Best time to visit Scotland

+226
Scotland

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.

36 THINGS TO DO IN SCOTLAND (OCTOBER 13 - OCTOBER 22)

Northern Lights

Northern Lights

October–March • nature

The elusive Aurora reveals itself only to the most patient

The Jacobite Steam Train

The Jacobite Steam Train

April 2–October 29, 2021 • activity

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

Fairy Pools of the Isle of Skye

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

Cruise to Staffa

Cruise to Staffa

April–October  • activity

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

Heather Fields

Heather Fields

July–September/October (best in August) • nature

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

Dolphin and Whale Watching in Scotland

Dolphin and Whale Watching in Scotland

April–November  • nature

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

Autumnal Castles

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

Scotland's Most Remote Pub

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

Hillwalking or Munro Bagging

Hillwalking or Munro Bagging

April–October  • activity

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

Autumn Foliage

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 colors

Land or Sand Yachting

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

Coasteering

Coasteering

May–October • activity

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

Red Deer​ Rutting

Red Deer​ Rutting

September–October  • nature

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

Garden of Cosmic Speculation

Garden of Cosmic Speculation

on holdOctober 2021 • activity

A unique space inspired by science and mathematics

Seasonal Meats

Seasonal Meats

September–November  • food

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

Berry Season

Berry Season

July–October  • food

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

Salmon and Sea Trout

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

Adventure Tubing and River Bugging

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

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

all year round • activity

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

Haggis

Haggis

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

Scotch Pie and Bovril

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

Oysters

Oysters

September–mid-April • food

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

Crab Apple Jelly

Crab Apple Jelly

April–October  • food

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

Canoeing, Kayaking and Sea Kayaking

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

Golf

Golf

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

Lamb Meat

Lamb Meat

July–January  • food

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

Cycling & Mountain Biking

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

Apple Season​

Apple Season​

September–February  • food

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

Barnacle Geese

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

Hunting Season

Hunting Season

August 12–March • activity

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

Swans

Swans

October–March  • nature

During winter Scotland hosts these elegant guests from Iceland and Siberia

Seafood

Seafood

September–October  • food

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

Surfing

Surfing

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

Stand Up Paddleboarding

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

Kitesurfing & Windsurfing

Kitesurfing & Windsurfing

October–March (all year round) • activity

One of the best destination in Europe for surfing of all kinds

Cranberries

Cranberries

October–December  • food

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

51 THINGS TO DO OUT OF SELECTED DATE RANGE

Up Helly Aa

Up Helly Aa

out of rangeJanuary 26, 2021 • event

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

Beltane Fire Festival

Beltane Fire Festival

out of rangeApril 30 • event

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

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

out of rangeAugust 6–28, 2021 • event

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

The Burry Man

The Burry Man

out of rangeAugust 13, 2021  • event

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

Braemar Gathering

Braemar Gathering

out of rangeSeptember 4, 2021 • 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

Common Ridings on the Scottish Borders

Common Ridings on the Scottish Borders

canceledJune–early August • event

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

Blooming Bluebells

Blooming Bluebells

out of rangeApril–May  • nature

Words seem needless at the site of this blue beauty

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival

out of rangeApril 28–May 3, 2021 • event

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

Cowal Highland Gathering

Cowal Highland Gathering

out of rangeAugust 25–27, 2022 • event

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

Burning of the Clavie

Burning of the Clavie

out of rangeJanuary 11 • event

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

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

out of rangeAugust 6–30, 2021  • event

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

Edinburgh Christmas Market

Edinburgh Christmas Market

out of rangevirtual event in 2020 • event

A winter wonderland in the heart of a fairytale city

Celtic Connections

Celtic Connections

out of rangeJanuary 14–31, 2021 • event

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

Hogmanay

Hogmanay

canceledDecember 30–January 1 • event

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

The Ba' Game

The Ba' Game

out of rangeDecember 25 | January 1 • activity

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

Burntisland Highland Games

Burntisland Highland Games

unconfirmedmid-July 2021 • event

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

Fort William Mountain Festival

Fort William Mountain Festival

out of rangeFebruary 19–21, 2021 • event

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

Burns Night Celebrations

Burns Night Celebrations

out of rangeJanuary 25 • event

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

Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh International Festival

unconfirmedAugust 2021 • event

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

Royal Highland Show

Royal Highland Show

out of rangeJune 17–20, 2021 • event

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

Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis

out of rangeApril–July  • activity

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

Lunan Bay Bathing Season

Lunan Bay Bathing Season

out of rangeJune–mid-September • nature

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

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

out of rangelate November–early January • event

Edinburgh celebrates the most wonderful time of the year

Seal Pups

Seal Pups

out of rangeNovember  • nature

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

North Berwick International Highland Games

North Berwick International Highland Games

canceledJuly 7, 2021 • event

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

Horse Flat Racing Season

Horse Flat Racing Season

out of rangeApril–September  • activity

Musselburgh Racecourse provides year round great racing action with 27 racedays

Sailing around the Small Isles

Sailing around the Small Isles

out of rangelate April–mid-August • activity

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

Starling Murmuration

Starling Murmuration

out of rangeNovember–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

Red Squirrels

Red Squirrels

out of rangeNovember–March  • nature

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

Stirling Highland Games

Stirling Highland Games

out of rangeAugust 21, 2021 • event

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

Ceres Highland Games

Ceres Highland Games

out of rangeJune 26, 2021 • event

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

Dog Sledding

Dog Sledding

out of rangeNovember–March  • activity

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

Fairy Glen

Fairy Glen

out of rangeJune–August • nature

Surrounded by legends about faeries, this land is indeed magical

Boxing Day

Boxing Day

out of rangeDecember 26 • event

The occasion has nothing to do with fists and punching, but rather boxes full of gifts

Cruising on a Vintage Steam Boat

Cruising on a Vintage Steam Boat

out of rangelate 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"

Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing and Snowboarding

out of rangelate December–April • activity

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

Cowgate St. Patrick’s Festival

Cowgate St. Patrick’s Festival

canceledmid-March 2021 • event

Celebrate Celtic heritage and culture

Lemon Sole

Lemon Sole

out of rangeJune–September • food

The fillet dish tastes best with a Mediterranean sauce

Osprey Watching

Osprey Watching

out of rangeApril–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

White Water Rafting

White Water Rafting

out of rangeJune–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

Halloween

Halloween

out of rangelate October • event

Celebrate the transition from summer to winter in a traditional Celtic way

Winter Mountaineering and Ice Climbing

Winter Mountaineering and Ice Climbing

out of rangeJanuary–March  • activity

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

Damsons

Damsons

out of rangemid- 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

Haddock

Haddock

out of rangeSeptember • 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

Birdwatching

Birdwatching

out of rangeMay–June | September • nature

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

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

out of rangeFebruary–mid-March • nature

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

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

out of rangeJanuary–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

Diving

Diving

out of rangeJune–August  • activity

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

Water Skiing and Wakeboarding

Water Skiing and Wakeboarding

out of rangeApril–September  • activity

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

Canyoning and Gorge Walking

Canyoning and Gorge Walking

out of rangelate March–late September • activity

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

First Footing with Black Bun

First Footing with Black Bun

out of rangeJanuary 1 • food

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

Last updated: