When Is the Best Time to Visit Scotland?
The best time to visit Scotland is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October). During these months, the weather is generally mild and sunny, with fewer crowds and lower prices than during the peak summer season.
Here are some of the benefits of visiting Scotland during the shoulder seasons:
- Mild weather: Scotland has a temperate oceanic climate, with mild summers and cool winters. The shoulder seasons offer pleasant temperatures, making them ideal for sightseeing, exploring, and enjoying the outdoors.
- Smaller crowds: The shoulder seasons are less crowded than the peak summer season, so you’ll be able to enjoy Scotland’s popular tourist attractions without having to deal with large crowds. This is especially important if you’re visiting popular destinations like the Edinburgh Castle, the Glencoe Valley, and the Isle of Skye.
- Lower prices: Prices for flights, accommodation, and activities are generally lower during the shoulder seasons than during the peak summer season. This means you can save money on your trip without having to sacrifice quality.
Here are some specific examples of how you can enjoy the most of Scotland during the shoulder seasons:
- Spring (April to June): The weather in spring is typically sunny and mild, with occasional showers. This is a great time to visit for hiking in the Cairngorms National Park, visiting the Loch Ness, and attending the Edinburgh International Festival.
- Autumn (September to October): The weather in autumn is also typically sunny and mild, with occasional showers. This is a great time to visit for seeing the fall foliage in the Trossachs National Park, visiting the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and attending the Glasgow Film Festival.
While there are many great times to visit Scotland, if you’re looking for the best weather and the most opportunities to enjoy the country’s outdoor activities, then we recommend visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn.
Climate in Scotland
Summer Season in Scotland
Scottish summers are generally mild, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F). This season is characterized by longer days (with very long daylight hours in the northern regions), making it ideal for exploring the country’s natural landscapes, historic sites, and participating in cultural festivals. While summers can have sunny periods, they are also interspersed with rain showers, and the weather can be quite unpredictable.
Rainy Season in Scotland
Scotland experiences a lot of rainfall throughout the year, but the autumn and winter months (September to February) tend to be wetter, with frequent rain and overcast skies. The rain can range from light drizzles to heavier downpours, contributing to the lushness of Scotland's landscapes, particularly its highlands and wooded areas.
Winter Season in Scotland
Winters in Scotland are cold and damp, with average temperatures often hovering around 0°C (32°F), sometimes dropping lower. Snow is common in the highlands, making it a popular destination for winter sports, while the lowlands experience milder but still chilly winters. Winter in Scotland is characterized by shorter days, longer nights, and a festive atmosphere during the Christmas and New Year period, offering a unique charm with its winter landscapes and cultural experiences.