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.
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.
Image provided by VisitScotland/Paul Tomkins
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.
The Outer Hebrides
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.
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.
Explore one of the many prehistoric brochs in Caithness and learn about how our ancestors lived.
Snap a stunning sunset across Loch Clair as the day’s last rays shine through Torridonian giants – remember your camera!
Mingle with music lovers and celebrate the best of Scottish music on the Isle of Skye.
See Loch Sunart’s resident wildlife and colourful woodlands from Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide.
Glen Affric is quite possibly Scotland’s most beautiful glen. Here you’ll find stunning autumn displays around lochs Beinn a’Mheadhain and Affric.
Step back in time and experience Highland life from the 1700s to the 1950s at the Highland Folk Museum near Newtonmore.
Find out more about the Highlands.
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.
Image provided by VisitScotland/ Paul Tomkins
Argyll and the Isles
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