10 unmissable events happening in Edinburgh and Glasgow this November

  • The List
  • 7 November 2017
10 unmissable events happening in Edinburgh and Glasgow this November

Margaret Cho / credit: Albert Sanchez

Including Divine Comedy, The Florida Project, Margaret Cho and Edinburgh's Christmas

Halloween packs up and the UK starts to get ready for the end of year festivities. We've managed to limit ourselves to just two Christmas events in our pick of the best events across Glasgow and Edinburgh this November.

Blue Planet II
If you've ever wondered what an orange-dotted tuskfish on the Great Barrier Reef would look like up close while it holds a clam in is jaws, then your prayers have been answered by David Attenborough. This national institution is making these long, dark Sunday nights a time of joy and discovery as we enter his Blue Planet for the second time after the first series aired in 2001 to blanket acclaim. Across the episodes, we'll also meet bioluminescent plankton in California's Sea of Cortez, an armoured octopus near Cape Town and a walrus mother and calf in Norway. Prepare for that jaw of yours to drop.
BBC One, Sun.

Acosta Danza
Having made his name dancing for others, Carlos Acosta is now unleashing the debut of his own work through his Havana-based company. For Debut, he hired five acclaimed choreographers to produce works of classical ballet and contemporary dance.
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 10 & Sat 11 Nov.

Set during and around World War II, Mudbound is the tale of two Mississippi families (one black, one white) is a bleak and brutal exploration of discrimination and intolerance. The resonances with modern America makes Dee Rees' film only more relevant.
Out Fri 17 Nov.

Edinburgh's Christmas
Your capital gets the full festive treatment with an array of the familiar (a maze, markets and ice skating) as well as brand new attractions such as the Ice Adventure and Giant Advent Calendar.
Various venues, Edinburgh, Fri 17 Nov–Sat 6 Jan.

The Florida Project
Sean 'Tangerine' Baker moves away from digital for this new movie about the 'motel homeless' who live near Disney World. Some talented child actors join Willem Dafoe and Caleb Landry Jones for a memorable romp.
Out Fri 10 Nov.

Book Week Scotland
Another week-long celebration of books and reading across the nation as a number of our top authors, poets, playwrights and celebrities get involved. Judy Murray, Tom Pow, Sue Lawrence, Bernard MacLaverty and Graeme Macrae Burnet are among those already confirmed to be spreading the word.
Various venues, Mon 27 Nov–Sun 3 Dec.

Divine Comedy
A true survivor of the Britpop boom, Neil Hannon has always gone about things his own way and his band's new album, Foreverland, continues on that path. Whether he comes dressed as Napoleon or not, you'll be in the midst of a real leader.
Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Wed 22 Nov.

John Akomfrah
With his three-screen video installation Vertigo Sea, the 2017 Artes Mundi Award-winner draws comparisons between slavery, whaling and the current refugee crisis, giving the viewer a rush of what it must feel like to be at the mercy of something so unfathomably deep.
Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 27 Jan.

Margaret Cho
The US-Asian comic who has broken down one or two barriers in her time is Fresh Off the Boat for a small British tour, popping into Edinburgh to give us a night of taboo-busting fun and bigot-baiting humour.
Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, Sat 25 Nov.

Christmas at the Botanics (Chosen by comedian Jay Lafferty)
I love this time of year! The leaves have fallen, the nights draw in, summer clothes you optimistically bought in April are shoved relatively unworn to the back of the wardrobe to be replaced with your favourite cosy jumpers and novelty woolly hat. Unlike the tease of a Scottish summer you know where you are in autumn: cold and standing in the dark at four o'clock in the afternoon. Where better to do this than in the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh? From the 24th of November you can visit the Garden after hours and follow a mile-long magical trail of lights, all part of the their Christmas at the Botanics. Go and spend an evening wandering amongst giant illuminated conifers while sipping mulled wine: it's guaranteed to get you in the festive mood.

Jay Lafferty is at The Stand, Edinburgh, Thu 2–Sat 4 Nov, and she appears in Bona Fide, The Stand, Edinburgh, Tue 14 Nov, Tue 9 Jan; Christmas at the Botanics, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Fri 24 Nov–Sat 30 Dec.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).

Christmas at the Botanics

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.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Thu 25 Nov

£20 (Children £14) / 0131 248 2909

Fri 26 Nov

£20 (Children £14) / 0131 248 2909

Sat 27 Nov

£20 (Children £14) / 0131 248 2909

…and 29 more dates until 2 Jan 2022

Edinburgh's Christmas

Six weeks of winter wonderland, with Edinburgh transformed by a fairground, a host of colourful lights and the fabled European Christmas market with dozens of stalls selling traditional trinkets and crafts as well as delicious Teutonic treats (and, of course, glühwein).

The Divine Comedy

Neil Hannon, the always charming Irish songwriter, leads the Divine Comedy's musically diverse repertoire.

Margaret Cho: Fresh Off the Bloat

The pioneering stand-up derives humour from gritty and topical subjects including singlehood, Boko Haram, Caitlyn Jenner's transition and female empowerment.

Acosta Danza: Debut

Former Royal Ballet star Carlos Acosta tours his debut show, featuring the work of five contemporary choreographers, including Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

John Akomfrah: Vertigo Sea

Multi-screen installation by the distinguished artist, in part inspired by Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and Heathcote Williams’ epic poem Whale Nation.

The Florida Project

  • 5 stars
  • 2017
  • US
  • 1h 55min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Sean Baker
  • Cast: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto

Moonee (Prince) is a six-year-old being raised by her trash-talking mom in a motel near Florida’s Disney World, where she and her pal Scooty (Riviera) terrorise guests at a neighbouring establishment. This low-key masterpiece is full of affection for its adorable urchins while not being blind to the occasional danger of…


  • 5 stars
  • 2017
  • US
  • 2h 14min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Dee Rees
  • Cast: Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Mary J Blige
  • UK release: 17 November 2017

Jamie (Hedlund) and Ronsel (Mitchell) have returned to Mississippi from serving in WW2 only to find that the place hasn’t changed at all, which – since they are friends, but of different colours – makes it difficult for them to re-enter society. Immediate, visceral and relevant, with an exceptional ensemble.

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