Where else can you visit a brand-new city, be part of a world-first sporting event and have an eco-friendly stay?
Scotland has so much to offer, but here are some of our top reasons why you should visit in 2023.
1. Be part of a world-first at the UCI Cycling World Championships
August 2023 will see Glasgow host the UCI Cycling World Championships!
Experience a world-first as road, track, BMX, mountain bike and para-cycling races are brought together, making it the biggest cycling event ever. Watch on the edge of your seat as the world’s greatest riders compete in 13 individual events. There will also be events held across the rest of Scotland, so keep your eyes peeled for more information.
Everything you need to know about the UCI World Cycling Championships
2. Plan a “snowcation” on Scotland’s slopes
With five ski resorts to choose from and forecasts for fresh powder, what better way to start the year than with a ski trip to the crisp Scottish Highlands? There are runs to suit all abilities, whether you’re new to the slopes or a seasoned professional.
The Cairngorms, Glencoe, Glenshee, the Nevis Range and the Lecht are all accessible from Scotland’s cities and offer up stunning views. The Highlands also have plenty of cosy accommodation and food and drink options to cater to your downtime off the slopes.
More “snowcation” inspiration in Scotland
Everything you need to know about snowsports in Scotland
3. Take a trip to Scotland’s newest city, Dunfermline
In 2022, Dunfermline became Scotland’s 8th city, but don’t let its new status fool you – it’s one of the country’s most ancient and historic sites.
What should I see and do in Dunfermline?
- Dunfermline Abbey and Palace – a must-visit in Dunfermline, explore the rich history and romantic ruins of the Abbey. It’s also the famous resting place of Scottish hero, Robert the Bruce.
- Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries – this free 5-Star Visitor Attraction has won architectural awards for its new building and houses a museum and library. The mezzanine café is an ideal spot to watch the world go by, with engaging views across to Dunfermline Abbey.
- Pittencrieff Park – take a stroll around the 76 acres of pristine parkland, gifted to the people by Dunfermline-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.
- Culross – just a 20-minute drive from the city, get inspired by the colourful cottages and cobbled streets of one of Fife’s most picturesque villages.
Where should I stay and eat in Dunfermline?
- 1703 Dunfermline – complete with café, bars, restaurant, live entertainment and rooms, 1703 Dunfermline is the perfect base to explore the historical capital from with its cosy yet contemporary feel.
- Fabric – cap off your experience with a tipple and a treat at this city centre restaurant.
Plan your Dunfermline trip now
4. Go on an adventure with Scotland’s UNESCO trail
Follow the UNESCO trail, which connects 13 unique sites across Scotland including World Heritage Sites, Biospheres, Global Geoparks and Creative Cities.
From ancient Roman structures to cutting-edge design, amazing landscapes to beautiful cities, you can take on the full trail or tackle it in smaller chunks.
Get planning with our UNESCO trail guides
5. Visit a new attraction
Scotland is full of cutting-edge museums, galleries and attractions to discover in 2023, displaying old treasures as well as new exhibitions to interact with.
- Scottish National Gallery project – this striking display is due to open in summer 2023. The new space has been designed to best showcase the Scottish collection alongside some special loans, right in the heart of Edinburgh city centre.
Check out the Scottish National Gallery website to discover more
- Paisley Art Centre – Paisley’s popular Arts Centre is due to reopen to the public after an extensive refurbishment, ready to host a diverse programme of events and workshops. Keep your eyes peeled for further information about Paisley’s other major refurbishment, Paisley Museum & Art Gallery – a brand new renovation transforming the historic attraction into a world-class visitor centre.
Visit the Paisley Arts Centre website for more details
- Kilmartin Museum – Kilmartin Glen has long been a place of historical and mythical significance, but 2023 sees the museum reopen with an engaging new visitor experience. Travel back in time and investigate their collection of ancient objects and artefacts excavated from sites nearby.
Dive into ancient history on Kilmartin Museum’s website
- V&A Dundee’s Tartan Exhibition – Opening in spring 2023, Tartan will explore the rich history and design behind Scotland’s best-known fabric.
Discover the full details on the V&A Dundee website
- Pitlochry Dam viewing point – A new viewing point is being built at Pitlochry Dam, which will afford visitors a wonderful view of the site and surrounding scenery. The viewpoint has been designed with salmon viewing in mind and will also teach visitors about the lifecycle of salmon.
Read more about the ambitious viewing point plans
Explore our attractions page to plan your next trip
6. Attend a world-class event or festival
From folk music and showcasing tradition to world-renowned art festivals, there’s always something to see in Scotland. Here are just a few events to look out for in 2023:
- Celtic Connections (19 January – 5 February) – taking place in iconic venues across Glasgow, this celebration of folk, roots and world music features musicians from across the globe as well as events, workshops and more.
- SPECTRA (9-12 February) – SPECTRA’s festival of light takes place annually in the northern city of Aberdeen, illuminating the dark winter skies.
- StAnza Poetry Festival (8-12 March) – take a trip to St Andrews in 2023 and discover their much-loved poetry festival. This year sees the festival explore the theme of “wildness”.
- Borders Book Festival (15-18 June) – relax in the surroundings of the Harmony Garden in the beautiful Borders town of Melrose and engage with authors, performers, events and more.
- HebCelt (12-15 July) – there are few settings so uniquely inspiring for a festival than HebCelt on the Isle of Lewis! Lews Castle and the Hebridean seas provide the backdrop for this traditional Scottish folk music festival.
- Tall Ships Lerwick Festival (26-29 July) – this year sees Shetland host the incredible Tall Ships Races. Admire the classic sailing vessels as they make port in Shetland, before heading to Arendal in Norway.
- Edinburgh International Festival (4-27 August) – visit Scotland’s capital in August to soak up the very best theatre, dance, music, opera and more with the world-famous Edinburgh International Festival.
- World Pipe Band Championships (18-19 August) – it doesn’t get more Scottish than the World Pipe Band Championships! Taking place across two days in Glasgow Green, it’s a unique opportunity to hear the best bagpipers in the world compete for this prestigious title.
- Nuart Aberdeen 2023 – Aberdeen’s street art festival attracts artists from around the world to create spectacular pieces of public art in local spaces.
Keep up to date with the latest events happening across Scotland
7. Take it slow
Experience Scotland like a local and do your bit for the planet at the same time by being a responsible tourist. Read on for a few ideas on how to plan a sustainable holiday in Scotland.
Pick a greener way to travel
From electric cars to cycling, there are plenty of ways to see Scotland and limit your carbon footprint in the process.
Take a look at our green transport page for more information
Support local businesses
Staying and spending locally is a great way to engage with Scotland’s communities and groups. There are plenty of innovative and eco-friendly businesses to check out during your stay.
Discover local green businesses in Scotland
Have an eco-friendly stay
Minimise your impact on the environment without compromising on quality! Scotland has a huge range of accommodation options that are kind to the environment, from hotels in our fabulous cities to camping adventures in the countryside.
Find your perfect stay on our eco-friendly accommodation page
Want to find out more? Check out our blog on how to be an eco tourist
8. Taste Scotland’s best local produce
Good food and drink are holiday essentials – luckily Scotland has many exciting restaurants, bars and cafés for you to explore this year.
Why not embrace the local produce and find a food and drink experience that connects you with Scotland’s best produce?
Try a green foodie business
Many restaurants in Scotland use seasonal, local produce for you to try, but some go the extra mile. Nestled on the shores of Loch Fyne, Inver holds a Michelin Guide Green Star for its sustainability. They also have luxury bothies on site to stay over after your meal.
Farm to fork
Few places embody the farm to fork ethos so well as The Free Company in Balerno, just outside of Edinburgh. They open for a spring and a winter series, serving the very best seasonal produce in their trendy barn from the farm right outside. They also run veg and pig clubs throughout the year for produce delivered locally.
Check out The Free Company website to find out more
Go wild foraging
Take a wander along Scotland’s rugged coastline or deep woods and you will be sure to find plenty of treasures to forage, from plump purple brambles to rich emerald samphire.
All you need to know about foraging in Scotland
Tickle your tastebuds with our food and drink content
9. Relax in new surroundings
Fancy a stay in a castle, a glamping adventure or a cottage on a remote island? Scotland really does have somewhere to suit all tastes.
Accommodation to look out for in Scotland 2023
- The Bracken Hide Hotel, Skye – embrace all the Nordic feels with this new wilderness hotel in Portree, complete with cosy cabins, sauna, wild swimming pool and whisky bar.
- 100 Princes Street, Edinburgh – this hotly-anticipated new hotel in Edinburgh’s city centre will celebrate the history of Scottish explorers and adventurers and is due to open in spring 2023.
- W Edinburgh – due to open in winter 2023, this 12-storey luxury hotel will be welcoming guests in the newly-developed St James Quarter.
Find your dream Scottish accommodation
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