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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 events which are going ahead in 2021-22 with all the required safety measures in place for Covid-19. This winter, there will be more Christmas markets taking place - see list on our markets page.

27 October - 14 November 2021
Glasgow Botanic Gardens will be transformed at Halloween in a spectacular sound and light show which was incredibly popular when it was launched in 2018.

Wondrous Woods
21 October - 14 November 2021, 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
3 - 27 November 2021, 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
19 November 2021 - 2 January 2022
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
19 November 2021 - 9 January 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 the Botanics
25 November 2021 - 2 January 2022, Edinburgh
This festive illuminated trail showcases the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh after dark in spectacular fashion.

Beecraigs Festive Forest
3 - 24 December 2021, 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.

Christmas Afternoon Tea at Stirling Castle
Selected dates from 3 - 12 December 2021
Enjoy a festive Afternoon Tea in the beautiful surroundings of the Great Hall at Stirling Castle. Pre booking is required.

Christmas Afternoon Tea at Edinburgh Castle
Selected dates from 3 - 22 December 2021
Enjoy a festive Afternoon Tea in the beautiful surroundings of the Queen Anne Room at Edinburgh Castle. Pre booking is required.

Christmas at Scone Palace near Perth
4 to 19 December 2021
A range of activities including candlelit tours, brunch with Santa (11 to 12 December) plus a Christmas Market (18 to 19 December).

Christmas Lunch at Edinburgh Castle
Selected dates from 9 - 18 December 2021
Enjoy a festive 3-course meal in the beautiful surroundings of the Queen Anne Room at Edinburgh Castle. Pre booking is required.

Christmas at the Castle
9 to 24 December
Crathes Castle near Banchory has a festive lighting trail around the grounds and garden, plus Sanata's Grotto, market stalls, street food and more. Tickets required.

Perth Christmas Wonderland
10 - 23 December
Brand new for 2021, this Christmas-themed lighting trail is set across the Norie Miller Walk at Perth Riverside Tickets required.

A Christmas Miracle at Rough Castle
10 to 24 December
Illuminated woodland trail near Falkirk including a 35-metre Polar Ice Tunnel of Light. Tickets required.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
30 - 31 December 2021
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.

For winter 2022:

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

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. Numerous areas in Scotland have 'Dark Sky' status including Wester Ross in the north-west Highlands and the Galloway Forest in Dumfries & Galloway. 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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