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The A-Z of cool

Press Release   •   Nov 25, 2014 10:44 GMT

Visitors to Scotland are being encouraged to celebrate New Year not just once…but twice in a special new guide by the national tourism organisation.

Alongside details of Hogmanay traditions such as first-footing and hot toddies, VisitScotland’s first ever A-Z of Winter highlights parts of the country that still celebrate ‘auld New Year’ as well as some of the best places to see in late 2014- early 2015.

Celebrated on 12 January in parts of Scotland like Gairloch and South Uist, at ‘auld New Year’, communities often throw ceilidhs or parties to celebrate the ancient festival. Before Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, Hogmanay was known as Oidhche Chullaig in parts of Scotland and children would visit each house in their township, reciting a Gaelic rhyme and carrying sacks to collect food.

Featuring everything from the Aviemore Sled Dog Rally to winter wildlife and where to catch some cosy sleeps, the 76-page online brochure will ensure that visitors to Scotland over the winter months have the lowdown on a wide range of exciting activities and unique events taking place around the country.

With information on New Year’s street parties and ceilidhs, the new free-to-download guide also features a vast selection of exciting and unique things to see and do, including St Andrew’s Day events, Christmas concerts, ancient fire festivals, Burns Night and where to take a refreshing New Year’s Day ‘dook’!

There are also some interesting ideas for those seeking Valentine’s Day inspiration, such as spending a magical evening star-gazing at Scotland’s Dark Sky Park in Dumfries & Galloway or a delicious meal using freshly-caught mussels, scallops or langoustines from Oban, the ‘seafood capital of Scotland’.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: 

“Attracting both international and domestic visitors, Scotland is the home of Hogmanay and people come from all over the world to experience a Scottish winter wonderland. From Ayrshire to Shetland, there’s so much going on across the country, we were able to create a whole alphabet of ideas for people!

“With inspiration and ideas on everything from Scotland’s Chocolate Trail and where to see the ‘Merry Dancers’ and meet real-life reindeer, to the famous New Year’s Day Ba’, our incredible choice of ski and snowboarding centres and Europe’s largest funfair – this free online guide is an absolute must-read.”

On average, visitors to Scotland in October, November and December stay almost 13 million nights and spend £982 million. Visitors during January, February and March on average, stay over 8.3 million nights and spend £574 million.

In June 2014, VisitScotland produced the popular ‘Your guide to Scotland’s epic Highland games’ online brochure and in July released ‘The Edinburgh Festivals Survival Guide’.

There is also a regional index which details what is happening per region.

The A-Z of Winter in Scotland can be downloaded here:

For further information contact:

Jack Gorman
Corporate Press Officer
Tel: 0131 472 2283

Out of hours media enquiries: 07699 766986

Notes to Editors:

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland. 
  • The organisation has three key roles:
  1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
  2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
  3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to
  • The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy. 
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to
  • For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to