Scotland never ceases to amaze. For a small country it makes a big impact and this summer it plays host to so many wonderful events and attractions that it would be rude not to visit.
The Jewel in the crown, not just of Scottish festivals, but of world festivals is the Edinburgh Festival and the Fringe. From 7th-31st August, Edinburgh is transformed into the cultural capital of the world and the city doesn’t sleep for a month. This is an event that is on everybody’s bucket list – do it this year!
Festival fever doesn’t stop at Edinburgh. Music is the in the air across Scotland –and it’s not all bagpipes. At the Wickerman Festival (24th -25th July), watch Squeeze, The Waterboys and even Lulu. Mumford and Sons bring their pop-up Stopover Festival format to Aviemore on 31st July for 2 nights and for something altogether bigger and brasher, T in the Park settles into its new home, Strathallan Castle in Perthshire from 10th-12th July.
Scottish highland games
Surely nothing is as evocative of Scotland as a Highland Gathering? These spectacles of tossing the caber, Scottish dancing, kilts and pipe bands are flourishing. Try Luss Highland Games (4th July), celebrating its 140th anniversary, Loch Lomond Highland Games (18th July), Inverary Highland Games (23rd July), Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre Highland Games (25th July), Argyllshire Gathering (27th August) at Oban, or the biggest of them all, Cowal Highland Gathering in Dunoon (27th –29th August).
Scotland Year of Food and Drink
From Scotch whisky to Arbroath smokies, the Scottish culinary landscape is one of quality and abundance and 2015 has been designated Scotland Year of Food and Drink. July and August are months of plenty, from succulent Scottish strawberries and raspberries to seafood specials such as cockles, mussels, squid and scallops.
Visit the Tarbert Seafood Festival, Argyllshire, from 4th-5th July, where delicacies from the crystal clear waters of Loch Fyne can be sampled. A visit to the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar is a must if you are staying at Ardgartan Argyll, and, for something a little sweeter, try Scotland’s signature sugary tablet from Luss or visit the Oban Chocolate factory.
Bringing it all together is the 10th Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival, where you can witness what is almost certainly going to be your first ever haggis eating contest. You can also meet Dollop n Scoff for jams, chutneys and pickles, try some Funky Fudge and have a cuppa from Steamin’ a’ Heid.
As well as her fine whiskies (visit the picture-postcard Glengoyne Distillery), Scotland has a long and distinguished history of brewing. Stay at Strathyre for the Lade Inn’s Scottish Real Ale Festival (28th August -13th September) to sample some local beers and enjoy the accompanying Scottish folk music.
A summer of sports
Golf comes home to the Old Course, St. Andrews this year for the 2015 British Open (12th-19th July). Book now for this special fixture on the golfing calendar.
For equine enthusiasts, for the first time ever, Scotland hosts the FEI European Eventing Championships (10th-13th September) at Blair Castle in Perthshire. Also for the first time, the IPC World Swimming Championships (12th-19th July) are taking place in Glasgow.
If you want to do rather than watch, there are lots of activities to try out when you are on your Forest Holiday at Strathyre or Ardgartan Argyll, including canoeing, fishing, dry gorge walking, archery, running, biking and climbing.
Uniquely Scottish attractions
The newest visitor attraction in Scotland is Andy Scott’s amazing Kelpies, two 30 metre high horse-head steel sculptures sitting beside the newly extended Forth and Clyde canal in Falkirk. Make a day of it and visit the Falkirk Wheel, where form and function unite beautifully to provide a link between the Forth and Clyde and the Union canals.
From the very new to the very old, spend a few days soaking up the romance of Scotland’s great castles. Discover Inverary Castle, the seat of the Duke of Argyll, and for contrast, visit stunning medieval Doune Castle near Strathyre. Two more must-see castles are Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle, both breathtakingly beautiful and full to the top of their towers with Scottish history.
Welcome to Scotland’s summer of 2016...
Scotland is waiting for you, so what are you waiting for? Book your break at one of our Scottish locations, Ardgartan Argyll or Strathyre today and see just how much of Scotland’s summer of 2016 you can experience.