Scotland in September: An Autumn Aesthetic

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Get ready for a fantastic Scottish vacation in September. It is the beginning of autumn and the country’s woods and highlands are awash with golden fall foliage, giving it a fairy tale feel. Further lending to this image is ancient castles and ruins. The weather in Scotland during this time is a mix of rain and dry spells. Summer is officially over so the air can get a bit nippy, but with a good travel plan, you should be alright. Autumn is also the stag-stalking season, so plan your routes if you are going to hike the Scottish Highlands.

September is also the month when you can join the British royal family to signal the ending of the Highland Games with the season's best, Braemar Gathering. Plus, this is also the dolphin-migration season. Bid goodbye to the last dolphins off the Scottish shores as they make their way to warm waters. With decent weather, minimal footfall, and a good deal of daylight, September is a great holiday month for a trip to Scotland.

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Scotland Weather in September

Edinburgh city skyline in Scotland in September
Scotland weather in September can a bit unpredictable. Overall the country sees a mixture of cold and wet weather conditions.

Jokes and jibes aside, Scotland's weather remains an enigma. And September is not an exception. Traditionally, it is considered one of the wettest months, but the climate can be notoriously unpredictable. The month sees an average of 500 mm of rainfall spread over 20 days. The east coast is not only drier but colder than the west coast, so plan accordingly. The former also scores more sunshine hours than the west coast.

Usually, the country is overall cooler than London by 5°C during this time of year. Here, the average high during September is around 16°C, with lows dipping to about 9°C. But as they say, you can experience all the seasons in a day while in Scotland, so keep an extra layer of clothes and raingear handy. With the advent of August, daylight hours also decline generously. Expect about four and a half hours of sunshine out of 24 hours during your trip to Scotland in September.

Also, check out our article on the best time to visit Scotland for more details.

Weather in Scotland in September - Rainfall and Temperatures

Aug Sep Oct
Avg Daily (°C) 19 16 13
Avg Nightly (°C) 11 9 7
Avg Daily (°F) 67 61 56
Avg Nightly (°F) 52 49 45
Avg Rainfall (mm) 50 70 80

Why Visit Scotland in September

A tourist with umbrella enjoys the view in Scotland in September
Visiting Scotland in September means that you would have a much more peaceful time due to the fewer number of tourists.
Urquhart Castle on a Rainy Day in Scotland in September
The Scottish autumn offers a brilliant and vibrant view of the local scenery.

Traveling to Scotland in September is perfect for those who wish to avoid the biting winter months and enjoy the country’s much calmer and cooler weather after the hectic summer months. Other seasonal pros that can be enjoyed during this autumnal month are as per the below.

  • Better rates: Those looking for deals on holiday essentials like room rates and flight fares will have a happy time going on budget tours of Scotland. With tourist crowds dissipating after the high season of July and August and the winter hiatus still a few months away, businesses offer exciting deals to entice customers.
  • Lesser crowds: Europe's annual vacation is over and the leftover crowd also thins out by mid-September. So expect shorter queues and crowd-free attractions.
  • Festivals: Secure your spot in Highland Games and sink into Scotland’s Celtic heritage. September wraps up the traditional sporting season for the year, so expect some of the best for the last. The Braemar Gathering has been around since 1832 and has been attended by the reigning monarch and the royal family since 1848. Join the party with a copious number of kilts and bagpipes surrounding you. There is also plenty of whisky and dancing to keep things fun and light.
  • Leaf peeping: The best way to see nature's artwork is to walk the Scottish woods in autumn. Discover the giant Douglas fir trees of the Hermitage in Perthshire and gaze at the stunning cascades emerging from the River Braan. Amble along the tree-dotted avenue of Ballindalloch Castle or foray into the primeval woodlands of Glen Affric to soak up its haunting atmosphere. For a waterfall with a view, make way to the Falls of Dochart. And while you are at it, walk the woodlands of Loch Lomond.

Where to go and what to do

View on Portree Isle of Skye, Scotland in September
September is one of the best times to enjoy the view of the autumn aesthetic in areas like the Isle of Skye.

With agreeable weather conditions, a trip to Scotland in September offers plenty of diverse activities against the scenic backdrop of golden fall foliage. Travel to the Isle of Skye and the Inner Hebrides to experience its ethereal landscape. Savor the exceptional beauty of Cairngorms National Park with a train ride on Cairngorm Mountain Railway, spot the free-grazing Cairngorm reindeer, or hike through its serene vista for a complete Cairngorm experience.

September is also the last window to snag a rural escape to the countryside before properties close down for winter. The time is also ideal for a self-driving trip around the uber-popular North Coast 500 as more daylight hours means that you can pack in more distance.

As summer settles for fall, predicting Scotland’s September weather can get a bit dicier. But a temperate climate keeps the country warm and mild throughout most of the month. Make sure to refer to our travel guide on how many days to spend in Scotland for a few tips. Due to the country's relatively small size and good transportation network, you may effortlessly have an unforgettable experience on a five-day trip. However, for a more in-depth cultural experience, it would be ideal to opt for a week-long trip or a 10-day holiday. If you have a few more days to spare, a two-week trip would give you the luxury of having a detailed experience while at your own pace. 

If you need more help building an ideal autumnal getaway, let our local experts help you with a customized trip to Scotland in September.

Other articles:
Scotland in August
Scotland in October

Published by Lucas Toft, updated on August 30, 2022

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