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Scotland in the 'off' season - October - November

Hi All,
I am traveling to Scotland from Australia for the first time ever - 27 October to 14 November. We are going to Edinburgh, Perthshire, Glencoe, Isle of Skye, and Isle of Islay.  My queries are below:

I have done some research and determined that a lot of castles and other sites will not be open - but the main ones I am keen to see are open (Edinburgh, Eilean Donan and Dunnottar) can anyone recommend any others that might be open?

Also - we want to a rent a car for some time, on the rare chance we go somewhere and its icy or snowing are the tyres sufficient to deal with these conditions? (In Australia in snowy conditions we put chains on our tyres but I've been told in European countries this isn't necessary as the tyres are meant to deal with these conditions)

Is it possible to travel around some of the above areas without a car? We are happy to pay for return taxis to some destinations and use public transport where available (I'm guessing Edinburgh won't be a problem - but I'm not sure about the other regions)

What kind of clothes do we need? (I know it will be cold but its winter here now and it was 23 Celsius today - so I don't think I will be prepared) I have been told I should invest in a parka, or a jacket with down? Does anyone know if its cheaper to buy these clothes over in Scotland or in Australia? I looked in camping shops here, and the snow jackets / parkas start from around $300 AU (or around 480 pounds). Any tips on this would be much appreciated.

Thanks for any suggestions:smile::)


  • fishyprofishypro Member ✭✭✭
    Hi @Katiekitty88 , Glamis Castle is a great place to visit but closes on the 29th October. An amazing event, The Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry, Perthshire also ends on the 29th of October.
    There are lots of outdoor clothing shops in Scotland and lots of them have constant sales going on. I am sure that you will find something here as far as a jacket is concerned.
    The temperatures may be chilly but it won't be too bad. I can't see it being lower than +5°C
    Don't worry too much about snow. It generally doesn't snow here, too much, until after Christmas.
    Hope that helps for now.
    Best regards
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Answers to your questions:

    1. Stirling & Urquhart castle I believe (check the websites). Also castle ruins such as Kilchurn are "always open".

    2. Don't drive so no idea

    3. Public transport exists but makes everything less flexible. You should have no problem with Perthshire upto Inverness. Best to rent a car in Skye. Islay has buses but they don't run past 6 PM. Taxis are not too plentiful in the remote regions either.

    4. Yeah you'll feel cold the same way Brits can't handle the tropical heat in Asia / Africa / Australia. As I grew up in a hot country, I know that proper winter warmers are hard to find there and are expensive. I'd suggest buying warm clothing in Scotland (very nice sweaters & jackets are available). Do buy anti-rain gear before leaving to check off your top layer as the Scottish weather can be quite wet any time of the year.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • VisitScotlandMurielVisitScotlandMuriel Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    October can be quite a nice month (not too cold either 10ish) and the scenery stunning in autumn colours!! November will be colder but do not fear - it's unlikely we'll get a lot of snow then. Although with Scottish weather you never know...  :D
    A lot of stately homes like Glamis Castle, Scone Palace, Blair Castle, Inveraray Castle, Cawdor Castle, Dunrobin Castle and Dunvegan on Skye should stay open until the end of October but please check them individually. Stirling and Edinburgh Castle and generally all castles belonging to Historic Environment Scotland stay open all year round with reduced opening hours during the winter.
    A great website to use for public transport is Just put in your departure point, destination and the date in the planner and it will come up with options including all the different bus operators in Scotland as well as trains. 
    I wish you a great time!! Don't forget to visit the local information centre (iCentre) for expert advice...
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