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Why Travel to Scotland in the Off Season?

By Russell Murray, Business Development Manager
More by Russell

5 Reasons to Travel to Scotland in the Off Season

With the summer season approaching fast here in Scotland, it may seem premature to be looking ahead to autumn and the festive season. But actually, now is the time to start planning your clients end of year getaways. Planning now secures those much sought after hotel properties with the “wow” experiences to match. There are countless benefits in travelling to Scotland during the off season, but here are our main reasons to visit off-peak and to start those client conversations now.


1. Avoid the Crowds

2. First Choice in Luxury Accommodation

3. Best Pick When it Comes to Guides

4. Celebrate Scotland’s Biggest Festival

5. Explore the Highlands at Their Most Glorious Time of Year

1. Avoid the Crowds

Old Man of Storr Skye

A visit to Scotland in the off season avoids the crowds and offers a real sense of exclusivity and authenticity across many of the country’s icons and attractions. The streets of Edinburgh return to normal after the August festival boom. Similarly, venturing north to the Highlands & Islands, there are fewer other travellers to share your views with. There is more availability on attractions like the “Harry Potter Steam Train”, and seats on the west coast ferries.

Additionally, Scotland’s air, rail and road networks also ease up meaning smoother connections across the country, less waiting times and no “camper van convoys” on rural backroads (although the sheep crossings are year round!).

Important to mention, those infamous Scottish midges active in summer? They’ll have have died down in the off-peak seasons meaning you can enjoy the view without bug spray!

2. First Choice in Luxury Accommodation

Holidaying in the Scottish Highlands conjures up many magical images, and surely one of those is enjoying a dram around an open fire from the comfort of your hotel after a day in the great outdoors. Travelling in the off season means that many of Scotland’s top castle and country house hideaways have more availability. Your clients will get more value for their money while staying in the accommodations and rooms of their choosing.

Some of our favourites for an autumn or winter escape include:

  • Borthwick Castle – Borthwick castle is the picture of a medieval castle and keep stronghold. It is the perfect traditional castle experience just south of Edinburgh. 

  • Kinloch Lodge – Find solitude and comfort at this luxurious sporting lodge in Sutherland. The house comprises of 7 bedrooms and guests have access to a private hospitality team and chef

  • Dun Aluinn – A 5 star exclusive use house nestled in the Perthshire Hills. Dun Aluinn is the perfect setting for a Highland adventure, with extensive private grounds and easy access to beautiful countryside.

  • Glen App Castle – Glen App Castle is an award winning castle hotel located in Ayrshire. Guests can explore 36 acres of private gardens and woodland, as well as dine in the 3 AA Rosette restaurant which serves modern British cuisine

  • Killiehuntly Farmhouse – Winner of the world’s best awards in 2017, this charming 19th century farmhouse in the Cairngorms National Park offers quiet countryside, snug fireplaces and farm-to-fork dining. It is also available for private hire.

  • Glenfeshie Lodge – A beautiful Highland house set in the stunning and wild estate of Glenfeshie. This handsome lodge dates back to around 1800 and is available for private use.

3. Best Pick When it Comes to Guides

Guided walking

End-to-end fully-guided bespoke adventure holidays are our focus. Without a doubt, the cornerstone of these experiences is our amazing team of professional guides. We frequently hear from clients that the difference between their holiday being good and their holiday being phenomenal was their guide!

Travelling in the off season means that your clients have access to our most experienced and long-standing guides. These guides are ordinarily in high demand during the summer months. Are your clients wildlife aficionados, eager photographers, outdoor enthusiasts or history buffs? We’re sure to find the perfect guide to match their preferences and interests!

4. Celebrate Scotland’s Biggest Festival

Edinburgh Hogmanay

Credit: VisitScotland / Kenny Lam 

New Year or Hogmanay as its known locally, is arguably the UK’s biggest festival – and when it comes to celebrating, the Scots certainly know how. Indeed Edinburgh’s New Year Festival is world-famous and offers the perfect start or end to a family vacation in Scotland. Clients can look forward to everything from internationally acclaimed live music and Scottish Ceilidh dancing to exotic street markets and a firework display fit for royalty at Edinburgh Castle!

5.  Explore the Highlands at Their Most Glorious Time of Year

Autumn in Scotland
You might think that the best weather for the Highlands would be in summer, but there’s something to be said about exploring the Highlands in autumn. Exploding and erupting in a rainbow of colour, the wild Scottish landscapes become a veritable canvas of oranges, yellows and reds – brilliant for amateur photographers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Though the days are shorter, the weather is generally more stable and reliable. As the seasons change, the Highlands are blanketed in snow, transforming into a fairytale-like winter wonderland. As spring rolls around, travellers will witness the golden daffodils and other new life emerging from soft snow banks.

Meet the Author: Russell Murray

Born and raised in the Scottish Highlands I have always been passionate about all things outdoors actively pursuing white water kayaking, skiing and mountain biking in my spare time.

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