Best time to visit Scotland

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Best time of year to visit Scotland

June through August is considered to be the best time to visit Scotland regarding pleasant weather and numerous festivities such as Highland Games, Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The only things that could spoil your summer in Scotland are midges and tourist crowds. Autumn foliage and blooming heather are incredible, but be prepared to pack a ton of layers to keep yourself warm. Dolphin and whale watching is adorable during this period. Cold and gloomy winter comes quickly, and it's a perfect period for skiing or snowboarding. Events like Hogmanay and Burns Night will cheer you up. And don't forget about haggis! From April through May nature awakens which makes hillwalking and admiring bluebell fields an unforgettable experience. Scots celebrate the end of winter with Beltane, a pagan fire festival.


The Jacobite Steam Train

early May–late October • activity

Did you know that the route of the Hogwarts Express passes through the Scottish Highlands?

Cruise to Staffa

April–October  • activity

The trip to Staffa amazes with wildlife encounters, puffin colonies, and the geometric shapes of Fingal's Cave

Blooming Heather

June–November  • nature

Purple heather blooms ornate open Scottish fields and heathlands, wetlands, and forests

Autumnal Castles

September–October • activity

Scottish castles nested atop extinct volcanoes or on the loch islands and cliff edges are beautifully​ surrounded by fall colours

Dolphin and Whale Watching

April–November  • nature

Grand Minkes, Humpbacks, Fins, Orcas, and above all the cute and playful Bottlenose dolphins will amuse you during the seasonal cruises

Land or Sand Yachting

September–November | March–May  • activity

Water is not absolutely necessary to sail—when your boat has wheels and a sail you can easily glide on land

Hillwalking or Munro Bagging

April–October  • activity

To become a "completer" you have to bag not less than 284 Munros


May–October • activity

The brave and curious will enjoy exploring the nearly inaccessible craggy coastlines of western and eastern Scotland

Scotland's Most Remote Pub

April–October • activity

The waterway to the Old Forge Pub overlooks Europe's Last Wilderness, and the very pub pleases with strong ale, langoustines, and live music

Horse Flat Racing Season

April–September  • activity

Musselburgh Racecourse provides year round great racing action with 27 racedays

Seasonal Meats

September–November  • food

Discover the freshest meats and vegetables locally produced and indulge your sweet tooth with the best seasonal fruits

Red Deer​ Rutting

September–October  • nature

The loud clash of red deer signals that rutting season is on–time to watch the stags' fight​

Adventure Tubing and River Bugging

April–October  • activity

At some moments it might be unclear whether you flow or fly—either way a good dose of adrenaline is guaranteed

Lunan Bay Bathing Season

June–mid-September • nature

Every princess would have enjoyed a swim on an appealing pink beach overlooked by a castle

Berry Season

July–October  • food

Scotland abounds in strawberries, blackberries, currants, and other juicy sweets

Crab Apple Jelly

April–October  • food

Crab apple jelley with peanut butter makes for a delicious sweet-sour sandwich


July–January | January 25 • food

Sheep's insides are sewn into its stomach, boiled, and served with "tatties and neeps" and a glass of Scotch Whisley for Burns Supper

Salmon and Sea Trout

January–November • food

Fishing for Scottish salmon and trout is not as easy as it might seem, you can learn the art during informative fishing lessons

Scotch Pie and Bovril

August–April  • food

A football match cannot do without a piece of warm nourishing mutton pie and a glass of hot beef-flavoured Bovril


September–mid-April • food

Once the very Roman emperor deemed Scottish oysters as the best shellfish in the world

Cycling & Mountain Biking

late March–October • activity

Cycling routes running through Scottish mountains, glens, and lochs feature local wildlife and promise an unforgettable biking holiday

Cruising on a Vintage Steam Boat

late April–mid-September • activity

Even if you do not fancy visiting museums, you will definitely enjoy a sail on the Vic 32 proclaimed a "smokey living museum"


April–October • activity

Golf courses of Scotland will impress you with breathtaking scenery—especially the course on the River Clyde encased by the Ayrshire hills

Apple Season​

September–February  • food

Apple pancakes, traditional​ Scottish apple scones and unique apple soup are the highlights of this delicious season

Canoeing, Kayaking and Sea Kayaking

April–October  • activity

Scottish white water rivers and lochs offer some of the best canoeing and kayaking trails in the world

White Water Rafting

June–September  • activity

Previous experience is not required, but you must be brave to survive the "Zag Zag," the "Sharks Tooth," and the drop over the Falls of Tummel

Hunting Season

August 12–March • activity

The season starts with grouse, snipe, and ptarmigan then proceeds with other wildfowl and finishes with deer

Lamb Meat

July–January  • food

Scottish lamb is the sweetest and the leanest in the world owing to the excellent Highland pastures

Edinburgh Castle

all year round • activity

A stunning historic fortress is an unmissable attraction on your visit to the Scottish capital

Barnacle Geese

September–mid-April • nature

These tri-coloured birds are numerous in Scotland—they bark as if they were dogs and are believed to have originated from mollusks in Scottish folklore

Canyoning and Gorge Walking

late March–late September • activity

The steep Scottish canyons, seemingly inaccessible at the first sight are actually explored by thousands of adventurous enthusiasts


September • food

Cold-smoked, hot-smoked, dried, canned, frozen, served with chips, drowned in milk, or in a Scottish soup—so many ways to eat Haddock

Stand Up Paddleboarding

March–November  • activity

"Row, row, row the board, gently down the stream"–yes, the board, no misspelling here. This sport​ combines surfing with kayaking


May–June | September • nature

Thousands of skuas, auks, dotterels, ptarmigans, and eagles highlight Scottish birdwatching season


September–October  • food

Lobster, mussels, clams, and other Scottish seafood is made into delicious seasonal salads, stews, and specialties

Lemon Sole

June–September • food

The fillet dish tastes best with a Mediterranean sauce

Water Skiing and Wakeboarding

April–September  • activity

Scotland's glistening lakes are there not just for visual delight—try out some skiing or wakeboarding!



December 30–January 01 • event

Hogmanay is a unique way to celebrate the New Year with torchlights, bonfires, fireworks and loads of music and whiskey

Fairy Pools of the Isle of Skye

October–November  • activity

Emerald-coloured pools possess magic powers that make you dive into the water, no matter how chilly it is

Up Helly Aa

January 29, 2019 • event

To mark the end of the Yule season, thousands of Vikings traditionally burn the galley with thousands of torches

The Burry Man

August 10, 2018 • event

Follow the Burry Man throughout the streets of Queensferry as he drinks whisky and spreads good luck

Braemar Gathering

September 03 • event

The Gathering is famous for its hospitality, friendship, multitude of events and the presence of the Royal Family, and it's only a 2-hour drive from Edinburgh

Beltane Fire Festival

April 30 • event

Celebrate the arrival of summer with music, bonfires and uninhibited behaviour

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

August 03–25, 2018 • event

A memorable representation of dance, military pageantry and music as part of the Edinburgh Festival

The Ba' Game

December 25 | January 01 • activity

When charged up Uppies and Doonies fight for the leather trophy ball, the townspeople protect their dwellings with wooden barricades

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

August 03–27, 2018 • event

A unique blend of thousands of known and less-known artists performing a wide variety of shows in smaller venues around the city

Blooming Bluebells

April–May  • nature

Words seem needless at the site of this blue beauty

Burning of the Clavie

January 11 • event

This Pagan feast may be erased from Gregorian calendar, but not from people'​s minds

Cowal Highland Gathering

August 23–25, 2018 • event

At Highland dances, Scottish boys and girls perform in national costumes dancing to the traditional sounds of the hornpipe

Fort William Mountain Festival

February 20–24, 2019 • event

All of Britain cannot offer any better time or place to learn winter sports than the mountain festival in Scottish town Fort William

Autumn Foliage

late September–October • nature

Though Scots Pine is definitely the king of the Highlands, in autumn it lets other trees outshine it with beautiful colours

Burns Night Celebrations

January 25 • event

Scotsmen respect their national poet and commemorate his legacy by cooking his favourite meal on his birthday

Northern Lights

December–February  • nature

The elusive Aurora reveals itself only to the most patient

Burntisland Highland Games

July 16, 2018 • event

Burntisland Highland Games the second oldest games in Scotland, and are a perfect opportunity to have some quality time

Royal Highland Show

June 21–24, 2018 • event

Britain's largest agricultural event offers a wonderful opportunity to sample the best local food and see where this food comes from

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival

May 03–07, 2018 • event

It is a great Scotch fun to intoxicate oneself to traditional Celtic singing, dancing, and storytelling

Celtic Connections

January 17–February 03, 2019 • event

Musicians from Celtic countries and further lands annually reunite in Glasgow in the celebration of folk music

Common Ridings on the Scottish Borders

June–early August • event

Though today there is no need to protect the Scottish borders, the Scots still celebrate their centuries-old traditions and history

Seal Pups

November  • nature

The world's largest grey seal population and their cute pups inhabit the shores of the Scottish Orkney Islands

Ben Nevis

April–July  • activity

True hikers will not respect themselves having visited Scotland without ascending its highest summit

Red Squirrels

November–March  • nature

Cheeky red squirrels play in the white snow and among the green pines of Devilla Forest

Edinburgh International Festival

August 03–27, 2018 • event

The Festival is a showcase of world's best music, dance, theatre, and opera in Edinburgh every August

North Berwick International Highland Games

August 11, 2018 • event

Dancers, world-pipe bands and other stunning events make North Berwick Highland Games the perfect place for a day full of fun

Sailing around the Small Isles

late April–mid-August • activity

The picturesque Small Isles area is perfect for a sailing holiday on a traditional wooden yacht

Stirling Highland Games

August 18, 2018 • event

Multiple fun events combined with stalls full of local products are the main attractions at Stirling Highland Games

Starling Murmuration

November–February • nature

A regular sunset shows performed by migrating starlings in Gretna shows that the birds are really into that small town in the south of Scotland

Boxing Day

December 26 • event

Age traditions remain alive though a bit different from the past

Ceres Highland Games

June 30, 2018 • event

Ceres Highland Games are the oldest and most cheerful events celebrated in Scotland

Dog Sledding

November–March  • activity

The beautiful Scottish winter is experienced to its fullest sledding across the Cairgorm mountains with lovely huskies

Skiing and Snowboarding

late December–April • activity

A nice choice for winter holidays—Scottish ski resorts are even considered as good as those in the Alps

Osprey Watching

April–August  • nature

Once ospreys seemed to have left Scotland forever, but a pair of the fish-eating birds returned to the Highlands and restored its population


February–mid-March • nature

Delicate snowdrops rising up from the snow are able to console and inspire even the saddest souls

Winter Mountaineering and Ice Climbing

January–March  • activity

Scotland provides excellent conditions for winter mountaineering and ice climbing for both beginners and experienced climbers


October–March  • nature

During winter Scotland hosts these elegant guests from Iceland and Siberia


mid-October–mid-November • activity

It is not true that the treacherous Scottish waves leave no opportunities for inexperienced surfers—there are options for everyone


January–June  • food

Sour rhubarb is made into crumble cakes and meat sauces, but the best way to enjoy the fruit is to simply dip it in sugar and eat it raw


June–August  • activity

The west coast boasts the most spectacular diving sites but the east coast won't disappoint either


mid- to late September • food

If you do not fancy plum jelly, chutney, or sauces there are other interesting things available like damson wine, gin, or beer


October–December  • food

These berries delight visitors of Scotland in late autumn and early winter

First Footing with Black Bun

January 01 • food

A savoury fruit cake full of raisins, nuts, currants, and seasoned with spices is a common gift for the Scottish New Year