8 Reasons to Visit Scotland in May

May in Scotland sees spring in full swing with lively events, warmer temperatures, landscapes in full bloom and plenty of opportunities to enjoy Scottish culture too. If you’re looking for new ideas to add to your trip, or if you need some holiday inspiration, you're in the right place.

  1. Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Speyside, Scottish Highlands

    Die Strathisla Distillery, Keith

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    1 – 6 May 2024

    A celebration of all things whisky, this unique festival sees the doors of Speyside’s world-famous distilleries open to welcome visitors from across the world. Get involved in the extensive program of events, tours and tastings that will take you behind the scenes on the distilling processes that creates Scotland’s ‘water of life.’ From outdoor activities and arts and crafts to delectable food and drink, music, performances and more.

  2. Arran Mountain Festival Isle of Arran

    Glen Rosa auf Arran

    © Barry Dawson / Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Group

    17 – 20 May 2024

    Scotland’s hillwalking and mountaineering festival on the stunning Isle of Arran is back for 2024. Explore the fascinating trails and terrain of this west coast island whilst meeting like-minded people and ticking new routes off your list.

    All fees generated by Arran Mountain Festival are put back into running the event and covering expenses. It’s a great community festival to get involved in. Enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly whilst learning from experienced experts along the way too.

  3. Orkney Folk Festival Various venues, Orkney

    Finstown from above, Orkney

    © VisitOrkney / Colin Keldie

    23 – 26 May 2024

    Having just won Event of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in Dundee, it is no surprise that Orkney Folk Festival is back for another year of tunes, performances and more in 2024. This years’ toe-tapping festival will see leading artists from Canada, Australia, Ireland, Norway, England and more join home-grown Orcadian musicians for four days of trad music performances.

    The full programme of events for this year has yet to be announced but check back in March for more details. Last years’ festival included workshops, ceilidhs, a fiddlers’ rally, gatherings and more to enjoy.

  4. Feis Ile Various venues, Isle of Islay

    Die Lagavulin Distillery, Islay

    24 May – 1 June 2024

    Head to the Isle of Islay this May for the ultimate celebration of whisky, island culture, and Islay’s unique distilleries. Across the eight days, each distillery hosts their own open day where they put on tastings, tours, musical entertainment, a range of whiskies, a lively atmosphere and more to enjoy. At night, you can get dancing to a wide range of events such as ceilidhs, folk nights, whisky nosings, and the eclectic First and Final Flings.

  5. Edinburgh International Children's Festival Various venues, Edinburgh

    A performance during the Edinburgh International Children's Festival

    © Imaginate

    25 May – 2 June 2024

    Calling all families and little ones, the Edinburgh International Children's Festival returns in 2024 to kick off your fun-filled summer. Delve into nine days full of theatre and dance that highlights artists from across the world, aiming to bring across big ideas and epic stories to inspire the younger generation.

  6. City Breaks Across Scotland

    Ashton Lane, Glasgow

    Plan your next city break in Scotland this May. With eight fantastic cities spread across the country, each boasting their own unique characters, you are spoilt for choice. Edinburgh needs little introduction with an incredible events scene and immaculate architecture. Glasgow will blow you away with its vibrant music scene and endless green spaces. Dundee is the place to be for the artists and creators, and Aberdeen proudly offers a historic maritime heritage with dazzling coastal experiences.

    Elsewhere, Inverness is Scotland’s ancient capital and is the perfect place to be for exploring the rustic Highlands. Perth is known as the ‘Fair City’ and is surrounded by rolling hills and towering trees. Stirling has seen its fair share of battles and historically significant moments, and last but not least, Scotland’s newest city, Dunfermline, features a range of historic buildings, ancient attractions and a stunning coastline.

  7. Highland Games and Gatherings Various locations

    Ein Pipe-Band-Umzug bei den Ballater Highland Games

    © VisitScotland / David N Anderson

    May – August

    If you are looking for a truly unique Scottish experience to add to your itinerary, a Highland games is one to see. Highland games and gatherings kick off in May and run through to August each year, seeing a range of competitive events and performances take place. Spectate traditional Highland sports, such as the caber toss, tug o' war and the hammer throw, and tap your toes along to Highland dancing and music too. Make sure to get involved in the family fun, and food and craft stalls too.

  8. Outdoor Adventures Across Scotland

    Kajakfahren mit Clearwater Paddling, Isle of Barra

    With the warmer weather and longer days comes more opportunities to get outdoors in Scotland. The spring months bring in some of the best weather and conditions for kicking off your golfing journey. No matter where you go in Scotland, you’re nearby a golf course or green to tee off on. Munro bagging is a popular pastime for keen hikers and walkers, and with 282 to tick off, you’re not lost for something to do. If you’d rather get off the land and explore the water, Scotland offers plenty of watersport experiences for all abilities. From canoeing and kayaking to gorge walking, white water rafting and more.

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