Best time to travel to Scotland

Autumn Foliage in Scotland

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

Best time: late September–October

Autumn Foliage
Autumn Foliage
Autumn Foliage

In spite of its fame for being an evergreen pine country, Scotland still has some colors to show off during the autumn months. The deciduous areas of the Scottish Highlands dress up in yellow, orange, red, russet, gold, and amber hues between late September and October. This is definitely a great time to hike in the mountains among glens and lochs with the surrounding colorful trees that make for a particularly charming scenery.

Scotland is home to the legendary Caledonian Forest, which is one of the most ancient forests in the UK that still lives on. After all, about a fifth of Scotland is covered in trees, mostly in the Highlands. Inchcailloch and the Loch Lomond Oakwoods, as well as Cairngorms National Park, are the best examples of native Scottish flora.

Inverness is famous for its most amazing scenery fall views. A city on Scotland’s northeast coast is the center of Scottish Highlands, where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth.

Perthshire is another especially beautiful area, that stretches from the valley of the River Earn to a small village of Comrie in Southern Highlands. Fall is the best time to explore this historic village and the national scenic area around the river Earn. The nature around Comrie and other towns promise many postcard-perfect views.

Practical info

When is the best time to see autumn foliage in Scotland?

To witness autumn foliage in Scotland, the time frame between late September and October is the best. The charm of the deciduous areas of the Scottish Highlands reaches its peak during these months, displaying beautiful colors of yellow, orange, red, russet, gold, and amber hues. The stunning fall scenery is particularly enjoyable for visitors who love hiking, with many glens and lochs providing a beautiful backdrop for outdoor activities. Show more

Where are the best locations to view fall foliage in Scotland?

Scotland boasts several regions that are best to view fall foliage, including Inverness on the northeast coast, Perthshire, and the Cairngorms National Park. Inverness is widely known for its spectacular fall scenery. Perthshire spans from the River Earn valley to Southern Highland’s small village of Comrie, providing a great display of fall foliage. Cairngorms National Park has the UK’s largest native pine forest and showcases stunning autumn colors, making it perfect for nature enthusiasts. Show more

How does the autumn foliage in Scotland differ from other parts of the UK?

Since Scotland is known for its evergreen pine forests, the changing colors of deciduous trees in the fall provide a unique experience. While the rest of the UK remains green, Scotland offers a vast range of yellow, orange, red, russet, gold, and amber hues with its Caledonian forest. The Caledonian forest, one of the earliest forests in the UK that still thrives today, is mostly in the Highlands, making it a rare sight against the mountains' backdrop. Show more

What are some unique species of trees found in Scottish forests during fall?

During autumn, Scotland's forests abound in unique tree species, such as the Rowan trees, the Aspen trees, and Silver Birch trees. Rowan trees are prominent for their distinct orange-red berries, while the Aspen trees feature golden leaves that shimmer in the sunshine. The Silver Birch trees, also called the Lady of the Woods, are recognizable by their rustling golden leaves and are a stunning sight to behold in autumn alongside other deciduous trees. Show more

What are some activities besides hiking that can be enjoyed during the fall foliage season in Scotland?

Apart from hiking, autumn in Scotland provides many other scenic activities. Fishing at the River Spey in Cairngorms National Park and driving through Perthshire's beautiful routes are excellent options. Scotland's salmon leap upriver at Pitlochry dam during autumn, making this season ideal for a visit to Urquhart Castle, Cawdor Castle, or Jedburgh Abbey. Harvest festivals held in towns and cities throughout Scotland offer a traditional experience of Scottish music, food, and culture to visitors during this season. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin