Including Illuminight, Colours of Cluny and Spectra
Short days and long nights can make us want to hibernate for the winter, but with a number of light displays across the country, there's plenty of reason to head out and embrace the frosty evenings. We've picked some of the best illumination trails, giant lantern installations and other light events to help make the most of the long, dark Scottish nights.
Woodland Light Experience: Reflections
This year's show focuses on 'Reflections', with beautiful lighting effects highlighting the natural landscape. The 14 acre woodland sits on the edge of Loch Lomond, a tranquil setting for a dazzling theatrical light show to music. Woodland Light Experience was a finalist in the Scottish Outdoor & Leisure Awards 2017 for Best Outdoor Experience Ballochruin Farm, Balfron, Thu 2–Sun 12 Nov.
A 1.5km magical light installation through the historic woodland with visual and music effects to highlight the rivers, ponds and trees in the country park, as well as Dean Castle. Visitors can also enjoy a selection of food and drink on their journey through the park, including a marshmallow toasting pit. Dean Castle Country Park, Kilmarnock, Thu 2–Sun 19 Nov.
Colours of Cluny
Last year over 600 lights were fitted, 80+ volunteers took part and more than 20,000 marshmallows were eaten and the organisers are promising even more for 2017. The show is produced by a number of the same team members who worked on Pitlochry's Enchanted Forest. Grant Park, Forres, Wed 8–Sun 19 Nov.
Christmas at the Botanics
Peruse the gardens by night, following a one mile illuminated trail. Enjoy the sounds of the Choir of Trees, walk through the crystal lawn lit by a thousand spheres of light and keep an eye out for Santa and his elves. There's spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate to warm the bones. Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Fri 24 Nov–Sat 30 Dec.
illumination: Harbour Festival of Light
This festival of light features an illumination trail along the River Irvine, a light show with aerial acrobatics in and around the Linthouse at the Scottish Maritime Museum and a fireworks display to celebrate St Andrew's Day. There's also a lantern parade and the illumi bike ride. The Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine, Thu 30 Nov–Sun 3 Dec.
The Giant Lanterns of China
Over 450 giant lanterns come to Edinburgh this winter to create an illuminated trail winding through the zoo. The lanterns have been created by 150 Chinese craftsmen from Sichuan who've put in over 25000 hours of work to make them. The sculptures include over 200 animal lanterns; pandas, lions, penguins and more. Edinburgh Zoo, Fri 1–Sun 25 Dec.
SPECTRA: Aberdeen's Festival of Light
2018's theme 'Play the Night' explores innovation, creativity and the benefits of play to coincide with the Year of Young People. The four-day festival features international works as well as supporting and commissioning emerging young artists from Aberdeen to develop new work with international partners. Various venues, Aberdeen, Thu 8–Sun 11 Feb.
A Christmas Fairy Trail
This immersive light show begins with a torchlit walk to the Fairy Trail, before visitors enter the woodland. Inside there's a fairy disco, sparkling willow walk, dancing forest folk and a 'make a wish' fairy frame designed by the Projector Club. There's also a Winter Barn with firepits, a festive soundtrack, food, mulled cider and hot chocolate. Archerfield Walled Garden, Dirleton, Thu 14 Dec–Sat 6 Jan.
Scottish winters can be dark affairs but luckily Aberdeen’s Festival of Light, SPECTRA, returns in 2018 to illuminate the winter skies. The theme for this year’s festival is Play the Night as it explores innovation, creativity and the benefits of play to kick off Scotland’s Year of Young People. The four-day festival uses…
A festival celebrating both the natural and built heritage of Irvine's historic waterfront. Highlights of last year included lantern parade, the illumination light trail across Irvine Harbourside, an illumi bike display with stunt cyclists and a dazzling mix of light installation, fire show and aerial acrobatics at the…
A one mile illuminated trail that winds its way through the garden. Wander beneath the tree canopies bathed in seasonal colour, enjoy the sounds of the Choir of the Trees and keep an eye out for Santa and his elves. There's spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate to warm you up.