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Information on Arbroath

Suggestions on how to get to Arbroath from Edinborough. Is it best to rent a car or take the train? I have very distant relatives who came from this area and would like to visit. Highlights of this area? Could possibly spent 3 days in this area.

Posted by
13132 posts

There's a direct train from Edinburgh to Arbroath. It takes about 90 minutes.

But if you're going to spend time in the area and want to explore, a car might be a better idea.

Dundee is 15 minutes by train to Arbroath. It has a better selection of hotels and restaurants. If you have any questions about Dundee, ask. I spent a lot of time there last year.

Posted by
2004 posts

By train, there is an hourly Scotrail train from Edinburgh- which is going to Aberdeen. It takes about 90 minutes. If you book ahead you might get it for £9.80 each way, although £13 is more normal as an advance fare.

Posted by
2004 posts

One thing you must do in Arbroath is the Signal Tower Museum.
It is the town's museum, but was built as the shore station for the Bell Rock off shore lighthouse.
On the top floor there is a very good exhibition about the light, and the Scottish lighthouse service generally.
The docents can't do enough for you.

You must have an Arbroath smokie down at the harbour while you are there.

Thirty or so miles up the coast at Stonehaven is the wonderful Dunnottar Castle. Just beyond the castle, to the north, on the cliffs you will see a Doric Temple- that is the impressive and dramatically located Stonehaven War Memorial.

https://www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/arbroath-signal-tower-museum-p251481

Posted by
6777 posts

I agree that Dunnottar castle is worth visiting. This is the castle that was used in the filiming of the Mel Gibson version of Hamlet from 1990. It truly is in a dramatic location.

We were in Arbroath on a tour of Scotland lighthouses so we also took a boat ride out to see the Bell Rock Lighthouse. You can't land at the lighthouse, the boat just circles it so you can take photos. But it was a fun and interesting boat ride if you like that kind of thing. And the signal station was a very good museum and presentation.

I don't remember where it was but we did get Arbroath smokies at a takeaway shop somewhere along the harbor, but that was years ago. I'm not much of a fish eater but I do like smoked fish like salmon and haddock and it's always good to try the local specialties.

I loved Arbroath and I took a lovely photo of the harbor that I have enlarged and framed and hanging in my house, one of my favorites from all my travels.

Posted by
1520 posts

One thing not to miss in Arbroath is Arbroath Abbey, where in 1320 the Parliament of Scotland issued the Declaration of Arbroath which is one of the first declarations of independence in a modern sense, and the idea of the community of the realm, that King Robert was effectively in modern parlance a public servant who could if necessary be removed. It also cemented the idea of the realm. This is important as most of the lowland aristocracy, including the Bruce family, were of the same Norman and French origins as the aristocracy south of the border. The Bruce family traced back to Brix in the Manche departement of Normandy, just outside Cherbourg where the main square is Place Robert Bruce.

It contains one of the most famous phrases in Scottish history

for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself

Posted by
1323 posts

Hi, MC and nw,

The Declaration of Arbroath was supposedly the inspiration for the American Declaration of Independence.

I have to second the advice about Arbroath smokies. We had a delicious smokie pie last summer. They can't heat them for you in the shop, but they are excellent cold.

In addition to the above recommendations, the Arbroath Cliff Walk is a good way to get some exercise and walk off some of that smokie pie. It's a four mile paved walk along the edge of the Seaton Cliffs, between Arbroath and Auchmithie. There are several websites dedicated to the walk. You can either walk round trip or catch the once daily bus back to Arbroath.

If you have a car, the sands at Lunan Bay are stunning! For some reason, this beach does not get many visitors. It's a great beach for walking, and there is a pleasant cafe by the car park. Lunan Bay is on the way from Arbroath to Montrose.

If you are interested in seabirds, the Fowlsheugh Nature Reserve, just south of Stonehaven, is home to about 100,000 of them. It's an amazing sight, and an easy walk from the car park. If you go all the way out to the end of the path, past the hide, you stand a good chance of seeing puffins.

MC, what is happening with this ferry scandal? The headlines are in all of the papers, but the articles are behind a paywall, which I'm too cheap to pay for! :) Just wondering how this will affect visitors, as well as Islanders.

Best wishes, and nw, enjoy Arbroath!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
2004 posts

Both new big Calmac ferries- the Glen Sannox and 'Hull 802' are running years late- the Glen Sannox over 5 years late due to all kinds of construction issues and huge cost over-runs. It has long been a massive national joke.
After many breakdowns last year among the existing fleet, and several dry docking delays over this winter causing a number of delays to the introduction of summer timetables CalMac have now chartered the catamaran MV Alfred from Pentland ferries as a fleet relief for 9 months. It is yet to be determined which routes and ports she can relieve on. But she will have extended turn round times due to being single ended- a minimum 45 minutes, apparently - which will disrupt timetables when she is called into service.
The further delay (announced this week) on Glen Sannox to the end of the year means that the closure of Ardrossan Port for reconstruction is also delayed, so the relocation of the Arran service to Troon will not now happen until the end of the year or even next year. The freight service had been moved to Troon, but was then suspended due to a breakdown.
All through last summer the fleet was really struggling, even the old faithfuls like LOTI and the Clansman incurred failures.
At the moment the Isle of Arran is maintaining the Arran route single handed relieved at times with extra sailings from Lochranza provided using the Portavadie route vessel (when that route has to be suspended). From April to mid May the Caley Isles will be back on Arran duty, but single handed so only half the sailings running.
The Loch Frisa finally has assistance to Craignure from the Coruisk but from mid April to mid May fleet deployment on Craignure is currently being determined.

Posted by
3364 posts

This is all interesting to me as I will be driving through Arbroath on my trip down the east coast line. I had already planned to stop at the Arbroath Cliffs and Dunnottar Castle, but now I will have to look for those smokies along with Arbroath Abbey (and I few other things mentioned). I really need more time on this trip! :)

Posted by
1520 posts

Ah, the ferries. If it had not been for a couple of other issues the ferries may have pushed the SNP from office at the last Holyrood Election.

CalMac has an ageing fleet. It does marvels with it but it is an ageing fleet and all that implies. Because the harbours are specific the ferries tend to be built for a specific route in mind. Because CalMac is owned by the Crown by right of Scotland, it is the Scottish Government that is responsible for the ferries.

A tender for new ferries was put out and a ship yard bid and won. It was not a yard accustomed to building ferries, and could not build to the price they tendered. So the Scottish Government nationalised the yard, but the problems continued. New ferries have been bought from other yards now to fill the gap, but it is quite a mess. The ferries are lifeline services for the islands, vital for their communities, and are publicly owned so if it goes wrong it is going to be a serious issue politically. As isn31c implies, the slack that was there when the tender went in is no longer there. The vessels are ageing and bodge jobs are required to keep them going as they cannot stop going.

There have been other infrastructure projects, the Queensferry Bridge, the M74 extension, and others that have been 'on time and under budget' but ferries are a completely different beastie. It is a mess, and the only reason it is not a more serious political issue for the SNP is well brexit.

Posted by
2004 posts

Moving back to Arbroath, the natural partner to the Signal Museum is the Scottish Lighthouse Museum at Fraserburgh - about 2 hours north via Peterhead- both being major fishing ports.

Posted by
1520 posts

If you are going to Fraserburgh or Peterhead, the former HMP Peterhead is now open as a museum. It only closed a few years back as a prison, and had the reputation of the toughest prison in Scotland. It is where the worst criminals were sent.

Posted by
1323 posts

Including the great hero of the Scottish working class, John Maclean.

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
3364 posts

MC-Glasgow, I saw some of the tour when I watched the Steve Marsh video on YouTube and am planning to visit there if I have time. I love prisons and cemeteries although I'm not sure what that says about me. :)

Mike, I had to look up John Maclean (of course, my first thought was the guy from Die Hard). :) Very interesting person!

Posted by
1323 posts

Hi, Mardee,

Thanks for taking the time to find out about John Maclean. To many Scots, he was the most well-loved political figure of the 20th. century. While you're in Scotland, if you're in bookshops, try to find a copy of Nan Milton's biography. Milton was John Maclean's daughter.

Time for your holiday is getting close!

Best wishes, as always!

Mike (Auchterless)