Scotland’s Best Festivals: Fun Things to Do in Scotland for Adults All Year Round



Scotland, renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage, offers a plethora of fun things to do for adults. At the heart of this vibrant culture are the numerous festivals that take place throughout the year. From the iconic Highland Games to the world-famous Edinburgh Festivals, Scotland’s festival calendar is packed with events that promise unique and unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s always something exciting happening in Scotland.

Why Festivals are a Must for Adults in Scotland

Festivals in Scotland are more than just a source of entertainment; they are a gateway to understanding the country’s rich history and vibrant culture. Attending these events allows adults to immerse themselves in authentic Scottish traditions, connect with locals, and enjoy a variety of activities that cater to diverse interests. Whether you’re a fan of music, arts, food, or sports, Scottish festivals offer a unique way to experience the best of what Scotland has to offer.

Key Festivals in Scotland

Scotland’s festival calendar is packed with events that cater to a wide range of interests. Here are some key festivals you shouldn’t miss:

  • Burns Night: Celebrated on January 25th, this event honors Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns. It features traditional Burns Suppers, where guests enjoy haggis, recite Burns’ poetry, and partake in ceilidh dancing.
  • Tartan Day: Held on April 6th, Tartan Day celebrates Scottish heritage with parades, music, and cultural events.
  • Highland Games: These traditional Scottish sports events take place throughout the summer in various locations, featuring caber tossing, tug-of-war, and other traditional competitions.
  • Edinburgh Festival: A collection of arts and cultural festivals that take place in August, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival.

Seasonal Festival Guide

Winter Festivals


  • Description: Hogmanay is Scotland’s famous New Year’s Eve celebration, known for its street parties, concerts, and fireworks displays. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is particularly renowned, attracting visitors from around the world.
  • Events: Major events include the Torchlight Procession, the Concert in the Gardens, and the New Year’s Day Loony Dook, where brave souls take a dip in the icy waters of the Firth of Forth.

Burns Night:

  • Description: Burns Night, celebrated on January 25th, honors the life and works of Robert Burns. Traditional Burns Suppers include haggis, neeps and tatties, whisky toasts, and recitations of Burns’ poetry.
  • Events: Many restaurants and pubs across Scotland host Burns Suppers, often accompanied by live music and ceilidh dancing.

Spring Festivals

Tartan Day:

  • Description: Tartan Day, celebrated on April 6th, commemorates the Scottish Declaration of Independence and celebrates Scottish heritage. The day features parades, musical performances, and cultural exhibitions.
  • Events: Major celebrations take place in Edinburgh and New York City, with pipe bands, Highland dancers, and plenty of tartan.

Edinburgh International Children’s Festival:

  • Description: This festival, held in late May to early June, showcases the best of children’s theatre from around the world. It features performances designed for young audiences but also offers plenty for adults to enjoy.
  • Events: The festival includes theatre, dance, puppetry, and multimedia performances, as well as workshops and family-friendly activities.

Summer Festivals

Edinburgh Festival Fringe:

  • Description: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, held in August, is the world’s largest arts festival. It features thousands of performances across various genres, including theatre, comedy, dance, and music.
  • Events: Highlights include the famous Royal Mile street performances, comedy shows, and international theatre productions.

Highland Games:

  • Description: The Highland Games are traditional Scottish sports events held in various locations throughout the summer. They feature athletic competitions, dancing, and piping.
  • Events: Popular games include the Braemar Gathering, the Cowal Highland Gathering, and the Inverness Highland Games.

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival:

  • Description: This family-friendly music festival takes place in early August near Inverness. It features a diverse lineup of music acts, from folk and indie to rock and electronic.
  • Events: In addition to music, the festival offers arts and crafts, theatre performances, and a dedicated children’s area.

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival:

  • Description: Held in mid-July, this festival celebrates jazz and blues music with performances by international artists.
  • Events: The festival includes concerts, club nights, and free outdoor events across Edinburgh.

Autumn Festivals

St Andrew’s Day:

  • Description: Celebrated on November 30th, St Andrew’s Day is Scotland’s national day. It features events that celebrate Scottish culture, history, and heritage.
  • Events: Celebrations include ceilidh dancing, music performances, and cultural exhibitions. Major events are held in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and St Andrews.

Royal Highland Show:

  • Description: This annual agricultural show takes place in late June at the Royal Highland Centre near Edinburgh. It showcases the best of Scottish farming, food, and rural life.
  • Events: The show features livestock competitions, equestrian events, food and drink stalls, and craft displays.

Scottish International Storytelling Festival:

  • Description: Held in late October, this festival celebrates the art of storytelling with events across Edinburgh and beyond.
  • Events: The festival includes storytelling sessions, workshops, and performances that highlight Scotland’s rich oral traditions.

Top Music and Arts Festivals

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

  • Overview: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, offering a platform for performers from around the globe. It runs for three weeks in August and includes thousands of shows in various genres.
  • Highlights: Key highlights include comedy shows, innovative theatre productions, dance performances, and street theatre on the Royal Mile.
  • Key Phraseslargest arts festivalcomedy showstheatre productionsRoyal Mile

Edinburgh International Festival

  • Key Attractions: This festival, also held in August, features high-caliber performances in music, opera, dance, and theatre. It attracts world-renowned artists and offers a curated program of exceptional quality.
  • Highlights: Major performances include classical concerts, ballet, and opera productions.
  • Key Phraseshigh-caliber performancesclassical concertsballet and opera

Glasgow International Comedy Festival

  • Popular Acts: Taking place in March, this festival is one of Europe’s largest comedy festivals. It features performances by top comedians from around the world, as well as up-and-coming acts.
  • Highlights: Notable venues include the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and The Stand Comedy Club.
  • Key PhrasesEurope’s largest comedy festivalstop comediansThe Stand Comedy Club

HebCelt Festival

  • Unique Features: This festival, held in July on the Isle of Lewis, combines traditional and contemporary Celtic music. It offers a unique blend of music, culture, and scenic beauty.
  • Highlights: The festival includes performances by well-known Celtic artists, as well as workshops and community events.
  • Key Phrasestraditional and contemporary Celtic musicIsle of Lewiswell-known Celtic artists

Unique Scottish Festivals

World Stone Skimming Championships

  • Location: Easdale Island, a small island in the Inner Hebrides.
  • Appeal: This quirky event, held in September, attracts participants from around the world who compete to see who can skim a stone the furthest.
  • Key Phrasesquirky eventEasdale Islandstone skimming

Enchanted Forest

  • Location: Faskally Wood, near Pitlochry.
  • Features: This award-winning sound and light show takes place in October and transforms the forest into a magical wonderland.
  • Highlights: The event includes stunning light displays, music, and interactive installations.
  • Key Phrasesaward-winning sound and light showFaskally Woodmagical wonderland

Orkney Festival

  • Cultural Significance: Held in May, the Orkney Festival celebrates the unique culture and heritage of the Orkney Islands. It includes music, dance, and storytelling.
  • Highlights: Key events include performances by local musicians and dancers, as well as historical reenactments.
  • Key PhrasesOrkney Islandslocal musicians and dancershistorical reenactments

Taste of Grampian

  • Highlights: This food and drink festival, held in June, showcases the best of Scottish produce. It features cooking demonstrations, tastings, and food stalls.
  • Events: The festival includes appearances by celebrity chefs, live music, and family-friendly activities.
  • Key Phrasesfood and drink festivalScottish producecooking demonstrations

Sports and Adventure Festivals

Royal Highland Show

  • Events: This annual show, held in late June, is a celebration of Scottish agriculture. It features livestock competitions, equestrian events, and rural crafts.
  • Highlights: The show also includes food and drink stalls, showcasing the best of Scottish produce.
  • Key PhrasesScottish agriculturelivestock competitionsequestrian events

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

  • **Details

**: Held in Fort William, this event attracts top mountain bikers from around the world. It features thrilling downhill races and cross-country competitions.

  • Highlights: Spectators can enjoy the adrenaline-fueled action and take part in various outdoor activities.
  • Key PhrasesFort Williamdownhill racesmountain bikers

AIG Women’s Open 2024

  • Overview: This major women’s golf tournament will be hosted at Royal Troon in 2024. It features top female golfers competing for one of the sport’s most prestigious titles.
  • Highlights: The event offers a chance to see world-class golf and explore the beautiful Ayrshire coast.
  • Key Phraseswomen’s golf tournamentRoyal Troonworld-class golf

Planning Your Visit


  • Transportation: Scotland has an excellent public transport network, including trains, buses, and ferries. Renting a car is also a convenient option for exploring more remote areas.
  • Accommodation: From luxury hotels and charming bed and breakfasts to self-catering cottages and campsites, Scotland offers a wide range of accommodation options. It’s advisable to book well in advance, especially during major festivals.
  • Best Times to Visit: Summer and winter are peak times for festivals. Summer is ideal for outdoor events and exploring the countryside, while winter offers festive celebrations like Hogmanay and Burns Night.


Scotland’s festivals are a testament to its rich cultural heritage and vibrant community spirit. From the spectacular Highland Games to the world-renowned Edinburgh Festivals, there are countless fun things to do in Scotland for adults throughout the year. These events not only offer entertainment but also provide a deeper understanding of Scottish traditions and a chance to create lasting memories.

Additional Resources

  • VisitScotland for more travel information.
  • Suggested reading: “A Journey Through Scotland’s Festivals” and “Exploring Scottish Culture Through Its Events”.


Q: What is the best time to visit Scotland for festivals? A: Summer and winter are the peak seasons for major festivals, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Hogmanay.

Q: Are there family-friendly festivals in Scotland? A: Yes, many festivals like the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival are perfect for families.

Q: How can I get around Scotland during festival season? A: Scotland has a well-connected transport system, including trains, buses, and rental cars, making it easy to travel between festival locations.

Visual Elements

Chart: Major Festivals in Scotland by Season

Season         | Festivals
Winter         | Hogmanay, Burns Night
Spring         | Tartan Day, Children’s Festival
Summer         | Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Highland Games, Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, Jazz and Blues Festival
Autumn         | St Andrew's Day, Royal Highland Show, International Storytelling Festival

Table: Unique Festivals in Scotland

World Stone Skimming ChampionshipsFun, quirky, global participationEasdale Island
Enchanted ForestLight and sound showsFaskally Wood
Orkney FestivalCelebrates heritage and artsOrkney
Taste of GrampianShowcases Scottish food and drinkGrampian

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