Posted on 25/02/2021

#Culture #United Kingdom

The best times to visit Scotland

Choosing the best time to go to Scotland can be quite a task, especially depending on what you want to do during your trip. Whether you want the bustling life of the cities or the calming perks of nature, you won't want to go at the same time, especially with the temperamental Scottish weather. Don't fret though, here's our guide to help you choose the best time to visit Scotland.

Choosing the best time to go to Scotland can be quite a task, especially depending on what you want to do during your trip. Whether you want the bustling life of the cities or the calming perks of nature, you won't want to go at the same time, especially with the temperamental Scottish weather. Don't fret though, here's our guide to help you choose the best time to visit Scotland.

High season

High season Lambros / 123RF

If you like the fast life, check Scotland out in the months of July and August. During these months, the streets of Edinburgh are full of life with festivals. Although if you do plan on going to these events, note that accommodation prices can be 10% to 20% higher than other months, so be sure to book early if you can. July and August are the warmest months in Scotland, but expect rain, although this shouldn't stop you from exploring the wilderness. Beware if you go to the Highlands and islands, you will find lots of midges.

Shoulder season

If you are looking for a more relaxing, tranquil trip, May, June and September offer the best weather in Scotland, making it the perfect time to visit the outdoors. Added bonus, all the midges are gone in these months. In May and June, enjoy the blossoming wildflowers, also, in June, darkness doesn't arrive until 11pm, giving you plenty of time to explore the outdoors.

Low season

If you really don't want to experience crowds, head up to Scotland anytime from October to April. This is the coldest time of the year, especially from November to March it can be really wet too. So instead of exploring, you can be like the locals and cosy up in a pub, bearing in mind that darkness falls as early as 4pm.

Let's dive into more detail and see what goes on specifically in some months.

January

January Cogentmarketing / 123RF

If you head to Scotland in January, on the 25th you can celebrate Burns Night. This night celebrates the life of Scottish Robert Burns. The main part of the night is the supper, the first Burns supper was held in 1801, and has been a tradition for over 200 years now. There is also the Celtic Connections festival, which started in 1994 in Glasgow. It usually goes from mid-January to the beginning of February. Finally there is Up Helly Aa, which is a fire festival held in numerous communities in Shetland, this festival goes from January to March.

February

February is a good time for mountaineering, ice climbing and skiing. But when it comes to events, this is the month for rugby fans, as the Six Nations Rugby Tournament starts. There is also a festival on mountain culture for the hikers out there held at Fort William, the festival takes place for two weeks.

April

April Richard Johnson / 123RF

April is a good time to visit to watch spring unfold, bluebell woods blossom on the shores of Loch Lomond, ospreys arrive to nest. As for events in April, once again you have rugby, but this time it's Rugby Sevens, but you also have the Shetland Folk Festival. This festival starts towards the end of April, it is the most northerly folk festival in the UK. It first started in 1981 and has continued since.

May

Scotland has many festivals, in May you can take part in the Spirit of Speyside. This is a festival that takes place in Speyside, the whiskey making region. This year the festival will be held online, and tickets go on sale in March.

June

During the sunny days of June, you can watch the Common Ridings. This is a tradition in Scotland that dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries where frequent raids took place on the Anglo-Scottish borders that are known as the Border Rivers. The Common Ridings is an equestrian event where male riders ride along the borders to commemorate the raids that took place. Some of the towns to see this in are : Berwick-upon-Tweed, Hawick, Selkirk, Langholm, Coldstream, Lanark, Lauder, Edinburgh, Melrose, and Peebles. For musical lovers, check out the West End Festival in Glasgow.

August

August Hikersmurf / 123RF

If you go to Scotland in August, be prepared for crowds as there are lots of festivals. If that isn't your ideal situation, head to the coast as this time of year is the best chance to see minke whales and basking sharks. For the festivals, you have Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and many more.

November

As the days are getting shorter, this is the perfect time to discover galleries and pubs in Scotland, you can even go to Glasgow's whiskey festival.

December

December ianwool / 123RF

Enjoy Christmas and New Year festivities to lighten up the days when darkness falls by mid-afternoon. In Scotland, New Year's Eve is known as Hogmanay, which is the Scottish word for the last day of the year.