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Top 5 Reasons to Visit Scotland in Autumn

Posted on Aug 19, 2013 by Mary Lawless

Autumn is a beautiful time of year to visit Scotland, the landscapes are ablaze with autumnal colours, the skies have a wonderful purple and orange glow and the wildlife is thriving with activity. Here are our top 5 reasons to visit Scotland in autumn.

  1. Wildlife
  2. Autumn Foliage
  3. Seasonal Produce
  4. No Midges
  5. Less Tourists

Autumn Days Video

This time-lapse captures the last days of a golden autumn in the Scottish Highlands. It was filmed throughout the Cairngorms National Park, Glen Affric and Glenshee.


Red Deer

Autumn is by far one of the best times of year for spotting some of Scotland’s rich and varied wildlife as a real sense of change sweeps over our natural environment.

Red Deer – from September you can hear the echoing sound of stags roaring and clattering antlers as they gather in the sheltered glens for the annual rut, competing to mate with the females.

Grey Seal – Scotland accounts for 40% of the worlds grey seal population and in autumn they land with their fur coated pups on the islands off the west coast of Scotland.

Barnacle Geese – some 25,000 of these breeding birds descend on the Hebrides to escape the harsher climate of Spitsbergen in Norway.

Swans – two different breeds of swan appear in the Northern parts of Scotland in autumn as the waters where they nest are frozen solid, the Whooper from Iceland and the Bewick from Siberia.

For more information about the wildlife found in Scotland in autumn read our blog: Wildlife in Scotland – which creatures to look out for in the Highlands in autumn.

Autumn Foliage

Autumn colours

Many underrate autumn in Scotland saying ‘Scotland is full of evergreens’, however the golden hues of autumn are best viewed against the backdrop of the famous Scot’s Pine.

Almost one fifth of Scotland’s land area is covered in trees. There are plenty of deciduous trees to be admired up here, from ancient hedges on castle grounds to areas of deciduous or mixed woodland. Of course famous for it is ‘Big Tree Country’, Perthshire, home to the highest hedge in the world standing at 30 metres tall! The leaves on the trees start to change colour in early autumn and are in their full glory by the end of September right through to the end of October. Combine all of this with the deer-grass on the moors when it turns that wonderful russet red and you’ve got yourself a pretty nice photo opportunity.

It’s the perfect time to enjoy walks through multi coloured landscapes as the lochs are nestled against a backdrop of red, gold and amber. Have a look at our autumn walking holidays, all featuring unique autumn highlights in different areas of the Scottish Highlands.

Seasonal Produce

Sea food Scotland

The stunning shades of gold and the active wildlife are not the only reason to come to Scotland in autumn. After a day exploring your wonderful surroundings you can indulge in some of the most amazing local produce from the autumn harvest.

The apples, plums, pears and damsons are at their most delicious and make wonderful jams and desserts. Lamb is at it’s most succulent in autumn and game is readily available. Have you hear the old wives tale: Oysters and other shellfish should be eaten only in months with an “r” in them? Luckily our Native Scottish oysters are at their most delicious from October through the colder months. Finish off with a wee dram beside a roaring fire, what more could you want!

Here is our pick of the best places to try out Scottish cuisine.

No Midges


You will be happy to know you won’t need to wear this stylish headpiece (midge net) Rupert is modelling as you won’t encounter any midges in autumn. The Scottish highland midge normally starts hatching in May or early June and are hovering around during the summer months….although anything more than a 4 mile breeze and you’re safe, as they can’t fly in it. Once autumn arrives and any sign of frost the midges start to die off leaving us to enjoy the wilderness in peace. If you like to be forewarned ahead of your trip to the Highlands then take a look at the Midge Forecast site.

If you are still a bit worried about midges, read Midges in Scotland – How to Combat the Mighty Midge for some useful info on midges and how to avoid getting bitten.

Less Tourists


As the tourist season ends Scotland has an even more remote feel to it, the paths and trails all over the Highlands are near deserted. With mainly just the Scots left you can immerse yourself in the true Scottish experience.

So that’s why we love Scotland in Autumn. Feeling inspired? Get ideas for adventurous things to do in Scotland in the autumn.

About the author

Mary Lawless

Mary grew up on the west coast of Ireland and after spending some time travelling around the world found herself studying for a masters in Tourism at Strathclyde University. Each season she hears herself saying ‘This is my favourite season’.

Read more articles by Mary

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