St Andrew’s Day – events in Scotland on and beyond
Happy St Andrew’s Day! To celebrate all things Scottish – shortbread and whisky being our faves, natch – we’re sending everyone up there for a St Andrew’s break. Unless of course you already live in Scotland, in which case you won’t have far to go (and we shall remind you here to wrap up warm).
There’s all sorts of going on in Scotland from St Andrew’s Day until the New Year – we’ve put together a few of the best events and where to stay nearby, as well as some of our top Scottish sites for winter:
St Andrews Festival, St Andrews, Fife
You can’t have a St Andrew’s celebration without a couple of days at this year’s St Andrews Festival…and it all wraps up this weekend. Get fast to Fife for drama productions, a pipe band-led torchlight parade, fiddlers, food, whisky tasting concerts and ceilidhs. Our feets are tapping already.
Stay: Lochlands Caravan Park in nearby Angus has been fully facelifted for 2012 and has hardstanding pitches with electric hook-up for tourers and motorhomes; blag a week off work and use the site as a base for exploring the Angus Glens, Dundee and Aberdeen after the festival. Pitches start from £22 a night for up to eight people, with parking for unlimited cars included.
Christmas at the Castle, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a lusty yell of ‘Bah humbug’, so budding Scrooges should drag themselves along to the Christmas Festival at Dean Castle Country Park to celebrate Charles Dickens’s two hundredth birthday (that’s even older than Bilbo Baggins). There’ll be Dickens characters wandering around the castle, festive films and Santa’s grotto for the, er, kids. And there’s free entry – even Scrooge might have approved of that one.
Stay: Muirkirk Caravan Park in Ayrshire has pitches for tents, trailer tents, tourers and motorhomes, with a large field also available for rally groups. There’s a licensed bar on site which is open on weekends and bank holidays. Pitches are hardstanding or grass, with optional electric hook-up, and start from £12 a night.
Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
Onto to Hogmanay now, if only because it gives us the chance to say ‘FIREBALL’ very loudly, and because these fireballs will be ceremonised at the seaside. The Fireballs Ceremony has been going on in the seaside town of Stonehaven for centuries, with the balls flung into the harbour at the ceremony’s end. All this, and fireworks, pipe music and street entertainment too. Yay.
Stay: Deeside Holiday Park is just outside Aberdeen, less than ten miles away from the fireball action, and has a games room, children’s playground and a pub next door. Non-electric grass pitches start from £14 a night. If you’d rather have a more traditional Hogmanay and go to Edinburgh – because everyone should do Hogmanay in Edinburgh at least once – there are camping pod ‘Kocoons’ at Harvieston Huts just ten miles from the city, on a country mansion site complete with Jacuzzi. Kocoons start from a mere £18 a night for two, guaranteed to get anyone in a party mood.
If you can’t make any of the above events, well, you should go to Scotland this winter anyway. Here are some of our top sites with availability for December:
eco-camp, Argyll: Set on the peaceful Isle of Lismore, eco-camp has sweeping sea views towards Ben Nevis, a communal campfire area and hire available of kayaks, DVDs and game packs. It’s one of our teeny sites, with just five pitches, and is set up to be as eco-friendly as possible, with compost toilets and solar showers. The eco-camp family camping pod is available in December from £35.10 a night.
Ecocamp Glenshee, Perthshire: Another Scottish Ecocamp: this one’s in Perthshire among the Glenshee mountains in the middle of the Cateran Trail, and has six heated pods which come with plump mattresses and fluffy blankets. The pods are set alongside a heated shower and loo block and a traditional stone bothy with sofas and stove. Like the Oban ecocamp, Ecocamp Glenshee is dog-friendly, allows campfires and welcomes student groups. Pods start from £40 a night.
Braidhaugh Holiday Park, Perthshire: More mountain views at Braidhaugh, on the banks of the River Earn and a short stroll to the town of Crieff. And you can stay in a wooden wigwam, with a telly, and bring your dog. The Braidhaugh wigwams are heated and also come with a fridge, kettle, toaster and microwave, with a fire pit outside. They start from £36 a night for two adults in December.
Clashwhannon Caravan Park, Dumfries and Galloway: Fishing, birdwatching, an on-site bar with top grub, and only having to bring your rucksack – these are a few of our favourite things. They’re all on hand at this Stranraer site, where you can book a deluxe or super deluxe two-bedroom caravan, all fully-equipped and including bedding, gas and electricity. Two nights for up to six people starts from £130. And then of course you can get the ferry over to Ireland – it’s only a few months until St Patrick’s Day...