strengthening the walls, the National Trust decided to construct a cage around the entirety of the building, offering visitors the chance to walk high above the house and enjoy a close-up perspective of the building that they never would have seen before. There’s even a café which sits on a terrace adjoining Hill House’s imposing roof, offering a coffee spot with a difference (not to mention the chance to try their Rennie Mackintosh-themed empire biscuits). www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/the-hill-house

8. Jedburgh Abbey, Scottish Borders

Abbey Bridgend, Jedburgh, Scottish Borders. Open every day, 10am-4pm (advance booking required)

01835 863925

One of four impressive abbeys in the Scottish Borders, the Romanesque, early Gothic-style of Jedburgh is quite a sight to behold. Its sheer size is striking in the first place, but there is also remains of the refectory, dormitories, kitchens and cellars to admire from a bird’s eye viewpoint. Jedburgh Abbey was founded for Augustinian canons in 1138, but it was frequently targeted by invading English armies due to its close proximity to the border. You can learn more about this history in the abbey’s visitor centre, which also hosts some early Christian artefacts that actually pre-date the abbey by several centuries.


9. Riverside Museum, Glasgow

Pointhouse Place, Glasgow

0141 287 2720. Free entry (online ticket required). Open every day, 10am-5pm (from 11am on Friday and Sunday)

A masterpiece of the late, great Zaha Hadid, this museum is one of Glasgow’s most spectacular sights. The shipyard-inspired south elevation is endlessly photogenic, but there is plenty of architecture to admire in the curves and crannies of the west and east of the building – which have recently become a popular spot for the city’s skateboarders and rollerbladers. Make sure to also take a trip out the back of the museum to see the Tall Ship Glenlee, which is also free to enter, and a sight to behold in itself.


10. The Macallan Distillery, Aberlour

Easter Elchies, Craigellachie, Aberlour, Moray, 01340 318000. Open Saturday and Sunday, 10am- 6pm, £50 per person for the 2.5 hour Discovery Experience Tour

It has only been open for just over a year, but the Macallan Distillery is already one of the most recognisable distilleries. Designed by internationally acclaimed architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the bold glass front is balanced by sloping green hills that sit on the building’s roof, ensuring that it pays homage to the roots of the whisky and blends into the local environment. The £140million structure made the shortlist for the Stirling Prize for excellence in architecture.