Minister for External Affairs and International Development Humza Yousaf today unveiled a packed programme of events to celebrate Scotland’s Winter Festivals.
This year’s programme includes more events than ever before, designed to encourage everyone – whatever age or interest – to get involved in celebrating three key Scottish cultural dates.
Starting with St Andrew’s Day on November 30, a series of free or discounted offers will encourage Scots to take part in activities and experiences on their own doorstep and sight-see close to home.
• New for this year, the successful Visit for Free programme has been expanded to include sports centres as well as visitor attractions and community events. Famous attractions including Edinburgh’s Our Dynamic Earth, Inverness’s Highland Wildlife Park, Aberdeen’s Sports Village and Glasgow’s Tall Ships are offering free or discounted entry*.
• Restaurants, cafes and supermarkets will support St Andrew’s Day celebrations by promoting the very best seasonal ingredients from Scotland’s larder.
• Those looking to celebrate at home can access tips and recipes online at www.scotland.org/winter
• A St Andrew’s Day highlight will be Scotland Sings, a celebration of community singing that will see choirs take to the streets across the country with events in Edinburgh, Dundee, Perth and Paisley.
• Following last year’s popular event, Edinburgh Castle Esplanade will be the setting for a spectacular St Andrew’s Day celebration (event name TBC) with an evening of contemporary dance, lights and fireworks on November 30.
Starting with St Andrew’s Day and spanning Christmas, Hogmanay and Burns Night on January 25, Scotland’s Winter Festivals brings together Scots across the globe in an international celebration of our distinct culture, heritage and creativity. This year the number of events happening across Scotland has increased from 12 to 17.
Speaking as he unveiled the programme, Humza Yousaf, Minister for External Affairs and International Development, said:
“Scotland’s Winter Festivals brings together some of our most important cultural celebrations. It marks a time for Scots and Scots at heart, both at home and abroad, to celebrate Scotland’s unique heritage and distinctive culture – from Beijing to Chicago and New York to Sydney.
“The programme for 2012/13 offers a spectacular mix of traditional and unusual events that will showcase Scotland’s rich creativity. With such a variety of events on offer, there will be something for everyone to enjoy no matter where they are in the country.
“In addition to the hugely successful Visit for Free initiative, there is a groundswell of support from more attractions and businesses than ever before offering special deals for the whole family to enjoy over St Andrew’s Day celebrations.”
Paul Bush, Chief Operating Officer of EventScotland, said:
"In this Year of Creative Scotland, there are more opportunities than ever before to participate in and celebrate Scotland’s Winter Festivals season.
“From Inverness to Dumfries and Edinburgh to Aberdeen, there’s a great spread of cultural and creative events to celebrate St Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night.”
*For the full Scotland’s Winter Festivals programme, including Visit for Free offers and details of sponsored events, go to www.scotland.org/winter
Other highlights for St Andrew’s Day:
• Historic Scotland is once again running a ticket giveaway with online pre-registration for tickets required. Further details will be released in November. Visitor attractions and cultural organisations across the country will also be taking part in Visit for Free – meaning that more people will be able to enjoy free access or discounted tickets on the weekend of 30th November – 2nd December.
• A Scottish Universities’ St Andrew’s Day debate focussing on democracy and young people in 2012. Sponsored by the Scottish Government, in conjunction with the Scottish Parliament and the English-Speaking Union Scotland.
Scots the world over can also download the St Andrew’s Day free app to learn more about the history of St Andrew and get in the party mood with a guide to hosting celebrations wherever they may be.
Scotland’s Winter Festivals are funded and delivered by the Scottish Government in partnership with EventScotland, VisitScotland, Historic Scotland, Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions, Scottish local authorities, Scottish Parliament, Education Scotland and partners in the commercial sector. Event information can be found at: www.scotland.org/winter