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10 Enchanting Sound and Light Shows in Scotland Not to Miss This Season

Autumn and winter seasons might mean cooler weather, but that doesn’t mean Scotland’s offerings of outdoor art are going anywhere. In fact, it’s when the country really becomes filled with creative works. If you’re in the mood to see mind-intriguing and sense-teasing art through interactive installations and immersive technology and want to enjoy the great outdoors, Scotland has got you covered.

We’ve rounded up nine of the best light shows around the country – all the shimmers, glimmers and twinkles anyone could ask for and more. Yes, Scotland knows how to put extra dazzle into the darker months.

1. The Enchanted Forest

When: 4 October – 4 November 2018

Where: Faskally Woods near Pitlochry, Perthshire

Step into Faskally Woods in Pitlochry this autumn and you’ll be treated to an outdoor experience that will set your imagination alight. Enchanted Forest is Scotland’s premier son et lumiere show set against an atmospheric forest backdrop. Follow a number of dimly lit paths, all illuminated with different colours to show you the way while you take in a sweeping light show to the accompaniment of stirring music score. Tickets are flying out the door – make sure you don’t miss the chance to experience this extraordinary event!


When: 16 – 18 and 21 – 25 November 2018

Where: North Ballochruin Farm, Stirlingshire

Set in the magnificent private woodlands near Balfron, on the edge of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, enjoy an autumnal walk in the woods and experience acres of woodland all kitted out with a load of pretty lights. You will be in awe as beautiful lighting effects, dazzling projections and music dance across the natural landscape and the water. Treat yourself to hot food and drinks to keep you cosy as you wander round the wood. Woodland Night Experience is a brilliant family-friendly event is just a short drive from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth.


When: 24 October – 18 November 2018

Where: Dean Castle Country Park, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire

ILLUMINIGHT © Lloyd Smith/Unique Events

ILLUMINIGHT © Lloyd Smith/Unique Events

Set in amongst the rivers, ponds and trees of the country park and the castle itself, ILLUMINIGHT will present a magical experience for all the family with stunning visuals, state-of-the-art lighting installations and music which shows the Country Park in a whole new light. The show’s 1.5km trail will take visitors through the historic woodland, alongside an illuminated Kilmarnock Water and through the new wetland areas with surprises around every corner.

4. ILLUMINATOR: Night Trail Race

When: 27 October 2018

Where: Glen Tanar, Royal Deeside

© Firetrail Events / Tim Winterburn

Go wild through the night on Scotland’s toughest night half marathon, ILLUMINATOR Run. Run or walk 15 dark miles over rugged hill trails with just the glow of your head torch to lead the way. See the natural beauty of Glen Tanar’s ancient Scots pine forest in a spectacular new light. Ready? Steady? Go!

5. Christmas at the Botanics

When: 23 November – 29 December 2018

Where: The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Christmas at the Botanics, Edinburgh

© Raymond Gubbay Ltd

Follow a one mile illuminated trail that winds its way through the world-famous Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh for a magical experience after dark. Prepare to be mesmerized by the hypnotic beauty of flickering lights; stroll along a fairy tale avenue of giant glowing butterflies; and complete the night under the stars with spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate. Experience Christmas at the Botanics because it’s certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas there…

6. Edinburgh’s Giant Advent Calendar

When: 1 – 25 December 2018

Where: General Register House, Edinburgh

Edinburgh is bringing you a giant real-life advent calendar with a twist! Throughout the advent, 25 glimpses of Edinburgh winters from years gone-by will be projected onto General Registry House, one revealed each day. It’s a fantastic way to celebrate the city’s history and places in the run up to Christmas Day, and best of all – it’s completely free, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled when you’re passing!

7. Kirkcudbright Festival of Light

When: 5 – 14 October 2018

Where: Kirkcudbright, Dumfries & Galloway

Celebrate the beautiful light that has drawn artists from all creative fields to this gleaming coastal town during the Kirkcudbright Festival of Light. The festival will also mark the grand opening of a nationally important new art gallery in the town, and will feature glowing light installations and international musical performances, complete with a vibrant events programme at the new gallery. It is set to be a wonderful festival you won’t want to miss!

8. The Giant Lanterns of China

When: Mid-November 2018 – February 2019

Where: Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh

Back for 2018, the popular Giant Lanterns of China will return to Edinburgh this winter, boasting a new theme of Myths and Legends. Set to be even more spectacular than last year, there will be Chinese and Scottish storytelling, a conservation zone, and extinction zone, and a variety of animals, including yetis and sabre tooth tigers!

9. Quest For Oz

‘Quest for Oz’ © Vicki Watson

When: 4 – 28 October 2018

Where: Drummohr Estate, Musselburgh

This fantastical family event combines theatre, fire, light and augmented reality and promises lots of interaction, with audiences able to download the Quest for Oz app and set off into the woods to help the wizard rebuild the Yellow Brick Road.

10. Midlothian Fire and light Walk

When: 24 – 28 September 2018

Where: Vogrie Park, Midlothian

Immerse yourself in a world of fiery mayhem as you experience Vogrie Park like never before. Midlothian Fire and Light Walk will take through the magical forest, not far from Edinburgh, where you can witness dazzling light installations, fire performances, jaw-dropping flame throwers, and many more spectacles of wonder to feast your eyes on.


The Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis at Cullen Bay, Aberdeenshire © Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership / Lyn MacDonald

Aurora Borealis at Cullen Bay, Aberdeenshire © Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership / Lyn MacDonald

This amazing spectacle is a light show to beat all light shows. If viewing the Aurora’s unearthly colours is on your bucket list, autumn and winter are great seasons to spot this phenomenal display. Find out more on when and where to see Aurora Borealis in Scotland.

Christmas lights switch-on

Crowds gather in Dundee City Square for the Christmas light switch on

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the amazing spectacle of Christmas Lights, so expect lots of sparkle and festive cheer as towns and cities’ seasonal celebrations get underway with the Christmas Lights switch-on.

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