Scotland in Autumn

11th October 2020

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”…… New England in the Fall…… Scotland in Autumn - a wonderful time to visit.

Scotland is beautiful all year round but as the days grow shorter and October roles in I thought I would tell you about why Autumn is a great time of year for your vacation. Glorious landscapes revealing themselves as the leaves fall; an excitement in the air with the anticipation of Christmas and snowy mountains; homemade apple crumble and plum tarts on cold nights. Here are the other things I love most about Scotland in Autumn.

Loch Drunkie, The Trossachs, Scotland, Autumn leaves
Loch Drunkie, the Trossachs - Katie Mullen

The weather(!)

I love opening my door in the morning to be met with a crisp autumn day. There is something about a clear day in autumn that feels different compared with the rest of the year. It always makes me feel very much at peace, not too hot, not too cold, in fact just right. Breathing in that fresh autumn air, I take a few minutes to take stock and feel grateful for living in such a beautiful place.

The colours!

Oranges, reds and yellows in the forests and a blanket of purple heather covering the hills. The fallen leaves creating a mosaic below the trees. Warm colours all over the Scottish Highlands will beckon you out to explore the landscape. (Don’t forget your hat and gloves though!). Whether you are in The Meadows in the centre of Edinburgh or deep in the forests of Glen Affric, everywhere in Scotland is bursting with colour.

Autumn Leaves on a tree in Stirling, Scotland Tours
Autumn Leaves - Katie Mullen

The sounds!

You might hear the distant sound of gun fire as the shooting season gets underway. (Personally, I prefer to stalk the wildlife with my camera). But for me the definitive sound of autumn is the clashing antlers and the roaring of the magnificent red deer stags as they fight it out in the annual rut. Well that and the crunch of fallen leaves beneath my feet.

Rutting Stags, Scottish Wildlife to spot on your vacation in Scotland
Rutting Stags - Brian Thomson

Hallowe’en.

The end of harvest and the beginning of winter has been celebrated in Scotland for hundreds of years. Nowadays it is for the kids of course but that won’t stop me heading to our local farm to find the best pumpkin for carving into a scary lantern. We don’t “trick or treat” here – you have got to earn your reward of nuts, fruit or sweets. In Scotland we call it “guising”. Of course the children dress up, but they must also sing a song, recite a poem or a tell a joke to get their reward. As a child I got excited about Hallowe’en months in advance. Still do actually. I am looking forward to having lots of kids chapping my door on the 31st of October! Time to get decorating.

Check out the Halloween Freaky Forest event at the magical Kelburn Castle or if you fancy something really creepy why take a look at the Samhuinn Fire Festival in Edinburgh - a Celtic festival marking the transition from summer to winter. 

It isn’t strictly a Hallowe’en event, but the Enchanted Forest is a magical light show in Pitlochry running from early October to early November. It widely regarded as the best of show of its kind in Scotland.

Pumkin picking at Hallowe'en, October events in Scotland
Pumkins - James Gibson on Unsplash

Remember, remember, The fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot!

On 5th of November 1605 Guy Fawkes led a band of rebels in an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London. An anonymous letter had been sent warning of the plot and the police were alerted. The rebels were ambushed, arrested and later sentenced to death by hanging. We commemorate the event every year by gathering in public spaces and lighting large bonfires. A ‘Guy’ - a make-shift wooden or cloth man - is tied to a stick and burned on the fire. Sound a bit macabre? Well it is actually great fun! We have firework displays to represent the explosion that never happened… a great way to spend a crisp autumn night. No matter where you are in Scotland on the 5th of November, there are likely to be a fireworks. If you happen to be in Edinburgh you can watch the fireworks all over the city from Calton Hill. In Glasgow the display on the Green is a spectacular event - with hot food, a funfare and friendly banter to keep you warm.

No Midges!

The one drawback to living in Scotland (yes really the only one!) is the nippy wee midges appearing during the spring and summer. By autumn they have thankfully disappeared.

Peace and quiet.

Hate the crowds? Then visiting Scotland in Autumn is a must. From Easter to late summer the most popular spots can be a busy, and tourism spikes again in December in Edinburgh for its wonderful Christmas market. Autumn is a great balance of mild weather and fewer visitors. The winding highland roads have less traffic and even the more popular tourists’ spots are quiet. So for a relaxed vacation in Scotland, this is your perfect season.

Feshiebridge loch, Scotland tours, Scottish Highalnds
Feshiebridge - K B on Unsplash

Walking.

If walking is your thing. As you may know from reading my past blogs, I am a keen hiker. I love walking in the autumn. There is still plenty of daylight and a fair chance of a clear day. You may even start to see a dusting of snow on the mountains! I also love walking in the winter with the guaranteed covering of snow, but the weather can be unpredictable and the conditions challenging.

Our tours.

If you choose one of our tours with walking, I would recommend visiting in autumn. Just picture yourself wandering around Loch an Eilein in the Cairngorms, a pale yellow sun glinting in the water, watching a fiery orange leaf floating towards the castle…bliss!

If you just want to relax, the autumn sun sets are as tranquil as the crisp mornings. After a long day of touring you can sit by the fire with a hot chocolate and watch the sun disappear over the hills and lochs. Once the sun is completely laid to rest, be sure to look up again and watch the stars twinkling in the night sky.

If this blog has you dreaming of your next vacation in Scotland, take a look at our Colours of Autumn Tour. We are now also running private bubble tours to keep you as safe as possible during the pandemic, get in touch with the team to have a chat.

We miss you, Scotland misses you, we can’t wait to welcome you back.

Waterfall and rocks, trees with Autumn leaves, Scottish Vacation
Waterfall in Autumn - Matt Kennedy

Recent articles

Tour Scotland in 2020

Discover a unique travel experience yourself and choose an unforgettable vacation in Scotland in 2020 with Best Scottish Tours.

Browse our 2020 Scotland tours to find your perfect small group tour.

Browse 2020 Tours of Scotland