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Summer in Scotland Guide: What to Do and Where to Go

By: Camila
Posted in: Blogs, Scotland, Guides

Are you planning on coming to Scotland next summer? We’re here to help you plan ahead and get excited about it! Find out what to do, where to go and what to expect from the weather. And you can get some top tips from our local travel consultants.

Whether you’re already planning your upcoming trip to Scotland or you’re looking for inspiration to convince you to come to this remarkable country, we have you covered with this guide to Scottish summer.


  • Take a look at our Scotland tours and use the search filters to view summer options
  • Warm yourself up, no matter the weather, with our summertime whisky tours

loch fyne Scotland summer

Scotland is a beautiful country all year long, but the summer is an especially exciting time, with loads to do and see. 

When is summer in Scotland?

First, let’s get the details down. What month is summer in Scotland? As Scotland is in the northern hemisphere, summer is between the months of June and August, with April, May and September being the shoulder season. 

Summer climate & weather in Scotland

The rumours that Scotland is wet, windy and cold all year long aren’t completely unfounded. But in the summer, it will indeed be much warmer, with average temperatures being around 15 degrees Celsius (59°F). 

While it is at the height of summer that Scotland gets its highest temperatures, the shoulder season gets some of the best weather. On average, May is the month with the most sunshine hours and April is one of the months with the least precipitation.  

The wonderful thing about Scotland’s weather is that it also rarely gets too warm in the summer to stop you from enjoying all the outdoors activities and sightseeing you may want to do.

Summer packing list for Scotland

Are you wondering what to pack for a trip during summertime in Scotland? After discussing the weather and climate of Scotland, we need to point out that the national weather is extremely changeable. 

As it is not unusual to experience more than one season in one day, we highly recommend being ready for everything. Even in the summer, you should bring:

  • A warm sweater or fleece
  • A waterproof jacket
  • Good walking shoes or boots (especially if you intend to hike and go on nature walks).
  • Light scarf or thin sweater

You may find an umbrella to be handy if it’s not too windy, but you can also buy these once you’ve arrived if it’s easier than packing one for your flight. Even if you arrive during a particularly warm and sunny summer spell, you may want to still have a light scarf or sweater handy as the nights can still be chilly, especially in the Highlands. 

Must-see Scottish summer attractions

Scotland is beautiful all year long, of course! But we want to share our best and favourites places to go as a visitor in the summer.

ISLE OF SKYE

The top item on more people’s list is always the iconic Isle of Skye, with its rugged mountains and peaks, lunar landscapes, waterfalls and beautiful coastlines. During the height of summer, Skye is hugely popular but still a pleasure to experience.



quiraing

FORT WILLIAM

If you love hiking, you may want to head west to Fort William in Lochaber, now known as the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK.’ It is nestled at the bottom of Scotland’s (and the UK’s) highest mountain, Ben Nevis. Here you can take advantage of all kinds of outdoor activities, such as cycling, mountain biking, kayaking, water rafting, and much more.

HERMITAGE

For those who have less time and enjoy nature walks, you may enjoy the Perthshire area. Try a walk around the Hermitage, a site near Dunkeld that’s protected by the National Trust for Scotland. The area was originally designed as a pleasure ground for the Dukes of Atholl, back in the 18th century, and boasts giant Douglas fir trees big enough to rival the largest in the UK.

hermitage pertshire

LOCH NESS

A pleasant stop in the summer is another iconic Scottish site, Loch Ness. This beautiful lake is known worldwide for being the home of Nessie, the Loch Ness monster. It is a beautiful natural site that you can visit, by walking on its shores or by boat. You could also visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle on its banks.

STIRLING

Centrally located between Glasgow and Edinburgh, you can also visit the Stirlingshire region for a good mix between the Lowlands and Highlands. It is home to Stirling Castle, one of the most visited historic sites in Scotland, and nearby Doune Castle, which you may have seen featured in many films and television series. 

EDINBURGH

Edinburgh, with its international airport, is often the gateway to Scotland. Whether you come for a city break or pass through at the beginning or end of your trip, it is worth the visit. 

In summer local legend says the city doubles in size as performers and fun-seekers flock to the many festivals held in the capital. Whether that factoid is true or not, there are definitely well over 3,000 shows across more than 300 venues. So, yes, lots to see.

Edinburgh scotland

Summer festivals & events in Scotland

The beauty of Scotland lies in its natural sights, but there are also many festivals and events to attend throughout the summer. With a little bit of something for everyone, events are mostly based around Edinburgh and Glasgow with some more traditional festivals in the Highlands and islands. 

Whatever you love, Scotland probably has you covered. If you like things traditional, try the folk music, bagpipes, books and whisky. Otherwise you can see modern art, cutting edge comedy and the latest films. And there’s always the chance to witness the largest Highland Games in the world. Here’s a quick at-a-glance list of festivals and events in Scotland: 


FESTIVAL NAME LOCATION MONTH
TradFest Edinburgh April-May
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Speyside May
Royal Highland Show Edinburgh June
Edinburgh International Film Festival Edinburgh June
Hebridean Celtic Festival Stornoway, Isle of Lewis July
Edinburgh International Festival Edinburgh August
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Edinburgh August
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Edinburgh August
Edinburgh International Book Festival Edinburgh August
World Pipe Band Championships Glasgow August
Cowal Highland Gathering Dunoon, Argyll August

Scotland summer travel tips 

We have a few extra travel tips from our local experts if you want to travel to Scotland in the summer:

Consider off-peak months: Scottish summertime can be busy, with Edinburgh hosting many festivals throughout August, so you may want to take advantage of the shoulder season if you want to have more of a relaxed experience.

Book early: you may also want to book early if you wish to visit the Highlands and islands. Most accommodation options are charming family run locations in remote rural regions, so berths fill up fast over the summer.  

Factor in long daylight hours: At the height of summer, the UK follows British Summer Time, which is one hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (or GMT). This means the sun rises very early (3-4am near solstice) and sets late (11pm at the latest). If light affects your sleep, we’d recommend an eye mask to go to bed. On the beautiful flipside, you get to take advantage of that extra daylight to enjoy more sightseeing and activities!

Prepare for ‘midgies’: in rural areas of Highlands and Scottish Isles, you may encounter small flying, biting bugs called ‘midges’ (or ‘midgies’ in traditional Scots). Their bites are just an itchy annoyance, and you can outwalk swarms of the insects, but it’s worth being prepared. Midges are at their busiest during twilight hours from mid-June to mid-August. You can sometimes avoid bites by wearing Avon Skin-So-Soft body oil spray, allegedly the repellent of choice for Britain’s Royal Marines.

Are you thinking of visiting Scotland in the summertime? Contact our travel consultants for local expertise on enjoying the best getaway possible.

 

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Post by: Camila

Half Canadian, half Chilean, Camila grew up in Montreal before moving to Scotland in 2012. When she’s not travelling or writing about travels, she loves to read a good book, train for triathlons, and try new restaurants in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

More posts by Camila

Getting there

We'd love to give you the same amazing travel experiences as you read about in our blog! To visit the destinations and attractions mentioned in this post - and to discover a few new highlights along the way, check out these recommended Nordic Visitor tours.

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