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View of Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat © Robin McKelvie

View of Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat © Robin McKelvie

It is that time of year again when we all get a bit reflective, looking back over the past year, but then also starting to think and dream about the new year to come. I’ve spent a lot of 2012 travelling around Scotland researching blogs for you to read and I’ve been keeping a keen eye out for what I think will be hot in Scotland in 2013.

Out with the Old Year

This year will be remembered for many things, not least being the year when Scotland


Perth © Robin McKelvie

committed to having a vote on its own independence in 2014. But 2012 was also the year Scotland gained a city (Perth) and it was the year of Brave, the Hollywood blockbuster that really put Scotland on the cinematic world map (see our Brave page here). Scotland also made a crucial cameo in the Bond film Skyfall. The year was also designated the Year of Creative Scotland, which did not exactly set the heather alight for many tourists or locals alike.

In with the Year of Natural Scotland

What then for 2013? Well the Scottish Government has designated it the Year of Natural Scotland. This woolly title hides what actually looks like could be a lot of fun. And so it should be given that Scotland is one of the world’s great natural playgrounds.

The Year of Natural Scotland revolves around a flurry of key themes – Natural Landscapes, Natural Built Heritage, Natural Larder, Sustainable Tourism, Natural Playground, Flora and Fauna, Art in Nature and Nature in Cities. There will be myriad events that either come under the Year of Natural banner for the first time this year or that are dedicated one offs. For piles more information on the Year of Natural Scotland just check out our comprehensive guide.

Scottish City Slickers

Glasgow Harbour

Glasgow Harbour © Robin McKelvie

Scotland’s two biggest cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow, look set to grow as tourist destinations, especially now that a flurry of new flights have recently been announced at both. In 2012 Edinburgh Airport was sold by the owners of Glasgow Airport so in 2013 expect to see even more new routes as the two airports compete head to head. Edinburgh Zoo’s pandas have just enjoyed their first anniversary. Visitor numbers are up 50% since they arrived and if you have not been yet you really should in 2013! Glasgow will have an even bigger year as it hosts the Commonwealth Games in Autumn 2014 (we’ve a comprehensive preview of the big event), with plenty of preview and promotional events in 2013.

These days urban Scotland is not just about the big hitters as Scotland’s other cities look set to

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle © Robin McKelvie

shine in 2013. Stirling has its newly renovated castle and the nearby Bannockburn battlefield is currently in the midst of a major revamp. Inverness finally feels like a wee city, rather than just the biggest town in the Highlands, with the restaurants and accommodation to go with it. Aberdeen is doing very nicely bucking the recessions with its fossil fuel and green energy industries, while Dundee I think will be a great offbeat choice for a city break in 2013 with great museums and galleries. Then there is new (or rather very old) kid on the city block, Perth, which in 2013 will be enjoying its first full year as a city.

Big Scottish Events in 2013 and a FREE App

Scotland boasts an array of first class events that you can look forward to throughout 2013. We’ve got a guide on our site to the best with information and links. Scotland has the lot from the world famous Edinburgh Festival and the Tattoo, through to the tartan pomp of the Braemar Gathering and the wonderfully random World Stone Skimming Championships. Our list goes on and on and on.

If you want to really start 2013 in style make sure to download our FREE App too for the iPhone and Android, so even when you are not online you are well connected to all things Scottish tourism related. The team here at Welcome to Scotland hope you have had a great 2012 and we look forward to continuing to help you get the most out of this great wee country in 2013. Slainte!

Looking for travel info on the go? Check out our brand new mobile website.

You can also sign up to our blog right here!

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