The Forth Rail and Road Bridges are amongst Scotland’s best-known sights, transporting thousands of travellers to and from the Kingdom of Fife and Edinburgh & the Lothians every day. 2014 is a big year for the pair – while the iconic Forth Rail Bridge is currently being considered for UNESCO World Heritage Status, its younger brother the Forth Road Bridge celebrates its 50th birthday on 4 September.
Running from 4 – 13 September, the Forth Bridges Festival marks the half-century celebrations with ten days packed full of brilliant events. As well as special exhibitions commemorating the history of the bridges, the exciting programme includes a boat flotilla, cruises across the Forth, walking tours, an art trail, food fairs and more, all ending with a fantastic torchlight procession and fireworks over the bridges on 13 September.
Check out just a few highlights of this special Homecoming 2014 event below:
Scotland Welcomes the World to Lunch, 6 September
Tuck into a delicious menu of artisan sandwiches, super salads and Scottish desserts created by celebrity chef Nick Nairn at this one-off culinary event in South Queensferry. You can also stock up on local produce at the two-day food and drink market, get inspired by cookery demonstrations and enjoy live entertainment, all to the backdrop of the iconic bridges.
Scrapbooks Exhibition: By the Bridges, 4 – 13 September
Take a glimpse into Scotland’s industrial past at By the Bridges in Queensferry Parish Church, a heritage exhibition containing objects, unpublished images and film materials donated by local families. Discover stories from people connected to the bridges at ForthBridgesScrapbooks.co.uk, or download the new Forth Bridges app from 6 September for more exclusive tales.
Tales from “Doon the Ferry”, 4 – 8 and 11 – 13 September
Hear legends and tales of ancient rituals, saints and sinners, royal visitors, witchcraft and of course, the famous Forth Bridges as you wander through the old Royal Burgh of Queensferry. Meet at Caledonia Scotia Kilt Shop opposite the Hawes Pier in South Queensferry and set off on a historic walking tour through the town’s fascinating past.
Luxury Bridges Festival Sailing Cruises, 4 – 13 September
Traverse the waves of the Firth of Forth on the ‘Inspired Capital’, a beautiful yacht setting sail from Port Edgar Marina in South Queensferry. You could even be part of the Flotilla on the Forth on 7 September, when the firth will welcome tall ships, pleasure boats, warships, private yachts, ferries, motor-boats and canoes of all shapes and sizes.
Queensferry Rowing Challenge,13 September
See local teams race from West Bay Harbour in North Queensferry to the Old Harbour in South Queensferry, following the route once used by the ferry linking the two areas. Cheer on the rivals as they cross the finish line and enjoy an exciting day of celebrations from viewing points on both sides of the Forth, all on 13 September.
Art Trail Exhibition, 4 – 13 September
See beautiful pieces of sculpture, photography and visual art on a leisurely walk around North and South Queensferry. Scattered across tea rooms, restaurants and bars around the area, this one-off exhibition offers a fantastic chance to see the work of some of Scotland’s finest professional and amateur artists in a beautiful setting.
Forth Bridges Live, 11 – 14 September
Held across six venues in South Queensferry, Forth Bridges Live is a four-day mini festival of music, comedy, spoken word and much more. Get your wee ones dancing at the toddler disco, enjoy stand-up from international comedians, or hear the winning track of the Forth Road Bridge Song Competition. Visit ForthBridgesLive.com for the full line-up.
FRB 50th Birthday Party & Torchlight Procession, 13 September
Bringing an end to ten days of celebrations, the Forth Road Bridge 50th Birthday Party will see 2,014 torch bearers form a kilometre-long river of fire across the bridge and towards North Queensferry, before returning to South Queensferry for a fantastic party headlined by legendary Scottish rockers Big Country, special guests Bwani Junction and many others. Don’t miss the spectacular fireworks display that will light up the sky at exactly 10.06pm, a nod to the bridge’s 1,006-metre main span.
You’ll also find ghost walks, sports and many more fantastic events on the programme. Visit ForthBridgesFestival.com for the full details, or find out what’s going on for the Year of Homecoming with our event listings.