Scotland in November: Our Complete Guide

Scotland in November

Scotland in November offers you the last chance to enjoy the beautiful autumn colours of the country before properly transitioning to the cold, snowy conditions of winter. And while tourists tend to avoid visiting Scotland during November, the month holds many hidden gems that you can’t experience at any other time of year.

If you’ve ever wanted to celebrate St Andrew’s Day, tour a Scottish castle without busy crowds, enjoy discounts and cheaper accommodation prices, or prefer to see Scotland in colder weather, then visiting Scotland in November is for you!

We’ve outlined a complete guide to enjoying November in Scotland, from how to pack, what to see, and where to go. Let’s dive right into it!

Weather in Scotland in November

Weather in November

Since November marks the transition from autumn to winter, you can expect cooler temperatures. Average daytime temperatures during November hover between 2-8℃ (36 – 46℉) throughout the month. The beginning of November tends to be warmer than the end of the month, and you may be able to enjoy the last of autumn’s stunning reds, yellows, and oranges on your visit.

The same is true for Scotland’s daylight hours. As the month rolls on, you’ll find less and less of the day is yours – making planning your day essential. If you visit during the beginning of November, you can expect around 9 hours of daylight, while a trip towards the end leaves you with 7 or so hours to play with.

North and eastern Scotland are especially susceptible to cold and unruly weather during November, so ensure you’re packed and ready to tackle wind and rain alike.

What to Wear in Scotland in November?

Wearing layers during your November break in Scotland is critical, so make sure to bundle up before heading out. Here are some essential travel tips and clothes that anyone visiting Scotland during November should bring with them.

Warm Scarves and Gloves

People regularly underestimate how cold their face, neck, and hands get when exploring Scotland on the brink of its winter months. Bringing a fashionable scarf, gloves, and hat won’t only elevate any pictures you take during your day but keep you nice and warm in colder November temperatures.

A Jumper or Fleece

Layering your clothes with a lightweight jumper, waterproof jacket, or fleece is vital to keeping your body warm during an outing into the Scottish Highlands. Fleece is recommended since it’s lighter, warm, and highly comfortable.

If you want to avoid packing warm clothes, there are plenty of places to pick up a local piece to complement your wardrobe, too!

A Pair of Thick Boots

You can’t explore the beautiful country landscapes of Scotland in November without a thick pair of boots. No matter if you’re planning to climb one of Scotland’s highest peaks, trudge through the mud to see autumn wildlife, or walk through puddles that pool on city streets, wearing the appropriate footwear will give you so many headaches.

Things to Do in Scotland in November

Your tickets are booked, your bags are packed, and now it’s time to plan your itinerary in Scotland. November offers several unique and fascinating attractions that many of you can’t experience at any other time of the year. Here are some of our favourite November pastimes that you should consider adding to your to-do list if you want November trip ideas.

Celebrate St Andrew’s Day

Celebrate St Andrews Day

Taking place on the final day of November, St Andrews Day celebrates the Patron Saint of Scotland in 1320. The day showcases Scottish culture to the fullest, and you too can enjoy the festivities by eating some proper Scottish meals, some raucous ceilidh dancing, and drams until the sun rises the following day.

For the traditional experience on this national day, Cullen skink is served as the starter, then haggis, neeps, and tatties for the mains. Wash it all down with a fine single malt Scotch, and you’ll be singing renditions of ‘Caledonia’ like a Scottish local.

Enjoy a Log Cabin Holiday with Your Partner

Log Cabin

As November’s weather becomes colder and colder, there’s nothing better than to cosy up in a log cabin with a loved one. Fight back against the bad weather and book one of Scotland’s premium log cabins for your holiday, preferably overlooking a serene loch.

Many of the glamping holiday destinations feature all the amenities you could ask for, from wi-fi, hot tubs, and indoor heating, so you can enjoy winding down after one of your day trips.

Visit One of Scotland’s Whisky Distilleries

Scottish Whisky Distilleries

Scotch whisky is an essential part of Scotland tours, with several distilleries dotted throughout the Scottish countryside. From delicious single malts to smooth blends, you can savour the essence of Scotland while learning about the intricate process of informative distillery tours. Take advantage of an opportunity to warm yourself up with a dram or two during your next visit to Scotland in November.

If you’re looking for specific regions of Scotland to enjoy whisky, then Scotland’s west coast is filled with storied distilleries. The Isle of Arran, Isle of Mull, and the Outer Hebrides are renowned for their whisky and are worth visiting even during the off-peak season.

Enjoy Edinburgh’s Winter Attractions

Winter Attractions

As Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh is an ideal place to visit year-round. November, especially, provides the opportunity to see excellent comedians and singers, visit the city’s museums and galleries, or take part in seasonal street events and festivals.

Other major attractions within Edinburgh that you can visit are Edinburgh Castle, the quirky shops of Victoria Street, or the fireworks show on Calton Hill.

Best of all, these attractions are a couple of minutes away from each other via public transport and see fewer crowds than their peaks in the summer months. Enjoy Edinburgh’s splendid attractions all to yourself on your Scotland tour in November.

Skii Down Snowy Mountains

Skii Down Snowy Mountains

While many of Scotland’s ski resorts don’t open until late into December, there are still plenty of opportunities to ski down the Scottish Highlands if the weather is in your favour. In some years, it’s possible to ski during November if the snow is thick enough, while in others, you’ll only be able to from the December period.

If you’re planning for a winter sports holiday, then November may not be the best time to visit Scotland, but there’s always a chance that the Scotland November weather graces your trip with an early snow shower.

See the Cairngorms National Park

Cairngorms National Park

November offers a unique time to see the Cairngorms National Park. At the beginning of the month, the leaves are dressed in their autumnal best, with reds, yellows, and oranges, offering stunning opportunities to go for a forest walk and see wildlife like red squirrels and deer. As the month progresses, the trees shake off their leaves, and a layer of snow settles, creating a winter wonderland like any other.

The expansive Cairngorms and the Trossachs are a haven to be discovered, with extraordinary destinations like Loch Lomond, Royal Deeside, and Ben Macdui ideal to group as part of a winter road trip.

Witness the Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Did you know that in November, you can see the Northern Lights in Scotland? If you travel to the northern Highlands or Isles of Scotland, November offers the opportunity to witness the unfiltered night sky. Seeing the Northern Lights, called the ‘Mirrie Dancers’ in Scotland, requires quite a bit of patience, so it’s recommended that you book for a couple of evenings to increase your chances.

Throughout Scotland, there are regions known as Dark Sky Reserves—which are areas that have minimal light pollution. If you want to see the Milky Way Galaxy, constellations, and planets like you never had before, then make sure to check out places like the Galloway Dark Sky Reserve.

Events in Scotland in November

Scotland November Events

While Scotlands attractions will always be there for you to visit during your November break, there are events throughout the month that you can’t miss and may need to plan your trip to include. While it’s not necessary to attend all of these, pick your favourites and check them out on your holiday.

Oban Winter Festival (18 – 27 November, Oban)

The Oban Winter Festival is an award-winning event spanning 10 days on the Scottish calendar. It’s one of the earliest winter festivals in Scotland and is packed to the brim with great food and drink, singing, dancing, and things to do.

Every day has a different event, so don’t be surprised if you’re taking pictures with reindeer one day and laughing at a comedy show the next. There are music workshops for children, whisky tasting, ice skating, ceilidh dancing, and even a Victorian Market to pick up some souvenirs.

You don’t need to wait until December to enjoy the atmosphere of Scotland’s Christmas markets when you can enjoy the live music and craft fairs at the Oban Winter Festival.

Glasgow Whisky Festival (11 November, Glasgow)

If you need even more of a reason to enjoy Scotland’s delicious whiskies, then you’ll be glad to know that the Glasgow Whisky Festival takes place in November! This one-day event shows the wealth of local distilleries in the Glasgow region, from distilleries in the heart of the city to far-off rural areas you may not have known about.

We recommend taking the festival at your own pace and ensuring you try as many whiskies as you can before the city starts to spin around you. This event requires tickets to enter, so be sure to grab them before they sell out!

Dundee Mountain Film Festival (23 – 25 November, Dundee)

The Dundee Mountain Film Festival is a local film festival held in the serene town of Dundee, featuring local filmmakers who want to put a spotlight on the incredible natural landscape around them. Geography is the main theme of the festival, with numerous exhibitions, speakers, and films covering the rich and nuanced aspects of our world.

Step away from the busy cities, sit back, and enjoy the magic of Scotland in November.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a few more questions about coming to Scotland in November? Don’t worry – we’ve outlined some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received.

Is Scotland Too Cold in November?

Since November is the last autumn month, it’s intuitive to think that it may be too cold for an eventful visit. Depending on when you visit in November can affect how cold or warm it is—the beginning of the month offers the chance to catch the last autumn colours, while the second half sets the stage for frost and snow in the Highlands.

Is Edinburgh Worth Visiting in November?

No time is a bad time to visit Edinburgh. While Edinburgh’s weather may be cold and windy, the city has plenty to offer visitors. From unique festivities like fireworks on Calton Hill, Edinburgh Short Film Festival, and Castle of Light to the abundance of historic sites and museums, Edinburgh offers attractions for weeks on end.

What Happens in Scotland in November?

Seasonally, Scotland’s autumn leaves are still clinging onto their branches at the start of November and let you see a final glimpse of the autumnal beauty before changing into winter arrives. Many of Scotland’s famed attractions, like Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, and Kelvingrove Art Gallery, are open throughout the winter period and often at a cheaper price and lower fees.

Scotland, in November, also holds several events and festivals in locations like Fort William, Dundee, and Glasgow. No matter where you go, you’ll be able to enjoy plenty on your travels.

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