Winter Festivals

30 November 2017


Perth Riverside Light Nights

Today is St Andrew’s Day which, as well as being a holiday for many in Scotland, is also the start to the winter festival season. Here are just a few of the events we are looking forward to the most and some great places to stay. The winter festival season takes in three of the biggest Scottish celebrations, St Andrew's Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night but in addition to these there are hundreds of smaller events and taking place all over the country.

Perth has a varied selection of activities in the run up to Christmas including a Festive market, a Santa run and an appearance by his reindeer in the city centre. The highlight though will be the Riverside Light Nights. This will see the Norie-Miller Walk transformed into a magical wonderland, inspired by Robert Burns. This will tell the story of how Burns started his life as a poor tenant farmer and through channelling his intellectual energy into poetry became one of the most famous characters of Scotland’s cultural history. With stunning lighting, music, street theatre, dance and folklore his life and work will inspire all those that attend in the run up to Burns night and best of all, admission is free. Glenfarg House is just a 10 minute drive away in the rolling farmland of Perthshire and is just the place for a large family get together at any time of year but with 3 log fires it is definitely at its most cosy when there is snow on the ground.

Burn’s night, more than any time of year, is when Scottish people come together, eat haggis and remember the great man. From exclusive restaurants offering 10 course Burns suppers with entertainment and vintage malts to the local fish and chip shop offering a haggis supper takeaway, it is a ritual that is followed through all parts of society. The Big Burns Supper is billed as the world’s biggest Burns celebration and takes place over 11 days in venues around Dumfries. It’s a fitting location as Burns spent much of his life here and lots of his poetry is connected to the area. Highlights include performances by Dougie Maclean, Donovan and a rare opportunity to see Badly Drawn Boy play live. The unique character of the old fashioned taverns that Burns himself used to frequent make for a perfect backdrop and the organisers promise the town will open its arms and hold your hand through every verse of Auld Lang Syne. Craigie Knowes sits on the coast a short drive away, a great balance of tranquil seaside location as well as being within easy reach of plenty of amenities. The spacious dining room has sea views and easily seats 10, while the modern kitchen, with top of the range Miele appliances, will make preparing your special Burns supper a breeze.

Hogmanay means many things to different people in Scotland. For some it is a time to get away from it all and spend the night in a bothy in the mountains, while others revel in the chaos of an all-night party. Bothies can’t be booked in advance and will probably be a bit rustic for most, so a great alternative that still gives some of the same experience would be An Nead. Here the remoteness and mountain views are incredibly atmospheric, from the balcony you can take in the New Year with the only sound being the wood fire crackling inside.

Stornoway really knows how to party and for those who want to take in the New Year with some traditional Scottish music then this is the place to head to. Local legends Willie Campbell headline the celebrations at An Lanntair and in addition there are ceilidhs and dances throughout the town. A lot of the fun isn’t pre organised and impromptu jam sessions and parties spontaneously happen, often the best way to find them is just to head down town and follow your ears, who knows what you might find. Peninsula Cottage is close enough that getting home afterwards shouldn’t be a problem and it has the added bonus of a hot tub to soothe those weary ceilidh dancing legs on New Year’s Day.

Wherever you choose to celebrate this winter check LHH for details of great places to stay, festive special offers and low season bargains.