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How to visit Scotland in Spring

How to visit Scotland in Spring

Ah Scotland in Spring. We all love spring don’t we? The endless storms and darkness of the Scottish winter are receiving, the snow is still on the ground and the daffies are popping their heads up, everyone is opening their doors to visitors and there is new life everywhere

Still wondering when the best time to visit Scotland is? Whilst the answer should be ‘anytime!’ but in all honesty, one of the best times to visit Scotland is in Spring from March to May. Here’s why the best time to visit Scotland is Spring, and what to do when you get here.

Drive to Kinloch Hourn - spring
The road to Kinloch Horne in May

Spring is one of the best times to visit Scotland

  • The Spring weather is, in my opinion, the best – Scotland’s weather is highly unpredictable at the best of times and whilst you can still experience four seasons in one day, Spring weather in Scotland is usually the most stable. Between March and May, the frost leaves the air, average temperatures have risen to 13 degrees and apart from a few showers in April, the rain often stays away. In my experience, year on year Spring often offers up some of Scotland’s best months of weather.
  • You can get outside more – it is no joke that Scotland in winter is hard going due to the lack of daylight and whilst spending long evenings by the fire with a warming whisky I find that by March that I am lethargic, tired and desperate to get back outside. Thankfully, the arrival of Spring also means the arrival of more daylight – by the end of May, there is on average 17 hours of light a day – if not sunshine! This means you have a lot more time (and no excuse) to get outside into the fresh air.
  • Scotland is back open for business – traditionally most of Scotland’s visitor attractions and some hotels and self catering accommodation (outside of the cities) close for winter and reopen on the 1 April, or on Easter weekend. So get out on the road visiting and photographing our iconic sights before the tour buses descend in summer. If you are visiting in March, you might still want check the opening times of historic attractions as they may still be closed, gardens may be open.
  • There are no midges – the bane of every traveller in Scotland’s life, the Scottish midge can spoil a trip to Scotland in summer – but in Spring they have yet to hatch. Travel to the west coast of Scotland before late May/early June and your trip is likely to be midge free – just hope for Spring to be cool and dry as it will keep the midges away as long as possible. It is always worth packing a midge repellent such as Smidge just in case.
  • The country is literally blooming – from daffodils to camellias, azaleas to cherry blossoms, Scottish bluebells, purple saxifrage, yellow gorse and purple heather and spectacular pink rhododendrons – in parks, gardens, estates, by the coast and even by the roadside, Scotland comes a bloom in Spring.
  • Scotland is lovely and quiet – Spring and Autumn are traditionally Scotland’s shoulder seasons and outside of the main school summer holidays travelling in Scotland is much more relaxed – fewer campervans, less traffic, and a lot more choice in where to stay. Popular places like the Isle of Skye or driving the North Coast 500 are great places to visit in Spring, before the tour buses and selfie sticks arrive. But shhh don’t tell anyone, we like to keep it this way. 
Spring in Scotland at Blackrock Cottage Glencoe
Black Rock Cottage, Glencoe in March

Here is how to visit Scotland in Spring.

Things to do in Scotland in Spring

Spring in Scotland is beautiful – the mountains are often still snow-topped and the glens are bursting into colour with daffodils, snowdrops, crocuses, and bright yellow gorse. Here are the best places to visit and things to do in Spring in Scotland.

All dates at 2024.

  • Head to the rugby – the Six Nations Rugby tournament takes places in Edinburgh (and across the six nations) in February and March and even if you can’t get a ticket for the game itself, Edinburgh is a great place to be on Rugby Days. If you miss the Six Nations, the Melrose Sevens rugby tournament takes place in the Scottish Borders on the weekend of the 11th May.
  • See a film at the Glasgow Film Festival – running until the 10th March, the Glasgow Film Festival is celebrating 20 years of films with a cinematic showcase across the city.
  • Head to St Andrews for StAnza – love poetry? Head to StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival which takes place in St Andrews from 8-10 March.
  • Eat your way around Scotland – if you love your food, then head to Edinburgh for Eat Out Edinburgh between 1-31st March with discounts and special menus. The brilliant Fife Food and Drink week also takes place between the 9th and 17th March too! Check out all the events on the Welcome to Fife website.
  • Find things all a bit funny? The Glasgow International Comedy Festival takes place between the 13th and 31st March and features Scottish and international comedians and stand ups.
  • Love history? Head to the re-opening of the Perth Museum, which will reopen on the 30th of March after a £27million refurbishment including a new home for the Stone of Destiny, over which the Scottish Kings were crowned. Visit the Perth Museum.
  • Go on a Easter Egg hunt – the National Trust for Scotland hosts Easter Egg trails right across Scotland, from egg hunting at Craigievar Castle in Aberdeenshire to Culzean Castle in Ayrshire. You can find the nearest egg hunt to you on the National Trust for Scotland‘s website.
  • Visit Scotland’s Daffodil Festival – home to a national collection of Narcissus (daffodils) the Backhouse Rossie Estate in Cupar Fife hosts Scotland’s Daffodil Festival on the 13/14 April. £5.50 for adults, more info and tickets. You can also visit Brodie Castle and Estate which is home to the National Daffodil Collection, with around 400 varieties.
  • Celebrate Spring and the start of the Summer at Beltane – high up on Calton Hill in Edinburgh the annual Beltane Festival sets the city centre alight on the 30 April, £9 in advance, more info.
Spring in Scotland Rugby
The Six Nations Rugby Tournament in March
  • Get outside for a walk at a walking festival Galashiels (26-28 April) Newton Stewart (10-16 May) Ballater Walking Festival (18 – 24 May) and follow the TGO Challenge hikers (8 May) or take part in the Arran Mountain Festival (17-20 May).  
  • Cycle the Etape Loch Ness – love to ride, well this 66 mile cycle around Loch Ness on the 28th April will be right up you street. Book your place at Etape Loch Ness.
  • Enjoy some traditional music – two of the best Scottish folk festivals take place in Spring – the Mull Music Festival on the 26th – 28th April and the Orkney Folk Festival which takes place 23-26th May.
  • Get on Osprey Watch – look out for these magnificent birds arriving to breed from their winter homes in Africa. The best places to spot Ospreys in Scotland are at Loch Leven near Kinross, the Tweed Valley Osprey Project, Abernethy in the Cairngorms National Park, Aberfoyle Ospreys and Loch of the Lowes where there is also a webcam.
East Neuk Smoke House
Food festival in Fife
  • See a seabird & sealife – lots of seabirds and sealife returns to Scotland in Spring – why not visit the Puffins on the Isle of May or Bass Rock or visit St Abbs Head to see the sea birds arrive on the cliffs? Look out for the charismatic terns arriving from the south – they do fabulous aerobatic displays. In the water, seals can be seen pupping on the beaches and off the coast look out for migratory whales and resident dolphins – head to Ardnamurchan or the Moray Firth for the best chance of spotting these amazing creatures.
  • Try a whisky festival – May is Scotland’s whisky month and my favourite region hosts the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival between the 1-6th May. Feis Isle – the very famous Islay whisky festival takes places on the 26th May to the 1st June – what a way to finish Spring!
  • View the cherry blossoms – did you know that Edinburgh has its own cherry blossom season? Each spring the Meadows park to the south of the city centre alights in a blaze of pinks and whites. You can see cherry blossoms in parks right across Scotland.
Spring in Scotland cherry blossom
Cherry blossoms at The Pineapple

Visiting Scotland in Spring – FAQs

Thinking of planning a trip to Scotland in Spring? Here is everything you need to know.

When is Spring in Scotland?

Spring in Scotland is from March to May. The clocks go forward by one hour on the 26th March.

What is the weather like in Scotland in Spring?

The weather in spring in Scotland changes dramatically from March to may. 

  • In March – expect cold temperatures and short days – and we often get a good dumping of snow, especially in the mountains, but there are lots of blue sky days and enough daylight hours to enjoy your trip. 
  • In April – expect showers! Although it is a myth that April is one of the wettest months of the year, April in Scotland is actually one of the driest months of the year but you are more likely to be caught in a shower than wet and the days are getting longer – and longer. 
  • In May – the weather is getting much warmer, expect sunshine and up to 16 hours of daylight. The end of May into June are often our most ‘summery’ weeks, last year we were sunbathing in 23 degrees the last week of May – cheers!
Spring in Scotland Perthshire
Perthshire in March

Is Spring the ‘shoulder season’ in Scotland?

Yes! Scotland’s shoulder seasons are Spring and Autumn, so are usually quieter and cheaper times to visit. One thing to remember is that if travelling solo or as a couple and are looking for cheaper accommodation prices watch out for the Scottish schools Spring/Easter break which is usually the end of March, start of April, although this changes each year depending on when Easter is.

Does it snow in Scotland in Spring?

Yes! It is still common for it to snow in March in Scotland, alongside beautiful blue sky days.

Snow in March in Scotland

What to wear in Scotland in Spring

If you are just visiting Edinburgh or Glasgow, then dress how you normally would on a mild day – check the weather forecast to see if you need a waterproof jacket. In Scotland, an umbrella is generally useless – the wind in Edinburgh can destroy one in seconds.

If you are planning to head out into the countryside or up to the Highlands, then you will need outdoor clothing – think quick-drying fabrics and lots of layers to take on and off as you need.

  • Start with a good base layer – I like merino wool and then a thin fleece (or tech material) jacket.
  • On top, I always wear a thin wind and waterproof jacket. Good waterproof jackets fro Scotland are made with either Goretex or Nikwax coating.
  • I always carry lightweight waterproof trousers which pack up really small to fit in my bag.
  • If you are planning on doing any walking or hiking then you will need waterproof hiking boots.

How much daylight in Scotland in Spring is there?

Plenty! By the end of May expect up to 17 hours of day light a day. In March, it is around 10 hours of daylight – still plenty of time to explore. So get planning your trip to Scotland in Spring!

Love from Scotland x