When to Go

Scotland’s weather can be a bit temperamental -- wet, windy and short on warmth, even at the height of summer. Daily forecasts are considered educated guesses at best and can vary wildly from one meteorologist to another.No matter the season, Scotland's visitors should come prepared with an extra sweater, rain gear and a sturdy, pair of waterproof walking shoes. A sense of humor and an adaptable daily itinerary couldn’t hurt, either.

Cruises of Scotland and the British Isles are offered from April to September. Springs here are mild and often sunny, but bring a few long-sleeved shirts even for a May getaway, since temperatures can drop to the 40s and 50s each night. Summer is Scotland’s most temperamental season, bringing an unpredictable mixture of sunshine and showers, but it also makes for some awe-inspiring greenery in the Highlands. Autumn holidays also mean colorful scenery, so travel at the tail end of the cruising season to see the region’s brightest foliage.

Another factor to consider in timing your trip is Scotland’s overflowing festival schedule. August sailings can coincide with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Highland games also are hosted in several cities across the country -- the Cowal Highland Gathering, which claims to be the largest event of its kind, and the Braemar Gathering, sometimes attended by the monarch, take place each August and September, respectively. Glasgow also hosts its fair share of celebrations, from April’s citywide art fair to October’s family-friendly Inspiration Festival.

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