Thursday 21 December 2017

Scotland is the place to be in 2018 with a host of new openings, festivals, events and anniversaries.


From the first V&A to be opened outside London, to a brand new 90 mile scenic route through the Highlands, and a luxury floating hotel in Edinburgh with royal connections. 2018 is going to be a big year for Scotland.

Read on to find out about what is happening in 2018, including VisitScotland’s Year of Young People 2018, food and drink updates, sparkling new accommodation and amazing new attractions to check out during the year ahead.

Top Stories


Snow Roads Scenic Route, Cairngorms National Park

The Snow Roads Scenic Route is a 90 mile journey from Blairgowrie to Grantown-on-Spey, crossing the highest public road in Britain and travelling through the outstanding landscapes of the eastern Cairngorms. The road links the communities of Braemar, Ballater and Tomintoul with a range of natural and cultural attractions. Three stunning Scenic Route Installations provide new opportunities to stop and explore this wild and beautiful highland countryside.


Fingal – The Royal Yacht Britannia’s New Floating Hotel

Launching in spring 2018, this major investment by the Royal Yacht Britannia will provide the ultimate luxury experience: a floating hotel berthed at The Shore, Edinburgh. The 23 beautifully styled cabins, all named after Stevenson lighthouses, are inspired by Fingal’s rich maritime heritage. With a cabin for every occasion - guests will be able to choose their own private balcony, a duplex cabin or, for that special occasion the stunning presidential suite. All of this a short stroll from two Michelin starred restaurants in the vibrant Leith neighbourhood.


Year of Young People

In 2018, Scotland puts its young people in the spotlight, celebrating their talents, contributions and creating new opportunities for them to shine. The Year of Young People 2018 will offer even more opportunities for both locals and visitors to enjoy a trip to, and around, Scotland. From adventure breaks to road trips, camping holidays to family-friendly days out, there is a range of fantastic things to see and do for young people and their families to enjoy. A year-long programme of events and activities will also give young people in Scotland the opportunity to show the world what they are made of.


Accommodation News

Radisson Red Hotel

This new hotel philosophy connects with a millennial mindset through art, music and fashion. Opening in spring 2018, the Radisson Red hotel, located next to the SECC Hydro, will have an amazing 174 rooms to choose from. There will be a chance to enjoy great food, fine wine and craft beer in the rooftop bar, whilst taking in fantastic views of the river Clyde.


The Fife Arms Hotel, Braemar

This hotel is being restored to the splendour of its Victorian heyday. Situated in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, this historic hotel, opening summer 2018, will be reimaged as a globally acclaimed cultural destination, offering luxury accommodation across 46 bedrooms. There will be a spectacular restaurant with a wood fired grill, two bars, a fire room, library and cinema.


The Dunstane Houses Outlander trail

To celebrate the recent launch of Outlander Season 3 and the upcoming release of Outlander Season 4 next Autumn, The Dunstane Houses have created a new tour. The bespoke 2-day tours will take in key sites from the show including Midhope Castle and Blackness Castle as well as Lallybroch, Linlithgow Palace, Preston Mill, Craigmillar Castle and Hopetoun House.


New Attractions


Kirkcudbright Galleries

The new Kirkcudbright Galleries are opening 24 March 2018. The B listed, 19th century building is located on St Mary Street, in the heart of Kirkcudbright’s town centre and within the inspirational landscape of Dumfries and Galloway. The new gallery will celebrate the town’s unique artistic heritage, through a dedicated permanent exhibition gallery. This exhibition will explore the history of the artist’s colony, including why Kirkcudbright was and still is a desirable location for so many artists and creative people.


Moat Brae

In 2018, you will be able to discover the place where a legend was born, where Peter Pan began. Moat Brae – the enchanted land in Dumfries was the childhood playground of J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, and the place where he first found Neverland. The national centre for children’s literature and storytelling will be a place which promotes and encourages imagination and creativity. The attraction will include visiting exhibitions, interactive rooms and a discovery garden.


Set the date - Anniversaries

Celtic Connections’ 25th Anniversary

Returning for its 25th anniversary in 2018, Celtic Connections –Scotland’s largest winter music festival- will be filling the city of Glasgow with music and entertainment for two weeks. The opening gala celebrates the history of the festival with a variety of artists who have featured prominently over the years, reflecting such Celtic Connections hallmarks as its multi-generational breadth, its internationalism and it’s collaborative, cross-genre spirit. With pianist David Milligan – one of 1994’s original performers – as musical director, expect plenty of mixing and matching among the cast, creating a wealth of fresh connections as well as aptly session-style festivity.


Mackintosh 150th Anniversary

A major exhibition celebrating the work of one of Glasgow’s great artists will happen in 2018, to coincide with the anniversary of his birth. Little-seen Charles Rennie Mackintosh objects from the city’s collection will go on display at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum - part of a city-wide celebration of the architect and designer. His work can be seen across the city; at Scotland Street School, The Willow Tearooms and House for an Art Lover.


Muriel Spark 100th Anniversary

Led by the National Library of Scotland and Creative Scotland, with the collaboration of many more partner organisations, the Muriel Spark 100 programme celebrates the life and literary achievements of one of Scotland’s finest internationally respected writers. The programme boasts a series of events throughout 2018, including talks, exhibitions, readings, publications and screenings.


Frankenstein – 100 years of the Gothic Classic

2018 will mark 100 years since the publication of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein.  A classic work of gothic literature, which has been adapted into many films, Shelley stayed in Dundee for nearly two years, incorporating the 19th century Tayside town’s industrial society into the text.  The young writer arrived in 1812 from London looking for rest and recovery from illness. She was housed by family friend William Thomas Baxter at “The Cottage” - a decently-sized home in Dundee’s Ferry Road that had originally been constructed as the Countess of Strathmore’s dower house.  Literary fans can explore the links to the story with the help of Dark Dundee, a company that runs regular tours exploring the darker side of the city.


Time for a wee dram

Fife Whisky Festival

The first ever Fife Whisky Festival will take place in March 2018, at the Corn Exchange in Cupar. The inaugural Fife Whisky Festival will showcase the renaissance of whisky-making in Fife, bringing together whisky connoisseurs and beginners with the best whisky producers from Fife and beyond. With over 25 different exhibitors, including the Kingsbarns Distillery, Morrison and Mackay, Glen Moray, Isle of Arran and the Glasgow Distillery, there will be a huge range of whiskies to try.


Borders Distillery, Hawick

This will be the first distillery to open in the Borders for 180 years. The Borders Distillery will be opening in 2018 with a small visitor centre. The distillery is expected to produce a light, fragrant and floral style of malt whisky – a very typical Lowlands character.


Falkirk Distillery

Rosebank Single Malt was last produced in Falkirk in 1993 and reviving the style of this famous whisky is the vision of the Falkirk Distillery Company. The new distillery and visitor centre will have a traditional appearance in a modern facility. Producing its own distinctive triple distilled whisky, the new building will house a world class leading retail, restaurant and business complex.


Ardnahoe Distillery, Isle of Islay

Ardnahoe will become Islay’s ninth operational distillery. With a production capacity of just 500,000 litres of alcohol per annum, Ardnahoe will distill a classic peated style of Islay malt, using the finest barley and water from the depths of Loch Ardnahoe itself. Employing wooden washback, Scottish-made stills, traditional worm-tub condensers and the knowledge of one of the whisky industry’s most experienced Master Distillers, Ardnahoe will strive to create one of the most enchanting spirits to come out of the renowned Whisky Isle.


Holyrood Park Distillery, Edinburgh

Situated next to Holyrood Park, this city-centre distillery is located right in the heart of Edinburgh’s distilling history – on St. Leonard’s Lane. The 180 year old Engine Shed building – steeped in railway history – will be thoughtfully renovated to suit the distilling needs, while making room for the visitors. The visitor centre will be unique:  a hands-on, sensory, educational experience that will enlighten and delight people as they explore the world of flavour while touring a working distillery.

And relax…

Japanese Gardens, Cowden Castle

Located north east of Dollar, this Japanese-style garden is set within the park and woodland grounds of the former Cowden Castle estate. The garden itself occupies a relatively low-lying area close to the Cowden estate boundary wall. It is centered on an artificial lake created from what was once a tract of waterlogged ground and is secluded around much of its perimeter by higher ground, shelter-belt plantations and the mature specimen trees and shrubs of the garden itself with the notable exception of an open and panoramic outlook to the west towards the Ochill Hills.


Garden Spa, Trigony House Hotel

Trigony House Hotel will be opening its new Garden Spa in 2018. Stocked with luxury Scottish beauty brands Ishga and Pink’s Boutique, the facilities are the perfect spot for easing winter blues. With a selection of treatments ranging from Indian Head Massages to invigorating Full Body Massages. The Garden Spa also offers a range of grooming treatments, including manicures and featuring indie favourite Smith & Cult polishes to brow tidies. With an emphasis on natural products, and treatments to promote guest wellbeing, the Garden Spa is the perfect spot for a little relaxation and pampering.


Films to look out for in 2018…


Don’t miss the following new releases that include scenic filming locations in Scotland:


Outlaw King (2018) Starring Chris Pine and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, it tells the story how the great 14th Century Scottish 'Outlaw King' Robert The Bruce used cunning and bravery to defeat and repel the much larger and better equipped occupying English army.


Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Saoirse Ronan plays the titular Mary Stuart, and Margot Robbie portrays her cousin Elizabeth I.  Mary's attempt to overthrow her cousin the Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution.


Avengers: Infinity War (2018) The next film in the superhero franchise stars Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Pratt.


For more information on holidays in Scotland, please go to


Notes to editors

About VisitScotland

  • VisitScotland launched its global Spirit of Scotland campaign in 2016.  To find out more go to or join the conversation by using #ScotSpirit
  • VisitScotland’s Community site was set up for the Scottish public to help, engage and enthuse potential visitors about the country.  To get involved go to:
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, for tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to



This copy was correct at the time of going to press. VisitScotland cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information and accepts no responsibility for any error or misrepresentation.  All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or other damage caused by the reliance on the information contained herewith, or in the event of any company, individual or firm ceasing to trade, is hereby excluded.


For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

Assets to download

Download images in this article

Visit website

Download PDF version of this article