Montrose is a small port in Angus, Northeast Scotland, midway between Dundee and Aberdeen. It was an important harbour in medieval and Hanseatic times and contributed to Britain's sea and air defence in 20th century wartime. It's industrial, with the pharmaceutical firm GSK being a major employer, and in 2011 had a population of 11,955.
Aberdeen (ABZ IATA) has a good choice of UK and European flights. Edinburgh (EDI IATA) is further but has more choice, and with a rental car you exit straight onto the road north and can reach Montrose in little over two hours. Dundee (DND IATA) is the closest airport but has few flights.
Trains run from Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street via Dundee and Arbroath every 30 min to Montrose, and continue north to Stonehaven and Aberdeen. The Caledonian Sleeper from London Euston also sets down here around 07:00, with the southbound train picking up towards 22:30.
This railway line was closed for 12 weeks following a landslide and serious rail accident near Stonehaven on 12 Aug 2020, but re-opened in November.
The 1 railway station is east side of town centre, with a nice view of the Basin as the train pulls in.
Stagecoach Bus X7 runs along the coast from Perth via Dundee and Arbroath to Montrose, continuing to Stonehaven and Aberdeen. It runs hourly, daily. There isn't a bus station, just stops on High St and elsewhere. Buses from Edinburgh, Glasgow and England fly past on A90 and don't serve Montrose, you need to change at Dundee.
Montrose is 30 miles northeast of Dundee on A92. The Dundee-Aberdeen road A90 sweeps several miles inland past Brechin.
Stagecoach Bus 30 runs from Arbroath to Montrose, then north of the Basin past the entrance to House of Dun to Brechin and Strathcathro Hospital; a few continue to Edzell. It runs hourly M-Sa and every two hours on Sunday.
Bus 116 to Forfar is suspended in 2020, change at Brechin.
- Montrose Museum, Panmure Place DD10 8HF, ☏ . Closed through 2020. Local history museum and art gallery in a neo-classical 1842 building. Free.
- Old and St Andrews Church on High St is C of S. It opened in 1793 with the steeple being added in 1834.
- Bamse stands guard at the bridge entering town. Why was a movie never made about this dog, whose wartime exploits with the Free Norwegian Forces far surpass the deeds of Black Bob, Greyfriars Bobby and Rin-tin-tin combined? A huge St Bernard, Bamse (which means "teddy-bear") was an official crew member of Thorodd, a whaler drafted into wartime use which escaped to Britain in 1940 when Norway surrendered to Germany. The ship then served as a minesweeper working out of Montrose and Dundee, with Bamse its most diligent Shore Patrol, breaking up fights, travelling unescorted on the buses to round up crew members from outlying pubs, rescuing people from the water, repelling a knife-wielding assailant . . . He became the symbol of Norwegian resistance and it's probably only because of military secrecy that we've yet to hear of his role in defusing UXBs, unmasking spies, cracking ciphers and piddling on quislings. Bamse died aged 7 in 1944 and was buried with full military honours and crowds of well-wishers lining the cortege route.
- William Lamb Studio is on Market St. Lamb (1893-1951) was a sculptor, briefly famous (he sculpted the young Princess Elizabeth) but scarred by World War I and becoming a recluse in Montrose. In that same spirit, the studio is closed in 2020.
- 1 Air Station Heritage Centre, Waldron Rd DD10 9BD, ☏ . W Sa 10:00-16:00. This was a military airbase from 1914, among the first in Britain. They initially set up in 1913 in Dysart a few miles south, but that site was foggy and boggy so they re-located here. In World War II it was a training base for overseas pilots, and RAF sorties to Norway flew from Montrose. But there was little new building or war damage in those years, so it's a rare survival of a pre-World War I airbase. The Spitfire is just a replica, it was string-and-paper SE5A/B biplanes in that era. Adult £6.
- 2 Montrose Basin is the tidal lagoon formed by the estuary of the South Esk, west side of town. It's almost 3 miles in diameter, ringed by salt marshes, and an important habitat for resident and migratory birds.
- 3 Langley Park Gardens are open May-Sept F-Su 10:00-16:00, adult £5.
- 4 House of Dun, Dun DD10 9LQ, ☏ . Daily 10:00-16:00. Grand 18th century mansion designed by Adams, visited by hourly guided tour. With gardens and woodlands bordering the Basin. Adult £13.50, NT / NTS free.
- 5 Brechin has a cathedral with an 11th century Round Tower - they're common in Ireland but only two survive in Scotland. There's also a small town museum. Brechin Castle and its gardens can be visited in late May / early June.
- Aberlemno Sculptured Stones: see Forfar for these richly carved medieval Pictish stones southwest of Brechin.
- Montrose Beach is long and sandy, but beach, sandhills and golf course are succumbing to erosion by the sea.
- 6 Lunan Bay is a little settlement two miles south of Montrose, with a much better beach. By the outflow of Lunan Water stands Red Castle, a medieval hunting lodge - it's utterly tumbledown, don't get close.
- 7 Edzell Castle, Edzell DD9 7UE (5 miles north of Brechin). Apr-Sept daily 09:30-17:30. Charming ruin of a 16th century tower house in rose sandstone. It's made special by the early 17th century walled garden or "Pleasaunce", with topiary and elaborate carved panels. Adult £6, conc £4.80, child £3.60.
- Montrose Sports Centre is on Marine Ave.
- Watch soccer at Montrose FC, who play in League One, the third tier of the game in Scotland. Their home ground is Links Park, capacity just under 5000, east side of town centre.
- Or watch Brechin City FC, somebody has to. They've plummeted down the rankings and since 2020 play in League Two, the fourth tier. Their home ground is Glebe Park, capacity 4100, half a mile north of Brechin railway station.
- Caledonian Railway is a standard-gauge heritage railway running in CR livery for 4 miles between Brechin and Bridge of Dun. It's closed until April 2021.
- Montrose Golf Links are on the coast. The 1562 course is 6457 yards, par 71, and a visitor round is £100 May-Sept, £60 Oct-Mar. The Broomfield course is 4822 yards, par 66, and a round is £20.
- The Angus Show is in Brechin in June. The next is expected to be 4 June 2022, tbc.
- Drumtochty Highland Games are held at Drumtochty Castle 5 miles north of Laurencekirk, with the next probably on Sat 25 June 2022. The castle itself is an events venue with plush accommodation but isn't otherwise open for visits.
- Montrose Highland Games are on the first Sunday in August. The next are expected to be Sun 7 Aug 2022, tbc.
Tesco is next to the railway station, open M-Sa 06:00-00:00, Su 08:00-20:00. No filling station.
- Roo's Leap, 2 Traill Drive DD10 8SW, ☏ . Daily 12:00-18:00. Last thing you might expect in Montrose: an Australian grill doing burgers, steaks, other barbie fare and veggie options.
- Cheap and cheerful places line the High St, nothing special, try the George Hotel.
- Lots in town centre. Try Picture House, Market Arms, Royal Arch or Albert Bar.
- Glencadam Distillery in Brechin produces single malt whisky. Tours are suspended in 2020.
- Black Thistle, also in Brechin, distills gin and vodka.
- Arbikie to the south near Lunan Bay mainly produces gin and vodka, but they also distill Highland Rye Whisky, quite distinct from traditional Scotch. They plan to open for tours from April 2021.
- There are two breweries in Laurencekirk 10 miles north: Burnside, and Six Degrees North - which to save you searching in the vicinity of Penang, means 6o north of Brussels, source of their brewing style.
- 1 George Hotel, 22 George St DD10 8EW, ☏ . Solid reliable town centre hotel with 25 rooms en suite, good restaurant. B&B double £85.
- 2 Park Hotel, 61 John St DD10 8RJ, ☏ . Clean efficient hotel with 57 rooms and conference facilities. B&B double £90.
- Montrose has lots of B&Bs but they didn't open in 2020. Other options are Star Hotel and Carlton Hotel. Links Hotel is closed until April 2021.
- Brechin on A90 may be more convenient for motorists. Try Northern Hotel or one of the half-dozen B&Bs.
The problem is that mobile coverage has developed along A90 inland, so Brechin has a good 4G signal, but Montrose and the coast are poorly served. As of Jan 2021, you'll manage a call (but probably not 4G) with EE or Vodafone, but Three and O2 have no signal. 5G has not reached this area.
- Stonehaven has a ruined castle perched on its cliffs.
- Aberdeen, the grey granite city, has lots of museums, galleries and visitor amenities, and it's the transport hub for Aberdeenshire.
- Dundee has Scott's Antarctic sailing ship Discovery, the V&A design museum, Verdant jute works, and great views over the Tay.
|Routes through Montrose|
|Dundee ← Arbroath ←||SW NE||→ Stonehaven|
|END ←||S N||→ junction → Aberdeen|