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Travel: From the year of stories to exhibitions, 2022 will be a new chapter for tourism in Scotland

© SYSTEMNorth West Highlands Geopark
North West Highlands Geopark

Scotland is a magical place. And, after a turbulent few years, the country is gearing up for a spellbinding summer, with a host of events to attract staycationers and visitors from further afield.

Here, we look ahead to an exciting few months…

Year of Stories 2022

From Whisky Galore to Inspector Rebus, fantastic fiction inspired by or created in Scotland is being celebrated as part of VisitScotland’s Year of Stories.

Every culture has its tales to tell but Scotland can boast a particularly rich heritage of storytelling to draw on.

These include our local tales, oral traditions, iconic books, and captivating movies.

Visitors can follow in the footsteps of Sir Walter Scott, explore the lands that inspired smash-hit time-travelling series Outlander, and find a great read in Wigtown Booktown.

The Burrell Collection

Following a multi-million-pound refurbishment, The Burrell Collection, set against the beautiful backdrop of Glasgow’s largest green space, Pollok Country Park, is to reopen in March.

The refurbished building, with new gallery spaces and displays, will be an exemplar of sustainable, low-carbon design, according to Glasgow Life.

One of the largest personal art collections ever amassed, the Burrell can claim to represent five millennia of art and history.

The assortment includes work from the late medieval and early Renaissance periods, Chinese and Islamic art, and much, much more. The museum’s gallery space will have increased by 35%, allowing important objects unseen for decades to finally go on show.

New displays will give visitors a better understanding of the artworks, the people who made them, and some of the people who have owned them.

Highlights include Chinese pottery and porcelain produced over 5,000 years; paintings by important 19th Century French artists including Manet, Cézanne and Degas; medieval treasures including stained glass, arms and armour, and more than 200 tapestries and carpets, regarded as among the finest in the world.

The Famous Blacksmiths Shop, Gretna Green

Synonymous with runaway weddings since 1754, Gretna Green remains a magical place to visit. The Famous Blacksmiths Shop will unveil its new Gretna Green Experience in April.

Visitors can learn about the thrill of the chase, meet the Anvil Priests, and learn more about the history of enduring love that is woven into the site.

Jack Vettriano: The Early Years

An eagerly awaited exhibition of early paintings by Jack Vettriano will go on display at Kirkcaldy Galleries between June and October. The exhibition will include up to a dozen paintings produced by Vettriano before he decided to become a full-time artist, and signed Jack Hoggan, his birth name. Methil-born Vettriano’s work remains highly sought after and he continues to support younger artists.

World’s first Unesco trail

Launched last October, Scotland is home to the world’s first Unesco trail bringing together some of the country’s most iconic, diverse and culturally significant sites.

It connects 13 different Unesco destinations, reaching from the biosphere in the south of Scotland to the island of St Kilda in the west, the North West Highlands Geopark, and the creative cities in the east, and much more in between.

The trail, say campaigners, is a proud testament to the richness and scope of Scotland’s awe-inspiring nature, its ancient and compelling history, the vibrancy of its culture, and its proud scientific and technological legacy.

The trail encourages visitors to slow down, stay longer, and make sustainable travel choices.

City of Crafts

Adding to the growing list of Scotland’s world heritage cities and sites, Perth has become the first city in the UK to be awarded status as a Unesco City of Crafts and Folk Arts.

With its crafts heritage stretching back to the early 16th Century, Perth and Kinross today has a wealth of creative talent and a growing creative industry.

Testament to this creativity is Perth’s plan to include craft as part of plans to meet its net zero target. Perth will join the Unesco trail in 2023.

2022 is a bumper year for sport fans. Glasgow hosts the UCI Track Cycling Nations Cup in April, with the Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William a month later, while in golf St Andrews stages the 150th Open in July.