Best time to visit Scotland

Diving in Scotland

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

Best time: June–August


Rich Scottish marine life draws thousands of adventurous divers from around the words to experience the unforgettable underwater scenery. Holidaymakers may choose between a day-long diving trip, or spend entire weekends exploring submerged miracles. Most diving hotspots are located on the west coast of Scotland, namely around Oban, Mull, and Skye. However, there are also some good diving sites on the east coast, in particular Scapa Flow in Orkney and St. Abbs Voluntary Marine Reserve. Many diving areas are open throughout the year, but the main season is summer.

Practical info

What are some of the best diving spots on the east coast of Scotland?

While the west coast is known for impressive diving sites in Scotland, there are several notable spots to explore on the east coast. Scuba diving enthusiasts can explore the thriving marine ecosystems and wartime wrecks up close at Scapa Flow and St. Abbs Voluntary Marine Reserve. Divers can peacefully observe various animals such as crabs, octopuses, and anemones in less crowded areas of the east coast. For beginners, there is also an opportunity to dive in the sea around Bass Rock and Firth of Forth. Show more

When is the best time of year to plan a diving trip to Scotland?

The ideal diving season in Scotland is from June to August, when the visibility is best, and the water is the warmest. Although Scottish waters are generally chilly, ranging from 5°C (41°F) to 14°C (57°F), the winter months can provide an excellent opportunity to see rare species, such as the UK's largest fish, the Basking Shark. Exposing the underwater environment is a rewarding experience but winter temperatures can drop to below zero, and the sea can be rough. Consequently, only skilled divers should attempt winter dives. Show more

What type of marine life can divers expect to see in Scottish waters?

Scuba divers exploring Scotland's waters can expect to encounter various marine life, including common seals, porpoises, whales, and dolphins. Divers can also find reefs hiding lobsters, sea stars, and vivid sea anemones. Sharks can be found swimming in the deeper parts of the sea, octopuses displaying brilliant colors in plain sight, and giant kelp which attracts several species. The underwater environment also provides a home for colorful jellyfish, which should be navigated with caution. Show more

Where are the most popular locations for scuba diving on the west coast of Scotland?

The most popular scuba diving areas in Scotland are located on the west coast. Sea lochs with colorful anemones and sea stars are a must-see, and the picturesque Mull Island offers concealed marine life such as dogfish, crabs, and conger eels. Skye offers various dives, including reef, wall, and cave dives, all featuring pink sea fans and squat lobsters. The west coast of Scotland brings many opportunities for divers to explore the underwater world. Show more

Can divers rent equipment or are they expected to bring their own?

In Scotland, divers have access to rental diving equipment. However, many scuba enthusiasts prefer to bring their own equipment. Regardless of whether you are renting equipment or not, it is essential to ensure that the gear is a suitable fit for you, and it meets your requirements. Training courses in diving ranges from beginner to advanced levels, with veteran instructors providing practical and theoretical courses on diving safety, conservation, and environment etiquette. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin