Best for… toasting burns

Best for… toasting burns

Big Burns Supper

This festival in Rabbie Burns's adopted hometown is inspired as much by the air of celebration as by the poetry. There are music, comedy, theatre, dance and family events, plus Burns suppers. The centrepiece is the Homecoming Carnival on Saturday January 25, when more than 2000 participants will tell the story of the "unknown soldier".

January 24-26, across Dumfries, prices vary (some events free), 01387 271820.

Best for… spending time with furry friends

Aviemore Sled Dog Rally

The biggest event in British sled dog racing, Aviemore's rally sees more than 1000 dogs pulling sleds along a track around the edges of Loch Morlich. As well as the expected Siberian huskies, you can expect to spot breeds including Alaskan malamutes, samoyeds, Greenland dogs and Canadian Eskimo dogs. Spectators are welcome.

January 25-26, Aviemore, free for spectators,, 07969 968242.

Best for… suppressed pyromaniacs

Up Helly Aa

Celebrated since the 1880s, this Shetland tradition is Europe's largest fire festival. During the course of the day there are a series of processions which culminate in the lighting of more than 900 torches and the burning of a nine-metre-long galley. This is followed by dancing, which continues until 8am the following day - which is a public holiday in Lerwick.

January 28, Lerwick, Shetland, free,

Best for… moving beyond popcorn

Kingussie Food on Film Festival

Films can be pretty good on their own, and so can food - but why not have both? You'll be thinking about food all day after watching films like No Reservations and Delicatessen, so organisers have laid on events at which visitors actually get to eat, to help take care of those grumbling tummies.

Jan 30-Feb 2, various venues in Kingussie, prices vary,

Best for… making light of the situation

Bruce Munro: Field of Light

Edinburgh's New Town may have a touch of the alien about it from February, as artist Bruce Munro will be setting up his acclaimed installation Field Of Light in St Andrew's Square. Visitors will be able to wander through the 9500 lighted glass spheres, which rest on top of slender stems.

February 3-April 27, St Andrew's Square, Edinburgh, free.

Best for… real life magic

Electric Glen

This returning attraction features a colourful illuminated trail through Rouken Glen Park, going deep into the glen, over the waterfall and around the boating lake. Surprises and characters pop up on the way, sharing stories inspired by the history and heritage of the park. Perfect for a family adventure.

February 6-16, Rouken Glen Park, East Renfrewshire, £7.50 (concessions £5),, 0141 577 3974.

Best for… an inspiringly different Valentine's evening


This evening walk offers a chance to see one of Scotland's grandest historic buildings under a different light. An illuminated trail works its way through the palace and grounds. The famous Long Gallery will be lit with candles, evoking a time before electricity.

February 14-15, Scone Palace, Perth, £12 (concessions £9),, 01738 552300.

Best for… getting away from it all

Papay Gyro Nights

This festival of video art, sound art, experimental film and music takes place on the tiny island of Papa Westray in Orkney, at one end of the world's shortest scheduled flight - less than a minute from neighbouring Westray.

February 15-22, Tredwall, Papa Westray, Orkney, day passes £10 (concessions £5),, 01857 644 340.

Best for… armchair mountaineers

Fort William Mountain Festival

Even the most hardcore climbers need to sit down and watch a good film every now and then. This festival features films and talks from award-winning climbers, while the launch night on February 19 offers a four-course meal and live music.

February 19-23, The Nevis Centre, Fort William, festival passes £40, individual ticket prices vary,, 01397 700707.

Best for… trainspotters of all ages

Model Rail Scotland

This is perfect for train fans, toy fans, and lovers of quirky days out. The SECC will be filled with an impressive array of miniature trains, displayed on appropriately sized backdrops. Dr Beeching would have a field day.

February 21-23, SECC, Glasgow, £9 (concessions £5) advance,

Best for… poking your nose in

Hidden Door Festival

Live music, visual art, cinema, theatre and readings - but the eye-catching USP is the location, in the capital's Market Street's disused vaults.

March 7-15, Market Street Vaults, Edinburgh, prices tbc,

Best for… planning the next adventure

Scotland's Best Outdoors

Planning a good trip is usually 1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent browsing the web - which can be tedious. Find ideas on your feet at this show, with more than 50 exhibitors from across Scotland giving a flavour of the stunning locations our country has to offer.

March 29-30, AECC, Aberdeen, £8-£10 (concessions £4-36),