Best Time of Year to Visit Islands in Scotland

To help you plan the ultimate Scottish island holiday, we've put together some handy guidance and the benefits of visiting off-season as well as top recommendations on visitor experiences off-the-beaten-track. Smaller crowds means shorter queues, cheaper flights and accommodation, the opportunity to see captivating wildlife and plenty of visitor attractions and activities remain open, making it the best time of year to visit the islands.

Canoeing in southern Ayrshire.

© Barry Dawson / Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Group

What are the benefits of visiting the islands off-season?

We've got five fantastic island destinations for you to explore. Whether you're looking to step back in time to Scotland's rich archaeological past, take a walk on the wild side with a forest safari or marvel at the magnificent night sky, there is something to suit all tastes and budgets.

Ring of Brodgar

Explore the Magic of Orkney in Winter

Best for: impressive dark skies, handmade arts & crafts, wildlife and rich archaeological heritage.

Kildonan Beach on The Isle of Arran with Ailsa Craig in the distance

An Autumn Adventure in Arran

Best for: Museums, forest safaris, walking and wildlife.

A couple on the beach at Meal Beach in Burra, Shetland

Send Yourself on an Autumn or Winter Escape in Shetland

Best for: Viking sites, top archaeological sites, wildlife and incredible coastline.

Ettrick Bay located on the west coast of the Isle of Bute in the Firth of Clyde

Book an Autumn or Winter Break in Bute

Best for: Museums, gin, cycling and walking adventures.

A Motorhome Parked By A Beach Near Port Ellen On The Isle Of Islay

© VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

Immerse Yourself in Islay

Best for: cosy winter retreats, wild swimming, castle ruins and whisky distilleries.

General Guidance and FAQS When Visiting The Islands

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