March is arguably one of the most exciting times to visit Scotland. You could either get a full-on winter wonderland or bright spring days filled with the buzzing of busy bees and the cheerful chirping of returning birds. You will likely experience both of these things during your trip, and the contrast is just lovely.
As a local who has seen many Scottish Marches roll by, I can confidently attest that March is the coyest of months weatherwise. But I have a soft spot for it. Sunny days have an incomparable crispness; the snow days can be some of the best of the whole season, and rainy days are expected, so never all that disappointing, whilst the warmer days are an undeniable treat.
Despite March not being a popular visitor month, there’s much to like about this time of year. If you want to experience Scotland a little differently than most people do, and if you’re a cost-conscious traveller, March is a great time to visit Scotland.
March is very much transitional – sometimes, it’s still very much winter, and sometimes it’s spring. March in Scotland can be known for fantastic snow cover and spring skiing, whilst recent years have also seen March beat its sunshine records annually. Nothing is more magical than walking along a snowy landscape with a warm sun on your face.
Previous years have seen daytime temperature lows of -8°C at the start of the month and highs of 20°C nearer to the end of March. The monthly average, and what you are most likely to experience, is a comfortable 9°C during the day. A good temperature for walks outside if you’ve got suitable layers on!
*Weather data taken from the metoffice, with averages for the cities of Edinburgh (the capital of Scotland), Glasgow (biggest city in Scotland), Inverness (capital of the Highlands), and Aberdeen (North-East Hub).
This time of change certainly comes with perks. The days are getting increasingly longer, birds are returning from warmer climates and the best bit of all? Winter flowers.
You’re sure to see daffodils, snowdrops, crocus and hyacinths at this time of year, not just in gardens but in parks, along the road and even in the woods.
Buds are also starting to emerge, which have a certain beauty in their own right, and with them comes the promise of wonderful spring blossoms.
It’s quiet in Scotland during the month of March – so if you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy reduced winter prices, it’s the perfect time to come. Many accommodations offer lower rates in the winter months, and there is more availability.
The logistics of planning a trip to Scotland’s more iconic destinations like Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Isle of Skye and the North Coast 500 are considerably easier. If you’re after staying at a popular hotel and/or getting a reservation at a highly-rated restaurant, this is a lot easier in March than in the more popular months.
March marks the start of various hibernating and migrating beasties to make their return, whether it’s to the land, sea or sky.
Keep your eyes peeled for hedgehogs, badgers, humpback wales, bats and various seabirds like guillemots and razorbills.
For wildlife-watching fanatics, you will also be able to enjoy our year-round inhabitants like grey seals, red squirrels, otters, sea eagles, deer and dolphins.
Some attractions don’t officially open till April or have reduced opening times, and many ferries operate on a winter timetable. That’s not to say there isn’t anything to do in Scotland in March. On the contrary, there is plenty to see and do. Major attractions like Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, Kelvin Grove Art Gallery in Glasgow, Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, Glasgow’s Riverside Museum, and the Royal Yacht Britannia are all open in March. Although hours are reduced, the prices are also lower than in peak tourist season. Winner!
You have even more options if you fancy heading away from the city. Popular sites like the Quiraing and the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye, the Glenfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter bridge), Glen Coe and the Clava Cairns near Inverness (the inspiration for Outlander’s Craigh na Dun) are outside and not ticketed. They’re better to visit in March so you can see them without the crowds, and they all look equally (if not more) impressive and beautiful in moodier weather. For many castles that are not open in the winter, you can often still visit the grounds in winter for free. You don’t need to visit the inside of the castle to admire the impressive architecture and immerse yourself in the local history.
You’d also be relieved to know that many boat tour operators still run tours on Loch Ness throughout the year, even the winter months. Furthermore, the iconic Urquhart Castle that nestles on the banks of Loch Ness is open year-round (remember to check times, though).