If you're seeking a destination that's both visually captivating and culturally enriching, Scotland is a fantastic place to go as it offers a blend of natural beauty, rich history and warm hospitality. If you also love your history then Scotland is the perfect place to be. With its ancient castles and historical sites there's a sense of timelessness with its cobbled streets and old structures that will transport you back in time, giving you a glimpse into the lives of those who walked the same paths centuries ago. But let's not also forget about the vibrant culture. From the sound of bagpipes to the traditional kilts, Scotland's cultural heritage is worth celebrating. 

So whether you're strolling through Edinburgh's alleyways, hiking in the Highlands or enjoying a dram of whisky at a local distillery, Scotland offers a wide array of experiences that cater to every traveller.

So when is the best time to go?

Scotland's weather can be diverse and unpredictable so choosing the right season is important and depends on the kind of activities you want to do.

Streets of Edinburgh Scotland

Let’s look at the 4 seasons of Scotland

Spring in Scotland (Shoulder Season - March to May)

Spanning from March to May, Spring is the season when the weather warms up from the cold of the Winter and the landscapes gradually burst into life with colour. This is the season when Scotland experiences lots of different types of weather, so packing layers is a smart choice.

In March it can still be cold with average temperatures around 7-10°C (45-50°F) during the day, and the nights can be chilly, dropping to around 1-3°C (34-37°F). Rainfall is quite common in March, with around 60-80mm throughout the month.

During April Scotland begins to feel a bit warmer. Daytime temperatures generally range from 9-12°C (48-54°F), and nights become a little bit more bearable, averaging around 3-5°C (37-41°F). You will still get rain in April, on average 50-70mm

By May the weather becomes much more comfortable. It is generally drier than the previous months with daytime temperatures rising to around 12-15°C (54-59°F), and nights are noticeably less chilly, averaging 5-7°C (41-45°F).

What can you do in Scotland in Spring

  • Visit Edinburgh Castle, the iconic fortress that overlooks the capital city is definitely worth a visit. The spring weather makes it a pleasant time to go.
  • Scotland is renowned for its whisky so why not tour a distillery, learn about the distillation process and have a drink!
  • As spring awakens the botanical garden comes alive with colourful blooms. It's a peaceful spot for a stroll and maybe a relaxing picnic.
  • Hike in the Cairngorms National Park, with the snow melting, spring is a wonderful time for outdoor activities. The Cairngorms offer a variety of trails for hikers of all levels, surrounded by beautiful scenery.
  • While Nessie might remain elusive, the beauty of Loch Ness is undeniable. Take a boat tour, walk along its shores, and enjoy the atmosphere.
  • Explore the Isle of Skye, known for its dramatic landscapes, the Isle of Skye is perfect for springtime exploration. Discover the Fairy Pools, Old Man of Storr and other natural wonders.
  • Scotland hosts numerous spring festivals celebrating music, arts, and culture. The Edinburgh International Science Festival and the Beltane Fire Festival are just a couple of examples.
  • Apart from Edinburgh Castle, there are many other ones to explore including Stirling Castle and Eilean Donan Castle, each with its own unique histories.
  • Scotland's coastline is stunning and spring has good weather for coastal walks. Consider exploring the Fife Coastal Path or the North Coast 500 route.
  • Take a Highland Train Journey, travelling by train through the Scottish Highlands is a great way to see all the sights.

Eilean Donan Castle Scotland


Summer in Scotland (Peak Season - June to August)  

Summer can be a wonderful time to visit Scotland. During the months of June, July, and August, Scotland has relatively mild temperatures. On average, you can expect daytime temperatures to range from around 15 to 20 degrees Celsius (59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). However, bear in mind that Scotland's weather can be quite unpredictable, even in summer, so packing layers and being prepared for occasional rain is a smart move. Summer is a great time to explore those stunning landscapes, historical sites and cities that Scotland has to offer.

As the longer days and milder weather create a perfect setting for exploration, here's a rundown of some things you can do:

Things you can do in Scotland during Summer

  • Go to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. If you're into arts and culture then this is the world's largest arts festival, with thousands of performances across various genres...definitely worth a visit.
  • Scotland is famous for its stunning castles. Check out Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, and Eilean Donan Castle for a dose of history and stunning views.
  • Go hiking as the Scottish Highlands provide many wonderful hiking trails. The West Highland Way and the Isle of Skye are especially popular.
  • Take a trip to the iconic Loch Ness, go monster spotting and enjoy the beautiful surrounding scenery.
  • Scotland is synonymous with whisky. Explore distilleries like Glenfiddich, Laphroaig or Glenlivet, learn about the whisky-making process and taste some of the finest drams.
  • With over 790 islands there's plenty of exploring to do. The Inner and Outer Hebrides are a great place to start.
  • Tee off at some of the world's most famous golf courses. St. Andrews, known as the "Home of Golf," is a must-visit for golf enthusiasts.
  • Take a leisurely boat ride on Loch Lomond or explore the Caledonian Canal for a unique perspective of the landscape.
  • Believe it or not, Scotland has some stunning beaches. Head to the Isle of Harris or the Fife coast for sandy shores and turquoise waters.
  • Experience Scotland's rich cultural heritage by attending a Highland Games event. Think caber tossing, hammer throwing and lots of tartan.
  • Summer is a great time for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. Look out for puffins, seals, red deer and golden eagles.
  • Visit the prehistoric village of Skara Brae, the neolithic Callanish Stones and the historic town of Stirling to get a sense of Scotland's ancient past. 

Isle Of Skye Scotland

Autumn in Scotland (Shoulder Season - September to November)

Autumn is a fantastic time to explore the breathtaking landscapes of Scotland. During this season the weather starts to cool down from the heat of the summer and you'll be greeted by a colourful tapestry of changing leaves. In September, temperatures typically range from around 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F), a pleasant and mild climate. As you move into October and November, temperatures can drop a bit further, ranging from 5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F).

The advantage of visiting during Autumn is that you'll avoid the peak tourist crowds of the summer months, giving you a more peaceful experience particularly at popular sites like Edinburgh Castle or in the Scottish Highlands. And remember, it's also a great time to eat hearty Scottish food and perhaps warm up with a wee dram of whisky!

Things to do in Scotland in Autumn

  • Explore the Highlands: The Scottish Highlands are beautiful during autumn so take a drive or a hike to see golden hills and peaceful lochs.
  • Whisky Tasting: Visit a whisky distillery and take a guided tour to taste and experience the warm, flavours synonymous with the country.
  • The Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August may mark the end of summer, but its creative energy lingers into autumn
  • Scotland has lots of castles, steeped in history. Wander through Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and/or Eilean Donan Castle to take in the stunning colours of Autumn.
  • The countryside in Scotland is open to everyone and Autumn is the perfect time to take a walk. There are many trails to choose from that enable you to connect with Scotland's natural beauty.
  • Hop on a cruise along the famous Loch Ness. While you might not spot the legendary monster, you'll definitely enjoy looking.
  • If you're a golf enthusiast, Scotland is a dream come true. Play a round on legendary courses like St. Andrews and Carnoustie, surrounded by autumnal landscapes.
  • Visit Cairngorms National Park, a haven if you like the outdoors. Offering activities like wildlife watching, mountain biking and railway rides there are also many trails for those who love to hike.
  • Local autumn festivals like the Highland Games, are worth a visit if you fancy watching traditional Scottish sports and celebrations.  

Old Man of Storr Scotland

Winter in Scotland (Low Season - December to February)

Spanning from December to February visiting Scotland in the winter can be a good time to go depending on what you want to do while you are there. The temperatures during this time of year can vary quite a bit, typically ranging from around 2°C to 7°C (36°F to 45°F) in the lowlands. In the highlands, temperatures can drop even further, often reaching sub-zero levels and there will be lots of snow in the highlands, perfect if you like winter hiking or even fancy a spot of skiing.

While the weather might be chilly the landscapes covered in snow are stunning.. Remember that winter days in Scotland are short, with few daylight hours, this means you'll need to plan your activities accordingly. However, Winter is the low season with the advantage of fewer crowds at popular tourist spots which make it a more serene experience.

Here are some wonderful things you can enjoy during the winter months:

Things to do in Scotland during Winter

  • Scotland is famous for its castles and they look especially lovely when dusted with snow. Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle are must-visit spots, steeped in history with breathtaking views.
  • If you're into winter sports, head to the Scottish Highlands for skiing or snowboarding. Glenshee, CairnGorm Mountain and Nevis Range are popular ski resorts.
  • Witness the Northern Lights as the northern parts of Scotland offer a chance to witness them in all their glory. Caithness and the Isle of Skye are known for their clear skies and aurora displays.
  • Warm up with a tour of a traditional Scottish whisky distillery. Learn about the whisky-making process.
  • If you visit in December, you'll find Christmas markets in cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow.
  • Embrace the Scottish tradition of warming up in a cosy pub. Sip on a hot toddy or have a beer with the locals.
  • Put on your winter gear and explore Scotland's beautiful landscapes on foot. The Cairngorms National Park and the West Highland Way offer stunning scenic winter hiking routes.
  • Check out winter festivals like the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh at New Year as many have fireworks and live music.
  • While Loch Ness might be the most famous, Scotland is dotted with stunning lochs. You can walk along the shores or enjoy a boat ride.
  • Treat yourself to a stay in a charming Scottish cottage or a luxury lodge. Relax by the fireplace and unwind in style.


Reindeer Cairngorm national park 

When is the busiest time to visit Scotland

The peak tourist season in Scotland usually falls during the summer months, from June to August when the weather is generally milder and the days are longer.

This season is the busiest as lots of tourists visit the iconic sites such as the Edinburgh Castle the Royal Mile and the mystical Loch Ness, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August also draws huge crowds from all over the world, making it a vibrant time to visit. But though summer provides a lively atmosphere, it's also when accommodations and attractions are crowded. If you'd prefer a quieter and more peaceful experience and don't mind cooler weather, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October). These times offer a nice balance between pleasant weather and fewer tourists, allowing you to appreciate the beauty and charm of Scotland at a more relaxed pace.

When is the best time to visit Scotland to avoid midges

Midges are a nuisance in Scotland and can ruin your trip so it’s wise to time your visit so you can avoid them. Late September until May are the best times to visit as these months are when the weather tends to be milder and the midges are not as abundant as during the peak summer months. The cooler temperatures and breezier conditions make it less inviting for them to come buzzing around you and you can enjoy the beauty of Scotland without constantly swatting them away.

However, if you want to experience the Scottish summer, which falls between July and August, you might want to consider visiting coastal areas or the more mountainous regions. Midges tend to be less bothersome in these regions but just remember to pack some insect repellent and wear long sleeves.


Scotland is a fabulous country to visit whatever time of year you choose to go. Just keep in mind that Scotland's weather can be unpredictable at any time of the year, so be sure to pack layers and waterproof gear and expect the unexpected!!.