Guides / Guide

Things to do in Scotland this month

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 October.


Spotlight on: Halloween 

Everyone knows that October is the spookiest month of the year. In search of some spine-tingling entertainment? Cities across Scotland are full of spirit, so we’ve rounded up some of the creepy fun right here for you.

Go to King’s Theatre Edinburgh from 8 – 12 October where a dinner party gets shattered by an investigation of a young woman’s death in An Inspector Calls, the classic thriller by JB Priestley.

Can you handle the most crazed night out in Glasgow? Visit The Asylum on 12 October to check out Insane Championship Wrestling’s newest brand Gonzo, which features rising stars in the sport.

Returning for its fiercest year yet, Heels of Hell will turn O2 Academy Glasgow into a spooky paradise on 20 October while showcasing some of the world’s biggest and sassiest drag queens.

Get creeped out by Frankenstein, Rona Munro’s brilliant new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece which is playing at King’s Theatre Edinburgh from 21 – 26 October.

Be there when Spider-Man, The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy join forces with Doctor Strange to battle against Loki in Marvel Universe LIVE! at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow from 24 – 27 October.

Enjoy a horror-tastic experience when Night Life presents Rocky Horror Halloween Show at Glasgow’s SWG3 Studio Warehouse on 25 October. With live music, themed cocktails and more, you’ll get to journey back to the ’70s for a clubbing experience inspired by the campy cult film.

The city of Paisley is going all out to celebrate the witching season. Expect costume making, singing and hair-raising fun for all the family at the Paisley Halloween Festival. Held on 25 – 26 October, other highlights include pumpkin carving at Paisley Abbey and a super spooky silent disco at Dunn Square – where professional dancers will perform the classic choreography from Thriller.

On 26 October head to Baby Loves Disco’s Halloween Spookathon at Edinburgh’s Jam House for a dayclubbing party where you can get out on the dance floor with your toddlers and show off all your monster moves!

Enjoy tricks, treats and lots of dancing as JellyBaby: Halloween comes back from the dead for one night only at Glagow’s SWG3 (aka The Haunted Warehouse) on 31 October.

Opeth, the Swedish metal band with a lot of bite, is performing at SWG3 in Glasgow.

 

On 31 October also catch gigs from Bilk at Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh, Larkins at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow and OMD who are celebrating 40 years of their greatest hits at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.


Other things to do

Summer is well and truly over so it’s time to usher in autumn in style! October is full of events that will help you do just that.

For instance, get over to Glasgow’s intu Braehead Arena this month where the Glasgow Clan ice hockey team will be taking on the Fife Flyers on 5 October, the Belfast Giants on 12 – 13 October, the Coventry Blaze on 20 October and the Manchester Storm on 27 October.

With the Rugby World Cup currently underway in Japan, don’t miss supporting the Glasgow Warriors when they go up against the Scarlets on 4 October and the Cardiff Blues on 12 October at Scotstoun Stadium.

Autumn boasts a jam-packed schedule of Scottish football fixtures too. See Celtic FC at Glasgow’s County Celtic Park as the team clashes with CFR Cluj on 3 October, Ross County on 19 October and ST Mirren on 30 October. At Edinburgh’s Easter Road Stadium, Hibernian FC play Ross County on 26 October and Livingston on 30 October, while at Edinburgh’s Tynecastle Stadium Hearts FC is set to face Kilmarnock on 5 October and Rangers Football Club on 20 October.

Although autumn has arrived, feel the endless summer vibes at a festival or music gig.

The popular Glasgow Americana Festival returns from 2 – 6 October at six different venues across the city with performances from the likes of Sam Outlaw, Rachel Sermanni, Rod Picott and Chance McCoy.

Two Door Cinema Club bring their unique brand of indie-pop rock to O2 Academy Glasgow on 4 – 5 October.

 

Metalcore group Issues are coming to Cathouse Glasgow on 13 October.

Want to see the late Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly on stage together? Catch the Rock’N’Roll Dream Tour on 16 October at SEC Armadillo in Glasgow for the chance to enjoy a spectacular holographic concert experience featuring the legends.

Calling all Mixers! Catch Little Mix on their LM5 Tour at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow on 17 – 19 October.

Metallers Killswitch Engage will be at Glasgow’s Barrowland on 17 October as part of the tour supporting their forthcoming new album Atonement.

English metal lords Saxon will bring their 40th anniversary Castles and Eagles tour to Glasgow’s intu Braehead Arena on 18 October, with London-based folk pop and blues rock singer Barns Courtney at Glasgow Garage on the same night.

The world’s most beloved tenor Andrea Bocelli is appearing at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow on 20 October.

With the new album Ordinary Superhero out early this month, Dublin four-piece Keywest head to Scotland to promote it at Glasgow Garage on 21 October and The Mash House in Edinburgh on 29 October.

Catch singer and E Street Band member Jake Clemons at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow on 22 October.

Two incredible women will be in Scotland this month as well. On 28 October, MARINA brings her new album LOVE+FEAR to life at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, while the inimitable Cher is set to take the stage at The SSE Hydro on her Here We Go Again tour.

If music’s not your thing and you prefer stand-up gigs, don’t worry…the comedy in October runneth over.

Watch Ben Elton live in shows at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre on October 1, Eden Court Theatre in Inverness on 2 October, Aberdeen Music Hall on 3 October and Queen’s Hall Edinburgh on 4 – 5 October.

 

It’s your last chance to see Still Game: Live at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow from 1 – 13 October, with Ford Kieran and Greg Hemphill reuniting the full television cast to say goodbye for the final time.

Enter the surreal and fantastical world of Eddie Izzard when he brings Wunderbar to King’s Theatre Glasgow from 2 – 6 October and then to Festival Theatre Edinburgh from 19 – 20 October.

Don’t miss another of Scotland’s top comics, Susie McCabe, at numerous venues across the country from 11 – 26 October with her latest show Born Believer.

See the hidden camera comedy stars Impractical Jokers during The Cranjis McBasketball World Comedy Tour on 15 October at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

 

Tommy Tiernan will perform a run of dates from 17 October – 3 November with shows at venues in Aberdeen, Stirling, Oban, Inverness, Greenock, Findhorn and Glasgow.

German comedy ambassador Henning Wehn provides an evening of Teutonic jolliness at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre on 18 October and Dunfermline’s Alhambra Theatre on 19 October.

Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness is making his stand-up debut in Scotland at Glasgow’s SEC Armadillo on 19 October with his Road to Beijing tour.

Romesh Ranganathan is also on the road with his most brutally honest tour ever, The Cynic’s Mixtape, and he’ll stop at Glasgow’s SEC Armadillo on 26 – 27 October.

In addition to all this, enjoy a variety of theatrical shows and other family events in Scotland this month.

Oscar Wilde’s ground-breaking work A Woman of No Importance is running at King’s Theatre Edinburgh from 1 – 5 October.

Both theatre and feline fans alike will want to watch Limelight Productions’ performance of CATS The Musical at Dunfermline’s Alhambra Theatre from 2 – 5 October.

Gamers and developers will gather under one roof for 4TG Game Con at The Event Complex in Aberdeen from 4 – 6 October to immerse themselves in everything from retro to virtual reality gaming.

The street dance troupe Diversity are coming to Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on 5 October with their 10th anniversary Born Ready tour, which marks a decade since they won Britain’s Got Talent.

Don’t miss the inspiring true love story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan when On Your Feet! congas its way into Festival Theatre Edinburgh from 7 – 12 October.

Spend An Evening with Sir Chris Hoy at Dunfermline’s Alhambra Theatre on 8 October and hear Scotland’s most successful Olympic cyclist share stories of his experiences.

Join Olympic champion Louis Smith, S Club 7’s Rachel Stevens and Melody Thornton from Pussycat Dolls for a groovy evening of singing and dancing in Rip It Up – the 70’s from 11 – 14 October when it stops at Aberdeen Music Hall, Perth Concert Hall, King’s Theatre Glasgow and Festival Theatre Edinburgh, respectively.

And the most enchanting make-believe experience ever, Disney On Ice, is skating into P&J Live in Aberdeen on 31 October. You and all the family can celebrate 100 Years of Magic with over 50 of your favourite Disney characters including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Ariel, Snow White and many more.


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 October’s music offerings as a starting point.

Stadium and arena shows:

  • Alice Cooper at P&J Live, Aberdeen on 5 October
  • Boyzone at The SSE Hydro, Glasgow on 16 October
  • An Evening with Will Young plus special guests at SEC Armadillo, Glasgow on 25 October and Usher Hall, Edinburgh on 26 October

Mid-sized venues with big atmosphere:

  • Kano at The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow on 2 October
  • Miles Kane at Liquid Room, Edinburgh on 19 October
  • The Cult at Aberdeen Music Hall on 21 October and O2 Academy Glasgow on 22 October

New music to have on your radar:


Iconic attractions

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

Four singers and a pianist are touring venues across Scotland with Opera Highlights which stops at Volunteer Hall, Galashiels and Thurso High School on 1 October. They’ll perform music from some of the world’s most celebrated composers, including Britten, Donizetti and Mozart, alongside new works from Scottish Opera Composer in Residence Samuel Bordoli.

The autumn season of A Play A Pie & A Pint has kicked off at Glasgow’s Oran Mor and features 13 brilliant plays. This month see Fly Me to the Moon from 1 – 5 October, The Sweetest Growl from 7 – 12 October, Divided from 14 – 19 October, A Walk in the Park from 21 – 26 and Marco Pantani: A Pirate from 28 October – 2 November.

 

The World Famous Taste of Scotland Show & Dinner winds down this this month at Edinburgh’s magnificent Prestonfield House. Now in its 46th year, treat yourself to an unforgettable evening packed with traditional Scottish entertainment including music, dance and song on 2, 6 – 9, 11 and 15 October.

Find out all about craft beer, gin and more at St Andrews Brewing Company. Brewery tours are offered on 5, 11 & 12, 18 & 19 and 25 & 26 October at the company’s taproom in St Andrews.

Enjoy music, comedy and arts at The Spree festival in Paisley from 11 – 19 October. Events take place in the specially erected Spiegeltent among other venues, with highlights including performances from Gruff Rhys, Glasvegas and Hayseed Dixie – plus multi award-winning Karine Polwart will present her Scottish Songbook.

Scotland’s biggest festival for new music is Tenement Trail on 12 October at various venues in Glasgow. Now in its third year, local heroes Fatherson are topping the bill, alongside an incredible mix of homegrown talent and touring bands including The Magic Gang, Baby Strange, Sea Girls, VIDA, Apre, Beta Waves and more.

Tenement Trail

Attention pun lovers! The sixth annual Champipunship is also being held at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on 16 October. Enjoy the ultimate evening of word play as eight competitors go head to head in four rounds to discover who will become the “pundisputed champipun of the word”.

Now in its fourth year, Loch Ness Knit Fest brings yarn enthusiasts from all over the world together from 17 – 20 October to Inverness Leisure Centre to participate in workshops and demonstrations. There’ll also be live entertainment, sightseeing tours and a Highlands feast.

The 31st annual Scottish International Storytelling Festival runs from 18 – 31 October. Invited guests will perform in Edinburgh, in collaboration with their Scottish compatriots, as well as tour the country to encourage grassroots storytelling in the community.


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

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