From the fires of the Beltane festival to the beauty of the Trossachs National Park, these are the best things to do Scotland in spring!
Scotland is one of those places that’s shockingly beautiful no matter the season (yes, we even love it in the rain!)
With historic castles, gorgeous sweeping landscapes, and some of the best local produce around, Scotland is definitely somewhere that should be on your Great British bucket list.
I’ve been saying it for years, but I think that Scotland in spring is a great time to visit. You’ve missed the worst of the wintry weather, but don’t have to contend with the hordes of tourists that come with the summer Fringe Festival. It’s the best of both worlds!
From taking stunning day trips out to the Isle of Staffa to tasting your way around Speyside’s best whisky distilleries to bagging a few Munros in the Cairngorms, I find that some of the best places to visit in Scotland come into their own during the springtime.
So, what kinds of amazing excursions and things to do can you expect to find in Scotland in spring? Let’s dive in and find out more, so you can be super prepared for your trip to this wonderful country.
Hopefully this blog post will inspire you to travel somewhere a little different in Scotland this spring. And as ever, if you have any questions you can let us know in the comments below!
Scotland spring weather
Firstly, we recommend reading our guide on when’s the best time to visit Scotland. This will give you more details on the weather and what to pack.
There’s no doubt that although Scotland does get warmer in the spring, but it’s hardly reaching tropical temperatures. Throughout the months of March, April, and May average temperatures are anywhere between 7°C (45°F) to 13°C (55°F).
So, with this in mind, packing layers and a decent coat are a must. The further north you get, the colder it’s likely to be. Also, if you’re on the islands, expect the wind to bring a bit more of a chill. I still bring all my winter woolies for springtime in Scotland – that usually means an extra thick coat too.
In terms of rain, it’s not too bad, but there are definite April showers, so making sure you have an umbrella and a waterproof to hand is always a good idea.
Best things to do in Scotland in spring
Check out the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh
When I think of springtime, I always think about flowers coming into bloom and things coming alive. One of the best places in Scotland to see this is the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.
Founded back in the 1600s, this Edinburgh institution has been studying and sharing rare and native flowers with the masses for centuries. The best bit? The vast majority of the Royal Botanical Garden is free to enter! This really is an amazing place to spend an afternoon when the sun’s out.
Hang out in The Meadows
Whenever I’m in Edinburgh, I tend to wander around the side streets before heading to the university area of the city. Why? Well, in springtime, the patch of greenery near the uni known as The Meadows is full of cherry blossom trees in full bloom.
You’ll see a lot of people hanging out, playing football with friends, studying outdoors, or just chilling out in the spring sunshine. It’s an awesome place to while away the hours in the capital, or bring your lunch and have a picnic.
Wander the Cairngorms
The Cairngorms National Park is a place that’s full of wonder and an absolute essential for anyone who loves hiking. Filled with mountains and lochs, you can spend days exploring the different trails that snake around the national park.
Whether you’re looking to bag Munros (any mountain over 3,000 ft) or explore the wonderful scenery, take photos of Scotland’s springtime beauty, or just spend some time outside of the cities, it’s a perfect tonic.
Get your fill of culture at the V&A Dundee
It’s no secret that there are tons of amazing museums and galleries all across Scotland, and the sometimes unpredictable weather in spring means that having an indoor contingency plan is a good idea.
The V&A museum in Dundee is an awesome option that’s dedicated to design. You can tell right from the start thanks to the stunning architecture of the building itself!
There are a few permanent exhibits and a whole host of rotating ones, so check what’s on before you travel.
Turn up the heat at Beltane Festival
Scottish people are massively proud of their history and culture, and nowhere else is this more apparent than at the Beltane Festival in Edinburgh. Held on the 1st of May, Beltane is a festival that welcomes the spring.
This is done through dance, song, displays, and a whole lot of fire. You can buy tickets for this amazing festival that only starts when the sun goes down. Bring a flask with you and plenty of layers as it can go on for a very long time. Again, wrapping up warm is key for this one!
Hike the landscape on the Isle of Skye
As the largest island in the Inner Hebrides group, the Isle of Skye gets a lot of traffic, especially in the summer, which makes springtime the perfect time to visit.
The island’s iconic rugged landscape and gorgeous fishing villages make it a great place to hike and explore. Not only do you get to enjoy mountain and countryside views, but you’ll also get panoramic views over the water.
Honestly, this really is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Scotland, so just drink in the views – they don’t get much better than this!
See the spring colours at the Trossachs National Park
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is a fantastic place to visit during spring in Scotland. There are low levels of crowds, and the vibrant purple and blue wildflowers come alive and coat the landscape.
This vivid and popular landscape is great for hikers, runners, and cyclists, with gorgeous vistas all around you. It’s also home to the largest lakes in the UK, so it’s popular with boaters, kayakers, paddleboarders, and more. The water is very cold all year round so you’ve been warned before you start swimming!
Sip whisky aplenty during World Whisky Month
One of Scotland’s biggest exports is Scottish whisky, and May marks World Whisky Month. Spend the end of springtime travelling around the various distilleries, sipping on the smoothest whisky, and learning all about this amazing spirit.
If you want to experience many types of whiskies in one place, I’d recommend going to the Spirit of Speyside, the famous whisky region’s five-day festival that celebrates everything to do with the spirit and awards prizes to the best of the best.
Experience the start of the Highland Games
The chances are if you’ve seen any TV show or film that depicts stereotypical Scottish traditions, then you’ve seen elements of the famous Highland Games. These historic tournaments start in May and go all the way until October.
Witness champion athletes go for glory tossing cabers, lifting stones, wrestling, and more. Away from the sports, you can enjoy Scottish dancing performances, bagpipes, singing, and more!
Discover puffins on Staffa Island
To me, springtime isn’t just about the wild flowers blooming, it’s also all the different wildlife you start seeing.
Staffa, an island just off Oban on the West Coast, is a popular day trip due to its unique rock formations and the gaggle of puffins that come here every single year.
From April until about July, you can get up close and personal with these adorable creatures that sit on top of the cliffs at Staffa. Be wary during breeding season though – things can get tense!
Uncover history at the Calanais Stones on Lewis
Fans of the TV show Outlander will love visiting the Calanais Stones (or Callanish if you’re English) on the Isle of Lewis. These ancient standing stones were the inspiration for the stones that take the main character back in time.
Back in reality, the Calanais Stones go back to the Neolithic age and were used in the Bronze Age to focus ritual energy. It’s a hugely culturally significant and spiritual place, and I’d definitely recommend putting it on your Scotland spring itinerary.
Get inspired at the Edinburgh International Science Festival
Held across two full weeks in April every year, the Edinburgh International Science Festival brings together the finest scientific minds in the world and makes science fun and accessible to the public.
Featuring interactive exhibitions around a central theme, interesting talks and panels, and even a family hub to get your little ones engaged in STEM, it’s an awesome festival that’s well worth checking out if you’re in the area.
Explore the NC500
The northern coast of Scotland is full of natural beauty, amazing hikes, a gorgeous coastline, and bustling restaurants. As it’s fairly remote, it’s a part of the country that doesn’t get a ton of attention. That was until someone came up with the NC500.
The NC500 is a route that traces the northern coast of Scotland – 516 miles long – that can be explored by car over the course of a week, by bike, or on foot over multiple weeks. May is a great time to do the NC500 as the guest houses are back open but the summer crowds haven’t quite hit yet.
So, there you have it, the best places to visit in Scotland in the spring. Have you been to any of these places or events? Which ones sound like the most fun to you? Let me know in the comments below.
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