Hi I’m Laura and I blog over at a girl & her home, where I share my travel adventures, food posts and most importantly recipes inspired by my travels! I was so excited when Amy started hosting this series as it’s been great seeing bloggers all over the world share their adventures. I’m glad I can be a part of it and wanted to share some photos of my home country – Scotland.
Now there’s a joke in Scotland that we get four seasons in a day. I say it’s a joke but it’s quite often true; we can experience rain, snow, wind and sun all within the same day, sometimes the same hour! However when the seasons are right, Scotland is an incredible place year round and I have included my top picks for each season.
Generally the most calm season here, spring time is when we often get the nicest weather and the days are starting to get longer. It can however still be quite cold and of course rainy and it has been known to snow as far south as Edinburgh in April before.
Spring is the perfect time to visit the beautiful gardens on offer throughout the country. Three of my favourites are in Edinburgh. Dr Neil’s Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens and Lauriston Gardens.
Dr Neil’s garden is a beautiful garden, known in Edinburgh (only by the few that know it) as the secret garden. Situated on Duddingston loch (a Scottish lake), this garden is beautiful in the spring as the flowers come to full bloom. You’ll often be lucky enough to have this garden to yourself so take a picnic and enjoy gazing out to the loch on one of the many benched.
Royal Highland Show
June is a huge month for foodie festivals in Scotland. My favourite of these is the Royal Highland Show which takes place every year just outside Edinburgh. It’s more of a farming festival so it has a truly Scottish feel with animals to look at as well as delicious food stalls.
West Highland Way
The West Highland Way is a famous walk starting in Milngavie just north of Glasgow, and finishing 100 miles later in Fort William. Walking through beautiful scenery it is the best way to experience Scotland and this has been on my list ever since I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Late spring is the best time to do this walk as you will hopefully get dry weather (although do see my note above, it has been known to snow in April) but before the midges (tiny biting inspects) start in the summer. If you don’t fancy the whole 100 miles, you can stop and start from the various locations.
Definitely the busiest time to visit Scotland and probably the most expensive. However the days are long, with the sun rising about 4am and setting about 10pm on the longest day of the year. Prepare to carry an umbrella for those summer showers, are you seeing the pattern here yet?
Edinburgh Fringe festival
The Edinburgh Fringe festival is a huge comedy and arts festival. Taking over Edinburgh in the month of August you can catch some street performers, a comedy show or sample food from the stalls set up in the city. While it’s the most expensive time to visit Edinburgh it’s definitely worth it for the buzz in the city. Every day finishes with the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a show of military bands and performers which finishes with a fantastic firework display (my favourite part).
All up the west coast of Scotland the islands have the most glorious beaches. For a trip close to the mainland try Bute, an island about an hour and a half away from the city centre of Glasgow. Get the ferry from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay and drive to the west side of the island for lots of amazing beaches such as Scalpsie Bay – even I have a hard time believing that is in Scotland.
Bring a picnic and enjoy the (hopefully) nice weather.
Villages of Scotland
Summer is by far my favourite time to visit some of the pretty villages and seaside ports in the Scottish lowlands. My top picks are Pitlochry, Anstruther (be sure to get a portion of fish and chips from the famous cafe) and Crinnan with its beautiful canal.
If you do stop in Pitlochry, make sure you visit Edradour, the country’s smallest whisky distillery for a tour and whisky tasting!
I would struggle to choose a favourite season between spring and autumn. While the spring flowers are beautiful the gorgeous autumnal colours of woodlands are hard to beat! Although the weather is often miserable! Forget the umbrella, it’s too windy! But catch it on a clear, brisk day and it’s beautiful.
Benmore botanic gardens
These gardens, run by the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh, are beautiful all year round but especially stunning in the autumn when the trees turn beautiful shades of red, amber and yellow.
Drive up Loch Eck and the argyle forest to experience the beauty of Scotland in the autumn.
Note: the gardens are closed November – February but you can still enter free of charge, there just isn’t as much to see.
Enchanted forest and Loch Faskally
Every October, the forests in Pitlochry transform into an enchanted show of lights and sounds. Tickets go on sale in June and fill up quickly, with multiple shows throughout October you should easily be able to grab tickets. I have to admit I’ve still never been myself but I have heard great things from those that have made it along. Before heading to the show, check out Loch Faskally in Pitlochry for some more stunning autumnal scenes.
Falls of Shin
Over the months of April to September it is Scottish salmon season. Towards the end of the season, the salmon swim up river to reach the top to breed. Head to the waterfall at the Falls of Shin and you may be lucky enough to see salmon leaping up. It becomes a bit exciting as you start to cheer them on. Note: the visitor centre has closed due to a fire but the waterfalls are still accessible.
As expected weather conditions in winter go down a little, snow isn’t guaranteed, especially in the southern areas but often that means damp and wet winters instead of pretty snowy scenes with blue skies. The days are remarkably shorter with the sun rising at 9am and setting about 4pm. The low sun does make for beautiful photographs however with the so-called golden hour turning into the golden day.
Skiing in the Cairngorms
A huge national park in the north of Scotland, the Cairngorms is a fantastic place to head to for some skiing. It does get very busy so make sure you book a ticket up the slopes. If you are not a fan of skiing, head to Aviemore and visit the Rothiemurchus estate. There’s plenty to do from seeing reindeer, to sledging and just enjoying a coffee in a cosy little cafe.
I love loch Morlich, which if the weather is cold enough is often frozen over and looks simply beautiful.
Edinburgh Christmas market
If you are in Edinburgh over Christmas, the Christmas markets are definitely worth a visit. Sample lots of delicious treats such as mulled wine, haggis rolls and mini pancakes covered in chocolate sauce. There is also an outdoor ice skating rink set up every year. You can also pick up lots of Christmas gifts for friends. Stay and see in the new year at the famous Hogmanay (Scottish for last day of the year) celebrations. Whether you want to join in the famous street party or watch the fireworks from one of the many view points (check out Calton Hill or Blackford Hill), the city has a real buzz at this time of the year.
The Glencoe valley is a must for any time of the year but it looks especially beautiful in the winter with the snow-capped peaks.
Drive down to the King’s Hotel or down Glen Etive and you may be lucky to spot some majestic stags by the side of the road as they come down from the snow-covered mountains to find food.
Note: if you are fortunate enough to see some deer please remember these are wild animals, please also take great care driving in the dark. Glencoe is famous for walking but during the harsh conditions in winter it is only recommended for experienced walkers.
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