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!
2. WOODLAND NIGHT EXPERIENCE: REFLECTIONS
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 Light 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
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
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
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
When: 3 – 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.
BONUS LIGHT SHOWS:
The Northern Lights
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
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.