Read our guide to visiting Scotland in the Fall

Autumn in Scotland

Published: Tue Oct 11

Have you ever wondered what you can do in the Autumn months in the Scottish Highlands? Despite the changing of seasons and the chillier climates, here at Happy Tours, we love showing and exploring Scotland all year round. Whilst Scottish tourism is often associated with Summer months, experiencing it later in the year can be just as fun. With so many fascinating places to visit and beautiful sceneries to explore, this blog is the perfect place to learn about the many sites we visit on our tours.


What does Autumn bring to Scotland?

Autumn brings glorious shades of ambers and golds, spectacular views as the sun-sets earlier and less crowds at whimsical attractions. So, how should you spend your time this Autumn in the Highlands, Happy Tours explores this very thing. We take a cosier look at the beautiful sites to see and the spooktacular mysteries behind some of the most popular attractions. Get your cosiest jumper on, you can still adventure in the cold…

When does Autumn start in Scotland?

As temperatures begin to fall and leaves start to drop, you may be wondering when does Autumn in Scotland start? The Autumn season begins at the start of September and sees us through to the very last day of November, leaving plenty of time to explore the many sites on offer. It’s worth planning ahead with your travels however, as the October festivities prove popular with those wanting to come to Scotland this Autumn.

What to see in the Highlands of Scotland this Autumn?

The Highlands and Islands offer a variety of great places to see this Autumn, including enchanting castles, glorious glens, tasty distilleries and a lot more. Whether you are coming with a family, a group of friends or even as a solo traveller, there is lots to come and see. Here at Happy Tours, we offer a variation of tours taking you all across these unmissable spots. So, you want to learn more about autumnal adventures, here’s a few great places to see…

Eilean Donan Castle

autumn in Scotland

Recognise this place? It is only one of the most recognised and visited attractions in the Highlands. Located on a peninsula in the beautiful Isle of Skye, it serves sweeping views across the three lochs surrounding, making it a must see this Autumn. The castle also plays home to the silver screen, featuring in a variety of Films and TV Shows. James Bond fans will surely recognise this site, with the castle being used as the Scottish Headquarters for MI6 in the film “The World is Not Enough”. Whilst the castle doors close at the end of October, the gift-shop and grounds remain open throughout the rest of the Autumn period, making it one not to miss.

Glen Shiel

Scotland in Fall

Better known for its vast history, the site was home to the Battle of Glen Shiel in the 18th century. Glen Shiel was the only battle in the Jacobite Risings where the Jacobites remained on the defensive. The battle site proves powerful, as it is the only site in Scotland with contemporary remains still located, allowing you to delve deeper into the Jacobites history. The glen can bring bright and vibrant hues of orange and amber, making it enchanting in the Highland’s autumn sunlight. An excellent spot to walk along and see some of Scotland’s most scenic landscapes. The circular trail is 17.2km long and can often take up to 7 hours to complete, great for lovers of hiking.

Loch Ness

autumn in scotland

If you’re looking for a bit more mystery on your trip to the Highlands this Autumn, then Loch Ness is the place to be. Hosting the tale of a monstrous creature within its shores, it gives a spooktacular adventure for the whole family to discover. Whilst it’s located in the rural countryside, it’s only a short distance from Inverness making it an easily accessible spot to come and see. The loch also offers a spectacular view of the medieval Urquhart Castle, built in the 13th and 16th centuries. It’s the perfect time to get Autumnal with Nessie! If you are searching for further information about the Loch Ness Monster, Happy Tours has two previous blog posts readily available for you to learn more, available here.

Beauly Priory

Looking for tales of the unexpected? Beauly Priory can offer you just that this Autumn. With tales of a creature wandering the grounds, it’s a great spot for ruin lovers and spooky fans alike. The site is known to be one of the founding priories in Scotland, dating back to 1230 and was home to the Monks of the Vasculin order. Much of the Priory became a quarry used for its stone during the construction of other buildings in the town of Beauly back in the 16th century. The only part that was salvaged is the north transept, which was rebuilt in 1901 and used as a family mausoleum. Being located within a woodland setting, it allows breath-taking pictures to be taken with stunning autumnal colours. So, why don’t you wander through the burial stones and tombs and see what lurks in your pictures at the end.

Visit the Highland Cows

Autumn in highlands

Not quite as monstrous as their horns will leave you to believe, these friendly animals always form a great experience of the Scottish Highlands. If you are wanting a picture with these furry friends, then there is no better time than in the Autumn months. Whilst they are known to be quite placid animals all year round, it’s best to visit them when the Summer season is over and there are not hundreds of tourists with the same idea. Highland Cows have become perfectly adapted to living in the Scottish Highlands and live better in cold, rainier climates. So, make sure to wrap up warm because these animals love the cold.

Highland Distilleries

Want to get a bit of warmth on your chest this Autumn? Then visit one of the various Distilleries the Highlands have to offer. The Glenmorangie Distillery located in Tain, was founded back in 1843 and has been working on new styles of Whisky ever since. Get your taste buds tingling with the different aromas and learn about the historic makings of two-dram whiskies. Or if you’re looking for a brand-new experience why not venture to the Glen Ord Distillery, which offers a Pairing Experience starting in October of this year. Offering a new food and whisky pairing opportunity, that will be sure to offer anyone a great time. Millions of people flock to Scotch Whisky Distilleries each year, making it the third most popular tourist attraction in the entire of Scotland.

Glenfinnan Viaduct

glenfinnan in autumn

Is there any better way to spend these cold and rainy days, than snuggling up and watching a Harry Potter movie? How about experiencing it in person with a trip to the Glenfinnan Viaduct this Autumn and see the Hogwarts Express in action. The Viaduct carries the last section of the West Highland railway line, going between Fort William and Mallaig and can offer visitors a viewpoint to watch passing trains go by. However, there’s more to this bridge than in the movies. The Glenfinnan Viaduct is the longest concrete railway bridge in Scotland and whilst it’s not the only viaduct on the railway line, it’s most definitely the biggest. Located in stunning scenery, the crisp autumn air makes this experience more than magical.

Clava Cairns

Scotland in Fall

Situated in a stunning woodland setting near Culloden, this burial site built in the Bronze Age, is well worth the visit this Autumn. With rustic colours and falling leaves surrounding this site, it proves most magical in the later months. The Clava Cairns is a well-preserved cemetery, showing passage graves, ring cairns, kerb cairns and standing stones. Following the trail to Milton of Clava, you can find the remains of a medieval chapel, the remains of another cairn and possible other standing stones. This place is naturally filled with tales of folklore, dating back hundreds of years. With the tale of the Curse of Clava Cairns being at the forefront, suggesting that the person who removes stones from the burial ground will be faced with a ghastly curse. Fans of the well-loved TV Show Outlander will be sure to recognise this spot too, as it is the place where Claire was brought when travelling back through time.

How to Prepare for Scotland in the Fall?

Now that we have piqued your interest in visiting these fascinating places, you might be wondering what to expect and how to pack for your trip to Scotland this fall? Whilst Scotland doesn’t experience snowy weather until December/January time, the cool wind and odd downpour can be expected. We suggest packing a lot of warm layers, a raincoat and your favourite umbrella. It would also help to pack some autumnal accessories such as a warm hat, a woolly scarf, and a nice pair of gloves.

Getting around the Highlands to see all of these wonderful spots couldn’t be easier with Happy Tours. We’re a local tour company that offers group, bespoke and private tours in the comfort of our 8-seater minibus – all with the help of our friendly, knowledgeable local guide to show you the way. Get in touch with our Happy Tours team to arrange one of our fun-filled tours. For more information or to book a tour, give us a call on +44(0)7828 154 683 or email us at tours@happy-tours.biz.