June is peak tourist season in Scotland, but is it a good time to come? The resounding answer is yes, June is an excellent time to go to Scotland. The sun-kissed landscape is awash with natural beauty. Explore enchanting islands, hike the rolling hills, and savour the summer larder of fresh seafood and produce. With more reliable weather, long daylight hours, and a wealth of wildlife-watching opportunities, there’s no better time to immerse yourself in the majesty of Scotland.
For these reasons, June is one of the more popular months to come to Scotland, but don’t let the crowds put you off. Many tourists often congregate in the towns and cities but are far more dispersed when you head to the countryside and islands.
Like any popular destination, planning and booking things in advance helps. This advice extends to trips, accommodations, attractions and even restaurant bookings. The benefit of travelling on a Wilderness Scotland guided tour is that our wonderful operations team has already done this thinking for you. Relax in the knowledge that your dinner reservations are already made, your accommodation is booked, and the ferry logistics have been done for you.
Whether you are travelling with us or independently, read on to discover our favourite reasons for visiting Scotland in June, from the summer colours and island hopping activities to copious amounts of daylight and delicious food.
The reliability of the weather plays a large part in why June is such a popular month for tourists to visit. Depending on where you are in Scotland, high temperatures range from 16°C to 18°C (61-64°F) and lows from 7°C to 9°C (45-48°F).
Although dry weather is never guaranteed, June is one of the drier months in Scotland; surprisingly, April is statistically the driest. Scotland is guilty of good weather coming in deliciously long 1-2 week stretches, punctuated with some milder days. However, booming thunderstorms are rare, and it seldom rains for very long. Find out more on our blog: What is a Scottish Summer Like?
The weather and long days make Scotland an excellent destination for outdoor lovers. The temperatures are milder than that you’ll see in southern Europe or much of the States, perfect for more active days spent hiking, biking or paddling. There’s no risk of the sun setting on your daily adventures or overheating, and overnight camps are made much more pleasant with long hours to enjoy the ‘simmer dim’ (a phrase used in Shetland to describe summer twilight).
The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year and is celebrated around the 21st of June. Due to its northern latitude, most of Scotland will enjoy 17-18 hours of daylight throughout June. The continuous sun makes June a great month for outdoor activities.
There are many ways to celebrate the summer solstice in Scotland. As many gather at Stonehenge in England for the solstice, people equally flock to the Callanish/Calanais Stones on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. They gather in the hope of seeing the “Shining One”, an entity that legend said is glimpsed walking down the avenue of stones at sunrise on the morning of the summer solstice.
Other great places include Shetland, where the longest day of the year is 19 hours long, and the Isle of Arran or the Orkney Isles, which are also home to impressive neolithic stone circles. Back on the mainland, the Highlands offer a wonderful place to enjoy the summer solstice. Hike to the top of a hill and set up camp to enjoy the longest day of the year with endless mountain views. Alternatively, opt for the sun-drenched terrace of a beer garden for a long night of enjoying folk music and local chats.
The summer months, especially June, are great for wildlife watching in Scotland, from seabirds amassing on our cliffs to various marine creatures returning to our waters. With the increased land-based activity following the spring awakening, there’s something to enjoy in all corners of the country.
Starting with the coast, June is an excellent time to see seabirds such as puffins, guillemots, razorbills and gannets, who will nest at this time of year. There are several seabird hotspots across Scotland, including the Isle of May, St Kilda, the Shiant Isles, St Abbs Head and Shetland.
In the water, you can see orcas, minke whales, and humpback whales. They should be around between May and August, although experts say their activity peaks in June.
You can see seals, dolphins and porpoises year-round in Scotland. Common seals give birth in June and July, so you’re more likely to see seals on or near the shore at this time. Remember to keep a respectful distance from the mothers and their pups. Some beaches are closed or have limited access; boat tours allow one to admire this spectacle without disturbing the seals.
Further inland, the young of badgers and pine marten are starting to leave their nests and venture further afield in June. Despite being relatively common in the Highlands, pine marten sightings are still infrequent due to their skittish and nocturnal nature. You will, however, be able to see their unusual coiled scat on the ground, so keep an eye out. The same goes for badger cubs, but you can increase your chances of seeing both by visiting a nighttime wildlife hide.
Other nocturnal beasties to keep your eyes peeled for in June are bats. Bats generally have their young at the start of June, and by the end of June, these will be independent enough to start swooping about on their own around dusk.
Easily missed but in no way less exciting and beautiful to see are dragonflies and butterflies. They emerge in full force amidst the blooming wildflowers prevalent in June.
Although April and May mark the return of colour, the countryside is arguably at its bests and most vivid in June. The hills are impossibly green, and various notable wildflowers thrive. Flowers like foxgloves, sea thrift, broom, early marsh orchid and elderflower are at their most vibrant and fragrant in June.
Scotland is home to one of the rarest types of rainforests in the world – a temperate rainforest, which you can find across the Scottish west coast. This type of rainforest currently only occupies 1% of the planet. The relatively high levels of rainfall and mild temperatures year-round mean that many rare mosses and lichens grow in abundance here. The Scottish rainforest, more commonly known as Atlantic woodland, is a haven for ancient oak, birch, ash, pine and hazel trees. An excellent time to enjoy the ample lushness on show here is June. It’s relatively dry, quieter than the later summer months, and warmer than the early spring months.
There’s nothing like visiting islands in the summer. Naturally, the weather plays a part; picture yourself strolling along the coast in the bright sunshine, either on a white sand beach or along the top of rugged sea cliffs with endless sea views stretching out before you. The warm breeze is lightly salty, seabirds are cawing overhead, and the sun is beating pleasantly on your face.
You can island hop at any time of year in Scotland, but it’s definitely easier in June. Scotland’s ferries operate summer timetables so more frequent and convenient ferries depart in the summer months. As the weather is more reliable, ferries are also less likely to get cancelled due to storms. These are the more practical reasons why the summer, particularly June, is great for Scottish island hopping.
The beautiful scenery and pleasant weather may attract more visitors, but with more visitors come benefits too. The colourful island towns come alive in the summer. Many hotels and restaurants reduce their operating hours in the winter, but these will be in full swing come June. There will also be various island festivals and gatherings to enjoy, and all sorts of attractions will be fully open.
June also presents excellent conditions for water sports. With almost 800 Scottish islands and countless miles of spectacular coastline, it is a great time to explore Scotland’s coasts by sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, swimming, surfing, sailing or even coastal foraging.
If you’re a foodie, June is the month to visit Scotland. Food festivals and farm shows are happening across the country, and there is so much in season to enjoy.
June is a good time for fruits like rhubarb, blackcurrants and gooseberries, and for vegetables like beetroot, runner beans and asparagus.
It’s an excellent month to try fresh lobster, with their meat-to-water ratio at its best in late spring and early summer. Other seafood to enjoy in June includes plaice, megrim, sole, crab and oyster.
On the foraging side, elderflower is definitely the star of the show, blooming en masse and easy to pick and identify. June is also good for collecting honeysuckle, pineapple weed, common sorrel and wild rose. Various seaweeds, sea kale and marsh samphire are available for coastal foraging fans.
June might be a bit early to start mushroom picking, but if it’s been a warm year, you might be lucky and be able to get some chicken of the woods.
*Please forage responsibly.
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