Eat, drink and be merry: Scotland's finest food and drink festivals

  • The List
  • 27 February 2020
Eat, drink and be merry: Scotland's finest food and drink festivals

Stranraer Oyster Festival / credit: Pete Robinson

With a full menu of festivals on offer, we take a look at some of Scotland's fresh (and bottled) produce

As the home of whisky and source of some of the planet's greatest ingredients, Scotland is world-renowned for its extraordinary heritage of food and drink. It's no wonder, then, that there are so many festivals vying for attention throughout the year.

Islay Festival of Music and Malt (22–30 May) is a celebration of the numerous distilleries that pepper the island. Many are known for their peaty whiskies (Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Bruichladdich and Caol Ila to mention just a few) with the festival a melee of distillery visits, tastings, music, dancing and more.

One of Scotland's smaller whisky regions is marked at the Campbeltown Malts Festival (19–22 May), a three-day celebration of the area's remaining distilleries: Springbank, Glengyle and Glen Scotia. The event takes in distillery tours, masterclasses, local craft stalls, live music, special bottlings and more.

The country's burgeoning gin scene is well covered, including the Falkirk Gin Social (18 Apr). Tickets enable guests the opportunity to sample from than the 20-plus gins that are exhibiting from across the world, while chatting with the various distillers and ambassadors to learn more about their tasty wares.

Fans of the bivalve have the Stranraer Oyster Festival (11–13 Sep) to look forward to. With its commitment to sustainability, shucking and eating contests, cooking demonstrations and celebrity chefs, this festival (unlike the brackish salt water Ostreidae itself) really does have legs.

Keeping it minimal and family focused is the Taste of Grampian (6 Jun), a one-day food and drink festival that allows visitors to discover and sample the wide range of high-quality food and drink products from Grampian and the North-East of Scotland. Smoked salmon, shortbread, ice-cream, roast beef and creamy fudge sit alongside drams of fine local whiskies. Live music, street performers, a motor show, children's entertainment, arts and crafts, cookery competitions, demonstrations, celebrity chefs and guests all fill out the schedule nicely.

Taking place in a stunning corner of the Fife coast is the Anstruther Harbour Festival (12–14 Jun) which revives its historic market with food and craft stalls, live music and dance events (including this year's Dunedin International Dance Festival).

Up in Aberdeenshire, the Huntly Hairst (5 Sep) is a unique annual harvest festival touting the best food and artisan produce of the north-east. Its farmers market hosts more than 50 stalls, while events include the World Stovies Championship and Room to Run, a welcome (for some) opportunity to work off all that delicious food.

And then there's FyneFest (5–8 Jun), a family-friendly beer, food and music festival situated in the glorious surroundings of Loch Fyne. Organised by the Fyne Ales team, it gives visitors a chance to enjoy stunning scenery on the west coast of Scotland over a chilled weekend, with almost 300 beers, 30 live bands and plenty of street food vendors to choose from.