The clocks go back this weekend: officially heralding the start of spring and the end of what, for many of us, has felt like the longest winter in memory. With news of a significant reopening of the economy from April 26, there’s plenty to look forward to. Yet before then, there’s still a month more of lockdown for us to endure. By now you’ve probably binge-watched every series imaginable and baked enough banana bread to last a lifetime– but the good news is that there are plenty of at-home activities running across Scotland to help you beat the lockdown blues. Here’s some of our favourites.

Dance along at Zoom Zumba in Bishopton with George

Zoom classes every Saturday at 10am and Wednesday at 7pm

£2 per class

When lockdown restrictions forbid us from doing the things that we enjoy, it can be tempting to just vegetate on the couch and eat your bodyweight in snacks to feel better. But while it might be difficult to motivate yourself to start exercising, the benefits to your mental and physical health can be transformational. And if you know that what awaits you is a fun, energetic dance class -rather than a dull weights session- you might find it a bit easier to get going.

And fun and energy is exactly what’s on offer with the Zoom Zumba classes run by Bishopton-based instructor George Robertson. His sense of humour, motivational music and endless energy should be enough to inspire even the least enthusiastic participants, with a mixture of dance moves to suit all abilities. George is currently offering Zoom classes every Wednesday at 7pm and Sunday at 7pm, with outdoor classes also available in Bishopton (but with strictly limited numbers). Each Zoom class costs £2 but you won’t need any equipment- other than a tea towel to “wave about for the Lambo Mambo”.

Visit or text George on 07720 438 549 to get the Zoom password for each class

Take an online art class with Glasgow School of Art

Various dates available, programmes range from six to ten weeks

Prices vary depending on course chosen

The therapeutic powers of art are well known. And creating your own artwork will not only take your mind off lockdown -and give you a break from staring at a screen- but crucially provide a real sense of accomplishment.

You can hardly get better training than from the internationally renowned Glasgow School of Art, who are running a series of online courses in art and design that cover a variety of different mediums and abilities. From ‘Introduction to Oil Painting’, to ‘Drawing and Painting: The Next Stage’, to courses on illustration and graphic design, there’s plenty to choose from and unleash your creative energy. Courses are offered on both mornings and evenings depending on what suits you best, with most of the programmes running from March 30 onwards.

Get involved with DolphinFest

On across April 7- April 11, various times

Most events free, but some require pre-booking and/or fees

Scotland’s coastline, and in particular the Moray Firth, is one of the best places in Europe to spot dolphins. Unfortunately though, current stay-at-home guidance means that dolphin-watching is prohibited unless you are lucky enough to live in a coastal area.

The good news? You can still support Scotland’s dolphin conservation work in a digital capacity by getting involved in the family-friendly DolphinFest 2021. Run by the RSPB, DolphinFest is aimed at both kids and adults who want to celebrate Scotland’s marine wildlife, in particular around Torry Battery in Aberdeen.

The area is ordinarily a hotspot for dolphin activity, with the DolphinFest programme including a virtual tour of Torry Battery’s coastline with details on the local marine wildlife. There are also immersive videos, live Q&As, recorded talks, children’s storytime, a young conservationists webinar, a family quiz night and even a dolphin’s orchestra. Of course, once your participation in DolphinFest is complete, you can start planning to go dolphin watching for real once travel restrictions are lifted on April 26.

Join a virtual book club

Glasgow’s Women’s Library Digital Book Club is free to join

Wigtown Book Festival is accessible for free on YouTube

One of the benefits of lockdown is that many of us have been reading more. But what if you are looking for people to discuss your latest book with? Glasgow’s Women’s Library have been running a digital book group to encourage people from across Scotland to take part in discussions around books written by women. The group will read a new book from a diverse selection of genres every two months and discuss it in the GWL Digital Book Group on Facebook: which everyone is welcome to join.

You can also access lots of literary discussion material on YouTube courtesy of the Wigtown Book Festival. They have dozens of videos that include talks from celebrity book lovers, interviews with Scottish authors and a range of videos from the festival’s kid-friendly version, Big Dog.

Watch an opera online from Scottish Opera

Available on demand


Going to the opera is a truly magical experience. But with statistics showing that less than 4% of adults in Britain had attended an opera in an average (pre-Covid) year, it still has a long way to go when it comes to reaching the general population. It helps, therefore, that Scottish Opera is now offering top quality opera performances on-demand on their website.

The performances -including Così fan tutte, The Telephone and The One Who Disappeared- were filmed live and are available for free on their website, making them truly accessible to all. Our favourite though is Hansel & Gretel: an inventive staging of the children’s classic featuring Kitty Whately as Hansel, Rhian Lois as Gretel, alongside Nadine Benjamin, Phillip Rhodes, Charlie Drummond and conductor David Parry leading the Orchestra of Scottish Opera. Make the most of this great resource while you can.

Attend the Edinburgh Harp Festival online

Friday 9- Monday 12 April

Early bird concert pass is £15

Let’s face it: living in lockdown can be stressful. And when things get on top of you, nothing quite eases stress like listening to classical music– which has been proven to lower blood pressure, relieve pain and reduce anxiety. String instruments, scientifically, are the most effective at generating a positive impact on the body, making the Edinburgh Harp Festival a great option for anyone finding everything a bit overwhelming.

The 2021 festival is taking place digitally from April 9 to April 12, with a combination of concerts, courses and workshops being offered online. It is run by the Clarsach Society, which was established in Dingwall in 1931 to promote the clarsach (Celtic harp) and its music.

Attendees can watch a range of relaxing concerts from renowned harpists (one pass gains entry to all of these) or take part in an interactive workshop for musicians hoping to improve their skills, which cover a range of topics and include courses aimed specifically at children.

Zoom Murder Mystery from the Walking Theatre Company

Tickets are £9 per household via Itison

Performances on Friday-Sunday at 8pm

Performing arts companies have been some of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Even when lockdown was eased last summer, they were unable to hold any kind of live performances, with no real prospect of when theatre will be able to restart. Yet the Walking Theatre Company, based in Argyll, has found a way to bring interactive murder mysteries to the public at home via Zoom. Their ‘Live & Let Spy’ themed experience is hosted live by professional actors on Zoom and will link your household up with other wannabe detectives across the country.

Once you book your ticket you will be sent a ‘secret spy pack’ via email and told which team you will be in (allowing you to plan your fancy dress outfit accordingly, if you want to get really invested in the process). You will watch videos, interact with the host and then get split up into your teams to discuss the case and make a final decision on who you think ‘dunnit’. A great way to bring a bit of variety to a lockdown weekend.

The clocks go back this weekend: officially heralding the start of spring and the end of what, for many of us, has felt like the longest winter in memory. With news of a significant reopening of the economy from April 26, there’s plenty to look forward to.

Yet before then, there’s still a month more of lockdown for us to endure. By now you’ve probably binge-watched every series imaginable and baked enough banana bread to last a lifetime

– but the good news is that there are plenty of at-home activities running across Scotland to help you beat the lockdown blues. Here’s some of our favourites.

Virtual tour of Scotland with Glen2 Glen Tours

Starting from £10, prices vary depending on tour. Various dates throughout April depending on tour selected

One of the hardest parts about lockdown has been the strict rules around travel, preventing us from leaving our local area unless for essential purposes.

If you have been missing the chance to explore Scotland, and are well and truly fed up of the same daily walks, you might be interested in taking a virtual tour across the country.

That is what is on offer from Andrew Baxter, a professional tourist guide based in the West Highlands who founded Glen 2 Glen Tours.

Unable to run his business as normal, Andrew has been running virtual online tours throughout lockdown, with tickets offered per screen rather than per person if you want to get your children or grandchildren involved.

The tours are hosted via Zoom and make use of maps, photographs, street-view videos and storytelling, as well as opportunities to chat with guide Andrew.

A range of options are on offer: the Jacobite trail (discovering the motives and reliving the battles of the Jacobite uprising), a Harry Potter tour (exploring key locations in Edinburgh that inspired JK Rowling, as well as hopping on the Hogwarts Express to cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct and view key filming locations in the Highlands) and even a free Royal Scotland tour (following in the footsteps of Scotland’s most famous kings and queens as well as the places they called home).

Soundhouse Spotlight Gigs at Home

Tickets cost £5 per gig. On every Monday at 8pm until April 26

Nothing beats enjoying live music. But with it now being over a year since live gigs were permitted in Scotland, you could be forgiven for missing the intimate atmosphere of an in-person music performance.

Soundhouse Edinburgh are trying to replicate some of that magic at home by running a series of ‘Spotlight’ gigs, a collection of intimate concerts from folk, jazz, and Americana artists that are presented as-live and streamed online.

Emma Smith & Signy Jakobsdottir perform on March 29, Iain Morrison on April 5, Spotlight Sessions: Folk is on April 12, Dean Owens on April 19 and Mr McFalls Chamber to round off the series on April 26. Each concert costs £5, with full details on the Soundhouse website.

RSPB Networking For Nature

Free, but booking is required

Wednesday 7 April, 6pm-7.30pm

How would we get through lockdown without nature? In the darkest moments of the pandemic, getting out and about in the natural world, even if only for a short walk, proved to be a remarkably good way of lifting our spirits. If you want to find out how you can do more to help out nature within your community, the RSPB is running a special online networking event on Wednesday April 7.

The event will include community-based groups, projects and organisations that are interested in nature, particularly across the greater Glasgow area, exploring the theme of urban nature conservation.

As well as sharing expertise, the event will involve some workshop activities to identify and overcome the barriers that prevent us from taking positive actions for nature in our communities. The event is free to attend, though online booking is required, with those under 18 years old requiring the company of

a parent or guardian if they wish to join in.

Virtual Whisky Tasting with Raasay Distillery

£40 for a whisky tasting pack. Upcoming tastings running on April 8 and April 22

Over the last year or so, many of us have attempted to recreate the pub at home, with varying degrees of success. Fortunately, the Isle of Raasay Distillery is offering a way to have a sophisticated at-home whisky tasting– and all you have to do is provide the glasses.

Each ticket purchased reserves a space on your chosen virtual tasting as well as six 5cl cask strength samples, which will be dispatched to your chosen delivery address.

The tasting takes you through two Isle of Raasay spirits, peated and unpeated, which have been matured separately in three distinct cask types: Rye whiskey, fresh Chinkapin oak, and Bordeaux red wine.

You get to try a sample of each, with an expert host taking you through the flavour profiles on a Zoom call alongside other whisky aficionados. Each tasting begins at 7pm and typically lasts two hours, including questions and discussion.

Virtual Pub Quiz from Jay

Free. Live quiz on Thursday and Saturday at 8.15pm, past quizzes all available on YouTube

Admittedly, there have been a lot of pub quizzes running online during lockdown. But even if you are sick of the concept, Jay’s Virtual Quiz is sure to keep you entertained, with a boundless supply of questions on offer that span various different themes.

The eponymous host, Jay Flynn, is a former publican who began streaming quizzes when the hospitality industry had to shut down last March. He has since streamed hundreds of quizzes and raised thousands of pounds for charity, being honoured an MBE for his charitable services.

He is still going strong, more than a year on, streaming his live pub quiz every Thursday and Saturday night at 8.15pm.

If those times don’t suit then you can also access past quizzes on the ‘Jay’s Virtual Pub Quiz’ YouTube channel, where there is also a range of specialist quizzes and children’s quizzes to ensure that the whole family can get involved.