Winter Lights

In addition to the traditional Christmas and New Year events, Scotland offers a wide range of winter festivals to combat the shorter days. Highlights include the annual Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry, as well as illuminations at Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh Zoo and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Aberdeen and Kirkcudbright have their very own Festivals of Light, while Perth's riverside is lit up in February, and Inverness has special plans for 2020 - watch this space.

Northland's Bed and Breakfast has written a Blog about The Enchanted Forest.

Here's our list of some of the spectacular winter festivals and illumination events around Scotland and where you can stay with Scotland's Best B&Bs:

Fire Light: Cosmic Fortunes
2 January 2019, The Helix, Falkirk
A magical and mythical walk around The Helix with an illuminated adventure around the constellations/zodiacs for a family-friendly evening to explore the night sky.

Burning of the Clavie
11 January 2019 Burghead, Moray
Welcome in the "Auld" New Year as old traditions are rekindled at this ancient fire festival in Burghead. This is the original Hogmanay before the calendar changed in 1660. A spectacular event celebrated every year.
Nearby B&B - Brighton House B&B in Nairn

Perth Riverside Light Nights
26 January - 10 February 2019
Perth’s riverside walk with illuminations and themed nights, plus food, drink, and lots of other surprises. It all begins with the Robert Burns Celebration on 26 and 27 January. Free.
Nearby B&Bs - Glebe House near Perth, Northlands Bed and Breakfast in Pitlochry, Brae House by Aberfeldy, Duntrune House near Dundee, Newton Farm by Inverarity.

SPECTRA Aberdeen's Festival of Light
Hoping it will return in 2020. A spectacular display set in Union Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen.
Nearby B&B - Aikenshill House near Aberdeen

Midlothian Fire and Light Walk
24 - 28 September 2018, Vogrie Park
Experience Vogrie Country Park in this brand new interactive journey in a forest just outside Edinburgh with light installations and fire performances. Woodland creatures and flame throwers will give you more than a few surprises. This event includes kids workshops, live entertainment and interactive installations, plus food and drink stalls.
Nearby B&Bs: Parkhead House in Hopetoun, Arden Country House near Linlithgow, Strawberry Bank House

The Enchanted Forest
3 October - 3 November 2019, Pitlochry, Perthshire
Scotland’s premier light and sound event uses the autumnal splendour of Faskally Wood as a natural backdrop to a glittering and original experience that is simply spectacular.
Nearby B&Bs - Northlands Bed and Breakfast in Pitlochry and Brae House by Aberfeldy

Kirkcudbright Festival of Light
5 - 14 October 2018, Dumfries and Galloway,
Brand new arts festival including the opening of Kirkcudbright Galleries. This festival will feature a host of exciting events including illuminations of the town's historic buildings, as well as Illumaphomium (a dynamic and interactive, multi-sensory, music making installation), a magical fairy village, an 18ft willow horse sculpture, a portable planetarium, lantern parade and fireworks display, ghost tales, plus craft workshops, dance sessions, Diwali dining experience, music, sculpture and much more.
Nearby B&B - Brookford B&B

23 October - 17 November 2019, Dean Castle Country Park, East Ayrshire
A magical outdoor light event offering a tour of the grounds of the country park with stunning illuminations, installations, sounds and hands on activities. This 1.5km trail is fun for all the family. Food & drink stalls including those important toasted marshmellows.
Nearby B&B - Ayrs and Graces Guest House near Ayr

25 - 31 October 2019
Glasgow Botanic Gardens will be transformed at Halloween in a spectacular sound and light show which was incredibly popular when it was launched in 2018.

Christmas at the Botanics
23 November - 29 December 2018, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
A fairytale winter trail including huge incandescent flowers, illuminated tree sculptures, scented Fire Garden and Cathedral of Light. The Festive Finale takes place on Inverleith House lawn where brightly coloured projections dance in time to much-loved Christmas classics. Santa and his Elves will also be there, along with seasonal food and gifts, marching reindeer and gingerbread men.
Nearby B&Bs: Parkhead House in Hopetoun, Arden Country House near Linlithgow, Strawberry Bank House

Giant Lanterns of China
1 December 2018 - 25 February 2019, Edinburgh
RZSS Edinburgh Zoo plays host to a spectacular installation of over 450 dazzling giant lanterns. Enjoy hot food and drinks, and watch amazing Chinese performers. This event takes place in partnership with the province of Sichuan, the birth place of Edinburgh Zoo’s giant pandas.
Nearby B&Bs: Parkhead House in Hopetoun, Arden Country House near Linlithgow, Strawberry Bank House

Aurora Borealis

As spectacular as these light installations can be, nothing can rival the famous Northern Lights (also called the Aurora Borealis). The darker skies of autumn and winter give the best viewing conditions for these colourful merry dancers. The frequency of sightings can depend on sunspot activity which is governed by an 11-year solar cycle. Numerous areas in Scotland have 'Dark Sky' status including Wester Ross in the north-west Highlands and the Galloway Forest in Dumfries & Galloway. The Tomintoul and Glenlivet area of the Cairngorms is the most northerly Dark Sky Park in the world (and the darkest in the UK). Moffat (in Dumfries & Galloway) is a Dark Sky Town thanks to special street lighting. On our web site you can read about Stargazing in Galloway.

Christmas and Hogmanay

While Edinburgh's Hogmanay street party is usually a sell out, did you know that Inverness hosts an annual free party on New Year's Eve called the Red Hot Highland Fling? Among the more unusual celebrations at the turn of the year, the Biggar Bonfire is South Lanarkshire's own New Year celebration, while the Stonehaven Fireballs Ceremony is an ancient tradition in Aberdeenshire, and the Comrie Flambeaux is a unique torchlit procession in Perthshire.

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