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Our little town of Lochgilphead is in the Heart of Argyll, on the West Coast of Scotland. If you know the area at all, you’ll know that remote is not an understatement! This means that although we are lucky to have some of the most fantastic independent shops in the area, you still must travel a considerable distance for a "big shop". Our nearest port of call is Oban (There’s a Tesco, an Aldi and a Lidl!) it's a long way to go, 37 miles up an incredibly windy road, but it's worth it.

Oban festival logo


Oban means "little bay" in Gaelic. The town itself is beautifully compact and has a resident population of around 8,500, yet it boasts many (unofficial) titles – the first being the “Gateway to the Isles” as from here you can journey onwards to the western isles of Kerrera, Lismore, Mull, Iona and Staffa, Colonsay and Tiree and Coll. However, the town is also well known as the “Capital of the West Highlands” and more recently the "Seafood Capital of Scotland" thanks to its many highly rated restaurants and eateries which serve the finest and freshest seafood you can find.

But – this impressive community has a new accolade, as it also plays host to an award-winning annual Winter Festival. Now in its 9th year, the festival is organised by a small group of locals who have recently been honoured with the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK from her Majesty the Queen.



The first ever Oban Winter Festival was held in 2011 and began with a traditional Victorian Market to run alongside a reindeer parade, ice rink, comedy nights, workshops and ceilidh or two – all of which were a great success. With each year the festivities have grown in size and popularity. It has now evolved to become a 10-day celebration of Oban’s unique culture and community with a programme of events aimed at people of all ages, including street parades, international and local performance acts and a lot of family fun. And for those seeking more refined entertainment, there are also various literary, language, musical and theatrical events.

The action takes place mainly in town and getting from place to place is very easy and walking is a fantastic way to get around. Visitors and locals alike can enjoy the great shopping, bars and restaurants that make this town tick, take a tour of the local distillery, or appreciate a relaxing coffee in one of the many cafes, soaking up the beautiful view of the bay. If you think that sounds like your cup of tea, then you should hear some of the events that they have planned for this year’s celebrations. A full timetable can be accessed here – but we’ll also give you a quick run-down of some of the activities you won’t want to miss. 

This year’s Winter Festival kicks off on the 15th November, with many exhibitions running throughout the 10 days and various shows, workshops and celebrations taking place daily.



Friday 15th November: Festival Opening

Follow the journey of the Winter Queen riding her Unicorn, as she travels through town performing her magic and casting spells before officially opening the Winter Festival Events and Fairground.

Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th November: Oban Winter Festival Food and Craft Market

A feast of food, drink and traditional crafts from local producers with live music, market stalls and food competitions

Friday 15th - Sunday 17th November: Winter Woods Experience

Visit the beautifully lit wintry woods, the enchanted walled garden and grounds of Glencruitten. A night-time walking event for all ages with stories, performances, challenges, light show and wonders. Explore Glencruitten’s hidden beauty in the woods and gardens to complete your quest. Witness local characters in action and see nature like never before. Booking required!

Thursday 21st November: Late Night Shopping

Look out for the shops with lanterns outside – they are open with treats and special discounts

Friday 22nd: Screening of Disney’s Frozen 2 at Oban Pheonix Cinema

Saturday 23rd November: Oban’s Reindeer Parade and Christmas Lights Switch On!

Join the Parade lead by Oban Pipe Band at 5pm from the Corran Halls down to Station Square. Meet Santa and the Reindeer before the official lights switch on at 6pm

Sunday 24th November: Oban Winter Festival Light and Fire Show

Come to Oban Distillery Courtyard before the lightshow, enjoy music and stalls before the Lightshow at 6pm

We’ll definitely be heading up the road to join the festivities when we can, so we hope you’ll join us, there’s nothing quite like that festive feeling!