9 Unmissable Things to Do in Scotland in October

Find incredible things to do in Scotland in October. Go stargazing, look out for the Northern Lights and enjoy the autumn colours.

  1. Dark Skies Scotland

    Kirroughtree Forest

    © VisitScotland / David N Anderson

    The October nights grow longer and the skies brighten with astronomical beauties so you have the best chance to spot your favourite constellations!

    Check out the Galloway Forest Park in the south of Scotland. It was the UK’s first dark sky park, and has some of the darkest skies in all of Europe.

    There are also some small guided stargazing experiences - check out Coll & The Cosmos (14 & 15 October) or at Howe of Tarbeg near Ballater (13 or 20 October).

  2. Northern Lights Scotland

    Northern Lights at Mounthooley Dovecot

    © VisitScotland / Discover Fraserburgh / Fiona McRae

    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 Orkney, Shetland, the Cairngorns and Aberdeenshire. So why not camp out under the stars with friends or family, and see if you can catch this amazing natural light display?

  3. Halloween Scotland

    Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh

    October is of course the month of Halloween, and what better place to be spooked than Scotland with its haunting history!

    Halloween events in Scotland this year include Scary Saturday at Almond Valley in West Lothian, a Halloween Adventure Trail at Craggan Outdoors in Grantown-on-Spey or the Paisley Halloween Festival, west of Glasgow.

  4. Cosy nights Scotland

    The Clachaig Inn

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    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. Autumn walks Scotland

    River Earn from Lady Mary's Walk

    © Crieff Succeeds / Damian Shields

    See the leaves change to their beautiful autumn colours before drifting down to the ground, to be crunched under foot. Scotland has some incredible forest walks for you to try.

    Or why not head out to the coast and watch the power of nature as the waves come crashing in across the sands and up against our cliffs?

    Head to Perthshire, known as Big Tree Country for lots of forests and rivers, or book a trip to Aberdeenshire to admire castles surrounded by autumn colours.

  6. Wildlife Scotland

    A red kite seen from below, with its distinctive forked tail on display

    © Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere

    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.

  7. Seasonal produce Scotland

    Fresh Scottish vegetables at Ninth Wave restaurant in Oban

    There are a wide variety of delicious in-season foods to try when visiting Scotland in October from sweet and juicy apples, pears and plums to oysters.

    Lamb is also the most tender in autumn months, making it perfect for a Sunday roast with friends and family.

  8. Quieter attractions Scotland

    Scone Palace

    One of the joys of visiting in October is that you can enjoy a more relaxing, laidback experience, with our more popular attractions being a bit quieter.

    Slow down and take your time to really soak up the history and culture at a variety of attractions from Royal Yacht Britannia to Scone Palace. Take a trip around Scotland's Castle Trail or take the train up around the Highlands.

  9. Book Festivals Scotland

    Armchair Books, Edinburgh

    For all the book worms out there, there are plenty of book festivals to get involved in, including Portobello Book Festival (5-8 October), Bookmark Festival (7-8 October), Scottish International Storytelling Festival (17-29 October) and the Orkney Storytelling Festival (27-30 October).

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