Scotland's Winter Festivals

St Andrew’s Day last weekend (30 November – 2 December) saw tens of thousands mark Scotland’s national day by attending specially arranged activities across the country.

Early St Andrew’s Day results include:
•    Over 6,000 revellers attended the St Andrew’s Day Celebrations at the Castle enjoying an amazing show of contemporary dance, fireworks, pipes and drums against the iconic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.  
•    Almost 30,000 locals and visitors in Glasgow descended upon the central hub of George Square to join in the Glasgow Loves St Andrew’s Day celebrations – from ceilidh dancing to storytelling and live music the party was in full swing.  
•    More than 8,500 visitors attended The Saltire 2012 in East Lothian over St Andrew’s weekend
•    26,000 tickets were given out for some of Historic Scotland’s most famous and stunning historic locations including Stirling’s National Wallace Monument, Edinburgh Castle and Melrose Abbey

Scots embraced the Sightsee Closer to Home push as Scotland’s Winter Festivals’ Visit For Free programme was extended to include more venues than ever before, including restaurants and sports centres.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop commented on the success of the weekend:

“St Andrew’s Day is the perfect opportunity for Scots and Scots at heart around the world to come together and celebrate all that’s great about our nation – our thriving contemporary culture and music, our rich heritage and our outstanding food and drink.

“It was great to see so many people getting into the spirit of the occasion right across the country with tens of thousands of people marking our National Day. This year’s spectacular mix of traditional and unique events meant there was something for everyone to enjoy, celebrating in true Scottish style!”

Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Scotland said:

“We are delighted that more than 9,000 people visited Edinburgh Castle, St Andrews Castle and Cathedral, which were open for free on Friday to celebrate St Andrew’s day.

“Historic Scotland gave away 26,000 tickets to more than 40 of its attractions for the St Andrew’s weekend ticket giveaway to people who pre-registered on our website.  This was to give people the opportunity to get out and about and explore the fascinating heritage attractions we have in Scotland from Stirling Castle, to Maeshowe and Arbroath Abbey.”

Following the groundswell of support for Scotland’s national day, Christmas takes centre stage, event organisers are gearing up to see in 2013 with events taking place the length and breadth of the country.  Now in its 20th year, Edinburgh’s famous Hogmanay will kick off with a Torchlight Procession on Sunday 30th December and will be followed by the World Famous Street Party and Concert where revellers can enjoy live music from Simple Minds, The View, The Maccabees and Reverend and the Makers to name a few.

Pete Irvine, Artistic Director of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, said:

“St Andrews Day is a great start to Scotland’s Winter Festivals, and we are now looking forward to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.  With three days of music, dancing and spectacular street theatre, not forgetting Dogmanay, Your Lucky Day (a whole Festival in one afternoon), spectacular Midnight Fireworks and the world’s largest rendition of Auld Lang Syne, Edinburgh once again is the home of Hogmanay.”

Glasgow will also host a not-to-be-missed Hogmanay shindig with its Hogmanayday! Ceilidh while Scottish favourite The Proclaimers will take to the stage in Stirling to see out 2012 against the magnificent backdrop of Stirling Castle. 

For more information on the events scheduled for Hogmanay or for top tips on how to host a party of your own visit

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