Wigtown Book Festival

Scotland’s book town is well worth a visit at any time of the year but especially during its annual autumn book festival. The festival is going ahead online this year with a range of enticing author events, among them an interview with Maggie O’Farrell whose latest novel Hamnet beat Booker laureates Hilary Mantel and Bernardine Evaristo to win the Women’s Prize for Fiction earlier this month. But many of the book shops that give the Dumfries and Galloway town its literary flavour are open for business of the IRL sort, so why not just turn up anyway?

From today until October 4 (online). Free. www.wigtownbookfestival.com

The Grassmarket Market

Scotland’s farmers’ markets are spluttering back to life so if you haven’t felt quite complete these last months without an artisanal Scotch Egg, half a dozen oysters and a bottle of mead to consume al fresco then why not head out to one today? The capital isn’t short of them, from the well-established Edinburgh Farmers Market on Castle Terrace to the more boutique-like offering in well-heeled, Barbour-wearing Stockbridge. The one on offer in the Grassmarket isn’t the largest, but given the situation it’s probably the most picturesque and for any crate-diggers reading there’s a stall selling a pretty decent range of second-hand vinyl records.

Saturday, Grassmarket, Edinburgh, 10am-5pm. Free.

Potfest Scotland

Running until September 27 in the lush grounds of Scone Palace, its regular venue for nearly a quarter of a century now, Potfest brings 80 studio ceramicists to five large marquees which this year will be entirely open at the sides to allow for better social distancing. The number of exhibitors has been reduced, each will be provided with PPE and they’ll also be moved toward the centre of the tents so that those visitors who don’t want to enter can watch from the open air. There are more toilets as well. As for the ceramics, there’s a fabulous range on show, from the quirky figurative work of Wendy Kershaw to the austere simplicity of Tricia Thoms’s wheel-thrown porcelain tea sets.

Until September 27, 10am-4pm, Scone Palace, Perth (tickets £7, includes admission to the gardens. Accompanied children under 16 admitted free. Free parking, refreshments available on site). www.potfest.co.uk/scotland

Breakfast, Beaks And Bamboo

Ever wondered what the animals get up to when the zoo’s shut to visitors? With this tour of Edinburgh Zoo you can find out. The pre-opening event allows small, socially-distanced groups to wander the zoo from 9am in the company of a guide and it includes breakfast (tea, coffee, a hot roll and a Danish pastry) in the Mansion House. The tour takes in some of the Zoo favourites – lions and pandas and penguins, oh my – and after that you’re free to wander the grounds for the rest of the day. There’s plenty to see (and, importantly, learn) so killing time isn’t going to be a problem.

September 28, Edinburgh Zoo, 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh (£48.50 for adults, £26.50 for members, tickets must be booked in advance). www.edinburghzoo.org.uk

Scotland’s Modern Day Explorer’s Exhibition

If there isn’t a version of Munro-bagging for Scotland’s portfolio of Botanic Gardens then there should be. From Benmore on the Cowal Peninsula to Dawyck in the Borders, from Glasgow to Edinburgh (currently celebrating its 350th anniversary, would you believe?), the gardens are an absolute treasure for locals and visitors alike. This writer has visited them all more than once but if he has a personal favourite it’s Logan Botanic Gardens near Port Logan on the Rhins of Galloway. Maybe it’s the profusion of palm trees and the balmy breeze the Gulf Stream brings. Also showing this week is this exhibition of photographs taken around the world by the garden’s botanical explorers.

Logan Botanic Garden Studio, Logan Botanic Garden, 10am-5pm, until September 30 (admission £7 for adult, concession £6, children 15 and under free). www.rbge.org.uk/visit/benmore-botanic-garden