Where to enjoy the best winter light displays in Scotland this season
Brighten up winter with light displays across the country, including Enchanted Forest, Botanic Lights and Woodland Light Experience
Although summer was a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of affair, we can’t be too disgruntled at Scotland, as, let’s be honest, winter is where we really excel. On the days when nighttime begins at 3pm, we’ve got the perfect antidote for anyone suffering SAD, or just looking to get lightly buzzed and look at some sparkly things: light festivals.
By day, the Botanic Garden is stunning, but by night, illuminated like you’ve never seen it before, it’s pretty majestic. Once night has fallen, follow a trail of light through the twists and turns of the Gardens and check out its sparkly makeover, giving a whole new look to the familiar landscape. You might also be lucky enough to spot some of the Gardens’ wildlife, including bats, foxes, and badgers, before returning to the Lodge for some warming mulled wine.
Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Thu 29 Oct–Sun 22 Nov.
The Enchanted Forest
An award-winning sound and light show that transforms Faskally Wood using dazzling visuals and innovative design set against an original music score. The theme this year is ‘Flux’, but organisers are keeping schtum about what exactly to expect. What’s for certain is that the aerial artists from All or Nothing will be back, flitting in and out of the treetops and the storytelling yurt will return if you need a little mid-walk breather.
Faskally Wood, Thu 1 Oct–Sun 1 Nov.
Woodland Light Experience
Immerse yourself deep into the woody surrounds and follow the 1.3km route to see the rural paths all lit up. The theme this year is ‘Alive’, so expect vibrant colours, as well as dazzling projections and a finale that uses the natural landscape, water, light and music to electrifying effect.
North Ballochruin Farm, Stirlingshire, Thu 12–Tue 24 Nov.
Street of Light
As part of the Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations, the decorations are spreading further afield from Princes Street. This year, the Royal Mile will be all aglow with festive cheer in the form of 16 arches of lights, stretching up to 19 metres high and soundtracked by four local choirs. A chance to see the capital’s most famous street in a whole new way, there will be performances twice an evening after which the lights will be kept on until midnight for all your Instagramming desires.
The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Mon Nov 30–Thu Dec 24.
Just because the Christmas and Hogmanay season is well and truly over, that doesn’t mean we have to go back to dark nights and no festivities. Luckily, Aberdeen is around to light up February with SPECTRA: Aberdeen’s Festival of Light. The city comes to life under a light installations, projections and sculptures, as well as music and performance throughout. This year, the city engaged with artists from Norway, Iceland and Finland to give a distinctly Nordic theme to proceedings. Dates for 2016 haven’t been officially announced, but Spectra normally takes place in mid-late February.
Various venues: Aberdeen, dates tba, Feb.