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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 Country Specialist Jackie

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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 43°F 2" 43°F 2" 48°F 2" 54°F 2" 59°F 2" 64°F 2" 66°F 2" 66°F 3" 61°F 3" 55°F 3" 48°F 3" 45°F 2"
Fort William 39°F 12" 41°F 8" 43°F 10" 50°F 5" 55°F 5" 59°F 6" 61°F 7" 61°F 7" 57°F 11" 52°F 12" 45°F 11" 41°F 12"
Glencoe 39°F 12" 41°F 8" 43°F 10" 50°F 5" 55°F 5" 59°F 6" 61°F 7" 61°F 7" 57°F 11" 52°F 12" 45°F 11" 41°F 12"
Inverness 41°F 3" 41°F 2" 46°F 2" 50°F 2" 57°F 2" 64°F 2" 66°F 2" 66°F 3" 59°F 3" 54°F 3" 46°F 3" 43°F 3"
Loch Lomond 41°F 9" 41°F 6" 45°F 7" 52°F 4" 57°F 5" 63°F 4" 64°F 5" 64°F 6" 59°F 8" 54°F 9" 46°F 8" 43°F 8"

Month-by-month guide to traveling in Scotland

Portree

Visiting Scotland in December

December has the shortest amount of daylight of the year, with long nights and cold days. It’s a relatively dry month and can see beautifully crisp, clear and sunny days.

Events & Festivals

  • Hogmanay is the Scottish festival for New Year, usually marked by live music, fire dancers and fireworks.

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Trip ideas and travel guides to exploring Scotland