Scottish history events: January and February 2024

08 January 2024
Stirling Castle is hosting a Burns and a'that event on 27 January 2024
Plan ahead with History Scotland's hand-picked round-up of online and onsite history events.


Robert Burns and the kirk, 24 January

History Scotland lecture on the eve of Burns Night, by Professor Gerard Carruthers, a world renowned expert on Robert Burns. Join us at 6.30pm UK time for an unforgettable lecture. Tickets £10. Book here.

Scottish Family History Month, throughout February

The popular online genealogy festival, from History Scotland and Family Tree returns for a third year. Enjoy a wide variety of online family history talks, with something for everyone, whatever your level of expertise. More information here.

Curator’s tour of Shifting Vistas, 8 February

Shifting Vistas: 250 Years of Scottish Landscape presents a selection of historic and contemporary artworks from Edinburgh City Art Centre’s fine art collection. In this online tour, curator Dr Helen Scott introduces some of the highlights of the exhibition, including pieces by James Lawton Wingate, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, SJ Peploe, Kate Downie, William Delacour, Carol Rhodes and Ravi Agarwal. Starts 7pm. Free entry. Find out more here.

All hail Macbeth, thain of Cromarty? 20 February

Good king or bad king? The making of a historical myth. Talk by Liz Bromley, organised by Cromarty History Society. Starts 7.30pm. 

Victoria Hall, Cromarty IV11 8YR; website.


Turner in January, until 31 January

Scotland’s famous collection of Turner watercolours was left to the nation by art collector Henry Vaughan in 1900. Since then, following Vaughan’s strict guidelines, they have only ever been displayed during the month of January, when natural light levels are at their lowest. The watercolours include dramatic landscapes from the Himalayas, Swiss Alps and Isle of Skye.

Royal Scottish Academy, The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL; website.

Recent discoveries in the Scottish Borders, 18 January

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Peebleshire Archaeological Society welcome George Prew of the Treasure Trove Unit, who will be discussing recent archaeological finds from the area. Free entry for society members, £4 visitors.

St Joseph’s Neighbourhood Centre, 17 Rosetta Road, Peebles EH45 8JU; website.

Celebrating Burns, 25 January

Robert Burns, undoubtedly one of Scotland's literary greats, but what exactly was he on about? Come along to Edinburgh Castle to find out more about the bard and some of his works. Sessions at 11.15am, 12.15pm, 2pm and 3pm.

Edinburgh Castle, Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG; website.

Burns and a’that, 27 January

In 1787 Robert Burns visited Stirling Castle, after which he returned to his hotel where he etched the now famous Stirling Lines. Come along to the castle that inspired these works to celebrate ‘burns an' a' that’, and why not have a go at addressing the haggis? Runs noon to 4pm.

Stirling Castle, Castle Wynd, Stirling FK8 1EJ; website.

Constructed narratives: Lennox Dunbar, Ian Howard and Arthur Watson, until 28 January

Lennox Dunbar, Ian Howard and Arthur Watson are three of Scotland’s foremost artists. The Aberdeen-born contemporaries attended Aberdeen Grammar School and were greatly influenced by visits to the Art Gallery. This exhibition features works purchased for the collection early in the artists’ careers, alongside more recent examples by these three significant figures who, as artists and educators, have influenced subsequent generations.

Aberdeen Art Gallery, Schoolhill, Aberdeen AB10 1FQ; website.

(image copyright DeFacto, CCASA 4.0)