Summer is here and there are more days of sunshine coming are way, but all we know is that we’re in a need of a well-earned break. There’s no need to jet off abroad this summer as there are plenty of things to do on our doorstep as well as across Scotland. The country has such a diverse landscape varying from luscious green countryside to the urban destinations of Glasgow and Edinburgh brimming with fun city-wide activities to keep you preoccupied all summer long, whatever the weather. Check out our guide to some of the top things to do in Scotland this summer.
1. Escape the hustle and bustle by venturing to these gorgeously quiet lochs
Life can be rather overwhelming and a change in scenery and bit of fresh air is a great way to relax. Scotland is blessed with a number of beauty spots, including some luscious lochs, for us to explore, however some can be rather busy thus preventing us from fully taking in the wonderful surroundings. Check out our guide to some of the most stunning Scottish lochs for a bit of peace and quiet including Loch Rusky, bordering The Trossachs National Park and roughly an hour’s drive away from Glasgow.
2. Embark on an enchanting immersive adventure just a hour away from Glasgow at Paddington Marmalade Messiness
Pack your marmalade sandwiches (or stick them under your rumpled red hat in case of emergency) and scrub up on your manners, Paddington Marmalade Messiness: The Immersive Adventure is heading to Edinburgh. Set to unfold in the idyllic wilds of Dalkeith Country Park – found under an hour’s drive from central Glasgow – from July 13, this exciting escapade is perfect for families who are fans of the great outdoors. You’ll be tasked with tracking down the charmingly polite – though hopelessly clumsy – bear while encountering all sorts of storytelling, theatre, puppetry and more along the way. Book tickets for this fun day trip here.
3. Walk, wheel or cycle to Bowling Harbour and Loch Lomond via this linear park
Inspired by New York’s Highline, the new linear park The Bowline has transformed a railway crossing and 124-year old bridge which have sat derelict since the Caledonian and Dunbartonshire Railway closed in 1960. It connects the canal towpath to the wider National Cycle Network, providing virtually uninterrupted off-road access for you to walk, wheel or cycle from Glasgow to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Plus, the fully accessible line boasts breathtaking views over the historic canal to the River Clyde and beyond.
4. Witness an open air candlelight concert with music by Vivaldi & Mozart at the picture perfect Pollok House
On August 5 you will have the chance to see Vivaldi & Mozart at the formidable Glasgow venue, Pollok House, which is one of the grandest venues under the National Trust of Scotland’s care. With such a classic venue it makes sense to have two of the great names of classical music grace the site’s grounds. To add to the elegance of the occasion this is going to be an open air candlelit concert. Sound good? Then get your tickets here.
5. Laugh until your belly hurts at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Back for another year, Edinburgh Fringe Festival is set to bring plenty of joy, laughter and excitement to the city. Choose from the incredible array of music, theatre, comedy, opera, dance, circus, cabaret, musicals, spoken word, exhibitions, children’s shows and physical theatre. This year’s programme features work across 3,171 shows, from 58 countries, with themes tackling some of the most topical issues in the world today. New for 2022 is an extension of the popular Fringe street events, which will invite audiences to enjoy performances in new locations, including St Andrew Square and St James Quarter.
6. Sip on a wide selection of gin and rum at this drinks festival
Whether you’re thirsty for knowledge or you just want to party the night away, this gin and rum festival in at The Briggait in Glasgow on August 12 & 13 is for you. Treat yourself and let your hair down with your friends at the themed bars with tasty street food and a buzzing party atmosphere. There will be talks, master classes, free samples, great live entertainment and an award-winning resident DJ that will keep you entertained with music from all genres, so get ready for a Rumbelievable festival! Plus you can take home a complimentary Gin & Rum Festival Copa glass. Book tickets here.
7. Pick juicy Scottish strawberries at this fruit farm near Montrose
Fill a basket with delicious summery produce at Charleton Fruit Farm, near Montrose, north of Dundee. There’s something about picking your own fruit and veg that feels so rewarding and at this farm you can take home the likes of fresh strawberries until early August as well as gooseberries, raspberries, peas, tayberries, redcurrants and golden raspberries. Charleton Fruit Farm also boasts a farm shop, takeaway food from their ‘Pod in the Park’, dining in the stables and courtyard and an adventure play area. Plus, be sure to visit the coastal town of Melrose where you’ll see the River South Esk and views of Scurdie Ness Lighthouse.
8. Forget the Vatican and head to this impressive Sistine Chapel exhibition in Glasgow
Following much success around the UK and internationally, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition will has arrived at the Old Ice Rink at Braehead Shopping Centre. Boasting 34 replicas of the famous Sistine Chapel frescoes from the Vatican in Rome, this exhibition offers a new way to see the magnificent works: up-close like never before. You can get a taste of the Eternal City on their doorstep, as licensed high-definition photos and a special printing technique are employed to reproduce the look and feel of Michelangelo’s original works. Grab tickets here.
9. Uncover the vibrancy of Glasgow’s art scene with this street art tour
If you’re looking to discover a different side to Glasgow on this street art and modern culture tour then summer is most certainly the best time to do it. Meander down the valleys and under the city’s bridges as you find the beautiful pieces of murals that are taking over the walls by storm. From world-renowned heroes to local artists you’ll hear the stories and inspiration behind each piece. Learn all about modern life, creative industries and how it has changed over the years, as you see for yourself what brings this cultural powerhouse to life. Book your place on this street art tour here.
10. Enjoy these Pianodrome candlelight shows that take place in an eccentric pop-up venue
You may or may not have experienced a candlelight concert, but you’ve almost certainly never seen a Pianodrome candlelight concert. You’ll be treated to iconic pieces of music reimagined and performed live by incredible musicians all under the glow of candlelight in a venue unlike any other. The Pianodrome is a venue that pushes the boat out on creativity. In July the Pianodrome returns to Edinburgh and this time to host a set of candlelight concerts. You can get tickets for them here.
11. Head on a seafari adventure in Argyll and witness a range of wildlife
Venture on a two-hour circular tour around a chain of islands focusing on the wildlife in the area, with possible sightings of common seals, grey seals, deer, golden eagles, porpoise and white tailed sea eagles. The wildlife boat tour departs from Easdale, near Oban, and the tour’s informative skippers and guides are excellent wildlife spotters but they will also keep you entertained with local heritage and folklore. On board, you’ll drift across the infamous Gulf of Corryvreckan, home to the world’s third largest whirlpool, which flows four times in any 24 hour period every day regardless of the weather.
12. Discover the most brie-lliant cheese spots of this damn Gouda cheese crawl in Edinburgh
If there’s one thing that can tempt us east for a day trip, it’s the prospect of cheese, and this fromage-filled walking tour is just about the best reason to explore Edinburgh we’ve yet found. Join The Edinburgh Cheese Crawl for two and a half hours of non-stop cheese: from swanky blue cheese and gooey grilled cheeses, to cheesy jokes and interactive cheese-themed quizzes and competitions. It’s a whole different kind of ‘cultured’, and you can pick up your tickets here.
13. Visit Galloway for this boozy cycle trail that will whisk you away through the Scottish countryside
Looking for an action-packed break with a twist? Why not cycle with a bit of a difference? This cycling tour in the region of Dumfries and Galloway is offering you the experience of hopping on your bike to view some of Scotland’s most historic sights, with a tipple of the local liquor along the way. Spread over three days, you will cover around 30 miles each day and the trail offers some of the most beautiful scenery including castles, mills and nature reserves- as well as a wee dram of whisky or two. Find out more here.
14. Go full steam ahead across the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct featured in Harry Potter
Witness the sweeping cinematic scenery straight out of the eight Harry Potter films by bagging a seat on board the Jacobite Steam Train, the steam train which had a starring role as the Hogwarts Express, taking Harry from platform 9 ¾ all the way to Hogwarts. The train travels from Fort William to Mallaig along the West Highland Line. Sit back as you go across the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct and witness views of Loch Shiel from your window. The train continues on from here passing Morar and the silvery beaches used in the films Highlander and Local Hero.