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Scotland's Best B&Bs

Winter Lights

The end of the year can be a most magical time with spectacular autumn colours across the forests and hills, the first sprinkling of snow on the mountain tops and the sound of a good crunchy frost underfoot.  Many people prefer to visit at this time of year as the landscape is transformed.  It is an especially popular time for photographers and wildlife watchers as well as skiers waiting for the first snow at Aviemore and Glencoe.  Christmas Markets and Craft Fairs pop up giving you the opportunity to purchase Scottish gifts and produce for that unique Christmas present.

Many of our recommended B&Bs are open all year and are ready to welcome you with roaring fires, home baking and of course, drying rooms for outdoor gear. Some are open over the Christmas and New Year holidays and ALL will be happy to welcome you to their homes!

Here are some popular winter events. See our separate page which lists Christmas markets in Scotland.

Burning of the Clavie 
11 January 2022 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.

The Enchanted Forest 
29 September - 30 October 2022, 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. Each year has a different theme. 
Nearby B&Bs - Northlands Bed and Breakfast in Pitlochry, Brae House by Aberfeldy, Woodcroft House in Perth, Craigellie House near Blairgowrie

Kirkcudbright's Festival of Light  
6 - 8 October 2022  
Three days of performances, art installations & illuminated experiences in Dumfries & Galloway.

Wondrous Woods 
tbc October - November 2022, Hopetoun House near Edinburgh 
Set on the spectacular estate of the magnificent Hopetoun House near Edinburgh. The grounds are lit up with features and effects to create a magical, mystical woodland journey on a 2-km trail. Tickets must be bought online in advance.

Brodie Illuminated 
tbc November 2022, Brodie Castle 
The National Trust for Scotland illuminates the grounds around Brodie Castle near Forres in Moray on the north east coast of Scotland. Wednesdays to Saturdays in November.

Edinburgh Christmas Markets 
tbc mid November 2022 - early January 2023 
The famous markets return to Edinburgh this year with stalls, fairground rides and Santa's grotto in Princes Street Gardens, plus more stalls and an ice rink in George Street.

Castle of Light 
18-20 & 25-27 November, and 2-4, 8-11, 16-23, 27-30 December 2022, Edinburgh Castle 
The biggest light experience Edinburgh has ever hosted, using state of the art projections to create a truly wonderful, immersive and unique lighting experience within the castle’s iconic walls.

Edinburgh Castle of Light event Castle of Light - Edinburgh Castle © Historic Scotland

Christmas at Crathes  
11 - 13 November 2022, Aberdeenshire  
Crathes Castle hosts a weekend with a Christmas market, children's activities and more.

Christmas at the Botanics 
17 November - 30 December 2022, Edinburgh 
This festive illuminated trail showcases the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh after dark in spectacular fashion.

Beecraigs Festive Forest 
2 - 23 December 2022, near Linlithgow Laser shows and stunning lighting effects around the country park make this a truly atmospheric experience, along with the festive food fayre and Santa's grotto.

Look out for special Christmas Lunches and Afternoon Teas at Edinburgh Castle and other Historic Scotland properties.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay 
30 - 31 December 2022 
With a Torchlight procession on 30th December and the Party at the Bells on the 31st, you can celebrate New Year in style once again in Edinburgh.

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.

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 (October - March) 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. Generally the best chances to see them are in places with low light pollution such as the coastline around the Highlands and Islands. The Galloway Forest in Dumfries & Galloway was Scotland's first Dark Sky Park. 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.

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