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Sligachan River, Scottish Highlands

When is the best time to visit Scotland?

Scotland is best visited during the spring (late March to May) and autumn (September to November) months.

By spring, the temperatures are warmer, although there will still be snow in the mountains of the Highlands and the Cairngorms. The summer months of June through to August are the warmest of the year. July and August in particular get extensive daylight hours the further north you go.

From late October, the crowds begin to disperse and early to mid-November can be a wonderful time to see Scotland’s glorious autumn foliage. From mid-October many sites close for winter, and snowy conditions in December through to February can make travel tricky, although you’d be rewarded by spectacular wintery scenes and, in those hotels that remain open, roaring log fires.

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Audley Travel Specialist Brian

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I love visiting Scotland in May. It’s on the edge of high season, which often brings temperate, mild weather without the typical summer crowds. Many festivals are underway during May, too, so you might enjoy the novelty of celebrating World Whisky Day (on the third Saturday of May each year) in the spirit’s homeland. Meanwhile, the Scottish countryside turns into a patchwork of shades and textures as wildflowers and rhododendrons begin to blossom. But the best part of going in May is that the long daylight hours allow extra time to explore the wild Highland landscapes.

Andea, UK, Ireland & Iceland Specialist

Scotland Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Edinburgh 6°C 61mm 6°C 43mm 9°C 51mm 12°C 43mm 15°C 54mm 18°C 52mm 19°C 63mm 19°C 70mm 16°C 69mm 13°C 70mm 9°C 68mm 7°C 61mm
Fort William 4°C 303mm 5°C 204mm 6°C 254mm 10°C 127mm 13°C 133mm 15°C 144mm 16°C 167mm 16°C 189mm 14°C 272mm 11°C 304mm 7°C 286mm 5°C 299mm
Glencoe 4°C 303mm 5°C 204mm 6°C 254mm 10°C 127mm 13°C 133mm 15°C 144mm 16°C 167mm 16°C 189mm 14°C 272mm 11°C 304mm 7°C 286mm 5°C 299mm
Inverness 5°C 71mm 5°C 46mm 8°C 55mm 10°C 39mm 14°C 51mm 18°C 54mm 19°C 61mm 19°C 74mm 15°C 72mm 12°C 77mm 8°C 76mm 6°C 71mm
Loch Lomond 5°C 225mm 5°C 150mm 7°C 177mm 11°C 99mm 14°C 119mm 17°C 104mm 18°C 115mm 18°C 150mm 15°C 206mm 12°C 222mm 8°C 205mm 6°C 213mm

Month-by-month guide to traveling in Scotland


Visiting Scotland in January

January is bitterly cold in Scotland, especially in the east of the country where average temperatures hover around freezing during the daytime. Edinburgh is beset by icy winds from the coast, and much of the country is under snow, especially the mountainous areas. Hogmanay is the Scottish festival for New Year, usually marked by live music, fire dancers and fireworks. Burns Night, a celebration of national poet Robert Burns, is on the 25th of the month and is usually observed by poetry readings accompanied by whisky and haggis.

Events & Festivals

  • Burns Night is a celebration of Scotland's national Poet, Robert Burns, usually celebrated with poetry readings, whisky and haggis.

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Trip ideas and travel guides to exploring Scotland