When is the Best Time to Travel in Scotland?

Scotland’s best time to visit is during autumn (September to November) and early spring (late March to May).

In spring, temperatures are likely to be warmer, with an average of 6°C to 15°C, though there will be snow in the Highlands and the Cairngorms mountains. There are many hours of daylight in the summer months (June through August), with the more north you go, the longer the hours get.

Late October is when the crowds start to disperse. You can enjoy seeing Scotland’s autumn foliage when it’s in its prime in early to mid-November. Most parks close for the winter in mid-October. It can be challenging to travel from December through to February due to snow conditions, but you will be rewarded with spectacular winter scenes and roaring log fires.

Visiting Scotland in January

The winter months in Scotland are freezing, especially if you reside near the east coast, where high temperatures hover around freezing during the daytime. Many parts of the country are covered in snow, especially the mountainous areas, because of icy winds from the coast. Scots celebrate Hogmanay, their traditional new year festival, by burning bonfires, dancing fire dancers with fireworks, and live music. It is celebrated by reading poetry accompanied by whisky and haggis on the 25th of the month in honor of Robert Burns, the famed national poet of Scotland.

Events & Festivals

  • This night marks the birthday of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, which is usually marked with poetry readings, whisky, and haggis.

Visiting Scotland in February

In February, the days are still cold with ample snowfall. During the Fort William Mountain Festival in February, there will be films, talks by famous mountaineers, and displays of artistic works by local artists.

Events & Festivals

  • Fort William Mountain Festival includes talks from renowned mountaineers, film screenings, and other mountain events.
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Visiting Scotland in March

  • Spring is about to emerge in the south. Snow usually remains on the Highlands and Cairngorms mountain peaks, but it may begin to melt on the lower slopes of the mountains.

Visiting Scotland in April

Although temperatures are a little warmer, the mountainous areas remain cold with snow on the peaks. It’s usually when the West Highlands’ ski resorts and the Cairngorms shut down for the season. A pagan fire festival known as Beltane is held at the end of the month, marking the winter in Edinburgh. April is usually the driest month in Edinburgh. The Calton Hill Fire Festival draws thousands of people to Edinburgh.

Events & Festivals

  • A pagan fire festival, Beltane marks the end of winter at the end of the month.

Visiting Scotland in May – June

During May and into June, spring flowers and foliage emerge. Snow cover is mostly melted off all but the highest peaks. Summer months begin in June, with Scotland’s midges becoming particularly active. From mid-June to the end of September, it will see midges throughout the country.

 As you move further north, there are more daylight hours on June 30. Highland Games take place all year, but many take place in May and June.

Events & Festivals

  • In the Highland Games, there are sports like caber tossing, tug of war, but there are also dance competitions and piping.

Visiting Scotland in July – August

The average temperature in Scotland during peak summer is around 19°C (66°F). August is the busiest travel date of the year because schools break for the summer. August is the month when Edinburgh holds its Festival Fringe, which coincides with Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a spectacular military parade surrounded by the castle.

Events & Festivals

  • A few of the heavier athletic events at the Highland Games include tug-o-war, tossing the caber, and dancing.
  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe, one of the world’s most prestigious arts festivals, happens in August every year. All kinds of entertainment are featured at this festival, which occurs during the entire month of August.

Visiting Scotland in September

Although the schools return, this is still a hectic time to travel, as September is the wettest month in Scotland, and the temperatures decrease a bit. It is held just north of Pitlochry in September at the Braemar Gathering, the most famous of Scotland’s Highland Games.

Events & Festivals

  • These Highland Games feature-heavy athletic events like caber tossing, tug-of-war, dance competitions, and pipe band competitions.

Visiting Scotland in October

  • The autumn foliage reaches its peak near the end of October, but at this time of year, the weather is usually quite chilly and a little drier than in September. The end of the month brings an end to certain hotels and sites.

Visiting Scotland in November

There is usually some cold weather in November, particularly in the northeast and eastern regions. The autumn foliage still on the trees at the start of the month begins to diminish, and the first snow usually falls in November. While many sites are closed, this is a great time to visit Scotland. Scotland’s patron saint’s feast day is marked by feasts, music, and dancing on the 30th of the month.

Events & Festivals

  • St Andrew’s Day is a feast honoring Scotland’s patron saint, held on the last day of the month, marked with music and dancing.

Visiting Scotland in December

There are more nights than days in December with long periods of darkness and cold temperatures. During this month, days can be crisp, clear, and sunny with no rain.

Events & Festivals

  • Scots celebrate Hogmanay as their New Year’s festival, which is generally marked by live music, fire dancers, and fireworks.

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