11 Reasons to Visit Angus

This is an advert published in February 2022 based on a visit in January 2022. Please pop over to the Visit Angus website for the most up-to-date information. 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - Arbroath harbour

You will find Angus on the East Coast of Scotland, around a 3.5 hour drive North of Newcastle. The region features a real mix of landscapes from rolling hills and glens to sandy white beaches and world-renowned nature reserves. 

Angus is known for it's history, championship golf courses, the famous Arbroath Smokie and stunning coastline. It's a perfect base for a short break for those looking for a real mix of activities, relaxation, wildlife, good food and things to do. 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  -  location map

11 Reasons to Visit Angus 

1 - It is easy to plan a trip with #TheAngusTour 

If like me, you like to plan things to do during a short break in advance, the Angus Tour is perfect. The Angus Tour is an online tool comprising of a range of suggested itineraries based on the following: 
There is an accompanying interactive map too so it is easy to see how far activities are from each other or you can simply choose things to do which are in one specific area of Angus. 

You can follow a suggested itinerary at your own pace, or if you have varied interests like us, pick and choose activities from different interests and put together your own bespoke plan before you visit. There are areas to help you do this on the Visit Angus app and website and they are all completely free to access. 

For our trip, we decided to choose an activity from every section to give us a wide range of experiences and this worked really well for us. 

2 - Angus is very accessible by public transport 

Angus is super easy to get to by train via the East Coast Mainline. There are regular direct trains from Newcastle to Arbroath and Montrose and the journey time is between 3-4 hours. I price checked tickets in January 2022 and found family return tickets to start at around £60 (based on 2 adults & 2 children with a friends and family railcard). 

There are also plenty of electric vehicle charging points in the region and Angus is part of the national cycle networks.

3 - Sample fantastic local food at a reasonable price 

From little independent shops in the region's harbours to hotel restaurants and local pubs, we found there to be lots of local options on the menu which is something we always look for when planning a trip somewhere new. Everything was super reasonably priced too. 

One highlight was trying an authentic Arbroath Smokie from a little fish shop on Arbroath Harbour. It was the first time we'd all tried one and was so delicious served simply with a wedge of lemon. 

An Arbroath Smokie is protected under European Law and is a small haddock which is hot smoked using traditional processes which have not changed in over 200 years. If you'd like to dig a little deeper, you can follow the Arbroath Smokie Trail and learn more about this delicacy during your trip. 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - Traditional Arbroath Smokie in the Harbour
Traditional Arbroath Smokie 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  -  Kids trying an Arbroath Smokie
Trying an Arbroath Smokie 

We also thoroughly enjoyed an evening meal at Forbes of Kingennie in their Scullery restaurant which is open to both residents and non-residents (booking recommended). They pride themselves on using local ingredients and delivering a true taste of what Scotland has to offer. They utilize a huge range of home-grown produce from their farm next door and keep food miles to an absolute minimum. 

Highlights included Tempura Battered Scallops with a Saffrom and Chilli Mayonnaise, Arbroath Smokie Cullen Skink and the East Coast Haddock Fillet.

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - Tempura Scallops from Forbes of Kingennie
Tempura Scallops from Forbes of Kingennie

A final recommendation for you is the Park Hotel Montrose which is just 1 mile from the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre and across the road from a large enclosed play park. The menu is filled with family favourites and between us we enjoyed a huge homemade steak pie, Arbroath haddock crumble and Scottish haddock and chips. 

Homemade steak pie from The Park Hotel, Montrose 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  -  Lunch at the Park Hotel Montrose
Arbroath Haddock Crumble from the Park Hotel, Montrose 

4 - The Visit Angus app is FREE and fantastic 

I absolutely loved using the Visit Angus app during our stay. It's free to download and an excellent addition. As well as an interactive map, there is a wealth of info on there including suggested itineraries as part of The Angus Tour, ideas for places to eat, EV charging station locations, a little check list where you can tick places you've visited, information about dog-friendly venues and more. It was like having your own personal tour guide always available in your pocket. 

A cute little feature I didn't expect was that bonus content was unlocked depending on our location too. For example, when we were by the fishing lake at Forbes of Kingennie, a free game popped up in the app where you could practice your fishing from your phone before trying in real life. It was a fab little surprise. 

5 - A place to make the most of peaceful Sunday mornings 

During our short breaks, I always like to add time to relax into our itinerary and the 'Peaceful Outdoor Retreat' suggested itinerary as part of The Angus Tour was an ideal place to look for inspiration for this. 

We spent Sunday moning at the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre and it was just the perfect relaxing start to the day. This is a four star visitor centre and I can really see why, we were blown away with the welcome and facilities on offer here and it is a brilliant place to visit for all ages from babies right up to grandparents. 

Enjoying a suggested walk around Montrose Basin 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - Montrose Basin Walk
Bird watching at Montrose Basin 

The visitor centre overlooks Montrose Basin which is a nature reserve of significant importance. The Basin is home to over 100,000 migratory birds including pink-footed geese and a variety of waders and waterfowl. 

Each group is designated their own booth and you can use the binoculars and telescopes to get a better view. There are often seals here too and we were very lucky to spot a couple sunbathing on the sand. The staff are brilliant and will provide books to help you identify the different birds and help with operating the equipment if you struggle (although it was all set up and pretty easy for amateurs like us). 

Drinks and snacks are available to purchase and you can enjoy a nice warm drink while taking in the scenery and wildlife. What a way to start the day. 

Between us, we spotted: 
  • Great egret 
  • Common seal 
  • Grey heron 
  • Curlew 
  • Elder duck 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - bird watching with telescopes at montrose basin visitor centre
Bird and Seal spotting at Montrose Basin Visitor Centre 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - hot drinks  at montrose basin visitor centre
Hot drinks from Montrose Basin Visitor Centre 

The visitor centre itself is fab for kids too with lots of interactive displays which my three really enjoyed. There is a dedicated children's area with a mini kids bird hide, lots of books, activity sheets and colouring too. We took part in one of the trail/quizzes which kept the kids entertained as we enjoyed our morning coffees and there was a nice little prize at the end too. 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - interactive games at montrose basin visitor centre
Interactive games at Montrose Basin Visitor Centre 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - bird watching with telescopes at montrose basin visitor centre

6 - Angus is dog-friendly 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - dog walks at forbes of kingennie
Dog walks at Forbes of Kingennie 

Angus is dog-friendly and you can get some ideas for places you can visit with your four-legged friend over on The Angus Tour here.  We stayed at Forbes of Kingennie which offers dog-friendly lodges, has plenty of dog walks to enjoy in the grounds around the lakes and in the woodland and has a dog-friendly bar too. I would 100% stay here again with Fozzy in the future. 

7 - A wide range of accommodation on offer 

Angus offers a huge range of accommodation options from farm stays to glamping and hotels to caravans. You can check out what's on offer here. 

We stayed in a lodge at Forbes of Kingennie which was a lovely base for our break. Our lodge was upside down style with an open plan living/kitchen/dining area upstairs which made best use of the lake views (we had a balcony too) alongside three bedrooms and two bathrooms downstairs. We felt as if we had loads of space to relax. 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus - dog friendly lodge at forbes of kingennie
Forbes of Kingennie Accommodation 

You can park next to your lodge here and facilities include fishing, golf, a putting green, a lovely restaurant and pub, a playground, walks around the grounds (you are given a map with suggested routes in your welcome pack) and there is even a thistle maze to try which is something a little different. Lodges are available from around £300 for 2 nights in winter. We would definitely stay here again. 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus - lodge bedroom at forbes of kingennie
Lodge bedroom of Forbes of Kingennie 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - lakeside lodge at forbes of kingennie
Open plan living at Forbes of Kingennie 

8 - Angus is a place where history is brought to life

My boys in particular have a keen interest in history and we were not disappointed with the 'history and heritage' aspects we picked to visit from the Angus Tour with a trip to House of Dun. 

House of Dun is an 18th Century Country House fit for a Laird. There are regular house tours throughout the day and they are a far cry from the usual house tours we are used to and really helped to bring the history of the house to life. 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - house of dun walled garden
House of Dun 

Guests are 'invited' to travel back in time and apply for a job here in the 18th Century. A series of guides in period costume will show you around the house and share some of the jobs you'd be expected to carry out should you be a successful candidate.

From cleaning the windows and using the mecanical spit in the kitchen to learning how to use a traditional shower and how to identify the various bells from different rooms, this little 'applying for a job here' twist on a house tour was something we all enjoyed and I left saying I think it was the best tour I'd ever been on. 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - house of dun guided tour
House of Dun Tour 

The kids were asked to try a couple of tasks themselves and were awarded with a traditional penny which they were allowed to keep. They were also given the important task of looking out for frogs which had escaped into the house and if they managed to catch one, were allowed to keep them. Again, lovely little touches which really helped the kids to feel involved rather than just having to stand and listen to someone talk. 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - old penny from house of dun
An old penny from the House of Dun tour 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - kitchen at house of dun tour
Demonstations at the House of Dun tour 

We captured these frogs at House of Dun and have now given them a new home.

9 - A chance to try something new

The Angus Tour offers the chance to try something new and activities you can try here include clay pigeon shooting, 4x4 guided tours of the hills, curling and carpet bowling, wild swimming, golf, cave exploring, sea kayaking, paddle boarding & more. Just take a look at the Angus Tour itineraries for more information. 

We decided to take this opportunity to try our hand's at fishing. It is something we have fancied for a while but we didn't really know where to start. Luckily for us, Forbes of Kingennie where were staying offer fishing lessons (also available for non-residents) at the bargain price of £30 per adult with kids going free. 

Fishing lesson at Forbes of Kingennie 

Our lesson was relaxed and informal and something I am so pleased we booked. We all feel confident enough to try by ourselves now thanks to our instructor's brilliant encouragement and tips. 

I was asked what age I thought this activity was suitable for and I would say all ages just as long as your child can understand and follow instructions and stay safe/supervised around the water. You can share a rod with your child which is probably better with younger ones. 

We were taken through the basics and all equipment was provided (don't worry - 'live' bait isn't used here) and were very soon on our way. Between us we caught 4 fish in around an hour. I even managed to catch one myself which really surprised me. Our youngest Jack isn't the most patient of children but it turns out that fishing was perfect for him. He was super patient and commented on how relaxed he felt during the experience.

We are now looking at booking another fishing day in the summer and really can't thank the staff at Forbes of Kingennie enough for their help and advice. I think this trip to Angus has led to a new family hobby for us. 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - trout bait fishing at forbes of kingennie
Fishing at Forbes of Kingennie 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - children's fishing lesson at forbes of kingennie

10 - Angus is super child-friendly 

Like most of Scotland, we really found Angus to be very welcoming towards children. Every place we visited had measures in place to ensure families with children were made to feel welcome. I always feel like playgrounds in Scotland are exceptional and Angus is no different.

There are playgrounds everywhere and they are all in excellent condition. We didn't get around to visiting this time but Neverland Play Park is a Peter Pan themed playground in Angus with play equipment themed on Captain Hook, Peter Pan and the Crocodile. One for the list next time.   

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - Playground at Forbes of Kingennie
The Playground at Forbes of Kingennie

Children's menus are readily available pretty much everywhere and very reasonably priced too. 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - Children's menu at Forbes of Kingennie Restauarant
Forbes of Kingennie Children's Menu

If you are visiting Angus with children of any age, I would definitely recommend the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre. Their children's facilities were exceptional with a dedicated children's bird hide, lots of interactive play and an outdoor mud kitchen. 

Children's Area at Montrose Basin Visitor Centre 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - Children's Bird Hide at Montrose Basin Visitor Centre
Children's Bird Hide at Montrose Basin Visitor Centre 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - Mud kitchen at Montrose Basin Visitor Centre
Mud Kitchen at Montrose Basin Visitor Centre 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus  - House of Dun Playground
Playground at House of Dun 

I noticed that lots of places had free nappies in their toilets which I thought was a super thoughtful touch. 

Complimentary Nappies at Park Hotel Montrose

We visited Angus with children aged 11-15 and I was asked if I thought Angus was suitable for families with younger children too. My answer would 100% be yes. There are farm parks, the Neverland playground I mentioned earlier, beautiful beaches and interactive museums which younger ones will enjoy. 

11 - A stunning winter staycation destination 

We visited Angus in Winter and I am so pleased we chose this time of year to visit. We were able to watch beautiful sunrises from our balcony at around 8:30am (so no need to set the alarm super early) and make the most of the wonderful dark skies at night - the stars where we were staying really put on a show for us and we spent some time looking up with our various stargazing apps which was fun.

During the day we were blessed with sunshine and it was so nice wrapping up and going out for crisp winter walks together. 

Enjoying hot chocolates in the indoor comfort of the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre whilst making the most of the views and spotting seals and birds will be a memory I always treasure and we tucked into some proper comfort food during our stay including homemade pies, crumbles and soup. 

We found there was plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors from an indoor location in Angus with so many pretty views on offer and if the weather does make a turn for the worse, there are lots of indoor options to keep you entertained too. 

11 Reasons to Visit Angus - lakeside view from lodge at forbes of kingennie
Morning Views at Forbes of Kingennie 

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Angus and it is definitely a region we will return to and somewhere I would recommend you try too, especially if you're looking for a mini break this winter. 

Find out more and start planning your own adventure with #TheAngusTour here: https://visitangus.com/theangustour/

11 Reasons to Visit Angus


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