Europe & Britain | Destination Guides

10 spots to visit when travelling to Scotland in September

Travelling to Scotland in September hits a sweet spot.

While jaw-dropping landscapes, medieval castles and picturesque lochs lap up the final splashes of summer sun, Scotland is also ablaze with autumn. And travellers cannot help but notice the crunch of red leaves underfoot as they walk a clear path to Scotland’s outstanding attractions (thanks to shoulder season’s quieter crowds). And since we know you’re wondering – here’s where to go.

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Gorgeous places to see when travelling to Scotland in September

Scotland in autumn is outdoor travel’s best kept secret. Don’t believe us?

The Isle of Skye

Touch down in 1,656 square kilometres of steep hills, sleepy fishing villages and crumbling castles. This is the Isle of Skye: the largest island in Scotland’s inner Hebrides islands, otherwise known as heaven for outdoor-lovers. Explorers here can climb huge rocks (like The Old Man of Storr) and swim in the crystal-clear ‘Fairy Pools’. Elsewhere, sea eagles soar overhead as red deer and hairy coos roam the rugged earth. On the far western shore, you’ll find Nest point, where dolphin, whale and shark sightings are not uncommon. Alternatively, travellers can drink in spectacular views via boat cruise and cosy up in a local pub with a side of local Scottish music.

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Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

All Edinburgh eyes look upwards to its mighty castle, which towers over the city confidently on the site on a dormant volcano: Castle Rock. Over 900 years old and the survivor of 23 medieval sieges, you simply cannot miss this symbol of endurance when travelling to Scotland in September. See if you can locate its hidden towers and secret passageways and hear historical tales that will shock you. But most importantly: bring your camera for the panoramic views at the top.

RELATED CONTENT: The most majestic manors and castles to visit in Scotland

Loch Ness

Loch Ness, Scotland

While you may have heard of the mythical monster ‘Nessie’ that lurks beneath the waters, a visit to Loch Ness couldn’t be more calming. Feel time stand still here as you breathe the crisp autumn air into your lungs. Why not take a cruise along its pristine freshwaters on Trafalgar’s Highland Trail tour to take yourself to another world? Scotland’s largest freshwater loch (in the highlands) offers some of the world’s most spine-chilling scenery. And it’s even more special when you have it to yourself.

Stirling

Stirling is a must-see spot when travelling to Scotland in September. Especially for history buffs, who can step back in time when they visit on 11 September. This day marks the Battle of Stirling Bridge (11 September 1297) when William Wallace defeated English forces on the River forth. A decisive moment during the First War of Scottish Independence. We recommend visiting Sterling Bridge and Wallace Moment. Plus the Battle of Bannockburn site and Stirling Castle.

St Andrews’ 18th green

You can walk into the world’s ‘Home of Golf’ at St Andrews. In particular, a putt on the Old Course’s 18th green is the pinnacle for many golfers. It offers stunning views over rolling landscapes and charming Swilcan Bridge. Plus lets you tread the pristine grass that all golfing legends have touched. Believe us when we say St Andrew’s seaside charms are alive in autumn.

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Iona Abbey

Visit Iona Abbey when travelling to Scotland in September

On a tiny island to Scotland’s southwest, seemingly on the edge of the earth, sits Iona Abbey. This former abbey and nunnery is known as ‘The Cradle of Christianity’ because, after it was founded in 563AD by St Columba, it grew into strong Gaelic monastic community that helped spread Christianity through Scotland. Away from religion, the wildlife is bound to mesmerise you: otters, seals, greylag geese, redshanks, corncrakes, whales (and more) have all been spotted.

Gorgeous Glasgow

Glasgow

With over 90 parks and gardens, Glasgow is the green lung of Scotland. And so it’s no surprise that exploring here in leafy autumn is a special experience. Why not visit the fossilised trees in Victoria Park that are 330 million years old? Or admire masterpieces in the Gallery of Modern Art and Hunterian Art Gallery? Other options include visiting St Mungo’s Cathedral or roaming the vibrant streets of Scotland’s largest city by instinct.

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Pilotrchy (for the Highland Games)

The Pilotrchy Highland Games is top of the list for many people travelling to Scotland in September. First run in 1852 to ‘promote the cultural history of Scotland’, people compete at traditional sports like the caper throw, sheaf toss and tug-of-war. This is both a huge athletic competition and celebration of Gaelic cultures on the first Saturday of September annually. And yes, you can expect dancing and bagpipes.

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle

Sitting on a pocket-sized island at the meeting spot of three sea lochs, 13th century Eilean Donan Castle looks like something from a fantasy movie. Engulfed by breath-taking scenery, it’s become one of Scotland’s most iconic images; and looking at it, it’s no wonder travellers’ heart rates halve here. When you’re ready, we recommend walking 1km to the village of Dornie for a local whisky

RELATED CONTENT: 9 fascinating facts you never knew about Scottish whisky?

Cairngorms National Park

visit Cairngorms National Park when travelling to Scotland in September

Cairngorms National Park is even more special when dappled in early autumn sun. At a colossal 4,528 square kilometres, it’s the largest national park in the United Kingdom and holds four of its five highest mountains (including Ben Macdui at 1,309m tall). But there’s more: gorgeous lochs, rivers and woodlands extend further than the eye can see. Castles crumble. Ski resorts welcome visitors. And rare wildlife like Scottish wildcats roam the park. Nature and yourself blend into one here; so much so that locals use the Gaelic word ‘Dúthchas’ to capture this feeling. For those travelling to Scotland in September – you’re in luck. A shoulder season crowd is the perfect setting.

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What excites you most about travelling to Scotland in September? Tell us in the comments below!

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