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Covesea Lighthouse, Lossiemouth, Moray

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When is the best time to visit Scotland?

The truth is, you can easily fall in love with Scotland at any time of the year. But which month is the best to visit? This question, which we are often asked here at VisitScotland, has 12 correct answers! Every month is unique, and so it depends entirely on what kind of trip you are looking for.

From seasonal highlights to events, weather to trips and days out ideas, this is our month-by-month guide to visiting Scotland. So let us help you find the perfect time for your holiday to Scotland. 

Happy planning!

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

January

Dark Sky ObservatoryDark Sky Observatory, Dalmellington 

There might be a cool whisper in the wind, but don't let the chillier climes put you off. Just pack a puffy coat! Start off the new year with a cosy and memorable trip to Scotland and embrace the chance to see the country at one of the quietest times of the year.

There are some great deals to be had on accommodation, not to mention plenty of stunning winter photography opportunities to capture. If you're lucky, you might see some of our cities or mountaintops sparkling with a dusting of snow.

It's the month of Robert Burns, Scotland's National Bard. We celebrate the writer's zest for life with ceilidhs, haggis and Burns Suppers on 25 January. Up in Shetland, another iconic event Up Helly Aa takes place on the third Tuesday of the month - a Viking-style street party. In Glasgow, Celtic Connections fills the city with folk music, traditional song and hundreds of live music events and gatherings.

Trip Idea: At this time of year, go stargazing across some of the darkest night skies in Europe. As well as glittering constellations, you could catch the Aurora Borealis dancing across the sky. Discover more dark sky experiences in Scotland.

Monthly Average Maximum Temperature: 4°C/ 40°F 
Days of rainfall: 19
Sunshine hours: 36

Our community says: "The weather in Scotland in winter can change every day, some days are very wet, whereas others are very cold and frosty. I would recommend good footwear, like walking shoes or boots that keep you warm and dry and have a good grip. A warm coat/jacket also helps with maybe a hat, gloves and scarf." - Lindsay, VisitScotland Community.

February

Reindeer Cairngorm MountainCairngorms National Park, Highlands 

Ah, February - a fabulous and romantic month, made for treating yourself!

Besides Valentine's Day, February isn't just a month for lovebirds in Scotland. Sports fans can also rejoice with the 6 Nations sweeping the capital and several rugby matches taking place at Murrayfield Stadium. Nature lovers will also enjoy the beautiful Snowdrop Festival, with swathes of pretty bulbs blooming at gardens across Scotland.

Trip idea: A city break for two could be just the vibes you're looking for, with reasonable prices and accommodation with great availability during this off-season time of year. How does a lodge with a hot tub or perhaps a swish spa hotel sound?

Average Maximum Temperature: 4 - 6°C/ 40°F 
Days of rainfall: 15 
Sunshine hours: 63

Our community says: "There really isn't a bad time to visit Scotland. We have had some brilliant adventures this winter including reindeer experiences with Cairngorm Reindeer Centre." - Full Stop Next Chapter, VisitScotland Community.

March

Loch_Morlich_CairngormsLoch Morlich, near Aviemore, Highlands 

While the snow might still be on the hills, much to the delight of snowsports enthusiasts, the temperatures are starting to lift and there are a few more hours of daylight in which to enjoy the great outdoors. March also sees many historic attractions open for the season.

This month will guarantee a few laughs with the Glasgow Comedy Festival in town, and keep an eye out for the Edinburgh International Science Festival which usually happens at the end of the month - a great day out for the family.

Trip idea: After a long winter, March is a great time for some rest and relaxation before the summer. Try a wellness break or book a cute cottage by the coast and spend some time in the fresh sea air.

Average Maximum Temperature: 8°C/ 46°F 
Days of rainfall: 17
Sunshine hours: 93

Our community says: "March can often have beautifully cold and clear spring days and there's a freshness to the air as winter (slowly!) retreats. We can still get snow at that time of year but it's usually on higher ground. If you're into hillwalking and have the skills then March/April is perfect for alpine days in the mountains." - Loch Ness Photography, VisitScotland Community.

April

Princes_st_Gardens_West_EdinburghPrinces Street, Edinburgh 

Yay, spring has arrived! Vibrant yellow daffodils sweep their way across Scotland, brightening any scene. Salmon leap from flowing rivers, and most of our attractions open for the new season. In the UK, the Easter Holidays fall in this month, so it's a great time to visit for a family holiday away from your normal routine.

This is also a great time to visit castles, country parks or even play a round of golf (some courses open in April) before the crowds arrive for the summer.

Trip idea: With skipping lambs and some bright sunny days to enjoy, why not book a farm stay and experience this magical time of the year in Scotland's countryside? 

Average Maximum Temperature: 10°C/ 50°F 
Days of rainfall: 13
Sunshine hours: 135

Our community says: "I think mid- April is the best time in Scotland, we are finally coming out of the long (but lovely) winter and everything is coming back to life! It is also normally quite mild and the nights are getting longer too then before the summer!" - Ellis O Connor, VisitScotland Community.

May

Bluebells_Inchcailloch_Loch_LomondInchcailloch - an island on Loch Lomond 

Lots of lovely things start to happen in May. It's one of our driest months and temperatures are on the up, so you might even get away with no coat on some days! It's another incredible month in the natural world, as colourful rhododendrons burst into bloom across gardens and at the end of the month light pink cherry blossom sprinkles its way around the country. Ospreys arrive at a few spots, all the way from Africa, to nest here for the summer.

We also celebrate Whisky Month for the entire month, with events and celebrations of the spirit across Scotland!

The golf season officially starts, so golfers, now is a good time to plan a round on a famous course, or to book with an organised tour group.

Trip idea: Take the chance to explore South Scotland and treat yourself to a luxury stay. Dumfries & Galloway's Spring Fling takes place, celebrating the region's talented craftspeople and artists - the perfect time to find a truly unique piece of art to remind you of Scotland.

Average Maximum Temperature: 13°C/ 55°F 
Days of rainfall: 13
Sunshine hours: 178

Our community says: "The capital has beautiful cherry blossoms in the Royal Botanical Gardens and a carpet of flowers as spring arrives."- Horizons, VisitScotland Community

"I live in the Highlands and think May is one of the best times to visit.  We often get a couple of weeks of beautiful warm weather with no midges." - KenXro, VisitScotland Community

June

Puffins_Isle_of_May_Kingdom_of_FifePuffins on the Isle of May 

The opportunities for fun are endless in June. The early summer warmth and long days allows for plenty of time out in the fresh air. In fact, the days are so long at this time of year that you can even play a round of golf at midnight in the north of Scotland.

Highland Games are in full swing with traditional events happening all summer across Scotland. There's also plenty of other events taking place, from music and book festivals to smaller food and drink events and outdoor gatherings.

Enjoy local produce, forage for summer berries at a local farm, or sip on a tasty beverage in beer gardens.

And, it's not just humans who enjoy June in Scotland. Puffins, marine mammals and many other seabirds frolic around our coastal coves and cliffs. Take a boat trip to the Isles of May or Mull to see and learn more about them.

Trip idea: Why not book an adventure walking holiday with a group of likeminded outdoors enthusiasts, or perhaps a watersports course at one of Scotland's many activity centres? For something a little more relaxing, you could also try a yoga retreat in some of Scotland's most peaceful landscapes.

Average Maximum Temperature: 15°C/ 59°F 
Days of rainfall: 13
Sunshine hours: 150

Our community says:  "A new trail has been created that will allow you to walk around Loch Ness - it's called the Loch Ness 360 and it's a great option if you want a multi-day trip around the loch. It's all on good quality trails with the most significant ascent being between Invermoriston and Drumnadrochit and then between Drumnadrochit and Inverness." - Loch Ness Photography, VisitScotland Community.

July

Crovie_Harbour_AberdeenshireCrovie Harbour, Aberdeenshire 

When the sun shines in July, you'll feel like you're in paradise. It's the perfect time of year to plan a road trip, coastal holiday or maybe an island adventure. The summer holidays start in the UK, so you why not spend some quality family time in the East of Scotland, or in Fife and Dundee?

You could also take the chance to explore things at your own pace, take a slow adventure and spend more time getting to know the area you've chosen to visit.

Make the most of our amazing history with castles dotted across Scotland. Did you know there are several you can reach by public transport during the summer months?

Trip idea: If you've always wanted to visit the faraway isles of Orkney and Shetland, this could be your chance! July is a fantastic time to plan a trip to these beautiful places. Take your time and explore the unique elements of both.

Average Maximum Temperature: 17°C/ 46°F 
Days of rainfall: 14
Sunshine hours: 141

Our community says: "I would definitely pack summery clothes in July but please don't forget a waterproof jacket because although it can be very warm, the rain can come on at any time and it's better to be prepared!" - Liam, VisitScotland Community

August

Glenrosa_ArranGlen Rosa, Isle of Arran 

The month of the Edinburgh Festivals means that the vibes and atmosphere in the capital could not be more electric. If you're planning to visit Edinburgh in August, make sure you book accommodation well in advance.

It's another great summer month to enjoy the great outdoors. Spend the days bagging Munros or exploring the countryside. Remember to always leave no trace and be a responsible tourist.

Take a trip to the coast to enjoy a chippy or something fresh and tasty from a seafood shack.

Trip idea: August is a great time to take the chance to explore somewhere a little different too. Did you know that you can reach islands such as Bute, Cumbrae and Arran all by public transport from Glasgow?

Average Maximum Temperature: 17°C/ 63°F 
Days of rainfall: 15
Sunshine hours: 134

Our community says: "In terms of a good walking route that is a challenge but not too crazy, I did Schiehallion last August and absolutely loved it. The views at the top were incredible!" - Amanda, VisitScotland Community.

September

CullodenCulloden Battlefield, Highlands 

Sometimes, September can pleasantly surprise with its balmy weather. The laidback, chilled-out 'last days of summer' mood might be just the ticket - especially if you prefer a slightly gentler pace on holiday.

With attractions still open and more availability for accommodation and bookable tours and activities, you'll be spoiled for choice with ways to fill your time. Doors Open Days offer the chance to see behind the doors of buildings, landmarks and private homes across Scotland, so make sure to check it out if you book a holiday in September. 

Trip idea: Get cosy and drift off to sleep inside a luxurious glamping pod, hut or cabin. With the sounds of birds chirping and a gentle breeze whistling through the air, this is an unforgettable way to finish off the summer. Get a little closer to nature and watch a blanket of stars light up the September sky.

Average Maximum Temperature: 14°C/ 57°F 
Days of rainfall: 15
Sunshine hours: 105

Our community says: "Enjoyed a lovely family weekend break in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, stayed in a wigwam for the first time which was really great fun.  Roasting marshmallows over the campfire and enjoying the great outdoors.  Will definitely stay in a Wigwam again!" Elaine -  VisitScotland Community.

October

Arnprior_pumpkins_StirlingshireArnprior Farm, near Stirling 

The nights start to draw in as October swings around, but with the changing seasons comes beautiful colours, wonderful walks and awe-inspiring wildlife highlights.

Forest walks in October are something special, particularly on a fresh crisp day. Admire the colours of Perthshire, and don't miss a chance to visit the Enchanted Forest a mesmerising light event exploring a magical forest just outside the town of Pitlochry.

Watch a red deer rut, one of the season's most exciting spectacles, as red deer stags battle for dominance. You can witness this unbelievable moment on the islands of Rum or Jura, which are beautiful islands to visit at this time of year. 

In honour of Halloween, indulge in some delicious sweet chocolate. Scotland has several chocolate producers who make the most of the rich farmland to make chocolate with natural dairy products. Or it's also pumpkin season! Keep an eye out for pumpkin picking events on farms across Scotland, such as Cairnie Fruit Farm in Fife, Arnprior Farm in Stirling, or Spud Hut near Inverness.

Trip idea: Hide away in one of Scotland's historic towns and get to know somewhere totally new. Many of our towns have an amazing story to tell.

Average Maximum Temperature: 11°C/ 52°F 
Days of rainfall: 18
Sunshine hours: 75.5

Our community says: "Try Pitlochry for a couple of nights. The surrounding landscape is beautiful and there are lots of hidden secrets, for example, did you know that Outlander is filmed close by? There is an amazing amount of history to be found and the lochs & glens are stunning. Walking, cycling, water sports, fishing, golfing. The list goes on with castles & distilleries etc. Try it, you won't be disappointed. " - Fishy Pro, VisitScotland Community.

November

Clachaig_Inn_GlencoeClachaig Inn, Glencoe 

As winter approaches, a November visit is the perfect month to experience some Scotland's traditions.

St Andrews Day takes place on 30 November every year, a celebration of Scotland's patron saint. Enjoy ceilidh dancing, traditional music and great comfort food.

Many whisky distilleries are open through the winter months, so you could book a tour or sample a few malt whiskies in a cosy pub. Keep an eye out for 'malt of the month' on menu boards - these are usually recommended choices from the bar.  

Trip idea: Why not discover the art of 'coorie' with a cosy accommodation such as a lodge or a castle? This is the Scottish term for snuggling up indoors. Just think - roaring log fires, warm blankets and great conversations with your loved ones.

Average Maximum Temperature: 8°C/ 46°F 
Days of rainfall: 18
Sunshine hours: 46

Our community says: "When I first moved to Scotland I found I really enjoyed winter here. There is nothing like a nice night in with a glass of gin, toasty blanket and some board games! Works just as well at the local pub"  -  Jemy, VisitScotland community.

December

Arisaig_The_HighlandsArisaig, Highlands 

A December trip to Scotland can fill you with Christmas cheer. It is a jolly time to take in some of the winter landscapes on invigorating walks in the countryside.

There's lots happening at this time of year - from winter festivals, Christmas markets, craft fairs and pantomimes.

In Scotland, we love bringing in the New Year with what we call Hogmanay parties - look out for fire festivals, parades and street parties.

Trip idea: Book a city break in one of our seven cities and get some festive shopping done or treat yourself to a few purchases.

Average Maximum Temperature: 5°C/ 41°F 
Days of rainfall: 17
Sunshine hours: 30

Our community says: "Perth, or indeed anywhere in Perthshire, would be an excellent base for you to enjoy a few days' walking in December." - Carol, VisitScotland Community.

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