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Leaf Peepers Wanted

Press Release   •   Oct 14, 2016 12:00 BST

They may be prickly or waxy, and you may need to rub some to smell their hidden scents, but in the autumn there is nothing more colourful in Scotland than the humble leaf.

Now VisitScotland is encouraging the country to become a nation of leaf spotters this autumn with an extraordinary new online guide.

Produced in partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland, the Autumn Adventures in Scotland e-book is packed with information on the best spots in the country for ‘leaf-peeping’.

Whether it’s the vibrant reds of the Hawthorn in Tay Forest Park or the golden glow of the Oak in Craigvinean Forest, there is no better place to enjoy the vibrant autumn colours than Scotland.

From trees to telescopes, the e-book also travels into another galaxy and beyond, with information on how to become autumn stargazers.

Boasting some the most pitch black skies in Europe, Galloway Forrest Park, the UK’s first Dark Sky Park, is featured in the guide as a prime location to gaze at the twinkling stars of distant galaxies this autumn.

A recent report estimates that Galloway’s Dark Sky Park is taking in an additional £500,000 over the winter months purely related to dark sky tourism with the expectation for that to rise to around £1 million.

The e-book also includes downloadable activity packs on everything from how to make your own bird feeder to hints and tips for leaf spotting.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

“With an abundance of forest parks, estates and renowned beauty spots, Scotland is among the best places in the world to enjoy the beautiful colours of autumn.

“Packed with inspiration and ideas on everything from star gazing at Scotland's Dark Sky Park in Dumfries & Galloway to leaf spotting in the sprawling Tay Forest Park, the Autumn Adventures in Scotland e-book will ensure visitors get even more from their autumn trips this year.”

Research shows that that one in three visitors to Scotland make a trip to a forest or woodland park during their stay while 42% visit a country park or garden.

On average, visitors to Scotland from October to December stay more than 13 million nights and spend £955 million.

Laura Stewart, Marketing Manager at Forestry Commission Scotland, said:

“As the leaves change to orange and gold, Autumn is the perfect time to explore Scotland’s forests and woodlands. From a gentle stroll to an exhilarating mountain bike ride, the new Autumn e-book will help you plan your perfect forest adventure.”

The Autumn Colours e-book can be viewed here:

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business events in Scotland go to

      2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016.It will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. 
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016