Exploring Scotland's rich cultural landscape via public transport

Exploring Scotland's rich cultural landscape via public transport

Tiree Music Festival / credit: Dol Eoin MacKinnon

Hop on a bus, ferry or train and enjoy the many events and festivals on offer in Scotland throughout the year

Scotland's arts and culture offering is so much more than just bagpipes, tartan and thistles. Don't get us wrong, we are mighty proud of our cultural icons, but when you consider that Scotland is home to the world's festival capital, outstanding summer music festivals, blockbuster movie locations, breathtaking art and architecture and captivating literary festivals, you'll realise that those aspects of our cultural landscape are only just the tip of the iceberg.

Here's just a small taste of the diverse mix of events and festivals that take place throughout the year, and what's even better, you don't need to have a car to get to them. Let the bus, ferry or train take the strain and have a great day or weekend out with friends and family…


Held in July, the Tiree Music Festival is the perfect option for a mix of true island adventure and a vibrant music scene. Although it's one of Scotland's most remote events, organisers want the family-friendly festival to be as accessible as possible with a shuttle buses running to and from the ferry terminal. Get to the island by daily train and bus services to Oban from Glasgow, then ferry to Tiree with Calmac.

Exploring Scotland's rich cultural landscape via public transport

Stranraer Oyster Festival / credit: Pete Robinson

Food & Drink

Taking place in September each year, the Stranraer Oyster Festival is a celebration of our wild, native oysters, with chefs, world leading experts and entertainment all on hand to help bring the fun and flavour! Nestling under the sparkling waters of Loch Ryan, the festival site is a 10-minute walk from the local railway station with a regular train service connecting Stranraer to Glasgow and Kilmarnock via Ayr.


Ultra Tour of Arran is a two day off road running event across the stunning Isle of Arran, next taking place in April 2020. From dense forests and coastal scenery in the South to crumbling castles and dramatic mountains in the north, competitors have it all on this beautiful island challenge. Get a Rail & Sail ticket from ScotRail, and connect at Glasgow Central Station which takes you to Ardrossan, then across the water to Brodick which is only a 55-minute ferry crossing.


Take a train from Glasgow on the West Highland Railway line to the Oban Winter Festival and walk around the seaside town exploring the festival's activities. Taking place later this month (15–24 Nov 2019), the extensive programme is a real celebration of Oban's unique culture and community. From international and local performances and fire artists, to crafts, pipers and parades – there's something for all the family.

Exploring Scotland's rich cultural landscape via public transport

DolphinFest 2020 / credit: RSPB/Fiona Emslie

Year of Coast and Waters 2020

The RSPB will celebrate Aberdeen's status as one of the few cities in Europe where dolphins can regularly be seen from the shore at DolphinFest 2020. Get involved with pop-up activities across the city, from interactive games, to conservation talks and citizen science projects. Aberdeen is connected by a regular east coast or northern train or bus service with the stations both walking distance to the harbour which is the most reliable spot to see dolphins.


The UK's longest continuous running mountain film festival, the Dundee Mountain Film Festival 2019, held later this month (28–30 Nov 2019), showcases an international programme of speakers, award winning films and exhibitions. Held in the Dundee city centre, the festival's venues are all around a ten minute walk from the railway and bus stations.


Next year, world class golf will again return to The Renaissance Club in East Lothian for the Ladies Scottish Open and Scottish Open. A feast of golf for the purists, but also the perfect day out for all the family. With fantastic food and drink outlets in the championship village and music and retail experiences to keep you entertained, it is the must-attend sporting event of the summer. A regular shuttle bus service will help spectators get to the course from local transport hubs including North Berwick railway station.

So, for the next event or festival you're going to, consider how public or organised transport can form part of your trip and add to the experience. Remember, it's as much about the journey as it as about the destination.

For more information and inspiration visit VisitScotland.com

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