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Spirit yourself away this Autumn

The beloved landscapes of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands are beautiful all year round, but they are arguably at their finest when autumn ignites an explosion of colour in our woodlands and glens and brings stunning sunsets and stellar night skies.

This is a quieter time of year. A time of year for families and friends to re-connect. To uncover tales of legends long past. To explore unforgettable surroundings and to see our wildlife in all its glory. A time of year to discover the true Spirit of the Highlands and Islands.

Read on for autumn short break ideas and inspiration from this magical part of Scotland.

Shetland Islands

There aren’t many trees in Shetland, so don’t expect colourful woodlands, but there’s still plenty of autumn ‘colour’ to uncover here. Marvel at the ‘Mirrie Dancers’ (or Northern Lights). Cosy up in some colourful Shetland knitwear. Savour the rich palette of Shetland’s seasonal larder. Or witness the arrival of thousands of over-wintering birds and fluffy white seal pups.

Find out more about autumn in Shetland or why not discover the Spirit of Shetland Knitwear and something cosy for your winter wardrobe!

Shetland Textile Museum, Shetland Isles
Image provided by VisitScotland/Paul Tomkins

Orkney Islands

With big skies and wide-open spaces, Orkney offers breathtaking autumn escapes. Revitalise your senses on a refreshing coastal walk – look out for otters and seals. Discover over 5,000 years of history (ancient sites are often quieter in autumn). Enjoy the finest food and drink to be found anywhere. And from music and storytelling to crafts and art, uncover the unique culture of these islands.

Come and start your Orkney story this autumn. Need more inspiration? Explore sites around Orkney on our Beyond Extraordinary itinerary.

The Outer Hebrides

Our Lady of the Sea Statue, Isle of Barra.
Image provided by VisitScotland/ Kenny Lam

Autumn brings a true taste of island life in the Outer Hebrides. It’s a quieter time of year that’s perfect for exploring the natural world giving time to recharge and re-claim  headspace. Take a breezy stroll along one of the stunning white-sand beaches. Step back in time at an ancient site or simply curl up in front of a roaring fire with a dram and a good book.

Discover some of the best places to sample fresh seafood on our Shrimply the Best itinerary travelling through the Outer Hebrides.

Here are five more reasons to take an autumn trip in the Outer Hebrides.

The Highlands

There are so many amazing autumn experiences in the Highlands, so we’ll just share a few here, which will hopefully inspire you to find out more.

Find out more about the Highlands.

Moray Speyside

The reds, russets and golds of Moray Speyside’s woodlands are a seasonal boost to a region which has year-round associations with gold. With over 50 whisky distilleries, our golden national drink is one of the many culinary flavours that defines this area. But there’s much more to Moray Speyside than whisky. Go stargazing in Scotland’s newest International Dark Sky Park. Spot resident wildlife along an award-winning coast or test your game on a selection of outstanding golf courses.

Learn more about Moray Speyside.

Gatehouse to Ballindalloch Castle.
Image provided by VisitScotland/ Paul Tomkins

Argyll and the Isles

Seafood Platter
Image provided by VisitScotland/Kenny Lam

Warmed by the Gulf Stream, Argyll & The Isles is a gem in Scotland’s autumn crown. Painted woodlands are vividly reflecting in shimmering lochs. The craggy coastline is awash with places to explore and tantalising treats await you along the Taste of Place Trails. Try island-hopping by bike, join a wildlife tour, visit the newly re-opened Kilmartin Museum or simply relax and soak up the views.

Sample some of the finest whisky on our Toast to Islay itinerary.

Discover ten things to do in Argyll & The Isles this autumn.

The Isle of Arran

As the vibrant greens of summer give way to autumn’s warm hues of red and orange, let the Isle of Arran inspire your senses. In the glens, hear the haunting bellow of rutting deer stags, whilst the soundtrack in lovely South End Forest comes from the cascading falls of Glenashdale. Let your tastebuds lead the way on Arran’s Food Journey. Or go quietly and see Arran’s fabulous flora and fauna. 

Find out more about autumn on Arran.

Sunset over the Isle of Arran
Image provided by VisitScotland/Kenny Lam