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      Autumn in Scotland

      Experience the beauty of Scotland during autumn. It’s a time of colourful landscapes and glowing skies. Witness some of Scotland’s most exciting wildlife spectacles and taste flavours unique to our autumn months.

      Scottish Autumn Explained

      It’s less busy in the autumn months so the perfect opportunity to have Scotland’s wild vistas and tourism hot spots to yourself. 

      Take me straight to:
      Watch our Autumn Video

      See our autumn photo blog here.

      Autumn Tours

      When Does Autumn Start in Scotland

      Autumn in Scotland is generally defined to fall across September, October and November. September is the most debated month, with warmer weather, longer days and astronomical autumn starting nearer to the end of the month. Arguably, autumn truly comes to Scotland in October with the changing colours, darker nights and big wildlife spectacles taking place.

      Starts
      Ends
      Meteorological autumn in Scotland
      1st of September 30th of November
      Astronomical autumn in Scotland
      Between September 21st-24th Between 21st-24th of December
      What Scottish outdoor experts say
      Last week of September The first week of December

      Weather in Scotland During Autumn

      Autumn is pretty settled weather wise in Scotland. Temperatures remain warmer in September with longer days and less rain. September is a great month for photography, with the contrast of the remaining purple heather, summer greens and a hint of autumn colours making an appearance. October is the wettest month, but it’s the month with the most to see in terms of leaves changing and wildlife activity. November is drier and cooler than the previous two months. The clearer skies and longer nights make November the best autumn month for seeing the Northern lights.

      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Average monthly rainfall 
      67mm 78mm 66mm
      Average days of rainfall ≥1 mm (days)
      12 13.5 13
      Average daytime temperature (High)
      16°C 13°C 9°C
      Average daytime temperature (Low)
      9°C 6°C 3.5°C
      Average daylight hours 
      12 10 8

      Source: metoffice.gov.uk and timeanddate.com | based on Inverness (capital of the Highlands) as location.

      Scottish Autumn in Pictures

      Scottish Autumn Activities

      Photography

      Enjoy outdoor photography in the autumn with beautiful seasonal colours, stunning sunrises and sunsets, and darker nights which are great for capturing the Northern Lights.

      Check out Capturing the Northern Lights and Hiking Scotland in Autumn – A Photo Blog.

      See our photography holidays here.

      Walking & Hiking

      Donning your walking boots and multiple layers is the best way to experience Scotland’s spectacular autumn landscapes. Breathe in the earthy air and witness an array of colours on a countryside walk.

      Find out more about Hiking in Autumn and the wildlife you may see.

      See our walking holidays here.

      Wildlife Watching

      The wildlife in Scotland is pretty active year round, but one of the best times of year is definitely autumn. Witness red deer rutting, Atlantic salmon leaping up river and grey seals pupping. 

      Read: Wildlife in Scotland – which creatures to look out for in the Highlands in autumn!

      See our wildlife holidays here.

      Where to See Autumn Leaves in Scotland

      Where is the best place to see autumn foliage in Scotland? We get asked this a lot, and to be honest there are so many places where you can see beautiful fall vistas in Scotland depending on where you are and what you are after. It’s not just the changing leaves that are wonderful, but also the maturing colours of the heather and shrubbery. Our mountains and hills can be argued to be at their most atmospheric during autumn.

      The Highlands
      • Glen Affric – Scotland’s most beautiful glen?
      • The Cairngorms National Park & Royal Deeside
      • The hills of Assynt and Coigach
      • The oak woodlands of Ardnamurchan
      Central Scotland
      • Highland Perthshire – Big Tree Country
      • Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park
      Southern Scotland
      • Eildon Hills and the River Tweed
      • Galloway Forest Park

      Want to See The Fall Foliage?

      We visit the below destinations on our walking tours during the autumn months.

      Autumn Wildlife

      Autumn is the time of year in Scotland when various wildlife spectacles take place. The rutting of the red deer makes Scotland in autumn not just a visual experience, but also an audio one. The sound is truly unique and unforgettable. The stags ‘battle’ each other in order to find a mate, this involves a lot of roaring and a clashing of antlers.

      A quieter but nonetheless equally fascinating event is the annual upriver migration of Atlantic salmon which usually starts in November. The salmon leap their way up stream to their hatching grounds to spawn.

      This time of year is also the best time to stand a chance to see barnacle geese, especially on Islay, as they make their way to Scotland to nest along the high sea cliffs away from predators.

      If visiting island beaches on Orkney, Shetland, and the inner and outer Hebrides, keep your eyes peeled for grey seals, which haul ashore to give birth to their pups in the autumn months.

      Wildlife in Scotland – which creatures to look out for in the Highlands in autumn!

      Scotland's Autumn Larder

      Visiting in autumn also means you get to taste some of the best foods that Scotland’s natural larder has to offer with an overflowing selection of seasonal fruits, vegetables, seafood and game. 

      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Vegetables & Fruits
      Apples, pears, plums and damsons. Squash and root vegetables. Broccoli and celery.
      Meat & Game
      Duck and lamb. Grouse and pheasant. Venison and goose.
      Fish & Seafood
      Haddock, clams and mussels. Squid and oysters. Various shellfish.

      Check out VisitScotland’s Seasonal Food Calendar here for a more in depth read of yummy things available and in what months in Scotland.

      Autumn FAQs

      What are the seasons in Scotland? Read More

      Scotland is definitely home to 4 seasons, and sometimes you get to experience them all in one day!

      Winter takes place between December, January and February. These months are the darkest with the shortest days. Annually, snowfall varies, and it also varies across the country with typically more inches of snow in the Highlands. The daytime temperature during winter in Scotland is on average 4°C.

      March, April and May are the spring months. The countryside comes to life again, with fields full of lambs and wildflowers. Maybe surprising to know, but April is on average the driest month of the year but also the most changeable. You can have some of the hottest days of the year in April, but also be treated to a decent amount of snow. Spring temperatures are on average a pleasant 8°C.

      Summer ranges across June, July and August. These are typically the driest and warmest months and the most popular for visitors. Average temperature ranges between 14°C and 19°C.  

      Autumn starts in Scotland in September and goes on through to November. Generally, you won’t get the real autumn experience till mid-October when the landscape is at it’s most colourful. The temperature during autumn is on average 8°C.

      *Weather data taken from the metoffice, with averages for the city of Inverness (capital of the Highlands).

      What is the weather like in Scotland in September? Read More

      September is a bit of a double agent seasonally. September has many summer characteristics whilst actually being an autumn month. It’s a bit cooler than the preceding summer months, with average daytime highs of 16°C and lows of 9°C. September tends to be more reliably dry than the summer months and still enjoys long days.

      *Weather data taken from the metoffice, with averages for the city of Inverness (capital of the Highlands).

      What is the weather like in Scotland in October? Read More

      October is the wettest month of the year. Although it may rain a lot, it never rains for very long and it’s still a mild month temperature wise with a daytime average of 8°C.

      *Weather data taken from the metoffice, with averages for the city of Inverness (capital of the Highlands).

      What is the weather like in Scotland in November? Read More

      November is drier than October, with on average 13 days of rainfall a month and daytime temperatures of 5°C. The clearer skies and longer nights make November the best autumn month for seeing the Northern lights.

      *Weather data taken from the metoffice, with averages for the city of Inverness (capital of the Highlands).

      Does it snow in Scotland? Read More

      Yes! On average there are 38 days of snow in Scotland, with 26 days of settled snow on the ground. Most of the snow falls in northern mountainous areas like the Cairngorms, Glencoe and Torridon. Generally, snow fall is in the colder months of January and February, but can arrive as early as November and stay as late as April.

      *Weather data taken from the metoffice.

      Does it rain much in Scotland? Read More

      Not as much as you’d think! Inverness on average receives around 30 inches of annual rainfall. This is little compared to more famous destinations like New York which gets 50 inches and notoriously sunny Milan with 37 inches. Scotland is famed for rain, but consider that it’s the rain that makes our landscapes so lush and green. Rain is what makes our rivers and waterfalls so impressive. Rain is at the heart of our whisky industry. But the best thing about Scottish rain? It never rains for long. Before you know it the sun is bursting through and warming you up again.

      *Weather data taken from the metoffice, with averages for the city of Inverness (capital of the Highlands).

      What should I wear in Scotland? Read More

      Layers. Scotland’s weather is known for its changeability, so prepare yourself for any eventuality. Be prepared to add and lose layers according to the temperature, and carry waterproofs with you if you are heading out into the countryside.

      Why should I visit Scotland in autumn? Read More

      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. Have a read of Top 5 Reasons to Visit Scotland in Autumn for more information.

      Our holidays reviewed
      in your own words

      Wilderness Scotland provided a world class walking vacation. It was a wonderful combination of location and attention to details. Remember the Orkneys have been populated since neolithic times. There was a reason! It is a land of incredible beauty. However a trip is not just about the location. Wilderness Scotland handled all the travel details without flaw. We were met on time, made all of our travel connections and had our many special requests all graciously honoured.

      Janet Cogswell
      Wilderness Walking - The Orkney Islands
      Reviewed on 10/08/2014

      Rated 4.87 out of 5 based on 4,387 reviews

      Read More Reviews

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