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15 Scottish summer festivals with a difference

Refugee Festival Scotland (Iman Tajik)
Refugee Festival Scotland (Iman Tajik)

IF the likes of Glastonbury and T in the Park aren’t your thing then fear not – there’s an eclectic array of festivals happening this summer in Scotland. From events celebrating all things foodie to the perfect weekend for bookworms, there are plenty of unique events to fill your calendar with.

Festival of Museums

Festival of Museums 2017 (4)

There are more than 130 events are happening across Scotland’s museums and galleries from Friday 19th to Saturday 21st May. From getting crafty to exploring your local museum after-hours, the fest has a rich variety of activities and events to choose from.

When: 19th – 21st May

Foodies Festival 

Visitors crowd copy

The UK’s biggest food festival is coming to Edinburgh this August and has a fab line-up in store for visitors, including Masterchef 2016 Champion Jane Devonshire and Michelin-starred chef Marcello Tully. Foodies can enjoy afternoon tea, browse the artisan market and sip cocktails. Brave visitors can even enter the Chilli Eating Competition.

Where: Inverleith Park, Edinburgh

When: 4th – 6th August

Price: Adult 3-day ticket £20; Concession 3-day ticket £16, Day tickets adult £14, Concession £10 (Except Fridays – Adult £10, Concession £8)

Boswell Book Festival 

Outgoing Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman
Outgoing Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman

With a programme starring ex-British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, Bake Off starlet Flora Sheddon and actor Nigel Havers, this festival at the picturesque Dumfries House is a must for bookworms.

Where: Dumfries House, Cumnock, KA18 2NJ

When: 12th – 14th May


West End Fest 

West End Fest

From watching the Taming of the Shrew against the lovely summery backdrop of Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens to enjoying some musical entertainment at Kelvingrove Bandstand, the West End Fest programme is choc-full of great ideas for spending your June days.

When: 2nd – 25th June

Where: Various locations around Glasgow’s West End

Spirit of Skye Fest 

Gary M

The festival on the Isle of Skye offers visitors the chance to take part in Talisker Whisky masterclasses, gin masterclasses, cocktail tastings and real ale masterclasses with a culinary twist. Among those making an appearance in the Chef’s Theatre will be Gary Maclean (winner of Masterchef The Professionals) and Scott Davies (Head Chef at The Three Chimneys).

The two day extravaganza will also feature some fabulous live music and traditional Scottish ceilidhs.

When: 16th – 17th June

Where: Aros, Portree, Isle of Skye


Largs Food Fest


Cooking demonstrations, face painting, magicians, live music and seminars will all be on offer at Largs Food Festival, as well as lots of stalls boasting an array of delicious hot food.

Where: Largs Green on the Promenade 

When: 27th – 28th May; 11am – 6pm


Potfest, Scone Palace. (Graeme Hart, Perthshire Picture Agency)
Potfest, Scone Palace (Graeme Hart, Perthshire Picture Agency)

Celebrate ceramics and take in a wonderful selection of pottery gems in the stunning grounds of Scone Palace.

Where: Scone Palace,  Perth, PH2 6BD

When: June 9th – 11th

Price: Adults £5; Kids go free


Borders Book Festival 

Borders Book Festival (Lloyd Smith)
Borders Book Festival (Lloyd Smith)

Judy Murray and Melvyn Bragg head up a seriously impressive line-up at this year’s Borders Book Festival.

Where: Harmony Garden, Melrose, TD6 9PX

When: 15th – 18th June

Juniper Festival


The Juniper Festivals are a great place to come and meet the people behind gin production and to enjoy samples from each brand. The exhibitors at Juniper Fest exhibitors showcase the best of local and international products, and the huge choice of gins available.


When: 2nd – 4th June

Where: Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL


When: 9th – 10th June

Where: SWG3, Studio Warehouse, 100 Eastvale Place, Glasgow, G3 8QG

Price: £21.50

Southern Fried Festival 

Nick Lowe

Perth’s festival of American Roots Music, the Southern Fried Festival is something a little different for music lovers who’d like to avoid the chart music at mainstream festivals or traditional Scottish music at smaller Scottish fests.

Where: Perth Concert Hall, Mill Street, Perth PH1 5HZ

When: 27th – 30th July

Edinburgh Festival of Cycling

Cycle Flâneur - Edinburgh Festival of Cycling - Sun 19 June 2016 - The Meadows, Edinburgh (photographer Andy Catlin •

Learn from famed cyclists, take in a scenic tour of Edinburgh or get involved in a fun family bike ride. The fifth Festival of Cycling is coming and will make a refreshingly sporty alternative to Edinburgh’s many art and theatre festivals.

Where: Edinburgh

When: 8th – 18th June


Fyne Fest 

Berryliner and glass

If you like craft beer, fine food and great music – you’ll love Fyne Fest!

When: 2nd – 4th June

Where: Fyne Ales, Achadunan, Cairndow, Argyll, PA26 8BJ

Price: £60

Open the Door: Scottish Women Writer’s Fest 

GWL (c) Keith Hunter Photography
GWL  (Keith Hunter Photography)

Taking the form of a ‘literary afternoon tea’, Open the Door will be heaven for keen readers who’d like to chat about their passion for books over a cuppa and baked goodies.

When: 13th May, 1pm – 4pm

Where: Glasgow Women’s Library, 23 Landressy Street, Glasgow G40 1BP

Price: £5 – £10




Dunbar’s festival of words is a magical mix of singer songwriters, poets and writers and is sure to treat visitors to an inspiring, fun-filled three days by the sea.

Where: Dunbar

When: 19th – 21st May

Refugee Festival Scotland

(Iman Tajik)
(Iman Tajik)

Refugee Festival Scotland celebrates the contribution refugees make to life in Scotland and the welcome shown by local people. The festival features visual arts, music, dance, storytelling, food and drink and more, and encourages people to connect with each other, regardless of culture and backgrounds.

Where: Scotland-wide

When: 20th June – 2nd July



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