There may still be a chill in the air, but February is a month full of magic in Scotland, with romance around every corner, snow on the hills, and lots of fun things to do in Scotland to lift you out of winter hibernation. And – 2020 is a leap year, so with an extra day on 29 February, there is even more time to enjoy Scotland! Here are a few ways to make this February one to remember.
1. Enjoy a trad music event
Turn up the volume this February by going to a trad music event! Celtic Connections is set to take centre-stage this February with a program jam-packed full of events ranging from music and talks to storytelling, celebrating the very best of our coasts and waters, a fitting tribute to Scotland’s next biannual themed year, the Year of Coasts & Waters. For more information on tickets and venues click here.
2. Keep warm in a couple of cosy traditional pubs
There is nothing better than catching up with some old friends and family over a few drinks. Keep warm as you avoid the winter chill by checking out some of the best traditional pubs that Scotland has to offer. Have a jolly good time at the Jolly Judge in Edinburgh. Watch the world go by as you sit with your back against the roaring log fire while you soak up the pub’s lively atmosphere. Make yourself at home at the Sheep Heid Inn. Loosen your belt as you tuck into some good old hearty pub grub accompanied with a cold alcoholic beverage or two. It’s not just Edinburgh that specialises in good traditional pubs, Glasgow is another city which has a great pub scene too. Take a trip to Sloans, Glasgow’s oldest bar and restaurant. Marvel at the pubs beautiful furnishings and make sure to put your dancing shoes on as you enjoy its ceilidhs every Friday. February is the perfect time of year to kick back and treat yourself to a little indulgence. Head to the Stein Inn on Skye as you enjoy picturesque views on the island’s Waternish Peninsula. Make sure to also try some of its delicious food which includes everything from Skye scallops and Scottish salmon to wild venison as well as sampling the pubs single malts with over 130 to choose from. Fancy visiting one of Scotland’s most haunted pubs? Look no further than the Drovers Inn in Loch Lomond. Reports have found that there are ghostly sightings of a little girl in a pink dress who regularly crops up in guests photographs and also mysterious happenings from Room 6 with the lights often flickering. With over 300 years of hospitality experience under its belt, it’s no wonder that people keep coming back to enjoy the high quality food and drink that is on offer. The pub was also a favourite with Rob Roy who was often a regular here. Need time to unwind after a day of exploring Scotland’s natural beauty? Visit the award-winning Clachaig Inn in Glencoe. A favourite amongst climbers and hikers, coorie in for the night with a selection of ales and single malt whiskies from its three separate bars. Nestled amongst the brightly painted houses of Tobermory, seek shelter at the Mishnish on the Isle of Mull – the perfect pit stop for the hungry traveller – where you will be welcomed by the warmth of the roaring fire and you can settle down to enjoy the fresh fish and shellfish on the menu. Finally, visit the pub which was named the best pub in the Scottish Borders by the national Pub & Bar magazine, The Craw Inn for a selection of fine wine and ales, impeccable service and scrumptious food.
3. Visit some of Scotland’s amazing museums and art galleries
Fancy brushing up on your knowledge of Scotland’s rich history and culture? Have a fun day out with the whole family and explore some of Scotland’s best-loved museums and exciting exhibitions popping up throughout the month. With it being the UK’s first and only UNESCO City of Design, it’s no wonder that Dundee takes great pride in its ever-changing art scene. At the V&A Dundee, don’t miss the Tim Walker: Wonderful Things Exhibition (open now until Sunday 8 March), where you will follow the creative journey of one of the world’s most inventive photographer’s most renowned pieces of work. Have an eye for fashion? Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk (opening Saturday 29 February 2020), will take you on a journey on how this 1960s Japanese garment became a worldwide fashion statement on the runway and a must-have staple in everyone’s wardrobe. Do you know your velociraptor to your brachiosaurus? Head along to the National Museums Scotland for the Spotlight: Looking for dinosaurs exhibition (6 February 2020) where curator Dr Stig Walsh talks you through the challenges of looking for dinosaur fossils. There are lots of things to see and do to keep the little ones occupied too. The National Museum of Flight is just one of the many attractions set to take centre-stage this month with its awe-inspiring exhibitions. Fully immerse yourself at the National Museum of Flight: Reach for the Skies (8 – 16 February 2020), where you will have an insight on what life is really like working up in the clouds.
Find more cultural events this year.
4. Keep your eyes peeled and get up close and personal with Scotland’s winter wildlife
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Within the next few days, the most durable of Scotland’s perennial snowpatches will melt for the third time in three years, something that has never happened before. In our latest blog post (link in bio) former weather forecaster turned forester @MattHay44 highlights the challenges humans and Scottish wildlife will face in the coming decades. With special thanks to @scotlandtbp for the stunning wildlife photography 📷 | undertheskin.co.uk/journal
Although many animals hibernate throughout the winter months, nature lovers will be pleased to know that there are still plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with Scotland’s wildlife. This February why not take a trip to Islay? Renowned for its wild geese flocking to the island from October to April, the short winter days make it much easier to view morning and evening roosting sites. Make sure to catch a glimpse of the Arctic Hare on Scotland’s snow-capped mountains and if weather conditions become much more extreme you might be lucky enough to see them make their way down the mountainsides and into the forest edges making it easier to spot them. South Scotland also becomes a winter paradise for thousands of swans, geese and ducks escaping the harsh winter weather from Greenland to bask in Scotland’s much warmer climate. If you’re on the lookout for red deer, the Highlands is the place to be! February is the perfect month to see these magnificent animals make their way down from the snowy mountains to lower ground for grazing.
5. Take to the slopes as you enjoy a selection of the country’s snowsports on offer
There’s snow place like Scotland when it comes to skiing and snowboarding! The country boasts a wide range of ski centres including Glenshee, Glencoe and the Cairngorm Mountain which are all perfect places to help hone your skills whether you are a beginner or a pro! Why not make the most out of our unique snowsports by opting for a ski pass, giving you the opportunity to ski until your heart is content at all five of the Scottish mountain resorts throughout the season. The Scottish weather can be very unpredictable at times, so we advise that you keep up to date on all the latest news, ski conditions and weather forecasts.
6. Blooming marvellous! Take a trip around Scotland during the Scottish Snowdrop Festival
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The last #snowdrop walks of the season take place this weekend. Enjoy a special tour of the garden to discover our collection of specialist snowdrops & other early flowering plants that herald the onset of spring. Walks take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11am, meet at the Info Desk in the John Hope Gateway Visitor Centre. Tickets cost £6. Booking is advisable, tel: 0131 248 2909. More info at rbge.org.uk/snowdrops #snowdrops #galanthus #scottishsnowdropfestival #snowdropfestival #edinburgh #thisisedinburgh #scotspirit
This lovely festival is coming to a garden near you! No matter how much you love winter and snow, by February most of us are longing for the warmer weather and lighter nights. However, before we wave goodbye to winter for another year, the annual Scottish Snowdrop Festival is the perfect way to round the winter season off! Pick the best of the bunch with attractions such as The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Cambo Estate in Fife and Dunrobin Castle in Golspie all taking part to showcase the arrival of these beautiful flowers. February is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the great Scottish outdoors as you wind your way through blankets of snowdrops. Why not hit the road and see a few of our favourite gardens? Check out Discover Scottish Gardens website for more information.
7. Sample the very best of Scotland’s handcrafted gin at Bute Gin Fest
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Is there a better way to celebrate the end of Dry January or Ginuary than attending a gin festival? While we may not be able to guarantee the weather, we can guarantee a weekend of gin-filled fun at @glenburnhotel on the stunning Isle of Bute! You can sample over 25 Scottish gins & liqueurs, enjoy your favourites as perfect serves or cocktails, buy bottles to savour at home and meet the good folks behind them. For the foodies amongst you there's a 4 course dinner on Friday 8th Feb with each course being paired and served with a different gin. Tickets still available for the dinner and the festival on Sunday 10th Feb, click the link in bio for more info
Back by popular demand! BeGIN your February by heading to the Bute Gin Fest (7 – 9 February 2020). Enjoy a wide variety of craft gins from distilleries across Scotland. Gin lovers will truly be spoiled for choice with the range including everything from old favourites such as the classic Gin & Tonic or get a taste of some other alternatives – you never know it might be your new favourite tipple! Meet the makers and try your hand at making your very own concoction, learn more about the different brands, and most importantly take some of the bottles home with you to try out with different mixers.
8. Celebrate Scottish films at Glasgow Film Festival
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We’re going beyond showing the lights and sounds of the future at #GFF20.⠀ ⠀ Glasgow Film Festival are taking over the Argyle Street Arches in 2020 for one weekend only and transforming it into Neo-Glasgow. The world has ended, the undead are running rampant and there is only one safe place for you to go. ⠀ ⠀ Tickets to all the film screenings at Neo-Glasgow go on sale at noon on Thursday 12 December. ⠀ ⠀ #dystopia #glasgow #glasgowfilmfestival #keepitsafekeepitsecret #fallout #bunker
Brush shoulders with the stars this winter as the Glasgow Film Festival returns from 26 February – 8 March 2020. Take a sneak peek at some of the biggest blockbusters about to hit cinemas nationwide, watch some timeless classics while film makers and film stars take to the stage to discuss hot film topics. So, grab your popcorn and sit back and relax as you enjoy a jam-packed few days of entertainment!
9. Romance and Valentine’s Day – a great time to book a trip to Scotland!
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, now is the perfect time for you and your partner to do something a little different in Scotland. Nothing says romance quite like taking a romantic stroll up an extinct volcano! Climb up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh while you take in the beautiful panoramic views of the city. We highly recommend that you walk up just before dawn or dusk where you will be blown away by the glorious sunrise and sunset. Take a romantic boat cruise down the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond and explore a whole host of some of Scotland’s uninhabited islands. Although the weather might be chilly, there really is no excuse to visit the beautiful wonders of Scotland’s best beaches. Visit Calgary Bay and take your date along its white sandy beaches as you watch the skies of the Isle of Mull be engulfed by the beautiful sunset. Splash the cash on a luxury 5-star hotel. Fairmont, St Andrews, Cameron House on Loch Lomond and The Balmoral Hotel are just a few to mention that boast excellent and luxurious facilities to let you enjoy the finer things in life. Feel like a pampered pooch by booking a spa break. Stobo Castle, the Old Course Hotel, Airth Castle and Mar Hall Golf & Spa Resort offer a wide selection of spa treatments, high quality food & drink as well as breathtaking views.
10. Get the chance to see the Six Nations at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh
A day at the rugby is a great way to spend a day in the capital! With the Six Nations (1st February – 20 March) kicking off in February, there really is no better time to visit the city. Come along and cheer on the teams as they play thrilling matches at Murrayfield Stadium throughout the tournament. Check the Scottish Rugby website for ticket information. Whatever the result, win, lose or draw, the overall buzz and excitement from the game and the fans will keep you on your toes for the next 80 minutes!
We hope that we have enticed you to come to Scotland with just a snapshot of what’s hot this February. Looking for some more winter inspiration? Check out our complete A-Z Guide to Winter in Scotland and read our blogs on reasons to visit in January and March.
Have any other suggestions that you want to shout out about? Let us know down in the comments.