Scotland's the Place to Be in 2023
Celebrate a new year with plenty to discover across Scotland
New stories, special moments and unforgettable memories are ready to be made in Scotland in 2023.
From January through to December there are plenty of reasons why Scotland should be at the top of any travel bucket list. Start the year with Burns Night Celebrations across the country, watching the blooming of bluebells, snowdrops, and fresh fauna, welcoming new wildlife in spring, before gearing up for a festival extravaganza in the summer months. Then comes the turning of the leaves casting a golden blanket over the luscious landscapes before winter rolls around again and the year closes with the sound of fireworks and revelry at Hogmanay celebrations far and wide.
There are cabins aplenty positioned under the stars for views that are out of this world, lush green forests and spectacular waterfalls spraying mists that are reinvigoratingly cool, and intimate gigs where revellers can dance the night away. So, whether seeking adventure or tranquillity, shopping or feasting – or a taste of it all – those who venture to Scotland will find a world of choices at their fingertips. And as always, visitors can expect a warm welcome awaiting them!
There are many reasons to make Scotland the place to be in 2023! The list below is just a selection of some of the major openings, news updates and events to look forward to in the year ahead.
Celtic Connections 30th Anniversary, January 2023
Celtic Connections, the home of world-class music, one-off collaborations, and genre-defying spectacles, is set to celebrate its 30th anniversary in January 2023. The 30th Anniversary is a pinnacle moment for the festival as it recognises the advancements and achievements of the last thirty years and everything the organisers have overcome to bring people together in a defining cultural celebration. The internationally renowned festival marks this milestone with an ambitious and eclectic programme of music showcased between Thursday 19th January – Sunday 5th February 2023. The full programme can be viewed here: www.celticconnections.com
Dundreggan Rewilding Centre, March 2023
Opening in 2023, Dundreggan Rewilding Centre will be Trees for Life's flagship rewilding estate, a unique place rich in natural and cultural heritage where real change is happening, restoring Scotland's landscape. The new wild landscape and its ancient connections to Gaelic culture will encourage people to 'rewild' themselves by connecting with nature and exploring the heritage of the Highlands. Dundreggan Rewilding Centre will become a gateway for people to experience rewilding in ways that are best suited to them; from a casual visit while passing through, to immersive experiences, encouraging the idea that we can work with nature rather than against it.
V&A Dundee – Tartan, April 2023
In its fifth anniversary year, V&A Dundee will offer a radical new look at one of the world's best-known fabrics through its flagship exhibition: Tartan. Tartan, the first major exhibition curated by V&A Dundee, with consultant curator Jonathan Faiers of the University of Southampton, will celebrate the global story of a unique pattern which has connected communities worldwide, expressed tradition, revolt and diversity, and inspired playful and provocative design. It is a complex, rich, and sometimes painful history unequalled by any other cloth or pattern. Tartan is a textile which is adored and derided, inspiring great works of art and design, and representative of unity and dissent, tradition and rebellion.
Moreover, V&A Dundee, the first V&A museum in the world outside London, will celebrate its fifth anniversary in September 2023. For more information and to book, please visit: www.vam.ac.uk/dundee
Scottish Crannog Centre, spring 2023
The Scottish Crannog Centre is currently building a new museum located at the site of Dalerb on the North side of Loch Tay in Perthshire which is set to open in spring 2023. The aim of The Scottish Crannog Centre at Dalerb is to be the most sustainable museum in Scotland. The new visitor centre will showcase internationally significant archaeological collections, an Iron Age-inspired village of craft and technology demonstrations, and the first of three expert-led, but community-built, crannogs. For more information, please visit www.crannog.co.uk.
Tall Ships Races, July 2023
Shetland will once again host the Tall Ships Races from Wednesday 26th July to Saturday 29th July in Lerwick. The Tall Ships Races is an annual race series that has been arranged by Sail Training International since 1956 and in summer 2023 the town of Lerwick will welcome the fleet for four days of celebrations, sharing culture and international friendships. The full event programme is currently under development and is set to be published in March 2023. For more information and to keep up to date, please visit www.tallshipslerwick.com
2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, August 2023
The biggest cycling event in the world comes to Scotland in 2023! The world's greatest riders will come together in Glasgow and across Scotland to compete at the highest level, make history and show the world the power of the bike. Across 11 days of events, competitors will compete for over 200 rainbow jerseys and World Champions will be crowned in events covering everything from BMX to Mountain Biking, Indoor Cycling to Road Cycling, Para-Cycling and much, much more. With Scotland's beautiful bike-ready landscapes, legendary cycling centres and epic arenas ready to welcome competitors and visitors from all over the world, there's never been a better time to plan a cycling trip to Scotland. This event is more than an event exclusive for elite riders, it's an opportunity for everyone to ride their bicycle! For more information, please visit www.cyclingworldchamps.com
Coast to Coast Cycle Route, Stranraer to Eyemouth, summer 2023
An exciting new 250 mile on-road cycle route covering the length of the South of Scotland has received the green light to progress to delivery stage. The Coast-to-Coast route will run from Stranraer to Eyemouth, making it one of the longest in the UK and a new challenge for experienced cyclists. Riders who want to test themselves can tackle the Coast-to-Coast Challenge route over four days but are highly recommended to slow down, immerse themselves and enjoy more of what the South of Scotland has to offer by completing the Explorer route over eight days or more. The project is aiming to be delivered in time for the 2023 UCI World Championships in Glasgow and across Scotland. Three of the 13 Championships are taking place in the South of Scotland in August next year, allowing visitors to the South to try the new route during or after the Championships.
The Scottish National Gallery, summer 2023
The transformative project to deliver an inspiring new space for Scotland's renowned collection of Scottish art is set be completed in 2023. From summer 2023, visitors can look forward to experiencing a brand-new suite of world-class galleries at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh. The Scottish National Gallery Project will create a beautiful space for Scotland's art right in the historic heart of Edinburgh, with striking displays drawn from the National Galleries of Scotland's broad-ranging collection alongside special loans from other leading arts institutions. Large windows will offer spectacular light-filled views across Princes Street Gardens, inviting visitors to come in and discover the work of pioneering Scottish artists such as Phoebe Anna Traquair, William McTaggart, Anne Redpath, Sir Henry Raeburn and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Scot City knows the score
Rangers will open a new club museum in Glasgow soon. New Edmiston House will be an incredible, state-of-the-art facility that will host a long-awaited club museum, a new two-storey Rangers Store and an events space for use on matchdays and beyond, thus enhancing the experience for supporters when they visit Ibrox.
For budding golfers and enthusiasts alike, Glasgow also welcomes the addition of Topgolf. Make use of complimentary clubs or visitors can bring their own, take aim at the giant outfield targets using high-tech balls which automatically keep score. Enjoy climate-controlled hitting bays for year-round practice, relax in the sports bar or refuel in the onsite restaurant.
For even more golfing fun in the city, Golf It! is The R&A's brand-new golf concept that will open in Glasgow in summer 2023. The vast new indoor and outdoor attraction is a new innovation and marks a significant financial investment by The R&A towards its purpose of making golf more accessible and inclusive. The new facility will feature a range of introductory golf formats including a twist on pitch and putt, adventure golf and community putting greens plus a double decker floodlit driving range and a new look nine-hole course for all the family to play.
Cairn Distillery, October 2022
Late October 2022 saw the opening of The Cairn Distillery, the first new distillery to be built in the Cairngorms National Park for more than a century. Nestled on the banks of the river Spey on the northern frontier of the Cairngorms National Park, every detail of The Cairn Distillery has been considered to create a remarkable structure that is reflective of its environment. From its sedum roof which encourages insect life to thrive, to the Caithness stone pathways, every aspect is designed to respect the natural shapes and colours around it. The new distillery aims to build on Gordon & MacPhail's 127-year heritage of producing exceptional Scotch whisky to inspire future generations. With magnificent views of its stunning location just outside Grantown-on-Spey, visitors can choose from a selection of immersive experiences, each culminating in a whisky tasting in The Discovery Room.
Moffat Distillery, 2023
Dark Sky Spirits will open Moffat's first distillery soon. In keeping with the desire for sustainability and local resources, the distillery will have the only wood-fired still in Scotland with wood collected from local, sustainable sources. The pilot set-up is a 350-litre wash still and a 200-litre spirit still which will make Moffat Distillery the smallest whisky producer in Scotland with a visitor centre.
Port of Leith Distillery, 2023
A distillery like no other, Port of Leith Distillery is set to become Scotland's first vertical distillery when it opens its doors in 2023. Set in the historic Port of Leith, the distillery will draw on the incredibly rich whisky heritage of Edinburgh and the history of Leith which was once an epicentre of the industry. The distillery forms part of the resurgence of distilling in the area and will offer guided tours, tastings and a rooftop bar with panoramic views across Edinburgh, Leith and Fife.
Eden Mill Distillery, 2023
Founded in 2012, Eden Mill was the first distillery in the region for over 150 years and today has a premium gin portfolio crafted from the finest botanicals, many foraged from in and around St Andrews. Over ten years later, Eden Mill have the ambition to create the finest gins and Scotch whiskies with minimal environmental impact combining traditional distilling techniques with ground-breaking innovation. Eden Mill is building a stunning distillery at the mouth of the River Eden, overlooking the iconic, historic town of St Andrews. The new distillery sits at the heart of the University of St Andrews Eden Campus, a unique site dedicated to zero carbon and sustainable businesses and research.