Scotland in August: Our Complete Guide

Those who visit Scotland often wonder which month is the best to visit for attractions and events and to avoid busy crowds. To that, we have to say that August is one of the top months to pack your bags and plan a trip to the Highlands! Scotland in August offers the last taste of summer months that the country has to offer, with autumn just around the corner, and is an excellent time to visit Scotland.

From the numerous festivals on display in Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh to the abundant attractions around the country, August provides one of the most jam-packed months on Scotland’s calendar. What’s more, the late summer weather is delightful during August, so you never have to worry about a rainy day ruining your trip.

If you want to know about planning Scotland tours throughout August, then you’ve come to the right place. Read our complete break down of August in Scotland, from weather, things to do, events, and so much more. Let’s jump right into it.

Weather in Scotland in August

Weather in October

Scotland’s weather has historically been temperamental, with even the summer months experiencing showers. Luckily, Scotland in August is about as warm as it gets, with temperatures around 19℃ (66℉). Over the past few years, however, Scotland has been experiencing heat waves during the summer, which can rocket temperatures up significantly.

Scotland’s western coast will often experience more rain than its inland and eastern coast due to the Atlantic’s influence, but in most cases, you should prepare for about a drizzle. For the rest of Scotland, expect sunny days, with mild cloud cover and a rare shower or two. The weather is perfect for activities like hiking, climbing, golfing, or swimming, so don’t forget to pack your favourite pair of swimming trunks.

As with the other summer months in Scotland, August also offers a wealth of daylight hours to explore the Highlands. You can enjoy around 13 – 15 hours of daylight each day and long twilight hours. If you’re coming from the southern hemisphere, then this can be a little strange, so make sure you get enough rest each night.

Packing Tips for August Weather in Scotland

Packing for Scotland—no matter the season—is tricky. The weather is often dependent on where you are in the country and can change quickly from sunny to rainy and back. But most of the time, the weather during August is extremely pleasant, with long daylight hours to boot.

Here are some essentials that you should pack for your trip to Scotland in August:

Jacket and Umbrella

A warm waterproof jacket, especially if you plan on hiking Scotland’s famous Munros, is essential to bring along with you no matter which month you visit. Colder early mornings, late-night adventures, and changes in elevation can make you feel a wee nippy, even in August. And along Scotland’s western coast, you may even expect a shower or two.

It’s always smart to bring an umbrella, but you can always pick one up in Scotland and save your baggage space for souvenirs!

Swimming Gear

Scotland has one of the longest coastlines in Europe, so not packing something to swim in during your visit in late summer is a real shame. Swimming trunks, goggles, sun hats, and every accessory that suits a beach day out will find great use when exploring Scotland’s beautiful summertime beaches.

The west coast and Scottish Isles offer stunning sandy beaches for you and your family to enjoy, so don’t miss out on your chance.

Shorts & Sunglasses

In most cases, you’ll be extremely comfortable wearing shorts or a summer dress when exploring Scotland in August. Packing for a summer vacation with a few warmer choices is recommended, and we suggest bringing your favourite pair of sunglasses to avoid any glare as you drive through the Scottish Highlands.

Watch Out for Midges

Although summer in Scotland is one of the best times to visit Scotland, it also means the return of midge season in Scotland. If you’ve never been to Scotland, you may ask yourself what a midge is.

Midges are small flies that subsist off blood, similar to mosquitoes but smaller. They can be a real nuisance for travellers in Scotland, and their bites are incredibly itchy. They are active between May and September in Scotland, usually the most active between dawn and twilight.

To avoid these pesky insects during your visit to Scotland, dress yourself up to stop any skin from being exposed. If you plan to travel to an attraction close to a body of water, like a loch or river, spraying yourself with insect repellant is an effective deterrent against the critters.

Close your windows and doors when staying in a region close to nature, as midges will enter the premises during dawn and dusk.

Things to do in Scotland in August

Now that you have a good idea of the weather in Scotland during August, here are the top things to do while visiting Scotland in August.

See Scottish Wildlife

Scottish Wildlife

Summer in Scotland is the ideal time to see the diverse range of amazing wildlife, from Minke whales and dolphins to glorious golden eagles. Not only is summer the premier time to go exploring the havens for Scotland’s wildlife at places like the Cairngorms National Park and Trossachs National Park, but summer is also when many of the new pups and fledgelings take wing to meet their parents in the skies and seas.

Scottish bird-watching culture is buzzing in Scotland, and there are amazing destinations to go out and see Scotland’s birdlife. You can enjoy seeing puffins, golden eagles, and swans at places like Fair Isle, Caerlaverock Wildlife Centre, and Handa Island. But if birds aren’t to your fancy, then taking a boat trip around the Scottish Isles or visiting one of Scotland’s wildlife centres may just be your ticket.

Take a City Break

City Break

Throughout August, Scotland’s cities come alive with fantastic opportunities for celebration and adventure. Within major cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Inverness, you’ll be able to find a hub of activity and things to do, all within walking distance from each other.

So whether you’re planning to attend one of the many famous festivals in August, learn about Scotland’s history at places like Edinburgh Castle, or just peruse the culinary culture through coffee and cuisine, a city break is a treat for anyone coming to Scotland in August.

We’ve listed several things to do in many of Scotland’s most famous cities, so feel free to check them out when you have a moment to spare.

Explore the Great Outdoors

Explore the Great Outdoors

Scotland in summer offers the perfect chance to explore the great outdoors. From the Lowlands to the Highlands, there are so many activities for nature lovers and adrenaline junkies to try that we’ll only be able to mention a few here.

Top of the list for those coming to Scotland is ascending one of the country’s Munros. These towering behemoths can be found all over Scotland, with prominent ones being Ben Navis, Ben Lomond, and Sgùrr Dearg. August is the perfect time to strap on your hiking boots and take some gorgeous pictures at their summits—the weather is warm but not excessively slow, and midges are fewer than in June and July.

Scotland also has several summertime sports you can take part in, from water skiing, cycling, wakeboarding, and so much more! There are also several games to enjoy during the Highland Games that let you embrace the rich culture of Scotland.

Visit Castles Galore

Visit Castles

Scottish Castles are extremely popular to add to your agenda when visiting Scotland in summer. You can explore the annals of history through galleries and exhibitions at places like Edinburgh Castle, Balmoral Castle, and Threave Castle. These attractions may be slightly more busy than usual during the summer months, especially with the Scottish schools on break until September (summer is the peak season, after all).

Regardless, visiting Scotland is one of the premier attractions to enjoy during your stay—you may even be able to stay overnight at one, with gorgeous views out to the Northern Highlands of Scotland.

Play a Round of Golf

Play a Round of Golf

Welcome to the home of golf! Not many people know that Scotland is where the sport was born, in the beautiful town of St Andrews. There are several places throughout Scotland where golf is an absolutely necessity, including the aforementioned St Andrews in the Kingdom of Fife and the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

Tee off with spectacular scenery around you on one of Scotland’s distinctive links-style courses. Mid-August is the ideal time to visit Scotland to play a round of golf, with balmy weather ideal for excellent rounds. The fees for certain golf courses are reduced in August as the year transitions into the shoulder seasons.

Have a Beach Day in the Outer Hebrides

Beach Day Out

Grab your towel and sunscreen. Scotland in August makes for the perfect time to enjoy a beach day with your friends and family. The Outer Hebrides, especially the Orkney Isles and the Isle of Skye, make for a superb day in the sand, although the Atlantic Ocean can be a little chilly.

Taking a road trip through the Shetland Islands is also a fantastic way to see several attractions and find secluded white sand beach spots.

Events in August in Scotland

Events in August

August is packed full of amazing events making summer trips during this month full of great deals and things to do. If you want a breakdown of the events happening throughout the month, then don’t worry: We’ve outlined everything for you right here.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival ( 4 – 28 August)

One of the most famous festivals in Scotland in August is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! This month-long fringe festival is one of the greatest celebrations of arts and culture in Scotland, and the festival sees thousands of artists, celebrities, musicians, and more throughout Edinburgh’s streets in a chaotic and unique way.

What’s great about Edinburgh Fringe is that absolutely anyone can participate; simply sign up, and you can let the world hear your art and culture. The Festival is attended by thousands every year and is the highlight of many festival-goers’ calendars.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (04 Aug – 26 Aug 2023)

Another major Edinburgh Festival is the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. This festival is put on by the Royal Military, British Armed Forces, Commonwealth, and some international military bands. The musical talents are renowned throughout the world, and this makes for an exhilarating entertainment event.

The Military Tattoo is one of the highlights of the Edinburgh Festival Calendar.

Edinburgh International Film Festival (18 – 23 August)

Forget about Cannes – Edinburgh regularly holds the world’s longest continuously-running film festival! Featuring major celebrities and stars, join filmmakers and actors as they relive old classics and sit on the edge of their seats with new releases.

Highland Games (Throughout August)

No matter what time during August you visit, there are amazing Highland Games you can attend and see traditional Scottish cultures and music. There are several that take place nearly every few days all over Scotland, including the Dornoch Highland Gathering, Aboyne Highland Games, Perth Highland Games, and the Cowal Highland Gathering.

If you want to enjoy Scottish culture at your own pace, then attending one of these unique cultural festivals filled with Highland dancers, pipers, and clan meet-ups is essential.

Frequently Asked Questions about Scotland in August

Planning to come to Scotland in August during your next summer holidays? We’ve outlined some answers to the frequently asked questions for you to peruse before travelling to hot spots in Scotland like Fort William, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.

Is August a good time to go to Scotland?

Absolutely! August is one of, if not the best, times to visit Scotland to avoid crowds, see attractions, and enjoy the beautiful summer weather. August is the final month of summer in Scotland, which sees generally less crowds than the rest of Scottish summer months like June and July. Nevertheless, many of the most famous attractions are still open until the end of Autumn.

Can I See the Northern Lights in August?

Summer months make it extremely difficult to see the Aurora Borealis, especially with the long daylight hours that summer brings. Your best chance to see the Northern Lights while visiting Scotland is to head north to the far-flung Scottish Isles.

The Shetland and Orkney Isles are high enough that seeing the Northern Lights is possible, but summer is the worst time to see the lights—winter months are your best bet for that.

Is Edinburgh crowded in August?

As Scotland’s largest city, Edinburgh can become quite packed during the summer months. The city sees hundreds of thousands of visitors, local and international, who come to see attractions like Edinburgh Castle and amazing festivals like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo.

Scottish history is deeply intertwined into the very cobblestones of Edinburgh, with historical landmarks like the Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace, and Camera Obscura. The best times to visit Edinburgh are May, August, and September, as June and July are extremely busy months.

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