When to go in Scotland

Spring (late March to May) and autumn (September to November) are definitely the best times to visit Scotland.

Come Spring, you can explore the country with warmer weather despite the snow that will probably remain in the mountains of the Highlands and the Cairngorns. The summer season from June to August offers the warmest temperatures. Furthermore, July and August offer extended daylight hours as you go further north.

Starting in late October, the crowds become thinner and early to mid-November is the perfect time to behold stunning autumn landscapes and scenery. Many sites close for winter after mid-October and travelling in snowy conditions can be quite hard from December to February. However, brave travelers are rewarded for the effort with breathtaking wintery scenes and can relax in the evening in front of a crackling log fire in the hotels that remain open.

Scotland in January

This is the coldest time of the year in Scotland and especially in the east which is struck by freezing temperatures even in the daytime. Glacial winds from the coast blow over Edinburgh, and most of the country is covered in snow, especially the mountainous regions. The Scottish ring in the new year with the Hogmanay festival, which usually features live music, fire dancers and fireworks. In honour of the national poet Robert Burns, Burns Night is celebrated on the 25th with poetry readings accompanied by whisky and haggis.

Events & Festivals

Burns Night in honour of Scotland’s national Poet, Robert Burns, is usually celebrated with poetry readings, whisky and haggis.

Scotland in February

Cold temperatures and snow are still present in February. Mountain lovers can gather at the Fort William Mountain Festival which features films, events and talks by famous mountaineers.

Events & Festivals

Mountain lovers can gather at the Fort William Mountain Festival which features films, events and talks by famous mountaineers.

Scotland in March

Signs of spring begin to emerge all over the country and temperatures warm up in the southern regions. The Highlands and Cairngorns remain snowy, but melting can occur on the lower slopes.

Scotland in April

Temperatures continue to warm up except for the mountainous regions with their cold temperatures and snowy peaks. The ski areas of the West Highlands and the Cairngorms usually close at this time of the year. April is usually the driest month in Edinburg. The end of winter is celebrated at the end of the month with a pagan fire festival, Beltane. In Edinburg, thousands gather on top of Calton Hill for a pagan and fire-themed show.

Events & Festivals

The end of winter is celebrated at the end of the month with a pagan fire festival, Beltane.

Scotland in May – June

The spring season really kicks off with the appearance of magnificent and colourful flowers and vegetation and the snow having all but disappeared except on the highest peaks. The weekends tend to be busy due to the public holidays at the beginning and end of May. Starting in June, Scotland’s midges start to come out and remain present until autumn. Central Scotland enjoys long daylight hours with roughly 17 and a half hours by the end of June and this number increases as you travel further north. The Highland games take place in May and June and continue through to September.

Events & Festivals

The Highland Games feature brawny athletic events such as tossing the caber, tug-o-war as well as dance competitions and piping.

Scotland in July – August

These are the peak summer months in Scotland, with average temperatures at around 19°C (66°F). Schools begin the summer holidays in July, and this is the most frenzied time for travelling. Two festivals take place at the same time in August, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which features a dazzling military parade in front of the castle.

Events & Festivals

-The Highland Games feature brawny athletic events such as tossing the caber, tug-o-war as well as dance competitions and piping.

-The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival. It features performances such as comedy, dance and theatre during most of August.

Scotland in September

September is the rainiest month in Scotland and temperatures get somewhat cooler. Even though all the students go back to school, the tourist season is still bustling. The Braemar Gathering, the most famous of Scotland’s Highland games, takes place in September just north of Pitlochry.

Events & Festivals

The Highland Games feature brawny athletic events such as tossing the caber, tug-o-war as well as dance competitions and piping.

Scotland in October

The end of October is the best time to observe bright and colourful autumn landscapes. The weather is usually cool and somewhat drier than in September. Some hotels and sites close towards the end of the month.

Scotland in November

Scotland is quite cold in November, especially in the north and east. Autumn leaves fall off the trees towards the end of the month, and this is when the first snowfall usually occurs. This is a more relaxed time to explore Scotland, even though some sites might be closed. On November 30th, the Scottish celebrate St. Andrew’s Day in honour of their patron saint with feasts, music and dancing.

Events & Festivals

On November 30th, the Scottish celebrate St. Andrew’s Day in honour of their patron saint with feasts, music and dancing.

Scotland in December

December has the shortest days and longest nights of the year with cold temperatures in the daytime. The weather is fairly dry, and one can enjoy lovely cold, clear and sunny days.

Events & Festivals

The Scottish ring in the new year with the Hogmanay festival, which usually features live music, fire dancers and fireworks.

A guide to weather in Scotland

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