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10 enchanting sound and light shows in Scotland not to miss this season

Aldona Reyes Mallet - View Comments

Autumn and winter seasons might mean cooler weather, but that doesn’t means 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: 28 September – 29 October 2017

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!

2. Dragon Matrix: The Dragons of Drummohr

When: 10 – 29 October 2017

Where: Drummohr House and Grounds near Musselburgh, East Lothian

© Daniel Lacasta Fitzsimmons

The Dragon of Drummohr is an amazing augmented reality (AR) theatrical performance that fans of fantasy will love. You will be led into a parallel universe where you will be tasked with assisting the Dragon Protection League find all the magical creatures living in the grounds of Drummohr House. There is a fairy settlement, a grooving disco-modulator, a mesmerizing dragimation and much more, in this visually packed event.

3. Woodland Light Experience: Reflections

When: 25 October – 12 November 2017

Where: Balfron Station, 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 Light Experience is a brilliant family-friendly event is just a short drive from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth.


When: 25 October – 19 November 2017

Where: Dean Castle Country Park, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire

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.

 5. ILLUMINATOR: Night Trail Race

When: 28 October 2017

Where: Glen Taran, 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!

6. Colours of Cluny

When: 8 – 19 November 2017

Where: Grant Park, Forres, Morayshire

See Cluny Hills in Forres set ablaze with colours this November. This spectacular show will combine bright light displays alongside sound, and will transform the look and feel of Nelson’s Tower and the hills after dark. Produced by the team behind Perthshire’s multi-award winning Enchanted Forest, Colours of Cluny is a sound and light extravaganza that promises a magical experience. You will be treated to a series of choreographed shows while you follow the path around the tree-lined hills.

7. Christmas at the Botanics

When: 24 November – 30 December 2017

Where: The Royal Botanic Gardens 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…

8. ILLUMINATION: Harbour Festival of Light

When: 30 November – 3 December 2017

Where: Irvine, Ayrshire

Staged by the Scottish Maritime Museum, ILLUMINATION Festival will transform Irvine’s historic waterfront with a water-based sculpture trail by international light artist Aether & Hemera. Come and experience breathtaking aerial acrobatic performances, a lantern parade, hundreds of glowing and magical origami boats and an extraordinary light show in and around the vast Linthouse.

9. Edinburgh’s Giant Advent Calendar

When: 1 – 25 December 2017

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!

10. SPECTRA: Festival of Light

When: 8 – 11 February 2018

Where: Aberdeen, various venues

Bringing light to the depth of winter, SPECTRA is an exciting family event that brings together leading international artists with established Scottish collaborators. See the city’s streets, parks and landmarks transformed into illuminated and inspiring spaces through the marriage of light, sound and interactive experiences. Last year saw animated visuals beamed onto the side of the Marischal College covering the entire building with shimmering dancing lights, but that’s just one of many spectacular shows that this festival brings!


The Northern Lights

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 unearthy 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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