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Scotland’s Winter Festivals: Get in the #ScotSpirit

Press release   •   Nov 10, 2016 10:32 GMT

Street of Light, part of Edinburgh's Christmas celebrations.

Scotland’s Winter Festivals: Get in the #ScotSpirit

St Andrew’s Day kicks off nationwide Winter Festivals

Between raising the roof on St Andrew’s Day (30 November) for Scotland’s patron saint, and raising a dram in honour of the Bard on Burns Night (25 January) - with the world-famous Hogmanay celebrations in between - it’s fair to say that Scotland does a celebration well.

Revellers are invited to get into the festive spirit and join Scotland’s Winter Festivals, taking place throughout the country.

Let’s get the party started!

St Andrew’s Day – 30 November 2016

The Saltire Festival

The Saltire Festival celebrates St Andrew’s Day and the Home of the Flag with delicious food and drink and the best of Scottish entertainment. Look out for the #SaltireBlue tour which will see iconic buildings lit in blue and the Kelpie Maquettes, which will be hosted at Musselburgh Racecourse throughout the Festival.

Where: East Lothian

When: 24 November – 30 November 2016

St Andrew’s Day celebrations in St Andrews

Where better to enjoy the St Andrew’s Day festivities than in the town of St Andrews. This year features a packed programme of music, talks, food and drink. You also have the chance to be a record-breaker by taking part in the world’s largest St Andrew’s Day ceilidh.

Where: St Andrews

When: 25 – 30 November 2016

St Andrew’s Day Fusion Festival

St Andrew's Day Fusion Festival links Scotland's communities by fusing together different styles of music and dance. The festival will include a ceilidh band, piper, Bollywood dancing, sitar and African drumming and special workshops in the Marryat Hall, highlighting many of the different groups and cultures that make up modern-day Scotland.

Where: Dundee

When: 26 November 2016

Glasgow’s St Andrew’s Day Torchlight Parade ***NEW FOR 2016***

A torchlight procession for all the family through Glasgow’s picturesque west end from Kelvingrove Park to the Riverside Museum which will feature live music and great food and drink. The event culminates with a bonfire of the torches and fireworks display over the river.

Where: Glasgow

When 26 November 2016

Illumination: Harbour Festival of Light ***NEW FOR 2016***

The sky will light up with fireworks and Irvine’s historic waterfront will shimmer into life this St Andrew’s Day in a four-day art and light spectacular marking Scotland’s 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. Discover hundreds of brightly coloured origami boats and butterflies hand-crafted by international artists Aether & Hemera on the free illumination Trail along the River Irvine.

Where: Irvine, North Ayrshire

When: 30 November – 3 December 2016

Christmas Markets and more…

Edinburgh’s Christmas

There are two festive markets: the European Christmas Market in East Princes St Gardens, opening 19 November – 7 January, and the Scottish Market at George Street open from 26 November – 24 December. The Street of Light returns this year, illuminating George Street in a canopy of light synchronized to music. This year’s packed theatre programme will be played out in the new Festival Square Theatre, promising magic music and more!

Where: Edinburgh

When: 18 November – 7 January

Glasgow Loves Christmas

Glasgow Loves Christmas sees magical events, shopping and festive fun happening in the heart of the city. Head to the Christmas Market in St Enoch Square for festive gifts and treats or get on Santa’s good list by taking part in this year’s Santa Dash to raise money for good causes.

Where: Glasgow

When: 13 November 2016 – 17 January 2017

Hogmanay – 31 December 2016

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is Scotland’s world-famous New Year festival. Join the enchanting Torchlight Procession as it passes through Edinburgh's Old Town on 30 December, before grabbing your ticket for the famous Hogmanay street party and a spectacular fireworks display on 31 December. Watch headliner Paulo Nutini at the Concert in the Gardens on New Year’s Eve too. On 1 January, brave souls can take a refreshing (read icy cold!) dip in the Firth of Forth during the annual Loony Dook.

Where: Edinburgh

When: 30 December 2016– 1 January 2017

Family Hogmanay in the Honest Toun

The Brunton, Musselburgh, hosts a day packed with family-friendly activities to celebrate Hogmanay. Ticketed activities and events run from 11am – 5.30pm with an early evening free Lantern Parade and spectacular free Fireworks Display at Fisherrow Links.

Where: East Lothian

When: 31 December 2016

Stirling Winter Festival

With a host of great events taking place over the St Andrew’s Day weekend, artist-led creative workshops throughout December and a carnival of light and sound at Hogmanay, Stirling Winter Festival makes for a wonderful family event.

Where: Stirling

When: 20 November – 31 December 2016

Burns Night – 25 January 2017

Big Burns Supper Festival

The Big Burns Supper Festival is the world’s biggest Burns Night celebration with a 9-day programme of music, cabaret, comedy and theatre, including the biggest street carnival in Scotland with over 5, 000 participants.

Where: Dumfries & Galloway

When: 20 -28 January 2017

Alloway 1759*** Including the Alloway 1759 Haggis Hurling Championships***

Alloway 1759 offers a unique commemoration of the birthplace and the life of Robert Burns. Discover special illuminations and be enchanted by mischievous sights, sounds and entertainment as historic landmarks come alive.

Where: Ayr

When: Throughout January

Burns Unbound – National Museum of Scotland

Celebrate the national Bard with a packed programme of performances and activities for all ages. Burns Unbound will celebrate the best contemporary and traditional Scottish music and the spoken word of Burns in the iconic setting of the National Museum of Scotland.

Where: Edinburgh

When: 22 January 2017

For more information on festive events in Scotland, and to download VisitScotland’s A-Z of Winter in Scotland, please visit

For more information on Scotland’s Winter Festivals, please visit

About VisitScotland

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About Scotland’s Winter Festivals

  • Scotland's Winter Festivals is a campaign led by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership with VisitScotland, supporting celebrations of Scotland's three national days - St Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night. Scotland's Winter Festivals run from November until the end of January.
  • Scots at home and abroad, come together to celebrate Scotland’s unique heritage and distinctive culture through Scotland’s Winter Festivals - St Andrew’s Day, Christmas, Hogmanay and Burns Night.
  • Anyone, whether they are Scottish or have an interest in Scotland, can join in the celebration of winter events taking place across the country. Find out what’s happening near you at
  • A vibrant winter event programme brings together people from all over the world to celebrate Scotland’s modern culture and traditions through the best selection of Scottish music, arts, food and drink, innovation and entertainment.
  • Scotland is a year round destination for visitors, welcoming over 15 million people every year to our shores. St Andrew’s Day, Christmas, Hogmanay and Burns Night all offer a reason to come and celebrate here in Scotland or anywhere else around the world.