Scotland in October: Our Complete Guide

Scotland in October

Dressed in reds, yellows, and oranges, Scotland in October offers breathtaking scenery and popular attractions for visitors. Visiting will provide fantastic opportunities for travellers to embrace their autumn colours and enjoy many experiences like seeing the Northern Lights. While summer is one of the most busy times to visit Scotland, October is an underrated season that offers way more things to do than you might think.

From fire dancers, spooky Halloween decorations, and cosy cottages, Scotland in October is a haven that many travelling to this country will love. Whether you’re a solo traveller, bringing along friends and family, or on a romantic getaway, October has plenty of attractions. We’ll be covering them all in this complete guide.

So, if you’re interested in visiting Scotland during its October season could offer you then you’re in luck! Let’s jump right into it!

Weather in Scotland in October

Weather in October

Scotland’s autumn season presents a cool, crisp climate with mild weather. Visitors to Scotland during October can expect a daily average temperature of about 10℃ (43℉), but this can range from 5℃ (9-10℉) in either direction.

As the month continues, it becomes evident that the winter months are slowly on the horizon—daylight hours are shorter (especially with daylight savings), and there may even be a few frost-covered roads. But with enough packing preparation for most of the month, the weather is outstanding for attraction hunting and sightseeing.

How to Pack for October Weather in Scotland

October’s temperamental weather can make packing for your vacation a little tricky. But there are some essentials that you should always bring for your trip to October.

A Warm Hoodie

Autumn can be cold enough to where bringing a warm hoodie is necessary. Hoodies are a solid fashion choice and a great all-rounder that can offer warmth and protection from Scotland’s cold. Luckily, by the time October rolls around, the dreaded midges of the summer are nowhere to be seen.

Waterproof Jacket

During October, travellers may encounter a rain shower or two. To prepare for the worst, bring a waterproof jacket along with you to fend off a sudden shower or two. If you plan on hiking up Scotland’s many Munros, a jacket will help against the wind in autumn.

A Long Sleeved Shirt

A long-sleeved shirt will serve you well during the wild October weather and can be a fashionable piece to wear when taking photos with some of Scotland’s finest attractions. A buttoned shirt with long sleeves will also pair excellently with a nice jacket and jeans if you want to explore Scottish nightlife after a day of sightseeing.

Things to do in Scotland in October

Now that you have an idea of the weather and how to pack for October in Scotland, let’s cover some of the top attractions and things to do in Scotland—from the Lowlands to the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

See the Northern Lights

See the Northern Lights

That’s right! If you’re patient enough, you can see the famed Aurora Borealis in October. Scotland sits on a latitude where seeing the Northern Lights is possible, but you’ll have to travel north for the best chances. The Scottish Highlands and the Scottish Isles (including Shetland and Orkney Isles) offer the best opportunities, but it’s recommended that you set aside a couple of days to see them.

During October, the daylight hours begin to shorten from the 16 hours that can be expected during summer. This makes it easy to go stargazing in Scotland in October, but be sure to bring your own pair of binoculars if you’re planning to seek out the stars. For the best chance to see the Northern Lights and enjoy the night sky, ensure you travel to one of Scotland’s many Dark Sky Parks.

Dark Sky Paths are designated regions of the country with little to no light pollution.

Indulge in a Cosy Night in a Castle

Cosy Night in a Castle

Autumn inspires many visitors to sit indoors with a roaring fire and admire the gorgeous views out to the Scottish countryside. And as the days slowly get shorter and shorter over the autumn season, indulging in a stay with your friends, family, or that special someone in your life becomes all the more tempting. Best of all, you can stay overnight at a real Scottish Castle if you want to!

Some Scotland tours offer a night in a castle as part of their package, with outstanding views of Scotland’s nature.

Go for a Walk with Autumn Colours

Walk in Autumn Colours

No matter where you visit Scotland in October, you can enjoy the country in all its autumn glory. One of the most peaceful ways to wind down a day in October is to go on a walk. The amount of options for great walking spots in Scotland is great, from the autumn colours of Royal Deeside, Big Tree Country in Perthshire with its abundance of beech trees, or even a trip to the infamous Loch Ness near Inverness.

The fall colours of Scotland are one of the top attractions to see during October, especially for animal lovers who are looking to spot red squirrels, swans, and seals. For your best chances of seeing Scotland’s wildlife, check out the West Coast near the Hebrides and further north.

Try Scotland’s Finest Cuisine

Finest Cuisine

October is one of Scotland’s harvest seasons and offers delicious local food that is at its freshest. From root vegetables, seafood, meats, and more, there are plenty of options for Scottish cuisine no matter your dietary preferences. You’re going to need something to sustain you as you check out the attractions within Scotland. What is better than great food?

Giving a quick run-down: grouse, deer, and pheasant are readily available during October and absolutely delicious. The end of October also marks the changeover from hunting Roe Deer Stags and Bucks to Roe Deer Does, which complement the Scottish palette well. To pair with your venison, why not enjoy some parsnips, potatoes, carrots, and turnips along with it?

Scotland in October offers some proper vegetables to enjoy throughout the month—we haven’t even spoken about the pumpkin you can savour during the Halloween season.

Lastly, for visitors who prefer seafood, Scotland in October offers many delicious seafood options, including lobsters, oysters, and clams. For the freshest and most delicious ocean cuisine you’ve ever eaten, ensure that you visit the Scottish coastline.

See Scotland’s National Parks

Scotland National Parks

To take full advantage of the October weather in Scotland, visiting one of the stunning national parks in Scotland should be on your to-do list. The Cairngorms National Park and the Trossachs National Park offer some of the best exploration opportunities to see, draped in the shoulder season’s seasonal colours and mild temperatures.

Compared to the high season, Scotland’s natural parks are a lot calmer and quieter, with little to no queues for their significant attractions. If you’re looking to climb a Munro, go skiing down a snow-capped mountain, or enjoy the country’s natural wildlife, then October is the best time to do so.

Eastern Scotland, particularly the Fife region, is gorgeous during October and offers stunning sunsets to boot. If you haven’t already, make sure to add them to your list.

Events in October in Scotland

Events in October

There’s a lot to do for travellers visiting Scotland in October, but those who have visited Scotland before know that the amount of festivals and events that happen can be overwhelming to plan for. We’ve outlined the top events in October you can enjoy in Scotland.

Scottish International Storytelling Festival, Edinburgh

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival takes place between 13 and 29 October and delves into the magical culture and stories that surround Scotland and Celtic history. From books, oral history, and bombastic shows, visitors to Edinburgh during this time will thoroughly enjoy their visit to the Scottish International Festival.

Wigtown Book Festival, Wigtown

Between 22 September and 1 October, the Wigtown Book Festival is the best place to enjoy discovering your new favourite book or novel. The Wigtown Book Festival takes place in the quaint town of Wigtown and presents a wide range of genres and works. Prominent authors and illustrators who have attended include Steven Verrapen, Andri Snaer Magnason, and Peter Ross.

Callander Jazz & Blues Festival, Callander

Embrace the soothing tones of jazz and blues at the Callander Jazz and Blues Festival in the quiet town of Callander, Scotland. Between the 3rd and 6th of October, this festival has firmly placed itself as one of the top UK jazz and blue festivals for you to enjoy. Over the course of four days, you can enjoy 65 gigs at 11 venues performed by over a hundred musicians.

The Enchanted Forest, Pitlochry

Explore the Enchanted Forest between 5 October and 5 November in the autumn paradise in Pitlochry. If you want to enjoy the full autumn cosy atmosphere, then be sure to check out this festive event. The Enchanted Forest is an ideal attraction for families to explore with their children, and there are plenty of attractions throughout the route.

Just be careful of bad weather, so be sure to pack an extra jacket and sweater along with you.

The Royal National Mod, Paisley

Embrace the true Scottish experience at the Royal National Mod, a Scottish cultural festival that normally takes place between the 14 – 22 October. Here, Scottish traditions are on full show from Scottish dancing, music, storytelling, and history—with appropriately dressed Scottish men and women, kilts and all!

Paisley Halloween Festival, Paisley

Enjoy a proper Scottish Halloween at the Paisley Halloween Festival, which takes place between the 26th and 28th of October. While this Paisley festival may not be as spooky as Halloween lovers expect, it’s a fantastic event for families and friends to attend and features excellent artisan stalls and good food near the largest city in Scotland.

Samhuinn Fire Festival, Edinburgh

Halloween, the macabre and carnival holiday that’s popular worldwide, originally started as a pagan holiday that originated from the ancient Celtic Samhuinn Festival. The Samhuinn Fire Festival is traditionally held on 1 November, marking the last of the harvest festival and some spooky adventures. If you’re a lover of trick or treating, jack lanterns, or embracing Scottish customs, then you’ll love this ancient festival.

The Samhuinn Fire Festival takes place in Edinburgh, usually along with a fiery display atop Calton Hill.

Frequently Asked Questions about Scotland in October

There are some questions that we receive quite often about visiting Scotland in October. If you’ve had a few burning questions while reading our guide, then make sure to read our answer to these frequently asked questions.

Is October a Good Time to Visit Scotland?

October is one of the best times to visit Scotland, no matter what you’re coming for. Fall and Spring are the top options for tourists who want to avoid the busy summer season and enjoy the plentiful attractions that Scotland has to offer.

October is also one of the cosiest seasons you can enjoy, and it’s not only because autumn colours surround you. During October, going on a lovely autumnal walk and then spending the night in a Scottish castle with views out to the Scottish Highlands is entirely possible! You can also go on a self-drive adventure through the Cairngorms National Park, go on a boat trip to see the October wildlife, and even see the Northern Lights.

October offers the attractions of summer and the winter sights without the cold, making a shoulder season well worth visiting.

Does it Snow in October in Scotland?

Within major cities and towns like Glasgow and Edinburgh, you’ll need help finding snow during October. Even in the smaller towns and more rural parts of Scotland, October rarely brings more than a frosty morning or two. Only the Scottish Highland’s mountaintops are covered in snow during October, allowing some of Scotland’s snow resorts to open.

If you want to see snow, your best chances are to visit the most northern parts of Scotland later in the year (around December to January).

Is October a Rainy Month in Scotland?

October is a transitional month, heralding the shift from summer to autumn. It makes the month quite a temperamental one in terms of weather. In most cases, October has 13 – 28 rainy days, with an average of 103 mm of rain throughout the month. Compared to the rest of the year, October can be rainy, so ensure you pack appropriately.

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