As we slowly exit lockdown, the wonderful world of the arts is opening up – with opportunities for culture vultures all across Scotland.

North Berwick

Just far enough outside of the city, North Berwick hosts the fresh and funky Fringe By The Sea, from August 6 to 15.

The location for the combination of music, comedy, literature and talks has proved a popular antidote to the occasional stress of getting from one venue to another in the capital, even if this year it won’t be as claustrophobic.

As is always the case, big names sell out quickly, but the line-up shows that the festival has some real clout now, with a music line-up including Lulu, Eddi Reader, Basement Jaxx, Mica Paris, Peat & Diesel and The Poozies.

In comedy Ed Byrne and Janey Godley will be big draws alongside the Just The Tonic Comedy Club By The Sea with Reginald D Hunter joined by Paul McCaffrey, Tom Stade and Susie McCabe.


The written word is represented by the likes of Gordon Buchanan, Lemn Sissay, Irvine Welsh, Gail Porter and Gavin Francis.

Brian Taylor’s Lunchtime Blether will see the former BBC Scotland political editor chat convivially with figures from that world.

There are also walking tours for those who want to find out more about this historic town.

Obviously Covid-secure environments are in place, with outdoor (mostly covered) sideless marquees and tents.


This has been a summer season unlike any other at Pitlochry Festival Theatre. The 70th anniversary season has taken place in the grounds in a specially built amphitheatre on the banks of the River Tummel.

Throughout August, the Tummel will see everyone from Mr Toad to Mr Hyde. The Wind in the Willows, adapted for the stage by Mark Powell, has an impressive cast including Jane McCarry and Colin McCredie on July 21-25 and 28-31 at 2pm; July 28 at 7.30pm. August 1, 4-8, 11-15, 19-22, 25-28 at 2pm and September from 1-4, 8-12 at 2pm.


Cast members also perform A Night By The Tay, nine new works from leading Scottish playwrights on August 5, 6, 11 and 12 at 7pm, and September 2 and 3 at 7pm.

Cast member for both, Alicia McKenzie, performs Jekyll and Hyde, a monologue adaptation by Hannah Lavery that retells Stevenson’s classic tale from the perspective of the women who occupy the peripheries of the original story.

You can see this at 7pm during August on 18 (also 2pm), 26 and 28. Also showing on September 1 and 8.


One of our most cherished of our historic sites, Culloden stands as a symbol of courage and belief.

Ironically, there’s something of a fight on to protect our most important battlefield, as modern housing developments encroach on the site where many hundreds of men fell fighting for a cause they believed in.

The National Trust for Scotland is looking for the public’s help to save Culloden near Inverness for generations to come – and get fit in the process.


The Step Challenge, beginning on July 23, is a six-week sponsored walk where those taking part are asked to do 500,000 steps across those weeks and raise money for the Trust’s Fighting Fund. There’s a welcome pack and support along the way for those who sign up. There will be a medal for those who complete a sponsored two million step challenge.

It can be done anywhere, of course, but taking part will help to preserve the historic site and help the Trust to help combat future development proposals, launch new investigations into the history of the battle and the site, continue the conservation grazing programme and explore the prospect of becoming a UNESCO world heritage site.

If you want to take on the challenge yourself, email ‘Sign Me Up’ to for more details.


The latest incarnation of Hospitalfield is hoping to welcome many more visitors to Patrick Allan Fraser’s 19th-Century Arts and Crafts masterpiece, hidden off the Westway in Arbroath.

At the end of May, it reopened after completing the first phase of a five-year transformation. With a new glasshouse café, the Victorian fernery fully restored and new gardens planted to reflect the site’s 800-year history, there will also be temporary art installations.

The first was a major new outdoor art work by Mick Peter, Gerroff! (or User Feedback), reflecting works from the house and how some people are overly reverential around artworks.


The sculpture trail will be there until October 31.

Joining them until September 12 is The Judges III (2012), a major work by artist Christina Mackie. On display in the Picture Gallery among the Victorian collections, it’s described as “a sculptural assemblage featuring materials ranging from biomedical data and geological field-research to watercolour techniques and artisanal sculptures”.

Meanwhile, a new work by artist Sally Hackett is now open to view from dawn until dusk in the grounds of Hospitalfield. The artist worked with more than 400 children from Timmergreens and Muirfield Primary Schools to imagine a dream ‘therapet’: an imaginary pet with magical abilities to look after, comfort and generally make each child feel better.

It is now installed around a grand old tree within Hospitalfield’s grounds.


Until August 15, American-born artist Ilana Halperin has a solo exhibition at Mount Stuart. There is a Volcano Behind My House is part of the 20th anniversary of visual arts at the house and is inspired by the geology of the island of Bute.

Throughout the building are Halperin’s sculptures and watercolours, specially commissioned for the exhibition and referencing the “immigrant” minerals that can be found in the objects and architecture of the neo-gothic Mount Stuart House.


There are 36 watercolours in Mount Stuart’s upper gallery and for the exhibition Halperin has worked with designer and producer Bute Fabrics to create two large-scale woven textile works inspired by her field studies.

In the library, the drawing room and even the crypt, there are new works. For the latter, she has submitted a series of eroded clay bricks and Victorian drainage tiles originally made on Bute to the same process that forms stalactites in caves.


The second part of Dundee Heritage’s presentation of The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry in the High Mill at Verdant Works opens on July 22 and runs until September 12. Telling the story of Scots abroad, this is so large it is presented in two displays.

If you’re quick, you can catch the first part of this tapestry that focuses on Scotland’s connection with Europe, The Baltics and The Americas, as it closes on July 20.

Part two focuses on South Asia, Australasia, Africa and the UK.


The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry is in Dundee for the first time after a worldwide tour. Bringing together artists and communities from 34 countries across the globe, the tapestry explores the connections Scots have with the rest of the world and represents their amazing stories in 305 beautifully embroidered panels.

Scottish artist Andrew Crummy, the legendary creative mind behind the Great Tapestry of Scotland, was also one of the designers who contributed to this project.


Those of us who welcomed the return of vinyl for the fact that we could now appreciate the artwork associated with our music will enjoy Art on my Sleeves: Vol. 2, on show at Dunoon Burgh Hall from August 20 to September 12.

Following on from a successful exhibition in 2019, It’s the second instalment that comes from the archives of a local collector.


Record sleeve design has been an art form in its own right for more than 80 years. It’s a treat for music fans with its range of iconic, nostalgic, artistic and unusual record sleeves. However, it’s as much of an attraction for anyone who appreciates art, illustration, photography and graphic design. Jazz fans will enjoy the sections highlighting the designs of John Kosh and Reid Miles’ work for Blue Note records.