With activities for all to enjoy and scenery that can’t be beaten, the Highlands are Scotland’s not-so-hidden gem.
And to help shape your 2020 Highland adventure, we’ve created a list to guide your planning. With stops in Aviemore, Fort William, Aberdeen and Inverness, Caledonian Sleeper can take you on the journey of a night time to some of Scotland’s most scenic locations.
The Gathering, Inverness
The Gathering Festival returns to The Northern Meeting Park in Inverness on Saturday 30 May. The one-day festival boasts a lineup loaded with Scottish talent – including the world’s most famous pipe band, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
The family-friendly event will have a variety of stalls offering mouthwatering craft food and drink, sourced exclusively from the Highlands and Islands. In addition, a range of events will be taking place at venues and bars throughout Inverness to tie in with the festival making the city a vibrant place to spend the weekend.
Fort William Mountain Festival
The Fort William Mountain Festival is a five-day festival celebrating the mountains of Scotland – with films, exhibitions and talks from some of the world’s most exciting adventurers.
The event runs from 19 – 23 February with views of the tallest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis.
Aberdeen Restaurant Week
Celebrate the best of Aberdeen’s foodie scene with Aberdeen Restaurant Week, which runs from 24 February until 1 March. Keep an eye out for discounts, events and tastings across the city.
Each year, Aberdeen hosts a Jazz Festival in March – with jazz performances held across the city. Visit Jazz On The Green as the city comes to life on 15 March.
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Fort William
The UCI Fort William World Cup has been staged at Fort William every year since 2002. Held on 6 and 7 June, this year thousands of spectators will gather on the slopes of Aonach Mor to see the best downhill riders in the world fly down the mountain at breathtaking speeds.
The World Cup Village is the perfect place for bike fanatics and casual fans alike to mingle. There will be a selection of the biggest brands attending and all the equipment and gear you could ever need will be there for purchase. The village’s food and drink tent ensures visitors will be well fed serving a range of delicious items, including Haggis Nachos and the renowned Aonach Mor Burger.
Held on the outskirts of Inverness and with a view over the infamous Loch Ness, Belladrum is known as the Tartan Heart Festival.
A family-friendly festival, Belladrum is home to a number of stalls serving locally-sourced goods. There will be performances from global artists as well as local up and coming artists and traditional Scottish music.
This year’s festival is held from 30 July – 1 August.
Climb Ben Nevis
Translated from Gaelic, Ben Nevis means “mountain with its head in the clouds.” This name is fitting for the highest mountain in the United Kingdom, standing at a considerable 1344 metres. The mountain represents a challenging but massively rewarding ascent for the thousands who complete it each year.
There are a variety of routes to the top that offer different levels of climb and changing views. However, it is the summit of Ben Nevis that is truly special, offering incredible views that stretch for miles.
Those who don’t fancy the climb can take the gondola and enjoy similar views of the beautiful Nevis range. Ben Nevis distillery is the perfect place to head as a celebration for those who have completed the climb, located around 7 minutes away from the mountain.
Most Highland cities and towns are home to Highland Games – something that has been part of Scotland’s culture for hundreds of years.
With Scottish produce, Highland dancing, stalls, and events including cycling, races and the caber toss, it’s a truly Scottish experience. Games are usually held between May and September.