While it’s great fun hanging out under the summer sun, sipping a cold beer at gardens and terraces in town; the off-season is also a fabulous time of year to visit Scotland. And, not only because it’s a more pocket-friendly option!
Sure, the temperature might be a little colder, but the season from September to May is a fabulous chance to see Scotland in a whole new light.
Scroll through to find 15 incredible reasons why.
Sunny weather is still going strong
Though the hottest days are behind us, Scotland still gets lots of sunshine in the autumn, spring and even winter months. It’s true that the weather can be changeable, but it’s really not anything to worry about if you’re wearing warm clothes (a waterproof might come in handy too!).
Scotland's landscapes are still beautiful beyond the summer months
With miles of coastline, hundreds of islands, majestic mountains and beautiful canals, rivers and lochs, Scotland’s landscapes will take your breath away at any time of the year. Wake up to bright blue skies and fiery-coloured trees in autumn, see the ground covered in frost and glens shrouded in mist in winter or watch trees and plants growing fresh flowers and leaves in spring.
Plenty of Scotland's attractions and activities remain open
Although it’s always a good idea to check opening times in advance of travelling, there are lots of things to get involved in during the off-season. Whether you fancy a trip to spot wildlife, taking in some of Scotland's iconic views or touring a whisky distillery, there are a great range of attractions that are open all year.
There is always the promise of an exciting event or a festival
The bright days and long nights of the shoulder season are the perfect setting for a great range of events. Between torchlight processions, fire festivals, candlelit concerts,music festivals, energetic ceilidh dances, concerts and light installations – not to mention St Andrew's Day, Halloween and one of the world’s biggest parties, Hogmanay – you will be really spoilt for choice.
The wildlife shows are simply captivating
See the epic spectacle of salmon leaping up river as they return to their spawning grounds or watch deer locking antlers during the rutting season.
The displays happening in our dark skies are pretty remarkable
Scotland has some of the largest expanses of dark sky in Europe and the early evenings of the off-season will give you plenty of chances to see the night sky at its most beautiful.
Road tripping isn't just a summer activity
Summer's brilliant greenery and floral displays often entice us to fill up the tank and take a drive, but seeing autumn's golden leaves, winter's snow-clad peaks and spring's fresh landscapes and new-born animals makes for an unbeatable Scottish road trip experience too.
Scotland's autumn colours are beautiful
The great variety of evergreen and deciduous trees in Scotland means that you can see a contrasting colour explosion when the trees change colour in autumn. Take a wander through avenues of amber-coloured trees and enjoy the crunch and crackle of leaves under your feet.
The colder weather is the perfect excuse to explore Scotland's Chocolate Trail
There is nothing better on a winter's day than a cup of hot chocolate. Find places on Scotland's Chocolate Trail where you can learn the sweet secrets behind this delicious treat and, of course, taste loads of yummy chocolate.
Take part in a Burns supper for Burns Night in January
Celebrated annually on Robert Burns' birthday, 25 January, Burns Night gathers Scots and Scots-at-heart around the world to pay tribute to the great poet's life and works. You'll find a jam-packed programme of festivities across the country.
Celebrate Valentine's Day like never before at a Scottish castle
There is nothing more romantic than whisking your loved one away for a stay at a real Scottish castle. Stay in a four-poster bed, enjoy a luxury meal or sit by the fire and feel like royalty with a luxurious break.
Golf can be enjoyed in Scotland all year round
Not only are the green fees cheaper in the autumn, winter and spring months, golf courses also look particularly stunning set against fabulous autumn colours, snow-capped mountains and pretty spring greenery.
There are plenty of opportunities to spot fantastic wild birds
It's off-season and things are a bit quieter - unless, that is, you're a bird. In autumn starlings move in, in winter pink-footed geese migrate from Iceland and in spring puffins return for their breeding season.
You can enjoy a spot of island hopping
There are lots of island activities to enjoy in the off-season, including watching magical sunsets, eating incredible food and making new friends. Choosing which of the many islands to explore is often the hardest decision.
While other destinations close down in the off-season, Scotland still has plenty of going on. We could go on and on telling you about the amazing autumn adventures you can have in the forests, why no one does winter like Scotland, or show you stunning photos that prove that spring in Scotland is staggeringly beautiful, but the best way to find out is to visit for yourself.
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