There’s one question that crops up time and again, and that is, “When is the best time to visit Scotland?” Answer: What you’re looking for will determine the best time for YOU.
There’s just so much to see and do, any time of year, with summer and winter events and festivals, excellent conditions during spring and autumn (fall) for outdoor activities, and our culture and history that is not dependent on the season or the weather.
So, unless you’re looking for a couple of weeks lying on a beach with sun, sea and sand, then Scotland offers the ideal solution for the perfect holiday. OK, our weather can be a little changeable, but it’s really not very bad. Anyway, there’s so much going on that you probably won’t mind. So, let’s take a look at what’s happening throughout the year, and hopefully we’ll get the answer to when’s the best time for YOU to visit Scotland.
SPRING is a beautiful time of year to visit Scotland for our clean fresh air, plants and flowers, and to see the mountains, lochs and countryside in all their scenic splendour.
It’s also an ideal time for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, fishing, golfing and sea kayaking. Great too, for one of our scenic Discover Scotland Coach Tours, to explore our castles, maybe take in a whisky tour, or even visit some of our many attractions.
Some great events take place in May, including the Aviemore and Cairngorms Walking and Mountain Festival, the Arran Wildlife Festival, and the Isle of Bute Jazz Festival.
SUMMER is another nice time to visit Scotland, and to be perfectly honest, some years there’s not too much of a difference weather wise, from spring to summer.
The good thing about summer is that Edinburgh is buzzing. The streets are alive with local and national visitors, and performers from all over the world converge on the city to take part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which runs for three weeks in August.
Also in the month of August (providing you book well in advance) you can take in the fabulous Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the biggest event of its kind in the world.
Summer also has a full calendar of Highland Games, including the North Berwick International Highland Games, and the Cowal Gathering, the largest of the Games events, and the pick of the season is the Braemar Gathering, with royal attendance.
AUTUMN: Purely as a personal opinion, I would say the countryside is at its best this time of year, with a mixture of gold and brown colours dominating our countryside walks, and breathing the fresh, crisp air. If you’re the outdoor type, this is your time.
Summer events give way to the more relaxed pace of Autumn events, like the Scottish Countryside Festival in Glamis, Angus, in the grounds of Glamis Castle, and provides great fun for everyone in the family. Autumn is most definitely the best time for all you keen outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the best of walking, cycling and wildlife spotting.
If you’re a whisky lover, you’re definitely on a winner, with tours of some of scotlands most famous distilleries at the Autumn Speyside Whisky Festival in Dufftown, Moray.
WINTER: When winter is approaching, many tourists visit Scotland just to sample the shopping experience that the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh have to offer.
Many stay for winter events, and there are some spectaculars with Glasgow On Ice, which runs from late November until late December, with music and ice dancing.
But those who really want to let their hair down return year after year for the fabulous Edinburgh Hogmanay Party event. It’s a fair old bash, and you have to book early.
We also have many visitors coming for the skiing in Scotland, to enjoy the fantastic slopes and stunning scenery, but there’s no rush to get here in January or February, because the good news is, we can sometimes get snowfalls right up until Easter.
That covers the seasons and the events that take place at certain times of the year, but much of what Scotland has to offer can be sampled at any time. Outdoor activities are available all year, as are a host of attractions, shopping, nightlife, and the scenery.
You will get a warm welcome no matter what time of year you visit Scotland, and you will be fascinated with our history and culture. So, back to the question : When is the best time to visit? I think the answer is obvious: You have to answer that for yourself.
Have a look at the Scotland Events page for all the month by month events listings.
See the Scotland Travel Information page for all the information you need for travelling to and within Scotland. Get helpful advice on passports and visas, currency, weather, holiday extras, useful travel links and much more.