There's plenty going on across the country in August if you want to avoid the madness of the Edinburgh Fringe festivities. Here's ten of the top events to add to your diary for this month...

1) 2023 UCI Cycling Championships

3 – 13 August, across mainly Glasgow

The world’s greatest riders are due to descend on Scotland for the biggest cycling event ever held – the UCI Cycling World Championships 2023. All disciplines of cycling are represented in this celebration of two-wheeled propulsion, including BMX Freestyle Park, BMX Freestyle Flatland and Trials at Glasgow Green, and BMX Racing at Glasgow BMX Centre. Indoor track cycling will take place in Glasgow at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the road cycling events follow routes across central and southern Scotland ending in Glasgow, while the mountain biking events will take place at the Meccas of the sport in Scotland, Fort William and Glentress Forest.

2) Connect Festival

25 – 27 August, Royal Highland Showground, Edinburgh

The festival of music, comedy, art and wellbeing returns this August with Primal Scream, Fred Again, and Boygenius headlining the three-day event held at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh. Other big names involved include Franz Ferdinand, American four-piece Future Islands, Edinburgh band Young Fathers, and Irish singer-songwriter Róisín Murphy.

Connect festival was launched in Edinburgh last year after previously being held at Inverary Castle in 2007 and 2008. As well as live music, the event places emphasis on celebrating comedy, spoken word and wellness. There is also a full programme of children activities, a Makers Market supporting local artisans, and Chef Barry Bryson serves up his chef’s table concept menu.

The National:

3) Blair Castle Horse Trials

24 – 27 August, Blair Atholl, Perthshire

Long established as the country’s leading equestrian event, the Blair Castle International Horse Trials returns to Perthshire for its 33rd year. The four-day event hosts national and international competitions, British showjumping, Pony Club Games, The Highland Pony Society, and Sunday Showing competitions. Ideal for a family day out, children under 12 get free entry with a paying adult. The event has something to keep all ages entertained with a shopping village, award-winning food trucks and catering, children’s fair, and the Land Rover off-road experience. The ‘Heart of the Highlands’ area space boasts unique offerings from local, small Scottish businesses. The historic surroundings of Blair Castle on Atholl Estates create a serene backdrop for this spectacular celebration of all things equestrian

4) Cowal Highland Gathering

24 – 26 August, Hillfoot St, Dunoon

As Highland Games go, it doesn’t get much bigger than the Cowal Highland Gathering, better known as the Cowal Games. The annual event attracts around 23,000 visitors and competitors each year – it’s quite the spectacle. Held in Dunoon, the games host the World Highland Dancing Championships with many international contenders taking part. There’s also the Cowal music tent, the pipe band championships (the oldest pipe band competition in the world), a live ceilidh tent, kids entertainment, and an evening piping parade. On Friday August 25 experience the Gig at the Gathering event which features an array of lively Scottish folk/trad bands.

5) Pittenweem Arts Festival

5 – 12 August, Pittenweem Fife

Founded in 1982 by local artists, the Pittenweem Arts Festival attracts a loyal following of visitors each year to the picturesque coastal village. Over eight days in August, art enthusiasts are offered an intimate opportunity to explore a variety of exhibitions, workshops, talks, evening performances, and kids’ events. The festival celebrates arts and culture with exhibitions taking place in a variety of locations such as local houses, studios, galleries, and public outdoor spaces throughout the Fife village. Pittenweem undergoes a transformation as visitors and artists mingle in the streets creating a friendly, inspiring, and colourful atmosphere.

A stewarded car park is open over the eight days for visitor parking.


6) Gin and Rum Festival, Glasgow

Friday 18 and Saturday 19 August, The Briggait, 141 Bridgegate, Glasgow

The boom in the gin industry has been well-documented in recent years, with artisan distillers popping up across the length and breadth of the country. Now it’s rum’s turn to experience a similar renaissance. You can try some of the very best at Glasgow’s own gin and rum festival, where more than 120 spirits from around the world will be available to sample at specially themed bars. The festival atmosphere will be soundtracked by DJs and live entertainment.

The National:

7) Giffnock Beer Festival

Saturday 26 August

GHA Rugby Club, Braidholm Road, Glasgow

What could be better than drinking a cold beer in the sunshine? Drinking several, of course. Giffnock Beer Festival makes a welcome return to the GHA Rugby Club at the end of the month, where you can enjoy a plethora of quality Scottish beers and ciders. If you aren’t a fan of beer then fear not – there will also be a gin and prosecco tent and plenty of cocktails on offer.

Attendees will also be able to enjoy freshly made food as well as a range of entertainment and funfair rides for kids (who are welcome along, though dogs are not). The festival is a community-focused event, with all proceeds going back to local sport in the southside.

8) World Pipe Band Championships, Glasgow

Friday 18 and Saturday 19 August

Glasgow Green

The biggest pipe band competition in the world returns to Glasgow for a two-day extravaganza of music and celebration of Scottish culture. Friday plays host to the qualifying rounds, involving bands from across the world, while Saturday will see the ultimate winners crowned. Last year a Northern Irish band pipped the 2019 winners Inveraray Pipe Band to the post … will a Scottish band be able to reclaim the top spot in 2023?

9) Family Fun Weekend at Crathes Castle

Friday 18- Sunday 20 August

Crathes Castle, Banchory, Aberdeenshire

427-year-old Crathes Castle provides a memorable outing with its royal connections, turrets and stories of resident ghosts. But this August, younger visitors can enjoy fun-filled day out as the castle hosts its very own family extravaganza. A wristband offers unlimited access to bouncy castles and a special fun run, as well as a chance to take part in the popular ‘Hungry Hippo’ inflatable challenge. Four people (kids or adults) will compete to run to the centre of the inflatable to collect as many coloured balls as they can, before being pulled back by a bungee rope attached to their belt. Fun, and falling over, is guaranteed.

The National:

10) Mull of Kintyre Festival

Wednesday 9-Sunday 13 August

Campbeltown, Kintyre, Argyll and Bute

Known to all as MOK Fest, the Mull of Kintyre Festival offers a eclectic mix of concerts, ceilidhs, parades and cultural tours in the stunning surroundings of Kintyre. Musical events will take place across five days in various locations in Campbeltown as the festival celebrates its 30th anniversary. Headliners at the 2023 outing are popular contemporary Celtic tunesmiths Skipinnish, plus Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes and the Fiona Hunter trio, but the festival
showcases a diverse range of genres.