Misty green landscapes and towering peaks, ancient city streets and tales of the past, freshly opened casks and the scent of seasonal dishes… they are all calling. Calling explorers, thrill-seekers, beach-goers, city-breakers, solo travellers, families, and everyone in between – no matter the season Scotland is the place to enjoy world-class food and drink, events, films, history and culture.
Inspired by the sense of ‘fernweh’, that ache to see far flung places beyond the doorstep, visitors from all over the world are invited to experience the magic of Scotland. Whether meeting new people, sharing new experiences, reconnecting with nature, or just breathing in the fresh air, memories to last a lifetime are waiting to be made in Scotland.
Having worked tirelessly over the past 18 months to adapt to and embrace the new normal, Scottish businesses are open once more and are ready to welcome visitors. Health and safety protocols and guidelines remain in place, and while travel continues to look a little different, visitors can enjoy a safe return to Scotland. Visitors should look out for the Good to Go logo which indicates the businesses that are adhering to government and public health guidance in order to operate safely.
The pandemic has also been a force for positive change, as tourism continues to develop in a responsible way. Visitors are encouraged to respect communities and the environment when exploring Scotland, and to slow down and take time to savour moments along the way – the journey, the destination and the people.
What’s happening in 2022
Year of Stories 2022
1 January 2022 – 31 December 2022, Nationwide
Scotland’s Themed Year will shine a spotlight on a wide-ranging and far-reaching programme of events and festivals throughout 2022. Visitors to Scotland will be able to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of Scotland’s stories, past and present. 2022 will be a year to celebrate stories inspired by, created, or written in Scotland. Every culture has its stories to tell, and Scotland has a particularly rich heritage of stories and storytelling to spotlight and celebrate. These include our local tales, oral traditions, iconic books, and tales told on the big screen – all inspired by Scotland and its culture and reflected back by many diverse voices and across the widest range of forms. Visitors can follow in the footsteps of Sir Walter Scott, explore the lands that inspired Outlander and find a great read in Wigtown Booktown. Scotland’s Year of Stories will begin on 1 January 2022 and run until 31 December 2022.
The Burrell Collection
March 2022, Glasgow
Following a multimillion-pound refurbishment, The Burrell Collection is set to reopen in March 2022 set against the beautiful backdrop of Glasgow’s largest green space, Pollok Country Park. The refurbished building, with new gallery spaces, displays and facilities will be an exemplar of sustainable low carbon design. One of the largest personal collections to be amassed, The Burrell Collection displays objects from Europe and Asia representing five millennia of art and history. The collection contains work from the late medieval and early Renaissance, Chinese art, Islamic art and more. On reopening, the museum’s gallery space will have increased by 35%, allowing important and unique objects from the Collection, which have not been seen for decades, or have never been on permanent display, to go on show. New displays will give visitors a better understanding of the artworks, the people who made them and some of the people who have owned them. Highlights include Chinese pottery and porcelain produced over a 5,000-year period, making it one of the most significant collections of Chinese Art in Europe; paintings by renowned French artists including Manet, Cézanne and Degas; Medieval treasures including stained glass, arms and armour and over 200 tapestries and carpets, which are among the finest in the world.
The Famous Blacksmiths Visitor Attraction
April 2022, Gretna Green
Famous for runaway weddings since 1754, Gretna Green is a magical place to get married in and to visit. The Famous Blacksmiths Shop will unveil their newly developed Gretna Green Experience in April 2022. Visitors can immerse themselves in the new storytelling experience to learn about the thrill of the chase, meet the Anvil Priests and be a part of the long history of enduring love that is woven into the site.
Jack Vettriano: The Early Years Exhibition
17 June-23 October 2022, Kirkcaldy, Fife
Taking place at Kirkcaldy Galleries, this exhibition will feature early painting by Scottish artist Jack Vettriano. On display will be nearly a dozen paintings produced before he decided to become a full-time artist, signed Jack Hoggan, his birth name. In recognition of the process of development and evolution from the self-taught artist to one of the world’s most sought-after living painters, Vettriano has chosen to return to Fife where he was born and spent his formative years.
World’s first UNESCO trail
Launched in October 2021, Scotland is home to the world’s first ever UNESCO trail which brings together some of the country’s most iconic, diverse and culturally significant sites. It connects 13 different UNESCO destinations, reaching from the biosphere in the south of Scotland to the island of St Kilda in the west, The North West Highlands Geopark, and the creative cities in the east, and much more in between. The trail is a proud testament to the richness and scope of Scotland’s awe-inspiring nature, its ancient and compelling history, the vibrancy of its culture, and its proud scientific and technological legacy. The trail encourages visitors to slow down, stay longer, visit all year round and to make sustainable travel choices, contributing to Scotland’s world-leading position as a responsible tourism destination.
Perth UNESCO City of Craft
Adding to the growing list of Scotland’s world heritage cities and sites, Perth has become the first city in the UK to be awarded status as a UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Arts. With an important history and heritage of craft which began in the early 16th century, Perth and Kinross is alive today with a wealth of creative talent and a growing creative industry. Testament to this creativity is Perth’s plan to include craft as part of plans to meet its net zero target. Perth will join the UNESCO trail in 2023.
Scotland leads the way in eco-friendly sites, with a number of distilleries across the country running on renewable energy. 2022 is set to be another big year for the whisky industry.
Spring 2022, St Andrews
Eden Mill will become one of Scotland’s first ever carbon neutral single malt whisky distilleries, which will welcome visitors to their new home in Guardbridge, St. Andrews in 2022. Power and heat for the stills will be generated locally by biomass plant and field electricity, and by solar panels installed by the University of St Andrews on the roof of the distillery and nearby buildings.
The Cairn Distillery
Spring 2022, Grantown-on-Spey
The Cairn, a name that pays homage to the distillery’s stunning location overlooking the Cairngorm mountains, stands near Grantown-on-Spey. Promising to be an immersive and memorable visitor experience for whisky lovers and adventure seekers, The Cairn is expected to attract a global audience for their spring opening.
Port of Leith Distillery
Summer 2022, Leith
Building on Edinburgh’s rich whisky heritage, Port of Leith Distillery will be Scotland’s first vertical distillery when it opens in summer 2022. With panoramic views from the top floor double height whisky bar, visitors will be able to spot Fife and the Forth Bridges, as well as Edinburgh’s iconic landmarks over a dram or two of single malt whisky. And, thanks to locally sourced barley, food miles and carbon impact are cut significantly.
Diverse landscapes, rich culture and unique experiences are what sets Scotland apart as a destination, and what makes a visit here so special. As a world-leading responsible tourism destination, Scotland is committed to building a better, more sustainable future, with the aim of keeping Scotland as beautiful as ever, for now and for future generations to enjoy. 2022 is the year to slow down, stay longer and savour the local charm.
Powered by water
The Highland Council has declared a climate and ecological emergency and aspires to be net zero by 2025. The River Ness Hydro scheme opens in spring of 2022 and will help reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint, and further generation and use of renewable energy. The site is perfect for visitors of all ages who are interested in innovative projects dedicated to sustainability.
Travel in sustainable style
Lumo, a brand-new train service travelling exclusively down the east coast of the UK, has launched a new rail service connecting Edinburgh and London which will provide affordable and low-carbon travel. Lumo will initially offer low fares in a bid to encourage more environmentally friendly travel between the two capitals
2022 is the year to discover new stories and embark on new adventures. The UK’s first Vegan Food Trail, which launched in September 2021, covers Argyll and the Isles, and with plentiful fresh ingredients and locally grown produce, it’s a great way to sample all the seasonal delights and embrace the joy of low impact living.
Live events return
Live events are set to return to the big stage to delight audiences in person once again, and Scotland is the perfect stage for events big and small. 2022 is the year to make a date for an event experience like no other, only in Scotland.
Home to 11 world-class festivals, Edinburgh is renowned as the world’s leading festival city, attracting an audience of over 4.5 million every year. In 2022, the capital will once more come alive with vibrant colours, shows and events for all ages, and with next year marking the 75th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh International Film Festival, it promises to be a very special year. Here’s a taste of what’s on offer.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
5-29 August 2022, Edinburgh
Born from a belief that every story should be heard and celebrated, Edinburgh Fringe Festival is now the world’s largest arts festival, where visitors can watch a wide range of performances including theatre, comedy, dance, cabaret, opera, spoken word and more. And with an open access policy, anyone with a story to tell and a venue to host them can put on a show.
Edinburgh International Festival
6-28 August 2022, Edinburgh
The Edinburgh International Festival was the original Edinburgh Festival, dating back to 1947, celebrating the performing arts with dance, music, opera and theatre from around the world. It brings ground-breaking art, unique collaborations, world premieres, unexpected takes on classic works, and more to captivate and entertain global audiences, all in one place here in Scotland.
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
5-27 August 2022, Edinburgh
Returning to its iconic home on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle for the first time since 2019, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is back with a bang for 2022.
Edinburgh International Book Festival
13-29 August 2022, Edinburgh
Held in the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, Edinburgh International Book Festival is the largest celebration of its kind in the world. Enjoyable for all ages, visitors can take part in creative workshops, meet famous authors and attend panel discussions.
Scottish International Storytelling Festival
Autumn 2022, Edinburgh
The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is an annual celebration of storytelling, oral traditions and cultural diversity. Visitors can let their imagination run wild with range of talks, tours and activities.
Home – Scottish International Storytelling Festival
After a two-year absence, the ever-popular Highland Games return in summer 2022. Visitors and locals can experience a sense of community, heritage and celebration like no other, set against the backdrop of a gripping sporting spectacle of champions! At Highland Games across the country, attendees can marvel at the champions’ feats of strength and have a chat with the locals over a delicious plate of mince and tatties. This year, after 18 years of absence, Elgin Highland Games returns in July 2022, starring the undefeated Elgin tug-o’-war team.
Burns, beats and more…
In the vibrant capital of South Scotland, Dumfries, Big Burns Supper returns to celebrate all things Robert Burns, music and performing arts. The programme line-up includes a heady roster of international talent including performer Eddi Reader and comedian Russell Kane. In Glasgow, Scotland’s UNESCO City of Music, Celtic Connections returns with an extensive programme of events to celebrate traditional folk, roots, Americana, jazz and soul music. As well as showcasing musical talent from around the world, hundreds of performances including ceilidhs, exhibitions, film screenings, talks, theatre productions, workshops and more will take place across Glasgow.
Text and images courtesy of VisitScotland. For details on these and other events and attractions see: www.visitscotland.com