Enjoy a virtual hop around Scotland this Easter

Enjoy a virtual hop around Scotland this Easter

The hunt is on for Easter activities from the comfort of home!

The days are getting longer and the season has sprung into spring. Nature will bring wonderful colours and new life will hop around the countryside this Easter. Amidst these unprecedented times, everyone is being asked to #StayAtHome so why not use the wonders of technology to transport yourself to a virtual Scotland.

There is a plethora of ways to keep people of all ages entertained including virtual cook schools, bird-watching and chocolate trails. Enjoy Scotland this Easter from the comfort of your own home...

CHEEP THRILLS

Start the morning off right and enjoy a #DailyBirdSong with Speyside Wildlife. Featuring a different garden bird each day, listeners can experience lovely bird songs from a variety of feathered friends. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Speyside Wildlife will be giving pointers and videos to help identify bird songs and calls.

Puffins are summer visitors to Scotland, arriving to nest between late March and early April amid vast coastal clifftop colonies. By the end of August, the puffins have finished raising their adorable pufflings and leave to return to the sea. Spot these distinctive birds using Shetland’s wildlife cams from Sumburgh Head. Viewers will be enchanted by both the rugged island beauty and the characterful puffin visitors.

Follow the story of resident osprey pair, Louis and Aila, live from the heart of an ancient Caledonian pine forest thanks to the Woodland Trust. March to September is the best time of year to see these rare breeding birds, best known for the spectacular way they catch fish as they dive towards lakes and lochs, stretch out their talons and scoop them out of the water with ease.

Bass Rock, in the Firth of Forth, is home to the world’s largest northern gannet colony. The island, off the coast of East Lothian, appears to turn white with the sheer volume of gannets settling into their summer home for the breeding season. The gannets typically start to circle the rock in late February, then finally land and take residence on the Island in late March, viewers can spot them using the Scottish Seabird Centres new cameras. The area is of international importance for breeding seabirds with over 500,000 nesting on the islands, including puffins, cormorants, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, shags and terns.

IT’S A WILDLIFE

2020 is Scotland’s themed Year of Coasts and Waters. A year-long programme to shine a light on Scotland’s lochs, rivers, canals, seafood, inland and coastal landscapes and history. Follow the lead of Scotland’s best social distancer and loch friend – Nessie. The Loch Ness monster has been avoiding social contact for an impressive 15 centuries! Monster seekers should spend some time trying to spot Nessie over on the live cam overlooking Loch Ness. To find out more about the many virtual experiences during Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters activities that you can enjoy from home, go to www.visitscotland.com/ycw2020 or join the conversation by using #YCW2020.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is creating a #VirtualSpring by sharing images of its four Gardens – Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan – online via its website and social media platforms. Five-minute films will be available for viewers to learn more about their international plant science and conservation work.

IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR

Inspiring inquisitive minds, Glasgow Science Centre is doing #GCSAtHome, bringing a bit of science into homes every day at 10am via it’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Meanwhile the team at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, has launched #DynamicEarthOnline across its social channels - Facebook and Twitter - and on a dedicated page online. Everyday families can get involved with new and exciting challenges, ranging from interactive activities, intriguing facts about famous scientists and our planet’s history, to fascinating insights about the science of climate change.

To help families with home-schooling, The Museums of the University of St Andrews has launched a programme of online workshops. Three videos will be posted over the course of the week offering interactive sessions via Facebook. Join in with Wardlaw Workshops on Mondays at 10am, to find out about a cool experiment or fun project your kids can do at home. Wednesdays at 1pm is a time for calm with Museum Story Time and on Fridays at 10am, Wee Wardlaws, is a great way for adults and kids to keep entertained this Easter break with rhymes, stories, activities and crafts.

For the more theatrical, Pitlochry Festival Theatre has launched an entertainment programme for all ages. #PFTLightHopeJoy aims to engage, entertain, inspire and comfort audiences in isolation with demonstrations, performances of short plays, poetry, songs and stories, as well as the opportunity to learn new skills, and do some fun arts and crafts. Join in through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.

Over the holidays Glasgow Short Film Festival is also brightening the days and inspiring budding young animators to get to work with a selection of children's animations in a weekly Family Shorts programme. In its first GSFF Online: Family Shorts instalment watch a selection of stories about unlikely friendships and getting along in tricky circumstances - sound familiar?

And for aspiring Sir David Attenborough’s, Blair Drummond Safari Park is now doing weekly Facebook Live sessions on a Thursday at 12noon (maybe subject to change so keep an eye on the page for details). Learn about the Park’s animals and how it’s keepers look after them, then do a quiz after each one to check you were paying attention! Meanwhile, down on Gorgie Farm there will be tours on its Instagram channel at 12noon on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays (keep checking its social pages for any changes). This Friday (10 April) meet the farm’s Guinea Pigs and Rabbits, then on Monday (13 April) find out more about the Alpacas and what makes them such fascinating characters. Wednesday (15 April) they’ll be showing off the Herb Garden and giving some tips and tricks for growing and cooking.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, SCOTLAND

Scotland has a long tradition of creating home-grown screen epics. From the streets of Edinburgh, seen in Trainspotting, Trainspotting 2 and the Avengers: Infinity War, to the mountains of Glen Etive seen in James Bond’s Skyfall. The vast amount of Scottish locations shown on screen in TV’s Outlander or the historical immersions with Outlaw King and Mary, Queen of Scots, there is no film set quite like it in the world in terms of breadth and diversity of landscape.

Now, more than ever, movies and TV are a great way to escape our daily routine. Take a look at the VisitScotland Film Tourism Guide and dedicated page on Film and TV locations to find some inspiration.

READ NOW, BOOK LATER

Literature has always provided inspiration for dreamers. Scottish literature provides amazing material that will bring imagination to the frontline of Scotland’s landscapes.

Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith is handing the keys over to 44 Scotland Street based in Edinburgh’s chic and beautiful New Town. Colourful characters and warm humour will charm every reader.

For the romantics dreaming of the Highlands, go back to the roots of the first great Scottish novel, Waverley, written by Sir Walter Scott. Readers can relish in the love triangle that animates the story. History buffs will enjoy the torments of young Edward Waverley in the times of the Jacobite uprising.

For the free-spirited and mischievous readers, step inside J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Barrie was himself a boy who refused to grow up. Moat Brae, the garden where Barrie played as a child that inspired Neverland, is now a children’s literature centre located in Dumfries.

For more Scottish literary inspiration take a look at the Scottish Literature E-Book.

SOCIAL DISDANCING

The lively Macgregors Bar in Inverness are hosting a daily #LifeAtFive livestream on their Facebook. Enjoy pub nights, traditional music sessions and storytelling at this Thistle Award-winning business.

Get up and dance with the #CovidCeilidh movement on social media. Kickstarted by fiddler Duncan Chisholm to help comfort and entertain everyone at home it has quickly become a collaborative effort in the folk community. Pick up an instrument or follow the hashtag to ceilidh along.

INTERNET EXPLORE

The most recent exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery - the Palace of Holyroodhouse, George IV: Art & Spectacle explores the life and tastes of arguably the most magnificent of British monarchs. While the gallery’s doors are temporarily closed, art-lovers can still experience George IV’s unrivalled collection of art through this virtual walkthrough.

Dumfries and Galloway's first paranormal investigation team, Mostly Ghostly Tours, are doing daily #VirtualVisits live on their Facebook page. Learn more about south Scotland’s history and tune in for spooky stories.

CHOC THIS OUT

Those with a sweet tooth should not worry about giving up their Easter chocolate this year. Scotland's Chocolate Trail offers treats that would make Willy Wonka envious. Chocolate lovers can choose from a variety of chocolate from silky smooth and plain, locally foraged, and seasonal flavours such as Scots pine, wild mint and elderflower for home delivery.

The Chocolates of Glenshiel use ingredients from small Highland enterprises in their chocolates creating flavours like Eldeflower Gin, Speyside Whisky, Highland Roast Coffee and Dundee Marmalade. The south of Scotland boasts Cocoa Black Boutique in Peebles owned by the UK World Chocolate Master, Ruth Hinks with a beautiful range of artisanal chocolates.

Vegans and those looking for plant-based treats will obsess over the delicious chocolate free from animal products at Considerit. Flavours range from Chai Spice Chocolate Bar to a Popcorn Chocolate Bar.

A MIXTURE OF LEARNING

One of the top-rated attractions and loved gin in Scotland, Eden Mill in St. Andrews will be hosting an Eden Mill Virtual Gin Tasting on Saturday, 11 April. Participants will receive a whopping 12 gins and liqueurs by courier ahead of the event, two tulip glasses and two Eden Mill Mixology Project cocktails. The tasting will be hosted by Brand Ambassador, Steve Lowrie Mackay and Head of Events, Chris Weir. Attendees will learn the botanicals in the gins, history of gin in Scotland and background on the Eden Mill Distillery itself.

Scotland loves gin and so does everybody else. In fact, Scottish gin accounts for 70% of UK’s overall gin production! For more ginspiration, take a look at VisitScotland’s ginteractive map.

Scared about overcooking your Spring chicken at Easter? The Station House Cookery School in beautiful Kirkcudbright, Dumfries & Galloway is offering a cookery advice helpline. Don’t know how to boil water? Call them! Looking to use up ingredients in the cupboard? Call them! This is a completely free service as the school is looking to help the community during this time.

Scotland’s beloved chef, Tom Kitchin of The Kitchin, was the youngest chef to have received a Michelin Star at 29. Tune into his Instagram tutorials to get quick, easy and delicious recipes that the whole family can cook together.


Image: Spot Puffins arriving to nest in early April using Shetland’s wildlife cams from Sumburgh Head (Credit: VisitScotland)

Last Updated: 9 April 2020 10:19

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