Best time to travel
When is the Best Time to Travel to Scotland?
As the old Scottish saying goes, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes!” Even though Scotland doesn’t boast year-round sunshine and tropical temperatures, that doesn’t mean that the weather gets in the way of having your best vacation yet!
• Spring (March to May) Spring is a wonderful time for visiting Scotland, as the snow melts and the Salmon starts swimming upstream. Temperatures are warmer with highs averaging in the mid-50s, longer days and lush scenery. Although spring is not as crowded as summer, it’s important to note that tourists will start flooding in and the high season will be starting, which means prices will start increasing.
• Fall (September through October) This season is considered one of the best time to visit Scotland. The weather is mild, with highs in the mid-60s, mixed with some rain (especially on the Islands). Everything tends to be less expensive, as the high season has ended. The whole of Scotland is beautifully decorated with its autumn colors during this time. As the high season has ended most Scots tend to come out again, so you will find more local patrons in bars and clubs.
• Summer (June through August) Scotland is gorgeous during this time of year. Summer time is the best time to visit Scotland, although just about everything will be a little more expensive. Most tourists visit Scotland during the summer months when the days are long with average temperatures in the low 70s. You will still get caught in the rain, especially on the Islands, but it will be a refreshing break from the heat. However, be aware of the midges – tiny insects invisible to the naked eye, almost like mosquitoes, the only thing that repels them is bug spray.
• Winter (November through February) Winter is not the ideal time to visit Scotland, as the weather can become quite cold, humid, and uncomfortable with highs in the high 30s. However, during this off-season, prices tend to be the best and there are far less crowds. Scotland also boasts stunning ski resorts and if you visit during the Christmas season you’ll be sure to have a white Christmas. If you hate crowds, this is the perfect season to visit Scotland.
How to Prepare
Things to Think About Before Visiting Scotland
1. Electrical Converter
The electrical current in Scotland, as in the rest of Great Britain, is 220–240 volts (in line with the rest of Europe), 50 cycles alternating current (AC); wall outlets take three-pin plugs, and shaver sockets take two round, oversize prongs. Most laptops and mobile-phone chargers are dual voltage (i.e., they operate equally well on 110 and 220 volts), so require only an adapter. These days the same is true of small appliances such as hair dryers. Don’t use 110-volt outlets marked “for shavers only” for high-wattage appliances such as hair dryers.
2. Must See and Do List
Because Scotland has so many things that you must see and/or visit, it is a good idea to make a prioritized list before you leave. Research your desired destinations as they may be farther apart than you think and may need additional resources in terms of transportation.
3. Be Prepared for Inclement Weather
Scotland’s weather is generally moderate but it’s best to be prepared for any weather. Scotland can experience cold showers, winds, snow but also hot, humid days dependent on the season. Be sure to pack for your season and bring some bug spray if you’re traveling in the summer.
1. Scotland’s currency is the Great British Pound (sterling), which is used throughout Britain. It’s easy to obtain Great British pounds while in Scotland. You can change money in most Post Office branches. Often in Post Offices, you’ll get good exchange rates for foreign currency and currently there are no rates of commission. The majority of cash points are free to use but some, often machines found in pubs or newsagents, may charge a small fee for withdrawals. If your debit or credit card provider operates out with the UK, there may also be charges for using cash machines to withdraw money. All Scottish bank notes, though different from English notes, are normally accepted in the rest of Britain. Northern Irish bank notes are also accepted in Scotland. Most large shops, stores, hotels and restaurants will accept the majority of credit and debit cards including MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners. However, you must remember your PIN number when using your credit card in Scotland and throughout the UK. It is also advisable to carry some cash in case of difficulty as many smaller accommodation, pubs, tearooms and small shops may not accept any form of credit or debit card.
2. The Scottish Explorer Ticket, available from any staffed Historic Scotland (HS) property and from many tourist information centers, allows visits to HS properties for 3 days in a 5-day period (£29) or 7 days in a 14-day period (£38). The Discover Scotland pass is available for 3 days (£25), 7 days (£30), or 14 days (£35) and allows access to all National Trust for Scotland properties. It’s available to overseas visitors only and can be purchased online and by phone, or at properties and some of the main tourist information centers.
3. Discover the history of whiskey! As Scotland’s national drink, it has been produced here for centuries. There’s so many ways to discover more about it, whether it be going behind the scenes on a distillery visit, trying single malts at special whisky festivals, sampling a fine dram at an expert-led whisky tasting session or enjoy one by the fire at renowned whisky bars.
4. Most cities, towns, and villages have public restrooms, indicated by signposts to the “WC,” “toilets,” or “public conveniences.” They vary in cleanliness. You’ll often have to pay a small amount (usually 30p) to enter; a request for payment usually indicates a high standard of cleanliness. Gas stations, called petrol stations, usually have restrooms (to which the above comments also apply). In towns and cities, department stores, hotels, restaurants, and pubs are usually your best bets for reasonable standards of hygiene.