SMALL ADVENTURE TIPS
WHEN TO VISIT
When to travel
Scotland can be visited all year round and every season comes with its own special appeal. Spring is arguably often mentioned as the best time to visit. While temperatures get milder and average between 6 and 15 degrees Celsius, you might still encounter snow in the mountains of the Highlands and Cairngorms. The Scottish summer runs from June to August and those months are the warmest of the year with extensive daylight hours in July and August. The further you go north, the longer the days will be.
While spring and summer are the busiest months for visitors coming to Scotland, late October and early November welcomes visitors with colorful foliage in the forests and landscapes. Some of the sites already close down by the end of October though. Snowy conditions between December and February are quite common and can make traveling a little bit difficult in certain areas, though you will be rewarded with spectacular winter sceneries and cozy evenings by the log fire.
How to travel
Scotland has five international airports, which are spread out across the regions. Edinburgh and Glasgow Intl would be the busiest airports offering the widest connections, but it is also possible to fly into Glasgow Prestwick, Aberdeen and Inverness. Apart from Prestwick, which is located around 50km from Glasgow City, the Scottish airports quickly connect to the centers. There are direct connections from a number of international destinations in North America and Europe and there are also excellent connections from London into all airports.
Traveling to or through Scotland by train can be a wonderful experience and the frequent InterCity services connect Scotland to many mainline stations across England. On most trains, the journey from London to Edinburgh is just over four hours or 5,5 hours to Glasgow.
If traveling from Ireland, there are regular ferry connections between Belfast and Stranraer
Further, there are good motorway connections from Scotland to England and Wales. Traveling to England from mainland Europe by car would take you to Hull or Newcastle by ferry from Zeebrugge or Amsterdam.
Travelling with children
Scotland is a child friendly country and easy to travel with kids. Once in Scotland, distances are never far, though the speed of traveling depends on the location as you might move much slower on a remote Highlands route than on an intercity motorway link between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Many hotels cater for kids of any age and family rooms and kids menus are widely available. Scottish pubs officially are allowing access to teenagers over 16 years only unless they hold a special license, though families and children are welcome in pubs that also serve food until a certain time.
Child-friendly attractions are spread out all across the country and kids will love the ancient castles closely connected to the turbulent and sometimes bloody Scottish history. National and nature parks often offer interpretative and interactive walks and many attractions, restaurants, hotels and transport services offer discounts for children.
What to bring
No matter when you travel, keep in mid that the Scottish weather is unpredictable and you can experience rain, wind and sunshine within one hour. So, the main thing to remember should always be a sturdy umbrella, a raincoat, hoodie and some waterproof shoes.
Even though the summer and spring months can be considerably warmer than autumn or winter, you should always come prepared with a few warm jumpers, warm socks and warm underwear for the days spend outside in the wilderness. If you are visiting Edinburgh and/or Glasgow, make sure that you also pack at least one dressier outfit to wear on your nights out. Also, a reusable water bottle, sun glasses and a proper camera are among the essentials for every season.
If you are planning on traveling in autumn or winter, it is advisable also to bring a warm hat, a pair of light gloves and a scarf. A proper warm wind and waterproof jacket will help you stay warm over the cold winter months. On the contrary, if traveling in summer, you might want to come prepared for warmer days with a swimsuit, light summer clothes, a sun hat and some sunscreen.
You will notice that you are more exposed to the elements when visiting the Highlands, Shetlands, Orkneys or Hebrides. Phone reception can be poor, so it can be useful to bring a real map for orientation and also an extra battery pack for your phone. A small waterproof backpack to fill with snacks when heading out for the day should be on your packing list as well as a pair of proper waterproof hiking boots when planning to walk and hike in the beautiful wilderness.
From October 11 2021, all EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals will need a valid passport upon entering Scotland, which needs to be valid until after the day you plan on leaving the country again. People traveling from outside the block might need a visa before entering Scotland, please check with your foreign department if you are unsure.
HOW TO TRAVEL
ENTERING AND VISA INFORMATION
TRAVELLING WITH KIDS
WHAT TO BRING