15 spooky but magical locations in Scotland

Updated on 18 October 2022 | 0 Comments

Scotland has many tales of magic and myth. Follow Visit Scotland's new Witch Trail to see 15 magical locations, each with a supernatural story to tell

Scotland’s history is full of superstitions and supernatural occurrences, with each community passing down spooky tales from generation to generation. In 2022, VisitScotland is using its Year of Stories to help you explore 15 of its witchiest locations, attractions and experiences, alongside a new downloadable trail and map to guide you on your Caledonian adventure. Get set to discover some sinister stories and darker aspects of Scotland’s history, as well as some truly magical places.  

Calanais Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis  

Standing for over 5,000 years, this extraordinary cross-shaped setting of stones has a rich culture of magical folklore. One legend tells how a white fairy cow came to give milk to the starving people of Calanais, and the village was saved – until a rumoured witch brought the giving to an end by milking the cow dry before vanishing. The stones also served as inspiration for Outlander’s magical Craigh na Dun, where Claire (Caitríona Balfe) travels through time.  

Calanais Standing Stones (Image Courtesy of Visit Scotland)Image courtesy of Visit Scotland

Strathspey Storywalks, the Highlands 

Wander through woods and along trails around snowy Aviemore, discovering the incredible history and ecology of this special part of the Cairngorms National Park. You can taste wild teas and share local stories of kings, fairy folk and highwaymen. A guide will help you honour the memory of so-called witches by tuning in to the quiet voices within the landscape. 

Strathspey Storywalks (Image courtesy of Visit Scotland)Image courtesy of Visit Scotland

Blair Castle, Perthshire 

Not only has it been the home of the Atholl family for over seven centuries, Blair Castle also has a fascinating history of visitors, including Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie and an alleged witch (naturally). Legend has it that the mountains overlooking the castle have acted as a hiding spot for a powerful witch who could shapeshift into wildlife. Speaking of which, keep an eye out for creatures on a stroll around the grounds. 

Blair Castle (Image Courtesy of Visit ScotlandImage courtesy of Visit Scotland

READ MORE: Stunning castles you've (probably) never heard of

Loch Awe and Kilchurn Castle, Argyll 

This lake is said to be haunted by the witch of Ben Cruachan, named after the tallest mountain in the region. It's said that the witch was tired from a long day of herding deer and fell asleep on her duty to plug a groundwater spring, thus flooding the valley by accident and forming Loch Awe. These days, it’s a perfect spot for wild swimming. Ruined Kilchurn Castle watches over the still surface of the loch, but it’s currently closed for conservation works. 

Loch Awe and Kilchurn CastleImage courtesy of Visit Scotland

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The Root of Magic, Glasgow 

Every aspiring witch or wizard must fuel their powers from time to time. There’s no better place than family-run magical creature store The Root of Magic in Glasgow’s West End to enjoy a bite or a tipple. Tuck into the Monster Toastie of Monsters or a Butterscotch Beer in the Potions café, sip on citrusy Worms Wart Soup in the bar, or brew up some bubbly magical concoctions yourself in a potions cocktail class.   


Glasgow Women’s Library, Glasgow 

This wonderful treasure trove is full of historical and contemporary artefacts and archive materials celebrating the achievements of women. The team’s vision is of a world in which every woman is able to fulfil her potential and where women’s contributions are fully recognised and valued; magical or non-magical.  

Glasgow Women's Library (image courtesy of Glasgow Women's Library)Image courtesy of Glasgow Women's Library

READ MORE: Visit the world's most incredible libraries

Galloway Wild Foods, Dumfries & Galloway 

It’s amazing what spellbinding concoctions can be created from foraged delights. Crouching down to pick a plump mushroom, or standing on the tips of your toes to reach the juiciest berry, is a rewarding way to connect with nature. Founder and Association of Foragers member Mark Williams teaches all areas of foraging among the Scottish pines, including the uses of traditional and modern medicinal plants.  

Galloway Wild Foods (Image Courtesy of Mindy Coe)Image courtesy of Mindy Coe

Kirkwall Witchy Walk, Orkney 

For tales of historical witchcraft, torture, spells and charms, look no further than Orkney, an island that was once a hotbed of allegations, accusations and gruesome executions. Peer into Marwick’s Hole in St Magnus Cathedral’s dungeon, where those accused of witchcraft were imprisoned. Plus, walk in the footsteps of the condemned to Gallow’Ha on a guided tour. 

St Magnus Cathedral (Ian Cooper/Shutterstock)Ian Cooper Images/Shutterstock

Macbeth’s Hillock, Moray Speyside 

Tales around the campfire get spooky at Macbeth’s Hillock, a glamping site located on what's said to be where Shakespeare’s character met the three witches that told of his rise to king and future demise. At this mythical meeting place, find five luxury glamping pods, each with its own firepit for marshmallow toasting, a picnic table and masses of green space.   

Macbeth's Hillick (Image Courtesy of Visit Scotland)Image courtesy of Visit Scotland

Glen Dye School of Wild Wellness and Bushcraft, Aberdeenshire 

Visit Glen Dye to be immersed in all that the magical Aberdeenshire countryside has to offer. It is a private estate surrounded by wilderness and moorland with 30,000 acres of stunning land acting as the perfect playground for all modern-day witches to connect with the therapeutic benefits of mother nature. Think foraging, fire lighting, river swimming and shelter building.  


East Neuk Seaweed, Fife 

Did you know that seaweed has a key place in the healing legacy of Scotland and was possibly used by the wise women and healers of times gone by? At East Neuk Seaweed, pro seaweed harvester Jayson Byles offers various hands-on workshops in coastal locations throughout Fife that highlight the healing properties and nutritional value of this often-misunderstood (and surprisingly delicious) sea vegetable. 


Witchcraft and Wizardry Escape Room, Stirling 

At Escape Stirling, you can find yourself locked in a classroom full of tricks, puzzles, challenges and spells. Aspiring witches and wizards must solve logical puzzles, uncover clues and follow the storyline closely to escape the grasps of the evil professor (and graduate with a distinction at the end of term). Reward yourself afterwards with a stroll through this magic wee city with a big history. 

The Witchery by the Castle, Edinburgh 

Located in a 16th-century building at the gates of Edinburgh Castle, The Witchery is undoubtedly the most atmospheric dining destination in Edinburgh. The hotel and restaurant takes its name from the hundreds of women and men burned at the stake on Castlehill, and modern-day visitors can eat from the tasting menu in an original oak-panelled dining room then unwind in one of the lavishly decorated suites. Rumour has it that the place is often haunted by celebrities, as well as ghosts. 

The Witchery by the Castle (Image courtesy of Visit Scotland)Image courtesy of Visit Scotland

Invisible Cities tours, Edinburgh 

Discover the stories of the fascinating women who reportedly walked the cobbled streets of Edinburgh in years gone by. From mothers and doctors to murderers and body snatchers, and those accused of witchcraft, an expert guide will tell you all about the imprint female residents have left on the capital city. There are also tours on the themes of crime and punishment, the Royal Mile, and the languages of Scotland.  

The Royal Mile at night (f11photo/Shutterstock)f11photo/Shutterstock

READ MORE: Britain's best walking tours

Abbotsford, Scottish Borders 

The home of 19th-century novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott on the banks of the River Tweed is perhaps one of the most famous houses in the world. But not everything is as it seems. Did you know it also boasts one of the rarest and most important collections of books on witchcraft? Visitors to Scott’s stunning library can see his treasured Witch Corner and find out how these 250 books on witchcraft, magic and demonology inspired the writer’s iconic novels.    

The Abbotsford Library (Image courtesy of the Abbotsford Trust)Image courtesy of The Abbotsford Trust

For more information about Scotland’s Year of Stories, head to Visit Scotland

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