While the most famous time to visit Scotland is the summer months, there are a number of things to do in Scotland in winter. It’s just that one must travel to Scotland in winter with a bit of preparation and planning. Be assured that a visit to the country at this time of the year will certainly reward you with less crowded and quieter attractions as well as spectacular wintery landscapes in the Scottish Highlands. In this post, we are going to help you prepare for your winter Scotland tour. So, let’s get started!
Things to do in Scotland During Winter
There are plenty of festivals through the winter months in Scotland.
For instance, In Scotland in January, Burns Night is celebrated. This festival celebrates the life of the most famous poet in Scotland, Robert, or “Rabbie” Burns, and is held on the birthday of the poet every year i.e. 25th January.
The festivities differ, but the most common celebration is an evening meal, featuring readings of poetry, traditional Scottish food, and traditional Scottish dancing. A number of different locations across Scotland hold different events at this time, from formal dining at locations such as Prestonfield House through to festivals such as the Dumfries Big Burns Supper.
Other festivals such as the celebrations of Scotland’s Patron Saint, St. Andrew, on the 30th November and the Up Helly Aa Viking festival in the Shetland Islands at the end of January.
Scotland boasts 6 outdoor ski resorts, which are found in the more mountainous regions of the country. These include one in the gorgeous Glencoe valley and three resorts in the Cairngorms National Park.
There are also plenty of other artificial ski slopes in the UK, but if you are looking for real snow, then the 6 ski resorts in Scotland are the only place to come for ski slopes with real snow.
Though the mountains in Scotland are not as high as those you might discover in the Swiss Alps or the Colorado Rockies, there is, however, definitely good skiing or snowboarding to be had, with all the resorts offering everything that you might expect, including well-groomed slopes and ski lifts.
Usually, the ski resorts in Scotland remain open from around December through to April, but this will greatly depend on the weather conditions and snowfall. February is usually the month with the most reliable snow cover.
A Whiskey Tasting Tour
Could anything be more Scottish than sipping a whiskey while the winter weather howls at the door? Even if, say, you are not a huge fan of whiskey, undertaking a whiskey tasting tour is highly suggested during any visit to Scotland. During your visit to one of the distilleries, learn all about the way that whiskey is prepared, the different varieties and flavor profiles of whiskey in Scotland, what makes Scotch whiskey so special, and of course, you’ll get to sample some of the good stuff.
There is a wide range of whiskey tours that you can undertake in Scotland, which range from day trips to even multi-day experiences.
If skiing or snowboarding isn’t your cup of tea, there are numerous more opportunities for winter fun in Scotland.
For instance, you can go dog sledding in the Cairngorms National Park with the Cairngorm Sleddog Centre, go sledding at a variety of different locations, and even go for snowshoeing.
There are a wide variety of options for wintery activities across Scotland, from winter mountaineering to ice climbing. Another option for you could be to just go for a nice walk and enjoy the snowy landscapes. Whatever feels good to you!
The Northern Lights Hunt
Do you know that it is actually possible to see the Northern Lights from Scotland? Of course, you have to be quite lucky for this as there needs to be a strong enough solar storm so as to make the lights visible this far south, and the skies need to be clear.
If these two factors somehow happen to come together, you may be rewarded with a magnificent display. Though your chances of witnessing Northern Lights are much higher if you go further north.
Moreover, as the population density is much lower in the northern parts of Scotland, there is far less light pollution. There is very little artificial light along the north coast of Scotland and in the highland regions which means the views of the night skies are pretty spectacular.
Even if you don’t get to witness the Northern Lights if you are lucky enough to have a clear night you will certainly be rewarded with beautiful views of the stars.