Scottish Smallholder Festival - one week to go!

Young man planting - Pic by Jed Owen via Pixlr with dates for 2023 Scottish Smallholder Festival
Alan Robertson

The countdown is on to Scotland’s national smallholding festival, which takes place at the Royal Highland Centre on Saturday 14th October 2023.

It’s a new venue for the Scottish Smallholder Festival, after the organisers, Smallholding Scotland, signed a three-year deal with the Royal Highland Centre to run the event each year in October. The move has been made possible with the support of the Scottish Government.

Now in its twelfth year, the Scottish Smallholder Festival is Scotland’s national smallholding show - a chance for small-scale producers and growers to come together at the end of the season to celebrate a successful year of production, and to gather ideas for next year. It also provides an opportunity for all to display their products and benchmark their success against other small producers. 

Smallholding Scotland, a charity set up to provide education and support for smallholders across the country, run the Festival on a ‘not for profit’ basis with the main organising team all being volunteers.

Highlights of this year’s event will include:

  • Scottish Pig Show: the pig show is currently the only one in Scotland at present and is an opportunity for pedigree pig keepers to promote their breed and their stock to the event’s visitors.
  • 50th Anniversary of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust: celebrating all kinds of rare breeds, with prizes offered for the best Rare Breeds on show, including a supreme show champion
  • SRUC Theatre: a brand-new area as a result of a partnership with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), hosting part of the seminar programme and providing professional and hands-on education for smallholders attending the event
  • Calving simulator: attendees can pre-book sessions to learn about and practice calving cows on a lifelike Calving Simulator, the only place in Scotland that this experience is currently available to smallholders

The day promises to entertain children and young people of all ages, and you don’t have to be a smallholder to come along and take part. Other highlights include:

  • Over 30 different breeds of sheep, 9 breeds of goat, 11 breeds of pig
  • An equine parade featuring displays of Clydesdale horses and Highland ponies, as well as Fell, Eriskay, Dales and New Forest Ponies and Cleveland Bay horses
  • Showcase of cattle and alpacas
  • Rural skills displays - learn about drystone walling, sourdough bread making, basket weaving, pressing apples
  • Indulge in some shopping with a variety of craft stalls
  • See farm equipment up close and talk to the experts who can help you with growing your own, or even beginning your own smallholding
  • Visit the cookery theatre to learn how to turn your home produce into fantastic food 

The festival has also cut the price of its tickets for the next generation of Scottish smallholders - the reduced price of £5 is available until 13th October to senior school pupils, students and young farmers.

Adult tickets are £10 if bought online in advance, or £15 on the gate on Saturday; under 14s can attend free of charge with an adult.

The day promises to entertain children and young people of all ages, with opportunities to get up close to the animals on show, craft stalls for shopping and demonstrations of rural skills. There will also be food trucks and refreshments available all day.

Tickets can be purchased on the website (, where you can also find full details of the programme of events.