A feast of festivals and fun – The year of Homecoming Scotland 2014
Showcasing its cultural and ancestral heritage, spectacular countryside and scenery, mouth-watering food and drink and its diverse arts scene, Homecoming Scotland is the culmination of an exciting four years celebrating Food & Drink, Active, Creative and Natural Scotland.
Whatever the interest, there will be something to entice, entertain and enthral the visitor. The festivities kick off in January with the not-to-be-missed New Year’s Eve celebrations - Hogmanay - across the country.
Passionate about poetry?
Celebrate Burns Night (25-27 January) throughout Scotland, which honours Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns. Check out the Big Burns Supper in Dumfries (90 minutes’ drive south of Glasgow) where the city will present a light-inspired carnival parade including giant puppetry. Come March, literary fans will be able to enjoy StAnza 2014 (5-9 March), celebrating the Commonwealth Games and Scotland’s cultural connections with the Commonwealth through poetry.
Wonderful whisky festivals
Scotland’s indigenous tipple, whisky, is being honoured with a number of Whisky Festivals, including one in Inverness (north Scotland) in April and one in Speyside (the Highlands) in May; the latter alone is home to more than 50 distilleries. Scotland’s islands are also getting in on the celebrations; the Orkney Nature Festival in May will celebrate both its wildlife and its whisky.
Meanwhile, foodies should enjoy the taste sensations available at the wide variety of food events taking place – sample freshly sourced seafood during September’s City of Elgin Food and Drink Festival in Moray, on the north-east coast, or choose from more than 100 foodie experiences during Flavour Fortnight in August in Dumfries & Galloway.
Feel good festivals
Already renowned worldwide for its spectacular Edinburgh Festivals, Scotland in 2014 will offer an assortment of festivals throughout the country. Celtic heritage will be honoured in April at the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh, a revival of a community pageant marking the beginning of summer and fusing together drums, fire, dancing and revelry. Choose from Highland Games; Glasgay! Scotland's annual celebration of LGBT culture; film festivals; music festivals; comedy festivals; arts festivals and alternative festivals, stretching from the north to the south of the country.
Scotland has arguably some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, which is rightly celebrated during the year of Homecoming Scotland. The life and legacy of Scots-born naturalist and founder of America’s National Parks, John Muir, will be celebrated at the John Muir Festival in April, while other celebrations will take place along the length of the John Muir Trail, a new national pathway that stretches from Dunbar in the east to Helensburgh in the west.
International Tartan Festival
And why not search for your family’s tartan? If you have Scottish heritage, a visit to Glasgow during its International Tartan Festival in July will bring you to the biggest display of tartan from around the world. As well as learning workshops there’ll be an International Tartan Catwalk show showcasing traditional and new contributions to tartan fashion trends from different parts of the world.
These celebrations are just a few of the many that will make 2014 a memorable year for Scotland.