Because it’s never too early to start planning your next holiday, right? Scotland has incredible sights to see, events to get involved in, fascinating attractions to visit, and themed festivals to enjoy all year-round. So, there’s really no excuse not to visit Scotland when there is so much to see and do.
Coming up are some of the hottest and most anticipated events and openings of the year, so why not plan your trip around some of these?
1. V&A Dundee
One of the most hotly-anticipated attraction openings of the year, get ready for V&A Dundee to open its doors on 15 September to a world of innovation, creativity and incredible exhibitions. V&A Dundee will be Scotland’s first design museum and the first V&A outside London, and will be a place to provide inspiration, discovery and learning through the many design features it is home to.
The opening weekend will kick off with an exciting 3D Festival, featuring performances from Lewis Capaldi, Be Charlotte, Primal Scream and more in the new creative space of Slessor Gardens.
Whilst you’re in Dundee, why not venture round more of the east of Scotland? Encompassing the stunning locations of Perthshire, Fife, Angus and Dundee, Scotland’s Tay Country sits between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, making it an easy to get to location for lots of exciting things to see and do.
The National Theatre of Scotland will be staging a brand-new festival, Futureproof (28 September – 28 October), full of performing arts, created by young people alongside renowned theatre practitioners. There will be ten productions taking place across Scotland, all of which will be unique to their location, where young people can design, create, build and stage their own performances.
3. Kirkcudbright Festival of Light
The Kirkcudbright Festival of Light (11 – 14 October) will see the town’s iconic buildings come alive with glowing light installations, alongside musical performances and a vibrant events programme. Held to mark the opening of the town’s art gallery earlier this year, come together to celebrate the artists and makers – it’s set to be a wonderful event you won’t want to miss.
4. Mackintosh 150
2018 has been an exciting year so far, with many events, openings and things to do throughout the year, including the 150th anniversary of the birth of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. This Glaswegian artist is famed worldwide for his creative talents and went on to be regarded as one of the most creative figures of the 20th century. You can still see his masterpieces on display across the city at various creative venues. There are also a few events on over the next few months that celebrate his life and works, such as The Hillhouse at The Lighthouse (until 23 September), The Glasgow Cathedral Festival (21 – 28 October), as well as free guided tours at the Glasgow Art Club and more.
5. Edinburgh Hogmanay
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is always a favourite during the winter festivals, with exciting events, such as the popular Loony Dook, traditional Torchlight Procession, family-friendly shows, and more taking place across the city. The Concert in the Gardens is always a spectacle to remember. Say goodbye to 2018 with the best views of Edinburgh Castle and the magnificent fireworks display that lights up the night sky each year. The countdown is on.
6. Scotland Six Nations
Calling all rugby fans! Get ready for Scotland to take on Italy, Ireland, France, Wales and England in the 2019 Six Nations Championships (2 February – 16 March). Taking place at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, as well as the Stade de France in Paris and Twickenham Stadium in London, it is set to be an event you won’t want to miss.
7. Solheim Cup 2019
It all leads to this moment. The prestigious Solheim Cup 2019 (9 – 15 September) is only a year away and will grace the Gleneagles Golf Course in Perthshire, bringing with it teams of 12 players representing Europe and the United States. It’s gearing up to be quite a spectacle, so make sure you have your tickets ready.
8. The Orkney Distillery
Opened in summer 2018, The Orkney Distillery is a new addition to Kirkwall that gives a fascinating insight to the legendary Orkney Gin, complete with a visitor centre where you can relax and enjoy a coffee, or gin, and even purchase bottles to take home. Venture on a distillery tour to learn about the various processes of gin distilling, sample delicious gins, and take in the stunning views of Kirkwall’s harbour.
9. The Macallan Distillery
If one new distillery isn’t enough, head to The Macallan in Aberdeenshire to explore the processes, production, people and passion that go into making this ever-so-special single malt whisky. Book a tour and marvel at this modern distillery, with its uniquely designed roof and a state-of the art visitor centre and shop where you can buy limited edition and new release bottles to take home.
10. Snow Roads Scenic Route
A new addition to Scotland’s many scenic routes and trails is the Snow Roads Scenic Route spanning 90 miles across the Cairngorms National Park in the stunning Highlands. Offering views of snow-capped mountains and rugged glens, and a plethora of fabulous outdoors adventures and delicious food & drink, it’s a must-experience when in the area.
11. Scotland’s Story Book Trail
Explore magical tales and enchanting places to visit along the exciting Scotland’s Storybook Trail – taking in the works of some of the country most famed writers, poets and literary legends. Harry Potter fans can follow the creative mind of J.K. Rowling as she used Scotland’s landscapes to inspire her famous book series, or explore the Fairy Trail in East Lothian’s Archerfield Walled Garden, among many more locations to uncover.
In Spring 2019, Moat Brae in Dumfries & Galloway is set to open its doors to a world of incredible storytelling. A stunning location in South West Scotland, Moat Brae was acknowledged by J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, as his inspiration for Neverland, so make sure you come along and explore this stirring setting for yourself.
12. Hebridean Whisky Trail
Explore the Spirit of the Isles. This new Hebridean Whisky Trail gives you the opportunity to embark on a whisky journey like no other. Explore Torabhaig Distillery, Isle of Raasay Distillery, Talisker Distillery and the Isle of Harris Distillery to taste some of Scotland’s finest whiskies, take educational tours, and marvel at the stunning scenery around you.