Scotland in September: Our Complete Guide

Scotland in September

Scotland in September is one of the best times to visit Scotland – there’s no doubt about it. As the first of the autumn months, September is filled with celebration and activity as the seasons change. You can enjoy visiting many of Scotland’s famed attractions and several unique events while enjoying the last summer weather. Take advantage of one of the most idyllic periods on the Scottish calendar and create a holiday you’ll never forget!

From attending the Braemar Gathering to enjoying seasonal produce with a loved one, Scotland in September has a little something for everyone to appreciate. If you plan on visiting Scotland during this pivotal month, don’t worry — we’ve outlined everything you need to know to make your trip amazing.

Read our complete guide for travel tips, attractions to see, events to attend, and so much more!

Weather in Scotland in September

Weather in September

You’ll be happy to know that although September is the first month of autumn, the summer sun still shines down for quite a while. For many, September offers the best of Scotland weather — gorgeous sunny days with a light breeze that keeps it from getting too warm.

Daytime average temperatures hover between 11 – 16℃ (51 – 60℉), although this can depend on where you’ll be visiting in Scotland. The Scottish Highlands and Islands tend to be colder than places like Glasgow.

In addition to pleasant temperatures, you can enjoy ample daylight hours during September, with days growing shorter the later in the month you arrive. Expect around 11 and a half hours to 14 hours of sunlight each day.

While weather conditions in September tend to be milder, it is one of the rainy months on the Scottish calendar, with around 70mm of rain throughout the month. Ensure that you bring along an umbrella with you, as well as a pack of essential items.

What to Pack for a Trip to Scotland in September

Here are the essentials you need to pack for your trip to Scotland.

A Waterproof Jacket

If you’re coming to Scotland in September, you should pack for rain. The month sees around 70 millimetres of rain, so if you want to avoid catching a cold, then it’s best to pack a waterproof jacket along with your other essentials.

Hoodie and Long Pants

Although you can expect reasonably warm weather for most of September, bringing a trusted pair of long pants and your favourite hoodie is never a bad shout. You’ll be able to withstand any ill-tempered weather, even if it springs up on you with a warning.

Sunscreen and Swimming Shorts

We’ve set an expectation that September will be rainy and cold with our previous recommendations, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! Especially in the early days of September, a beach trip along Scotland’s picturesque west coast is a beautiful time. Come prepared with sunscreen and something to swim in, and you won’t be fighting a sunburn while visiting Scotland’s unique attractions.

Things to Do in Scotland in September

September presents one of the best times to visit Scotland, not only because of the superb weather that spills over from summer but also the numerous activities and things to do. From food festivals to Highland games, make sure to add the following to your to-do list when you next visit Scotland.

Visit the Cairngorms National Park

Cairngorms National Park

If you’re looking for wildlife and picturesque scenery, there’s no better place to visit than the outstanding Cairngorms National Park. This national park comprises over 4,000 square kilometres of the natural world, including Scottish mountains, valleys, and expansive lochs. During September, the Cairngorms are alive with activities for you to partake in.

Returning and first-time visitors alike will love the opportunities to hike up the Cairngorms’ towering mountains, savouring the beautiful views from the summits. If you’re not a hiking fan, you can opt for horse riding, water sports, cycling, or visiting the park’s plentiful wildlife centres. There’s something for everyone, so feel free to explore at your own pace and enjoy the fresh air.

Taste Scotland’s Delicious Cuisine

Delicious Scottish Cuisine

Autumn is known as larder season in Scotland, where local farmers enjoy bountiful harvests for pumpkins, kale, parsnips, turnips, and more. Pair these hearty veggies with delicious game, especially during the hunting season when venison is as fresh as it can be—sounds like a heavenly mains dish, doesn’t it? Wrap it up with a wee dram or some fresh fruit from the summer harvest, and you’ll want to return again.

September is only the beginning of delicious autumn Scottish cuisine, so be sure to visit Scotland if you’re a big foodie.

Try Deer Hunting

Deer Hunting

September sits right in the middle of many hunting seasons in Scotland, making it a great time to try this historic pastime. Roe Buck, Red Deer Stags, Grouse, Woodcock, and Duck are open season during September, offering plenty of variety of games to try your hand at. You may need a private guide in order to understand hunting customs in Scotland, which can differ from Northern Europe.

While hunting isn’t for everyone, visiting Scotland to enjoy deer hunting on a trip or break isn’t uncommon.

See Scottish Castles and Picturesque Lochs

Scottish Castles and Lochs

Ever wanted to enjoy the breadth and width of Scotland’s historic attractions without being overwhelmed by crowds? September is the first month after Scotland’s busy high season, so you’ll notice fewer people visiting Scotland’s castles and natural sights with schools starting again and tourists leaving home.

Scotland tours are readily available throughout September, including an option for public or private tours to major attractions like Edinburgh Castle, National Galleries Scotland, Linlithgow Palace, and the Calanais Standing Stones.

If you want to step outside and see Scotland’s wildlife, famous locations like Loch Ness, the Isle of Skye, Orkney Isles, and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park are yours to explore. There are so many places to see during September in Scotland, but hopefully, this has stoked your imagination.

Stop by Scotland’s Largest City

Scotland's Largest City

Edinburgh is a hub of activity, fantastic festivals, and lively locals—a recipe for a wonderful time in Scotland. When asked, “What to do in Scotland in September?” stopping by ‘Auld Reekie’ is always among the top options. And it’s really not a surprise why the bustling city is home to beautiful attractions, a thriving food and drink culture, and festivals aplenty – all a short distance away from each other.

Set your sights on sites like Edinburgh Castle, which houses Scotland’s Crown Jewels, visit the many whisky distilleries dotted around the city, or go shopping around Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Enjoy a fantastic time in Edinburgh on your next visit to Scotland in September.

Play a Round of Golf

Round of Golf

Scotland was where golf originally started, amongst the flat links of the Scottish landscape in the Kingdom of Fife. Today, the country has hundreds of world-class golf courses designed by legends like James Braid and Old Tom Morris. For a truly unforgettable golfing experience, visiting St Andrews during September should be your top priority.

St Andrews, named after Scotland’s patron saint, is a centre point for golf competitions and features gorgeous links courses that go back hundreds of years.

Events in Scotland in September

In addition to stellar attractions, Scotland’s September calendar offers several unmissable events that are exclusive to autumn’s first month. Here are a few favourites that many will consider the highlight of their trip.

The Braemar Gathering (7th September, Braemar)

Braemar Gathering

While the summer months feature many Highland Games, none are as prestigious as the Braemar Gathering. The Braemar Gathering spans multiple generations as a celebration of Scottish culture, running in its current form since 1892. Events you can look forward to are tug-of-war, Highland dancing, piping, and several heavyweight competitions, including tossing the caber.

If you ever need more of a reason to attend the Braemar Gathering, this Highland game has royal connections. The British Royal Family regularly attend the Braemar Gathering, elevating the spectacle of the games.

Spirit of Speyside Distilled: Food and Drink Festival (6th – 7th September, Speyside)

Spirit of Speyside

Scotland’s Speyside region is well known for its food and drink culture, featuring excellent whisky distilleries like Ben Nevis Distillery. In fact, Speyside is home to more than half of Scotland’s whisky distilleries, and they’re all represented at the Spirit of Speyside Distilled Food and Drink Festival. The event takes place in Elgin Hall, with local experts and distillers bringing their finest whiskies for you to taste.

In addition to excellent whisky, Distilled offers a scrumptious food festival for you to enjoy that includes many fine traditional foods.

Largs Viking Festival (31st August – 8th September, Largs)

Largs Viking

Scotland’s Norse culture is an often underappreciated part that visitors rarely get to see. After all, much of Scotland’s Norse history takes place in the far-flung Outer Hebrides and beyond. The Largs Viking Festival commemorates the final battle between Scotland and the Vikings at the Battle of Largs.

If you’re interested in experiencing this historic moment through the magic of dance, live music, food and drink, then the Largs Viking Festival is for you!

Stranraer Oyster Festival (13th – 15th September, Stranaer)

Stranraer Oyster Festival

From celebrity chefs, delicious oysters, live music, and a thriving artisanal artist, the Stranraer Oyster Festival has a fantastic atmosphere that can’t be beaten. You can enjoy trying oysters in several different ways, cheer on the oyster shucking competition, and laugh along as celebrity chefs drop jokes as they cook. From early mornings to late afternoons, the Stranraer Oyster Festival is a must for any oyster lover – even if it takes a road trip to reach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Planning to come to Scotland in September but still have a few questions or queries about your visit? Take a look at our frequently asked questions, and you may find the answer!

Is September a Good Time to Visit Scotland?

Absolutely! September is a fantastic time to visit Scotland. The weather during September is sublime, with the last of the summer heat bleeding into the first few weeks of September. The month also has fewer midges than the summer peak, which are annoying insects that bite relentlessly.

Destinations like Fort William, Glasgow, Portree, and Inverness also offer cheaper accommodations and attractions as Scotland transitions into its shoulder season.

Is Scotland Rainy in September?

Yes, Scotland tends to be a rainy month. It sees around 70 millimetres of rain throughout the month, making carrying an umbrella and waterproof jacket essential. Luckily, you can dry up near the roaring log fires when you stay overnight at one of Scotland’s castles.

What is the Best Month to Visit Scotland?

There are many months when visiting Scotland could be considered the best, but generally, the shoulder seasons, May and September, are often celebrated as the best time to visit Scotland. They offer excellent weather without the busy summer crowds and frequently have lower prices too.

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