Scotland is a picturesque nation speckled with offshore islands that are filled with history and culture dating back thousands of years. This Celtic country is favoured amongst photographers and road trip enthusiasts for its dramatic remote landscapes and stunning vast lochs.
If you’re planning to visit this gem of the UK, then it’ll be helpful to know when to go to get the best out of your experience. After all, you should maximize this once in a lifetime getaway. Prior research will also guide your decisions on when to go based on what activities you want to participate in.
Here are the best times to visit Scotland according to your interests:
Scotland is a paradise for enthusiasts who wants to pursue hobbies such as sports, wildlife, hiking, history, and photography. Most hobbies can be done in groups with guided tours or individuals wanting to go their own way.
For history geeks, there are fantasy-like castles to explore around the country. One of the most famous is the Edinburgh Castle in the nation’s capital. You can travel by coach from London to Edinburgh on a comfortable 9-hour trip to visit this spectacular historical site.
If you’re planning to go during the peak summer months from August, it’s best to pre-book your ticket in advance to avoid long queues. Arrive early before 10 am and on a Sunday if you want a less crowded experience.
April through October are ideal travel times to visit Scotland for its world-renowned golf courses. The mild to cool weather can offer you a better chance to book a golf course. Additionally, due to the months being shoulder seasons, you can expect off-season and more affordable rates.
Scotland is a suitable destination to visit at any time during the year, thanks to its moderate climate. Furthermore, some places are wetter and rainier than others while it’s not uncommon to experience all four seasons in a single day.
If you’re planning a vacation in summer, then the best times to visit are the months between June and August. This is peak tourist season with plenty of fast-paced activities to do during the longer daylight hours. This is ideal for taking scenic drives and biking tours in the beautiful green countryside along the Highland mountains and catching a ferry to visit several of the surrounding islets.
As popular as summer is, it’s also the busiest tourist season, which could be more competitive in trying to book for accommodation. For this reason, a wintertime vacation in Scotland is also worth considering. In the months between October and March, you can expect more rain; but on average, the temperature drops only a few degrees.
The outdoors adventurous traveller will appreciate hiking up the snow-capped Highlands, The Isle of Skye, and the surrounding forests. Observing wildlife is also on the itinerary during winter as red deer dot the landscape.
Events And Cultural Celebrations
While summer is packed with festivals and events to attend, Scotland has something going on year-round. In April, when springtime arrives, there’s the Wild Spring Festival in Dumfries and Galloway. This is the perfect slow-paced and family-friendly festival to take walking tours, enjoy local arts, and watch out for wildlife and blossoming native flora.
The wintertime of January provides the perfect backdrop for Scotland’s famous fire festival. The Lerwick Up Helly Aa festival is one of the largest fire festivals in the UK. You can expect large crowds, longships, and burning torchlight processions in the night time as well as cultural foods to celebrate the country’s Celtic and Viking traditions.
For a quieter and more intimate experience in small towns, there are several food and literary festivals that take place between May and September. At the Flavour of Shetland Food Festival, you can taste local produce and food samples while you browse craft stalls. The Ullapool Book Festival is for book fans to enjoy talks, readings, and attending literary workshops.
The Kingdom of Scotland is welcoming to travellers all year round, thanks to its temperate weather and continuous events calendar. It’s a perfect place for travellers, and you’ll likely never run out of things to do on your itinerary whenever you plan on going.
The most ideal times to visit in the spring and summer are during the months between April to September. These seasons are the busiest times but provide the most activities to do such as hiking, road trips, and festivals.
To witness the winter wonderland of snowy mountains and a slower-paced ambience, you should aim to go around October to February. During these dates, you can be sure to witness the famous fiery festivals and partake in Scotland’s legendary Celtic heritage.
As a rule of thumb, research the places you want to visit beforehand. Consider the ideas mentioned here as you plan and prepare.