Guides / Guide

Things to do in Scotland this January

Our top picks of events happening in cities throughout the country.

With its rugged landscapes and dramatic coastlines, Scotland is amazing at any time of year ­– and its cities are full of character too.

There’s Edinburgh with its age-old castle and enchanting Royal Mile, as well as its fabulous theatre scene and the Fringe. Home to some of the UK’s best live music venues, Glasgow is always buzzing with energy while history comes alive in the ancient capital of Perth. Plus, from Aberdeen and Inverness to towns in the Highlands, you’ll discover culture and arts, festivals, outdoor adventure and much more.

No matter where you choose to spend your time, Scottish cities boast an exciting mix of entertainment each month – and here’s just a small selection of what’s on offer in January.


Spotlight on: Trying something new

Hurray, you’ve survived the festive season! As you get ready to head back to work with the new year stretching out ahead, you’ll want to put some fun stuff on your calendar. In fact, this is the perfect month to do something you’ve never done before… or something you don’t do often enough. So here are our top live entertainment suggestions – which may also help you combat the January blues.

Been clubbing lately? If you weren’t out partying on New Year’s Eve start the first day of the new decade by heading over to Maximum Pressure: NYD Edition 2020 at SWG3 in Glasgow. With the likes of Slam, Dax J and I Hate Models performing, it’s sure to be a blowout bash.

Want to give ice skating a go? There’s nothing more magical than gliding under the stars at M&D’s On Ice. Located in Motherwell at M&D’s – Scotland’s Theme Park, the rink is only open until 5 January so strap your skates on and get over there soon.

Speaking of ice, you could also kick off the new year by heading to Glasgow’s intu Braehead Arena for an exciting game of hockey. The Glasgow Clan are having a great season so join the Purple Army and support the team when they face Sheffield Steelers on 5 January, Coventry Blaze on 10 January, Belfast Giants on 18 January and Fife Flyers on 26 January.

Everyone should add more laughter to their life, so why not check out a stand-up gig this month? Returning in 2020, Josh Widdicombe will have you doubled over at King’s Theatre Glasgow on 25 January and Aberdeen Music Hall on 26 January with his latest tour, Bit Much…

 

You can enjoy one of the most heart-warming productions of all time this month. Disney’s The Lion King roars into Edinburgh Playhouse from 14 January – 29 March. Set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains and featuring the evocative rhythms of Africa, this worldwide theatrical phenomenon is sure to ignite your passion for the stage.

Escape to another era and have a grand experience at the Johann Strauss Gala. The gilded ballrooms of old Vienna will be brought to life on 12 January at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Hear everything from the Radetzky March to the Blue Danube Waltz while elegant dancers with billowing gowns whirl about flamboyantly.

Did you see when Kelvin Fletcher from the 17th series of Strictly Come Dancing was crowned last month? Now here’s your chance to experience the television series in a whole new way. Strictly Come Dancing – The Live Tour is sashaying into P&J Live in Aberdeen on 21 – 22 January. Stacey Dooley, the 2018 TV show winner, is returning to host the tour for the first time, and she’ll be joined by a selection of celebrities, professional dancers and judges from the beloved BBC One show.

 

January is also a great month to listen to new music. With his single Lonely If You Are just out, American country music singer Chase Rice is crossing the pond with his The Pint Of Anything tour, which stops at St Luke’s Glasgow on 11 January.

To discover more new artists check out our New For 2020 series here – plus find loads more new experiences and fun stuff to fill your month in Scotland and all around the UK with our Concerts & ToursClub Nights, Sport, Comedy and Days Out guides.


Other things to do

Make 2020 the beginning of a great decade by kicking off the year with some unforgettable live entertainment.

You’re in for a fantastic night with Alan Thomson’s All Stars, a party band known for playing classic rock’n’roll covers. Catch Alan with Jeff Ross, Jim Drummond, Al Brown and Suzi Chunk performing Backstage at The Green Hotel in Kinross on 1 January.

Celebrate 100 years of fun at the IRN-BRU Carnival which runs from 1 – 12 January at the SEC Centre in Glasgow. There is truly something for everyone here with over 65 attractions including thrill rides, game stalls, inflatables and much more!

See the first ever stage adaptation of Grandpa’s Great Escape, the No.1 bestselling children’s book by David Walliams, when it comes to The SSE Hydro in Glasgow on 3 January.

Known for their retro-inspired rock, get ready to bop ’til you drop when Showaddywaddy stops at Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline on 18 January.

Legendary Sheffield-born singer and songwriter Paul Carrack is appearing at Glasgow’s SEC Armadillo on 19 January. The former frontman of Ace, Squeeze and Mike + The Mechanics returns to the road with his six-piece band this month as part of the 20/20 tour, supporting his recently released album The Best of LIVE: 1995 – 2020.

Los Angeles alt-rockers The Mowgli’s are coming to Glasgow’s Stereo on 19 January.

Also on tour this month are the Kaiser Chiefs, who are arriving at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on 22 January, while ScHoolboy Q will be playing tracks from his latest album, CrasH Talk, at O2 Academy Glasgow on 25 January.

Texas pop punks Waterparks are stopping at SWG3 in Glasgow on 26 January during their 2020 UK tour.

Plus don’t miss Bombay Bicycle Club with support from The Big Moon and Liz Lawrence at Glasgow’s Barrowland from 28 – 29 January or London hip hop duo Krept & Konan at SWG3 in Glasgow on 29 January.

Holiday magic is still alive in Scotland… oh yes it is! If you didn’t have time to see a panto before Christmas, treat yourself this month.

Join the wacky sing-along escapade in The Magical Adventures Of Pinocchio at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre from 2 – 12 January. Liam Dolan stars as the hilarious Jiminy Cricket while Stephen Purdon plays Pinocchio.

The big top of panto dreams, Goldilocks And The Three Bears, is playing at King’s Theatre in Edinburgh from 7 – 19 January. See Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott in this wacky re-imagining of the classic bedtime story turned into a circus adventure with loads of magic, music and mayhem.

In addition, Funbox’s show Trouble In Toy Town is now playing and someone is up to “snow” good! Bring your little ’uns to watch it at Howden Park Centre in Livingston on 4 – 5 January.

Of course, if you like to laugh there are plenty of stand-up gigs that will have you laughing uncontrollably this month.

American comedian Theo Von, best known for his podcast This Past Weekend, is bringing his Dark Arts Tour to O2 Academy Glasgow on 8 January.

Theo Von

Hapless clairvoyant Clinton Baptiste is also back with The Paranormalist Returns! See him conjure up laughs at The Stand Up Comedy Club in Glasgow on 20 January as he takes you on a hilarious yet touching journey through his life and out the other side beyond the celestial curtains.

Two legends are joining together in An Evening with Peter Latchford & Danny McGrain on 10 January at Glasgow’s Celtic Park. Be there as they share memories as well as answer your questions on all things Celtic!

ICW has a big evening of Fight Club set this month for wrestling fans at Glasgow Garage on 19 January.

Football fans, there’s action for you too! Watch Celtic FC take on Ross County on 25 January at Glasgow’s Celtic Park.

Did you miss seeing Rod Stewart on his 2019 winter dates? Check out Some Guys Have All The Luck, a musical production celebrating his life and career at Dundee Caird Hall on 31 January. Starring Paul Metcalfe, it features a fantastic live band and will take you through Rod’s humble street busking beginnings through to worldwide superstardom.


Live music venues

Looking for a gig to see? From arenas and world-class concert halls to historic theatres and hole-in-the-wall bars, we’ve rounded up some of January’s music offerings as a starting point.

Stadium and arena shows:

Slipknot

Mid-sized venues with big atmosphere:

New music to have on your radar:


Iconic attractions

Scotland is famous for many things – from historic castles and bagpipe playing, to spirits like whisky and the Loch Ness monster. Indeed there’s a lot of tradition not to be missed in January around this beautiful country.

Take in scenic views during a Blackness Castle And Three Bridges Cruise with Forth Boat Tours. Departing daily from Hawes Pier in South Queensferry, Blackness Castle has been featured in Outlander and Outlaw King, while the three Forth bridges are a jaw-dropping sight and engineering marvel from the water.

At M&D’s – Scotland’s Theme Park in Motherwell discover Amazonia. All ages will enjoy taking a walk on the wild side while exploring this indoor rainforest packed full of exotic animals – including monkeys, snakes, frogs, tarantulas, bats, kinkajou and more. There’s even a programme called Be A Keeper For The Day that lets you help feed and handle them.

 

Glasgow’s annual folk, roots and world music festival, Celtic Connections, is back from 16 January – 2 February. It celebrates Celtic music and its connections to cultures around the world with over 2,100 international musicians descending on Glasgow for 18 days of concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, workshops and free events.

Scotland’s biggest Burns Night party is Big Burns Supper, an 11-day festival in Dumfries. The town is actually the final resting place of poet Robert Burns, the national bard. Running from 22 January – 2 February, Big Burns Supper takes place in bars, art galleries, museums and the Spiegeltent while featuring a line-up of incredible performers including Hue & Cry, Turin Brakes and the traditional quartet Skerryvore.

The annual National Whisky Festival is set for 25 January at Glasgow’s SWG3. Enjoy exploring two tasting floors in the TV Studio and Galvanizers rooms, with samples from 40 of the most exciting names in the industry as well as live entertainment and some hearty eats.

Scottish Dance Theatre, the country’s leading dance company, will present an extraordinary programme at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre on 29 January featuring the works of two acclaimed choreographers: Process Day by Sharon Eyal and The Circle by Emanuel Gat.

Immerse yourself in the sporting history of Celtic Park in Glasgow by going on a stadium tour on 31 January. You’ll get to visit the dressing room, tunnel, dugout and more!


You can do all this and more in Scotland this January. For full details, head to our Scottish Cities Guide.

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