Landscapes, Castles, Scotland

What is the Best Time of Year for Visiting Scotland?

So, you have finally decided to see the rugged beauty of Scotland in person. You are planning your trip and raring to discover the lush glens, soaring mountains and deep lochs. You are ready to savour a dram of whisky after a day exploring the natural and cultural richness of this ancient land. But there’s just one question holding you back. WHEN is the best time to visit Scotland? Luckily Inspiring Travel Scotland is here to help! 

When is the Cheapest Time to Visit Scotland?

You’ve probably already guessed it… winter is the cheapest season to visit Scotland. With fewer tourists exploring the country in winter, travel and accommodation prices are lower, and whilst you may get the chills just thinking about it, we have good news: Scottish winters aren’t all that cold. It rarely drops below freezing, and those crisp, clear winter days are just beautiful!

Due to the mild weather, you can enjoy pretty much all the attractions Scotland has to offer from hiking in the highlands, to touring Scotland’s many castles and museums. And if you just can’t choose what you want to do, then we can help you out and customise your Scotland tour to suit your particular interests. It is worth noting that in the winter it can sometimes be difficult to get to some of the Hebridean islands, but if the weather does get bad, there’s a friendly pub and a dram of whisky waiting for you in every town! 

Winter is the best season to spot the elusive pine marten

When is Scotland’s Weather Ideal?

If you want to visit Scotland at its hottest, then the summer months of July and August are for you, but our top tip is to visit either in autumn or spring. 

In September the heat and the crowds of the summer start to ease off, the weather gets drier, the skies get clearer, and the trees turn gold. It is a truly magical time, perfect for exploring the outdoors during the day and the cosy hospitality of restaurants and pubs in the evenings. Autumn (or “fall” to our cousins across the Atlantic) is the best season to explore Scotland’s comforting and hearty cuisine! 

Spring officially begins in March. The air is a little more crisp and fresh, and the countryside bursts with wildflowers making this the most colourful season in Scotland. It’s a beautiful time to take to the road and explore the far reaches of this extraordinary country. Still not sure? Then check out our blog detailing the 5 reasons to visit Scotland in the spring

What is the Peak Tourist Season in Scotland?

Summer is the peak tourist season in Scotland, and with good reason. Schools are closed for the holidays, the temperatures are at their peak, and the purple heather is blooming. Edinburgh’s fringe festival runs throughout the summer and performers and tourists from all over the world congregate to celebrate art in all its forms. There is a wonderful energy to Scotland in its summer months, but if you’re travelling around the country, this is when trains and ferries are full to bursting so the best way to travel is by car and a private customised tour complete with a driver/guide is even better. 

What Scottish Events Are Unmissable?

Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh

There is always something happening in Scotland. So, no matter what time of year you decide to visit, you are sure to be here during one event or another. Starting in spring, you can enjoy the Beltane fire festival – an event that celebrates ancient Celtic tradition and honours the spirit of the season. 

In summer you can enjoy the Highland Games – a truly unique Scottish experience – and the Braemar Gathering. Edinburgh becomes the cultural centre of the country as it hosts several festivals, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. 

When the weather cools in the autumn months you can enjoy the warmth of the Drambuster Whisky Festival, and you can hear some of the best traditional music at the Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival. If you missed out on the spring Beltane, then don’t worry – Autumn hosts the Samhuinn Fire Festival (the original Halloween!). 

Winter is a time of endless cheer, with the Christmas spirit in full swing and the whole country preparing to welcome the New Year with Hogmanay – Scotland’s biggest celebration! Festivities don’t end there, however, as Burns Night comes soon after. 

So there you have Inspiring Travel Scotland’s guide on when to visit Scotland. But putting cost, weather, tourist attractions and events aside for a moment, we reckon the best time to visit Scotland is as soon as possible – once the coronavirus lockdown has lifted and it’s safe to travel again! If our tours have caught your eye or you simply want more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Even before you book anything, start planning your once-in-a-lifetime Scotland tour with Inspiring Travel!

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