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10 Unmissable Things to Do in Scotland in October

Lady Mary’s Walk, Perthshire

As October nears, there really is no better place to be than Scotland. After the hustle and bustle of Summer settles, the calm of autumn captures the country, with magical evening skies and crisp golden leaves falling from the trees, it truly is an enchanted haven. So, if you’re curious then read a little further to see what you can get up to in October…

1. See Scotland’s evening dark sky spectacles…

The Enchanted Forest, Faskally Wood in Perthshire

As the October nights grow longer, the skies brighten with astronomical beauties, giving you the chance to spot your favourite constellations! They are also as a canvas for several amazing light shows including Illuminight, in Dean Castle Country Park in Kilmarnock (23 October – 17 November) and The Enchanted Forest, in Faskally Wood in Perthshire (3 October – 3 November), so make sure you don’t miss out!

The magnificent event, Coll & The Cosmos (26 & 27 October), is another stargazing opportunity on the Isle of Coll, that is the perfect weekend break!

The UK’s first dark sky park, Galloway Forest Park, in Dumfries & Galloway, which covers 777 km2 of stunning landscapes, has some of the darkest skies in all of Europe and is a great place to stargaze and see the Milky Way!

2. … and perhaps even The Northern Lights

Northern Lights, North Berwick

If you’re lucky enough and conditions are favourable, you might catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights this October. This spectacular sight can be spotted from a variety of locations including the Cairngorns, Angus, and Aberdeenshire. So why not camp out under the stars, with friends and family, and spectate this amazing natural light display.

3. Get in the spirit for Halloween

October is of course the month of Halloween, and what better place to be spooked than Scotland with its haunting history. For those thriller seekers out there why don’t you chase the ghostly spirits along Scotland’s Ghost Trail.

For younger families The Cairnie Fruit Farm Halloween Pumpkin Festival (27 – 28 October) is the perfect day out with plenty of activities on offer including pumpkin picking and a torch light maze.

Kelburn Haunted Forest (25 – 26 & 31 October) and Paisley Halloween Festival (25 – 26 October) are a couple more of the many Halloween events that you can attend this October.

4. Get ready for some cosy nights in

Loch Tay Highland Lodges, Perthshire

As the days get shorter and the evenings get cooler, Scotland’s lodges and cabins are the ideal setting for a weekend getaway filled with cosy nights in. You can switch off, light a fire, toast some marshmallows and snuggle up with your favourite film in one of the beautiful places to stay on offer.

A weekend in Scotland is a truly relaxing escape from your daily routine and you can guarantee that you’ll return refreshed and rejuvenated. You could also combine your cosy nights in with a spot of stargazing or an autumnal walk to blow away the cobwebs.

5. Walk through autumn colours

Lady Mary’s Walk, Perthshire

As the leaves turn from green to golden, and the trees begin to shed their leaves, a picturesque walk along one of Scotland’s many trails, hills, coasts or waters is an unmissable, magical experience. These surroundings provide the perfect opportunity to capture some nature shots with your camera!

There are walks catered to all abilities, whether you want a steady walk up Conic Hill to experience the scenic views over Stirling, or if you just want a leisurely walk along the East Coast by North Berwick to switch off by the beach, there is something for everyone. If walking doesn’t appeal to you then there are plenty of trails and paths to challenge your mountain biking skills. Be sure to also look out for the wildlife meandering through the treetops and bushes!

6. Witness an array of friendly Scottish wildlife

Seal Pups

October brings a whole host of wildlife for you to see. The echoing sound of the geese can be heard for miles, signifying the presence of autumn. While taking a stroll along the coastline of Shetland you may be accompanied by several seal pups as they make their first movements along the shore. Further inland, striking red deer can also be spotted galivanting among the trees and plains. You really are never alone in your adventures across Scotland!

7. Join a sing-a-long at a music festival

Eshaness, Shetland

Eshaness, Shetland

The Edinburgh Festival season may be over but there are still plenty of music concerts and festivals for you to enjoy in October around Scotland. Some of these include Will Young (26 October) at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, Andrea Bocelli (20 October) at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Callander Jazz & Blues Festival (4 – 6 October), and Oktoberfest Kelso (4 – 6 October) in the Scottish Borders. Or head north to Shetland for the Accordion & Fiddle Festival (10 – 14 October). See links for more details and information on where you can buy tickets…

8. Delicious autumnal foods

Cuddybridge Applejuice

There are a wide variety of delicious in-season foods to try when visiting Scotland in October. Just a few to mention include the sweet and juicy apples, pears and plums which begin to fall from the branches – an ideal opportunity to get your five a day! October is also oyster season, so if you fancy tasting a Scottish delicacy, this is the month to try it! Lamb is also the most tender in autumn months, making it perfect for a Sunday roast with friends and family.

There are also several food festivals where you can taste some amazing foods including the Colonsay Food and Drink Festival (9 – 23 October) and Kirkcudbright Food Festival (26 October).

8. Embrace history at less crowded attractions

Glamis Castle, Angus

The atmosphere and hustle and bustle of the summer might be behind us….but one of the joys of visiting in October is that you can enjoy a more relaxing, laidback experience, with a variety of attractions still open to visit including Glamis Castle and Scone Palace. So, why not make the most of this peaceful period and immerse yourself in their ancient history?

10. Listen to tales at the best book festivals

For all the book worms out there, there are plenty of book festivals to get involved in, including Wigtown Book Festival (27 September – 6 October), Portobello Book Festival (4 – 6 October), Faclan: The Hebridean Book Festival (30 – 2nd November) and the Orkney Storytelling Festival (25 – 28 October). See links for more information and tickets…

If that’s not enough to persuade you to visit Scotland in October then discover what else is happening during the year with our annual events calendar …

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