Top 10 Music Festivals in Scotland for 2017

With the absence of two of Scotland’s largest music festivals, T in the Park and the Wickerman Festival in 2017, music fans will need to look elsewhere to get their fix. Thankfully, Scotland has an enormous range of festivals on the horizon, with interests as diverse as folk, jazz, rock and pop comfortably catered for. Read on for our run-down of the top 10 festivals north of the border in 2017.

1. Montrose Music Festival

When: 26th – 28th May 2017
Where: Montrose, Angus

Held in a variety of venues across the small town of Montrose in Angus, the Montrose Music Festival, or ‘MoFest’ as it is affectionately known, has been home to perhaps the largest musical diversity in this list since its inception in 2008. The lineup this year features West Coast old timers The Beach Boys.

2. Shetland Folk Festival

When: 27th – 30th April 2017
Where: Shetland, Northern Isles

Though by no means the only festival on the list to feature folk, Shetland Folk Festival is the most prestigious venue on the Scottish folk calendar. The journey itself will be an adventure but when you arrive you’ll be richly rewarded with some of the biggest names in both British and International folk music. Membership of the Shetland Folk Festival Society is a must to make the most of your trip.

3. Doune the Rabbit Hole

When: 18th – 20th August 2017
Where: Cardross Estate, Stirlingshire

A small, independent affair, Doune the Rabbit Hole has been a must visit for anyone who likes their music with a side of the arts since it began in 2010. Theatre, DIY arts and spoken word are all well represented.

4. Party at the Palace

When: 12th – 13th August 2017
Where: Linlithgow, West Lothian

Looking down over the stunning Linlithgow Loch and its namesake palace, Party at the Palace attracts some big names in rock and pop. 2016 saw The Proclaimers headline, with Erasure and Big Country also playing.

5. Solas Festival

When: 23rd – 25th June 2017
Where: The Bield, Perthshire

One of Scotland’s most open and inclusive festivals, Solas has something for everyone, particular those with an open mind – spoken word events include poetry, philosophy and politics. Why not hire a yurt to take your festival experience to the next level?

6. Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival

When: 14th – 23rd July 2017
Where: Edinburgh

Of the multiple jazz festivals that have arrived on the Scottish music scene in recent years, Edinburgh is still by far the biggest. Held across the city and featuring some of the world’s finest it really is not to be missed.

7. Hebridean Celtic Festival

When: 19th – 22nd July 2017
Where: Stornoway, Outer Hebrides

The biggest event of the year in the Hebrides never fails to disappoint. Held on the island of Lewis, ‘HebCelt’ is in touch with the essence of what it means to be Scottish, and their diverse array of rock, indie-folk and world music clearly show that.

8. Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival

When: 3rd – 5th August 2017
Where: Belladrum Estate, Inverness-shire

Proud to be Scottish to their core, Tartan Heart is a unique experience in the wilds of the Highlands. The 3-day festival is surrounded by two weeks of fringe events that provide a truly immersive experience into Scottish culture.

9. Eden Festival

When: 8th – 11th June 2017
Where: Raehills meadows, Dumfries and Calloway

Once named as one of the top 10 festivals in Europe by Lonely Planet, Eden have carved out a unique, boutique niche in the Scottish festival scene. The Kids Arena and Drive-In Cinema offer experiences you won’t find anywhere else.

10. Kelburn Garden Party

When: 30th June – 3rd July 2017
Where: Kelburn Castle and Estate, North Ayrshire

If you want to do something different this summer – go to the Kelburn Garden Party. Hosted in and around the spectacularly painted Kelburn Castle, something different hides in every nook. A fantastic blend of local acts and bigger names lets you mix it up.

Accommodation for these events can be booked here on the Inverness Guest House Association website for accommodation in the Highlands and Private House Stays for all other Scotland accommodation.


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The Holiday Gift Guide for Office Staff

The holidays are here, which means it’s time to think about how you’ll show your appreciation to your hardworking staff. In addition to planning special events, such as game days during which your staff can play things like office Christmas bingo, what gifts are the best options for your office employees? Keep reading for a few helpful ideas that can steer you in the right direction.

Gift Cards and Gift Certificates

Gift cards are a fantastic gift idea for your office staff because they can use the money to treat themselves to something really nice. Whether you purchase them gift cards to classy restaurants, to Amazon, or to a specific store, they will definitely appreciate this gift. You can even purchase them a gift card that they can use anywhere they wish, which means they can use the money for whatever it is that they want to purchase.

In addition to gift cards, you can also get your staff gift certificates to activities that they can enjoy, such as a few yoga classes that they can use to relax. You can even go ahead and buy them a gift certificate to a spa so they can unwind and be pampered for a little while at the end of a year of hard work.

Gift Basket

A gift basket is yet another great way to show your appreciation to your office staff at the holidays. There are a variety of gift baskets that you can choose from, including those that have coffee and chocolate and those that include bottles of wine. You could even go with something simpler by purchasing a basket or case filled with fresh fruit and nuts that your gift recipient can enjoy.

Technology

Gadgets are a popular gift for everyone from teens to office employees, so if you have it in your budget, you can get your office staff new tablets or portable music players. Another great option is the Amazon Fire Stick, which is hugely popular because it lets users sync apps like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix to their TV. These gifts are sure to please, and they are gifts that your staff will be happy to use because they will be able to upgrade their existing technology.

Delicious Wine

Finally, a simple gift that is also sure to please is a high quality bottle of wine. You can even give your employees a gift basket consisting of wine, cheese, and crackers. Just consider what flavour wine every gift recipient would prefer so that the gift can be perfect. After all, what’s better than relaxing with a delicious glass of wine at home at the end of the workday, and at the end of the year?

When you start to think about your staff and what they are like on an everyday basis, you can determine what the perfect Christmas gift will be for them. Regardless of what you end up going with, they are sure to really appreciate the thoughtful gift and your effort to thank them for their hard work.


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Santa’s Grottos – Inverness

Santa is going to be very busy in Inverness for the next few weeks as he has set up a few grottos where he can meet with the children. Here are a couple of his venues:

Simpson’s Garden Centre – Wednesday 7th to Saturday 24th December 2016

Enjoy a magical visit to see Santa in his fabulous grotto at Simpsons, where you can have fun with his elf, colour in, then visit Santa for a good old festive blather.

4.30pm -6pm: Wednesday 7th, Thursday 8th, Friday 9th
11am-4.30pm: Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th
4.30pm-6pm: Wednesday 14th, Thursday 15th, Friday 16th
11am-4.30pm: Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th
11am-4.30pm Wednesday 21st, Thursday 22nd, Friday 23rd
11am-2pm Saturday 24th

 

Eastgate Shopping Centre – Sunday 20th November – Friday 23rd December 2016

Visit Santa in his Magical Dick Whittington Grotto in Eastgate located by Next

Grotto will be open every Friday to Sunday, 11am-5pm, from 20th November * – 23rd December. (Grotto opens at 1pm on the 20th November)

All proceeds will go towards our chosen charity, The Archie Foundation Highlands which supports sick children and their families across the whole of the North of Scotland.


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6 Great Reasons to Book a B&B This Year

Hotels are great. Staying in a hotel suits many people, especially business travellers, because you can book somewhere like the IHG Birmingham and enjoy plenty of facilities. However, if you are bored of hotels and you would like to try something a bit different, you need to look at an alternative type of accommodation: a traditional B&B.

B&Bs are available pretty much anywhere. Virtually every town and city in the UK has a host of B&Bs to choose from. You can book them direct, or make a booking through one of the big accommodation websites. For short or long stays, a B&B is a great choice for travellers, but if you are still unconvinced and think a hotel is a better bet, here are six great reasons why B&Bs rock.

Value for Money

B&Bs are excellent value for money. It might be cheaper to book a room in a budget hotel, but you really do get what you pay for. Most hotels charge extra for literally everything, from parking and breakfast to movies and Wi-Fi. If you book a stay in a B&B, you can expect most things to be free, including parking, Wi-Fi and a full English breakfast.

Unique and Quirky

Hotel chains are fairly generic. You can mix and match rooms and they all look the same. B&Bs are all unique. Even individual rooms in the same establishment will be different. Some even offer themed rooms or wacky types of accommodation such as treehouses or yurts. This makes every trip you take interesting – and a lot more fun.

Home from Home

Staying in a B&B is like staying at home, only better. Most B&B owners go the extra mile to make you feel welcome when you stay in their home. Some offer their guests free glasses of wine and freshly baked cakes upon arrival. Since you are staying in their home, it will feel a lot more welcoming than a bland hotel room.

The Personal Touch

B&B accommodation is far more than just a room. Your host is there to make your stay special, so if you have a dietary requirement or you want an extra blanket on the bed, all you have to do is ask.

Local Knowledge

There is a lot to be said for local knowledge. Instead being shown a rack of old tourist leaflets, you can get the information you need straight from the horse’s mouth. B&B hosts are locals, so they know the local area like the back of their hand. If you want to know where the best pub is or which attraction is great for kids, all you have to do is ask.

Home Cooking

Nothing beats home cooking just like mum used to make. Staying in a B&B means you have your very own personal chef frying bacon in the morning and serving you eggs just the way you like them.

A B&B is the smart choice for travellers who want to enjoy great accommodation at a sensible price. So why not give it a B&B a try the next time you go exploring.


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Easy And Affordable Ways To Add Some Luxury To Your Accommodation Décor

After giving your guests a warm and genuine welcome to your accommodation, the next most important factor for their comfort and enjoyment is how your premises look and, crucially, the décor in the bedroom.

It’s easy to get it wrong by doing very little for years, thinking that you’re saving money but keeping things clean. The trouble is that you’re probably losing money if people who visit think your accommodation looks rather tired. They may not come back and also may be unlikely to recommend it to friends or family.

It’s actually easy to keep your accommodation looking and feeling fresh and modern without having to spend a fortune. It’s one of the reasons that you can encourage repeat visitors, and makeovers give you the chance to refresh what you have and make your guests really comfortable.

Making the changes

First, you need to look at every aspect of your accommodation. A dated breakfast room, for example, can simply be updated with some bright new furniture, newly painted walls and, instead of a carpet that picks up all the crumbs, an attractive wooden floor that’s easy to keep clean. Your crockery and utensils should be contemporary too. Put some pictures on your walls. You may have a theme. Landscapes are both attractive and soothing, but if you want something a little more “in your face”, look at framed photographs or some contemporary art. You could offer a selection of magazines for people to peruse as your guests are sure to want to catch up with all of the celebrity news whilst relaxing at your accommodation.

The entrance

First impressions are so important. When a guest arrives, they are unlikely to want a reception place that feels cluttered with furniture or other fittings. A cool, clear open space with chairs or tables judiciously placed are more likely to create the atmosphere that will encourage newly-arrived visitors to relax and look forward to their stay.

To the rooms

Returning to first impressions, the bedroom is usually where a visitor will make an immediate value judgement. Naturally, it has to be clean, but in terms of the décor, what is the room saying? Bedrooms differ in shapes and sizes, but you want people to feel they are in a home away from home. Smaller rooms need not feel cluttered with furniture. Provide the essentials, such as bedside tables and a work desk. If you have a larger space, then a table and chairs will be appreciated for those who would like to have a meal in their room. Keep the paintwork looking good, and always check the carpets – they get a lot of wear, and if they become stained, then guests will notice. Think again about wooden floors with rugs as these can be easier to maintain.

Light in the bedroom is also an important consideration. Curtains are the norm, but think about using affordable shutters. These wooden window guards can let in as much light as you want with manoeuvrable louvres, or can shut it out altogether.

Luxury touches

You can make your accommodation look good and feel good by taking the time to look at what you have and renew it. It won’t cost a fortune, but it will encourage your guests to return again and again.


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