Scotland’s winter is fast approaching, with dark nights, frosty mornings, snow-capped peaks, and a whole wonderland waiting to be uncovered across Scotland. With some of the best winter photography spots on offer, now is perfect time to dust off your camera and get outdoors to snap up a few magical Scottish winter landscapes.
From the sparkling west coast, and the eastern countryside, to the chilly corners of north Scotland, and the rolling landscapes of south Scotland, these are just some of the best places to visit in Scotland this winter.
Keep reading to find out more about just a handful of these stunning Scottish locations, and make sure to share your favourite snaps with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using #VisitScotland or #OnlyInScotland for your chance to be reposted.
1. Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe
Kicking things off with… you guessed it, a Scottish castle! Castles in Scotland are great to experience and get up close to all year round, but in winter, when they’re covered in frost or snow, you can see them in a new light. Kilchurn Castle is perched on the shores of Loch Awe on the west coast, and boasts a long history with the lords and ladies of Scotland. Pay a visit and admire the castle’s five-storey tower-house, irregular-shaped courtyard, and see where the cellar and prison used to be on the ground floor level of the tower.
2. Callander, Stirling
Callander is a pretty Stirlingshire town that is bustling with tourists throughout the year. Surrounded by stunning forests and landscapes, it is the ideal location for a winter walk. Wrap up warm and head to Bracklinn Falls where you can wander past a series of mesmerising waterfalls, or visit the River Keltie which people have admired for generations. Explore to the west where you can follow footpaths and cycle tracks by the old Callander to Oban railway, and from the summit of Callander Crags there are stunning views over the town of Callander and beyond to Stirling.
3. Matterhorn of Arran, Isle of Arran
Cìr Mhòr, also known as the Matterhorn of Arran, is a spectacular Corbett (mountains between 2,500 and 3,000 ft high) which can be found on the Isle of Arran off the west coast of Scotland. This island is full of gems to explore, but if you’re up for the challenge, a climb up this iconic peak is truly rewarding. Boasting views across the islands and up Glen Rosa, make sure you keep an eye out for wildlife such as red deer, and stop to snap a few shots at the summit. This is the lowest of the four peaks on Arran, but it is no easy feat and walkers should take all the appropriate clothing and equipment with them.
4. Galloway Hills
Walking in the wilderness under snow-capped peaks is an atmospheric way to enjoy winter in Scotland – and it makes for a great photo opportunity! The Galloway Hills are part of the Southern Upland Way and feature a stunning landscape in Scotland to explore – picture clear blue skies, a crisp winter breeze, and rolling landscapes covered in fresh, untouched snow. A true winter wonderland!
Explore more walks in Dumfries & Galloway.
5. Three Brethren, near Selkirk, Scottish Borders
Head over to the Scottish Borders where you can uncover another section of the Southern Upland Way. The Three Brethren are a trio of massive, solidly built cairns dating back to the 16th century and offer the perfect vantage point for spectacular views. Venture along the circular route which reaches the cairns from the southern side near Selkirk.
6. Reindeer Herd in the Cairngorms
If you journey north to the Cairngorms National Park a whole other wintry world awaits you. The park comes to life during the winter months and is also the ideal place for a family holiday. Enjoy snowsports, snowy woodland walks, festive activities, and if you head out on a guided hill trip, you may even get to see the Cairngorm reindeer herd up close. They’re a friendly bunch and incredible to see out on the park’s plateaus.
7. The Lazy Duck, Nethy Bridge
The Scottish Highland’s winter is also the perfect time to cosy up next to a roaring log fire, hot chocolate in hand and sharing stories with your loved ones. Plan a family get-together, or maybe a couple’s retreat is on the cards, but wherever you go there is plenty of accommodation options to choose from, including cosy cottages, self-catering stays, luxury hotels and more. The Lazy Duck in Nethy Bridge is a great wee eco-friendly spot to base yourself if you’re looking for a secluded night cap, but want to get in on all the action during the day.
8. Cabin in Glencoe
If you really do want to get back to nature and away from the busy bustle of the cities, a rural mountainside cabin may be right up your street! Glencoe is no stranger to the big screen, or to our imaginations when thinking of visiting Scotland. Here you will be surrounded by towering feats of geology with climbing trails and adventures on your doorstep. One of the most photographed places in Scotland, you can snap away until your heart’s content in this dramatic Scottish landscape.
9. Loch Loyne, near Invergarry
Head to the north west Highlands to Loch Loyne where you’ll be surrounded by forestry, woodlands and rolling mountains as far as the eye can see. If you’re a budding landscape or nature photographer, this is the spot for you! Snap up some Instagram-worthy shots, pull on your boots and head out for a hike, or find a nearby viewpoint to catch a mesmerising sunset.
10. Corpach Loch, Fort William
Near Fort William, Corpach boasts an enticing scene that is a popular capture for visitors, locals and photographers alike. With a magnificent backdrop of the towering Ben Nevis, Corpach Loch has an old shipwreck on its shores which makes for a dramatic photo or two. Once known as MV Dayspring, this shipwreck was built in 1975 and was an old fishing vessel that was moored at Kinlochleven Pier in 2001, but after a heavy storm in 2011, she ran aground and has been there ever since.
11. Isle of Raasay Distillery
It’s not a trip to Scotland without sampling a dram or two of Uisge Beatha. Scotland’s ‘Water of Life’, or whisky, is renowned across the world for its peaty undertones and rich flavours. You’ll find hundreds of established distilleries and breweries across Scotland, from our cities, all the way to our remote islands, all of which boast their own unique characteristics. Some of our distilleries even feature an incredible location – on island paradises, in the rural Highlands, or nestled in our bustling towns and cities.
12. Orkney Isles
If you want to truly escape this winter, why not enjoy an island getaway on Orkney? Just off the mainland of Scotland, Orkney boasts a gateway to the past with historic sites, ancient history and an enticing culture to explore, as well as seascapes, coastal scenery and immense wildlife to see too. It’s a photographer’s paradise!
13. Blackwater Reservoir, Angus
As the dark winter nights draw in, it makes the perfect conditions for a spot of stargazing. Scotland is home to Europe’s second Dark Sky Park, the first of its kind in the UK, as well as an array of Dark Sky Discovery Sites that have very low levels of light pollution, meaning you can see the twinkling night sky much easier. Get your camera at the ready with a warming flask of hot chocolate and head out to admire the constellations, shooting stars and more that are hovering around above you.
14. Glamis Castle, Angus
Castles are a delight in winter! Ancient fortresses covered in a sprinkling of snow overlooking the surrounding frostbitten landscape – it’s a sight to see! Situated at the end of a long, tree-lined avenue, Glamis Castle is a popular stronghold to visit and is said to have ties to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and once had a turbulent and sometimes gruesome past.
15. Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire
Perhaps you’d like to delve into Scotland’s royal ties? Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was bought for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852. The exterior of the castle is ancient and intricate – a perfect opportunity to snap up some shots. Inside, make sure you visit the Castle Ballroom, the largest room in the castle, as well as the Carriage Hall Courtyard and Estate Exhibition. Admire displays featuring works of art by Landseer and Carl Haag, silver statues by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, and Minton China and artifacts from within the castle too.