Thinking of joining the rest of the world and visiting Scotland this year? There are literally hundreds of reasons why you should visit Scotland this year #ScotlandIsNow but why not beat the summer crowds and enjoy Scotland at it’s best in late spring before the midgies and the tourists arrive? Here’s 10 reasons why we think May is the best month to visit Scotland!
1. Woodland Walks
Scotland’s wonderful rhododendrons and pretty bluebells are in
full display this month. Whether you fancy touring between the many open gardens or just enjoy them in passing, the west coast in particular, is a riot of colour in May.
Scotland is full of bird song in the month of May as the warmer weather welcomes back the returning flocks of birds.
Whether you choose to seek out Puffins on the aptly named Isle of May or Ospreys at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre who are returning from Africa to their Scottish nests, the variety of birds around at this time of year is incredible. Visit Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve near Dunkeld to get closer to Ospreys and enjoy spotting red squirrels, woodpeckers and other woodland birds from the viewing window.
With World Whisky Day on the 18th May, this is definitely the month to enjoy a whisky festival whether it be The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival; the Stirling Whisky Festival or The Highland Whisky Festival along the NC500.
Or for some music and malt, head to the beautiful Inner Hebridean Island of Islay….just make sure you book your ferry soon…it’s popular!
Why not enjoy the mountain snow melt and head for Perthshire for some river kayaking along the River Tay, Scotland’s longest river originating in western Scotland on the slopes of Ben Lui and flowing easterly across the Highlands, through Loch Tay then continuing southeasterly through Perth and across to the east at the Firth of Tay , south of Dundee. Or if beaches and seal spotting are more your thing then head to Arisaig or Applecross for some sea kayaking in the crystal clear waters of the west coast.
The longer days and the warmth in the sun make May the perfect month for hill walking in Scotland. It’s not too hot and not too cold but you still might enjoy a sprinkling of snow at the top of some of the higher peaks. Take a look at recommended best Scottish hill walks for your campervan tour https://fourseasonscampers.com/top-10-hill-walks-tour-around-scotland/
Legendary Scottish bank Travis sang “Why does it always rain on me….” however, May is one of the driest months in Scotland and the slightly colder drier weather means that the midgies generally dont appear until the end of the month or into June. The months of July and August may be high summer and when you would expect the weather to be at its best but if you’re planning a holiday in Scotland I would highly recommend visiting in May when the countryside is a blaze of colour and the rising spring sun creates the most magical sunsets.
7. Long Weekends
With two bank holidays in May there is almost a carnival atmosphere in Scotland as everyone leaves the cities and get out into the wilds to enjoy the fresh air and the peace of the hills, lochs and glens. Unlike July and August though, roads and attractions are still relatively quiet .
As well as the numerous whisky festivals mentioned already, Scotland also hosts a number of other food and drink festivals. Why not head to Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival as part of your tour or enjoy the delights of Balquidder for some music, theatre, dance and food at Balquhidder in Perthshire. If you fancy something more energetic in the great outdoors then the Arran Mountain Festival might fit the bill for you to discover the island in the safe hands of experience local tour leaders. With names to inspire like Ceum na Caillich and Caisteal Abhail, Arran’s mountains are amongst Scotland’s most amazing landscapes.
Continuing on the festival theme, May is a great month to visit Scotland for a spot of culture before the main event of the Edinburgh Festival arrives. Head north to the pretty fishing port of Ullapool.
The gateway to the majestic landscapes of the north west highlands, the Ullapool book festival is the perfect place to inspire. For something closer to home the Glasgow Contemporary Art Fair is held in May.
10. Scottish Sea life
And for a finally to the best month to visit Scotland, let’s talk about the sealife! From minke whales, to bottlenose dolphins, to orcas, otters and seals, the lochs, inlets, islands and firths of Scotland’s seas are vast. Astonishingly, a quarter of the world’s whale and dolphin species can be spotted in Scotland with the Moray Firth home to the world’s largest bottlenose dolphins. So why not tie in a boat trip into your tour and go in search of some minke whales who can be seen from the end of May to September or head to the east coast for some dolphin spotting.