Summer in Scotland: Everything You Need to Know

Summer in Scotland

Warm weather, long daylight hours, great outdoors, and more await when you visit summer in Scotland. The Scottish summer brings a wealth of tourists to the country and is by far the most popular time to visit for a summer holiday—and it’s easy to see why!

Summer in Scotland is a paradise for travellers, with plenty of opportunities to see attractions, attend festivals, and try some proper Scottish cuisine.

If you’re planning to visit Scotland during its summer season and want to know a little more about the weather, how to pack, and what to look forward to, then you’re in luck. We’ve written everything you need to know about the best summer holidays in Scotland.

When Does Summer Start in Scotland?

Summer officially begins on the 1st of June during the calendar year. But when summer starts in Scotland does shift if you look at it astronomically and when it really feels like summer in Scotland.

Astronomical summer starts from the 20th to the 21st of June and ends on the 20th to the 22nd of September. Astronomical summer begins when the summer equinox happens, which usually occurs around the 21st of June.

For the locals, though, summer starts by the end of May and ends within the first weeks of September. Outdoor activities are abundant, and the weather already feels much more bearable than spring.

Summer Weather in Scotland

Summer Weather in Scotland

The weather in Scotland during the summer months is sublime. On average, daily temperatures hover around 15 – 17℃ (56 – 63℉) but can trend towards hotter days during July and August. Weather in Scotland can be quite temperamental, so expect occasional showers and high winds along with clear and spectacular sunny days.

Scotland, in the summer, also treats you to extensive daylight hours, with an average of 16 hours of daylight and long twilight hours over the season. This leaves plenty of opportunities to enjoy the breathtaking views and attractions that the country holds.

Dressing for Summer Months in Scotland

The pleasant weather and summer sun may leave you thinking of bringing your airiest pair of shorts and a t-shirt to Scotland for your holiday, but that should be part of your wardrobe when dressing for Scotland’s summer months. Here are some essentials that every visitor should bring:

A Pair of Sunglasses

Sunglasses are essential for any visit to Scotland during summer, but especially so if you’re planning on undertaking any hikes. A pair of sunglasses can avert the glare as you climb, making each step you take more confident.

Sun Hat & Swimwear

Fend off the summer sun with a fashionable sun hat or cap! Scottish beaches in the summer are beautiful, especially along the West Coast of Scotland and the Islands within the Hebrides. Most, if not all, beaches will require you to wear swimwear, so if you’re planning to swim, bring your favourite trunks.

Jacket and Windbreaker

The Scottish summer can be a little fussy, transforming from a clear and sunny day to a windy experience on a whim. While you may not need to a majority of the time, bringing something to stay warm and dry is well worth it.

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.

Scotland in Summer — Month by Month

The Scottish summer varies month to month, not only with the weather but also the events and attractions available to you during your visit. Let’s break them down month by month.



June in Scotland is a beautiful time when the sun never seems to set, and the earth rejoices with colourful flowers and clear blue skies. For nature lovers, June is the best time to watch for red squirrels and seals without being overwhelmed by summer crowds. The summer solstice at the end of June means you’ll receive the most daylight hours in the year.

We’ve written an entire guide to making the most of Scotland in June – check it out!



Come July, summer is in full force! Scotland in July is like summer with all the best parts amplified—the weather is outstanding, animals of land, air, and sea are abundant, and cultural events are in full force. There’s something to do for anyone, from solo travellers to family breaks and romantic getaways.

If you’re interested in reading more about Scotland in July, ensure you check out our full guide.



In August, Scotland holds the most number of events, festivals, and things to do compared to the rest of the summer months. From the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to the Hebridean Celtic Connections Festival, no matter if you’re visiting the far-flung Highlands or southern cities, there’s something for you to do.

Read our complete guide for navigating Scotland in August.

Summer Events & Things to Do in Scotland

Scotland’s summer itinerary is filled with fantastic things to do for any and all types of visitors to Scotland. No matter if you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or want to indulge in Scottish cuisine and a dram of whisky, Scotland is ready for you. We’ve outlined the most popular summer events and things to do while visiting the country, but this is only the tip of the iceberg!

Enjoy Scotland’s Outdoor Activities

Scotland's Outdoor Activities

Scotland is home to plenty of amazing outdoor activities that use the beautiful Scottish landscape to its advantage. Here are some of the most popular choices for adrenaline junkies and outdoor enthusiasts to undertake.

Cycle Through Scotland’s Cycling Routes

Cycle Routes

Cycling is a popular way to go sightseeing in Scotland. From touring through Edinburgh between museums on a bike or riding through Loch Lomond and the Cairngorms, pumping those calves is great exercise and a way to traverse.

There are several cycling routes to try, including the Hebridean Way Cycling Route, Ayrshire Coast Cycle Way, and Lochleven Heritage Trail. If you want to kick it up a notch, then why not try Scotland’s mountain biking options, too?!

Have a Summer Paddle Boarding Adventure


Paddleboarding through Scotland’s lochs and coasts is an extremely popular pastime in the summer. With a board and a paddle, you can easily spot Scotland’s diverse local wildlife, including puffins, seals, swans, and so much more, as you travel. If you’re daring enough, you can even book to hire a paddle board across the infamous Loch Ness.

Go Hiking up a Munro or Two


In Scotland, the mountains are called munros. Well, at least the ones that are over 900 metres (3,000 feet) tall. Scaling the peaks of a Munro or two is a challenge that many people attempt during the Scottish summer season, where the long days allow for a relaxed descent without being caught in the dark.

Ben Nevis, Ben Macdui, and Ben Lomond are a few that you can attempt to conquer while exploring the Scottish Highlands, but there are plenty to scale no matter where you are in this beautiful country—a country that you can see all the better from atop the peaks of a Munro.

Attend Scotland’s Summer Festivals

Summer Festivals

The summer sunshine attracts local and international talents from all over the globe to Scotland, where skills and talents are put on full display at one of the many summer festivals. If you’ve ever wanted to indulge in Scottish culture and traditions with some global flair added in, then attending one of these festivals is just the ticket:

Edinburgh Fringe Festival (4 – 28 August)

You’ll soon understand why Edinburgh is sometimes called the world’s festival city. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a yearly celebration that takes place on Edinburgh’s streets. Comedians, actors, and musicians all gather among street performers to give Edinburgh the show of their lives

Hebridean Celtic Festival (17 – 20 July)

Edinburgh isn’t the only place where you can enjoy music festivals. The Hebridean Celtic Festival (or HebCelt) is a chance for international and local musicians to strut their stuff and entertain you within the far-flung town of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

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.

Cowal Highland Gathering (29 – 31st August)

Keen for some traditional Scottish fun? Join tens of thousands of people to celebrate some uniquely Scottish games at the Cowal Gathering. Their motto, “All of Scotland in One Weekend,” couldn’t be truer. Watch amazing traditional Scottish events like Highland Games, Dancing, and Pipe Bands while basking in some truly excellent Scottish weather.

Explore the Cairngorms National Park

The Cairngorms National Park is an amazing part of Scotland that no visitor should miss, no matter the season. That being said, the Cairngorms in summer are an absolute delight and feature so many activities and adventures we wouldn’t be able to list them all.

From outdoor sports, hiking, animal centres, museums, and a great collection of distilleries to try, you can spend your entire summer holiday in this national park, and you won’t have any regrets. We’ve written an entire page detailing the things to do here, so please do check out it.

Lounge at Scotland’s Coastal Beaches

Scotland's Coastal Beaches

A beautiful seaside town, loose white sands, the soft lapping of waves, the occasional cry of a seagull… Scottish summers are a chance to lounge out and rest easy on the sandy beaches that dot Scotland’s coastline. The West Coast is the most popular choice for beach-goers, with the Ayrshire coast and Inner and Outer Hebrides offering the hot spots.

If you’re not into the idea of activities and museums, then luxurious coastal beaches are the best summer holiday Scotland can offer you.

Pay a Visit to These Scotland Summer Hotspots

Scottish Summer Hotspots

Tourists flock to certain parts of Scotland come summertime. Be it the amount of events going on, the natural beauty of the landscape during the seasons, or a lively culture, here are some unmissable places you should visit in Scotland while summer beams down.

Isle of Skye

The stunning Isle of Skye offers plenty for visitors to see, including rugged natural landscapes, fauna and flora galore, and even a few distilleries to sample some Highland whisky. If you’re an animal lover, keep an eye out for the golden eagles and orcas that call the Isle and its waters their home.


As we’ve mentioned, Edinburgh holds an impressive amount of festivals and events throughout the summer. Explore the arts and sounds of some of Scotland’s finest with regular day trips to and from ‘Auld Reekie’.


Glasgow is a fantastic city to visit during summer in Scotland. The bustling city is renowned for its lively atmosphere, unique things to do, and fine dining. Why not go on a date, try an escape room, or savour a dram of whisky from some of the top distilleries in the city?

Fort William

Fort William is regularly called the outdoor capital of Scotland—making it a necessary visit during the height of the summer season when Scotland’s weather is at its finest. Fort William is close to Ben Navis, a major hiking destination for intrepid outdoor enthusiasts.

There are cycling routes, golfing opportunities, and boat trips, too!

Loch Lomond

The lakeside Loch Lomond is a summer paradise for visitors coming to Scotland. The high temperatures are contrasted with beautiful turquoise waters and plenty of options for water skiing, boat tours, and swimming in one of the most popular Scottish lochs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a few burning questions about visiting Scotland during its summer months? We’ve added some of the most frequently asked questions about having the best summer holiday in Scotland and answered them here for you today.

Which Month is the Hottest in Scotland?

July and August are the hottest months in Scotland, with July 2022 breaking the peak temperature on record at 34.8℃ (96.4℉). Typically though, July and August offer a more moderate average temperature of between 15 – 17℃ (56 – 63℉).

Slathering on sunscreen and bringing an umbrella to fend off the sunshine is a necessary part of the Scotland summer holidays, so always come prepared.

What are the best places to visit in Scotland in Summer?

Scotland in Summer leaves you with plenty of choices for things to and places to visit. If you want to hit the highlights of the best places to go in Summer, then check these out:

  • Edinburgh. Scotland’s capital has a lot going on during summer, from major attractions like Edinburgh Castle and events like the Fringe Festival.
  • Glenfinnan Viaduct. The iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct will be instantly recognisable to Harry Potter fans as the train tracks where the Hogwarts Express took the characters to the titular magical castle (which can also be found in Scotland).
  • Isle of Skye. The Outer Hebridean Isle of Skye is a haven during the warmer months of the day. The rugged island is home to plenty of incredible fauna and flora and is one stop that any island-hopping adventurer should take the time to enjoy.

These are only the tip of the iceberg, and Scotland is ripe for exploration from the balmy Lowlands to the windy Highlands.

The best month to visit Scotland in Summer?

The best month for visiting Scotland in summer is July and August. While June heralds the summer season, July and August offer more events, things to do, and attractions than Scotland in June.

You can also make the most of the long summer days, balmy Scottish weather, and the things to do when visiting Scotland in July and August.

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