Scotland in March: Our Complete Guide

Scotland in March

March in Scotland transitions the country from the cold Scottish winter months to blossoming spring. It’s one of the quieter months for travellers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be considering it for your holiday. March offers fantastic opportunities to see Scotland’s natural beauty at cheaper rates without worrying about overcrowding or midges.

From road trips around the country’s picturesque coastline to exploring ancient castles, visiting Scotland in March can be overwhelming. Read our complete guide to Scotland in March and take advantage of missing the peak tourist season during your next holiday.

Weather in Scotland in March

Weather in March

March weather in Scotland is quite temperamental, flipping between crips sunny days to rainy weather several times over a week. By March, the winter chill begins to alleviate slightly, and the Lowlands see a small increase in temperature. The Scottish Highlands stay colder until April and May, with snowy conditions on many mountain peaks.

You can expect daily average temperatures between 0℃ – 9℃ (32℉ – 48℉), although this can differ slightly depending on where you visit in Scotland. In March, the West Coast in Scotland generally experiences warmer days and more rain thanks to the North Atlantic Gulf Stream.

Daylight hours are shorter in March but increase as the month continues. You can expect around 10 – 11 hours of daylight each day—plenty of time to visit Scotland and see its attractions! Just be sure to pack appropriately for early mornings and evenings to combat colder temperatures.

How to Pack for Scotland in March

Need some advice on how best to pack for Scotland in March? Don’t worry. We’ve outlined the essentials that every traveller should include in their travel bag.

Jumper and Rain Jacket

Packing a jumper and a rain jacket is vital for anyone planning to visit Scotland in March. While bad weather isn’t the default, you can expect a few showers throughout your holiday. Even if it is unnecessary and Scotland surprises you with sunny days, you’ll be happy you packed it!

Layering is key when faced with cold weather, and you’ll be surprised how toasty you’ll feel when you bundle up with a shirt, jumper, and jacket.

Thick Pair of Boots

Complement your long sleeves and pants with a thick pair of boots! Not only do they look great, you’ll be thankful that you brought them when faced with the muddy footpaths and hiking trails leading up to Medieval Castles. The worst feeling is wet socks, so ensure your feet are protected with a nice pair of boots.

If you plan to hike, taking two pairs (one for hiking and one for driving/dining) will save you a few headaches.

Waterproof Clothing

A waterproof rain jacket will take you a long way, but it’s essential to pack a few items that can withstand rain when visiting in March. Waterproof pants will save you and your phone from becoming drenched while stopping by significant attractions.

Things to Do in Scotland in March

March is a month of opportunity! As the snow melts and spring rears its head, the country offers many opportunities for you to explore and discover. Whether you’re in love with Scotland’s cities or the untamed wilderness, here are some fantastic things you should be adding to your to-do list! You can only visit Scotland in March if you add at least one of these to your agenda.

Go on a Spring Road Trip

Go a Spring Road Trip

With spring slowly blooming throughout the month, March offers the first opportunity to spend quality time outdoors. If you want the real Scotland experience, a spring road trip around the beautiful country is necessary. Several popular routes through Scotland are perfect for a road trip, including the North Coast 500, North Coast 250, and the Borders Historic Route.

Since March is considered a low season, your Scotland road trip will be an intimate experience with the Scottish countryside. You can savour the rolling hills, towering mountainous areas, and dramatic coastlines with stops along the way and fewer crowds than at any other point of the year. When it comes to Scotland tours, a road trip is a fantastic way to discover and explore.

Witness the Northern Lights

Northern Lights

March is the last month of the year that lets you see the Northern Lights in Scotland! The peak aurora season spans from September to March, so don’t miss your opportunity to see one of the most beautiful natural phenomena in the world.

For the best chance to see the ‘Mirrie Dancers’, as they’re called in Scotland, you’ll want to head into the Scottish Highlands and Islands. The more north you travel, the more likely that you’ll be able to see the aurora borealis and the less light pollution you’ll experience. Even designated regions in Scotland called Dark Sky Reserves offer clear skies with minimal light pollution.

Visit Locations From Movies and TV

Visit Locations from TV and Movies

Scotland has been the stage for several movies and TV shows over the past few decades. Shows like Outlander, Mary, Queen of Scots, Black Mirror, The Loch Ness, and so many more regularly feature Scotland’s rolling Highlands and castles. You could make an entire itinerary covering filming locations of shows you love, but a few highlights include Blackness Castle, Glen Coe, and Linlithgow Palace.

You can organise a private tour of many castles and palaces in Scotland, each filled with fascinating Scottish history and fun facts about the films shot there.

Movies like Harry Potter, James Bond, and Brave heavily feature the Scottish Highlands, with the most famous example being the Glenfiddich Viaduct! The Hogwarts Express famously took Harry and his friends in many iconic scenes across this Scottish attraction, so be sure to take a picture when you visit!

Indulge in Spring’s First Food Harvest

Indulge in Spring Harvests

Foodies have a lot to look forward to when visiting Scotland in March, with a few Scottish delicacies coming into season at the start of March. Brown trout and other seafood like hake, mussels, lobsters, and oysters begin in March.

Sea kale, an ingredient beloved by Scottish chefs that you’ll encounter everyone, is also available in March. It’s a great resource paired with scallops, so if you want an authentically fresh Scottish culinary experience, make sure to try it on your visit.

Enjoy Scotland’s Quiet Wilderness

Quiet Wilderness

Regions in Scotland like the famous Loch Ness and the Cairngorms National Park are perfect to explore during March, not only because there are fewer crowds but also because of the wealth of wildlife coming out of hiding from winter. If you venture to Scotland’s famous national parks and stunning lochs during March, chances are high that you’ll have much of the route all to yourself.

So, if you’re a wildlife photographer or want to visit Loch Ness and other places off the beaten path in serene solitude, March is the best time.

Stop by Scotland’s Largest City

Scotland's Largest City

Outdoor activities are only for some, and many visitors coming to Scotland in March will be content exploring Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, instead. Edinburgh is packed full of amazing things to do, even during the relatively quiet low season in March. Attractions like Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, and the National Scottish Galleries are yours to explore without needing to elbow your way through crowds.

Edinburgh also has an abundance of food markets, distilleries, and local history museums and galleries that can fill up your to-do list with unique activities. While you’ve probably already considered visiting Edinburgh during your holiday, check out our complete guide to Auld Reekie before you visit.

Events in Scotland in March

Events in March

Scotland holds unique events year-round, from the Scottish Lowlands to the Outer Hebrides and beyond, but March has a fair few that you can take advantage of. If you’re a fan of comedy, film, and Scottish traditional music, then make sure to add one of these to your to-do list.

Glasgow International Comedy Festival (13 – 31 March, Glasgow)

Glasgow is known as the funniest city in the world. Don’t believe us? Why not attend the Glasgow International Comedy Festival in March and enjoy the hilarious comedy from local and international comedians?

See famous comedians like Frank Skinner, Susie McCabe, and Ed Gamble; we bet you’ll be in stitches.

Glasgow Film Festival (28 February – 10 March, Glasgow)

From oldies to new blockbusters, the Glasgow Film Festival presents cinema like you’ve never seen it before! This film festival has a wide range of programmes for you to enjoy, celebrating every corner of the world and with particular attention to Scottish talent.

Join over 43,000 attendants at one of Scotland’s most successful events; you’ll love it.

Braemar Mountain Festival (2 – 5 March, Braemar)

In March, many of Scotland’s mountains are still covered in snow and offer gorgeous views over the beautiful landscape. The Braemar Mountain Festival is a multi-day event that includes wildlife walks, talks, events, and ascents up a few notable Scottish mountains.

If you’re an outdoor lover coming to Scotland in early March, be sure to add this mountain festival to your to-do list.

Inverness Fiddler’s Rally (16 March, Inverness)

Do you crave the high sounds of a bagpipe, the masterful techniques of a fiddler, or just want to indulge in some traditional Scottish music? Inverness Fiddler’s Rally is an amazing event taking place during the March season that shows off Scottish fiddlers, dancers, and singers galore.

Terrifically talented players from all over Scotland, including Gary Coull, Bruce MacGregor, and Anna Massie, are set the stage alight with music in this one-day event.

While the Inverness Fiddler’s Rally is a relatively small event during Scotland’s March calendar, a fantastic opportunity to see some Scottish talent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out a few of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received about visiting Scotland in March—they may help you plan your visit!

What is the Cheapest Time to Visit Scotland?

The cheapest period to visit Scotland is between late November and early March. It avoids the peak tourist season in the summer months, and many popular attractions and activities are offered at a discount. Keep in mind to avoid the Christmas season between November and March, as prices are inflated during the holidays.

Is Edinburgh Nice in March?

While Edinburgh is generally quite cold during winter, March is the first break you can enjoy from the lower temperatures. March affords Edinburgh milder weather, but you’ll still need a sweater, jacket, and maybe even a scarf.

Is March a Good Time to Visit Scotland?

Spring and autumn are generally considered the best time to visit Scotland, with good weather and fun events from late March to May. Spring is a great time as you avoid the summer peaks, both for weather, tourists, and midges and still benefit from the lower prices during the season.

While later in spring is a more popular option for visiting Scotland, March is the most quiet and serene choice for many visitors.

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