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Sept vs Oct 2018

Would appreciate any suggestions.  I need to decide by next week which month to travel to Scotland.  I can choose between the week of September 15th or October 20th.  I would prefer October, but need to know if attractions will be open (and what kinds)?  I like to do a variety of things, so I am not limited to a specific activity.  Do hotels close before the end of October?  Is there a part of the country that remains open till the end of October more than other areas (North, South, East, West)?  I will be driving, so it won't be a problem to navigate.  Is there any special information as far as driving is concerned?  I ask this, because when I drove through Italy a few years ago, I was not aware of certain zones that you couldn't drive in, and received tickets a year later that totalled more than I paid for the rental!  Are there any "must sees" that you can recommend?  I am open to all suggestions.  I want to experience as many things as I can.  I am not one of those people that go to the standard attractions that people usual go to.  I love different things.  Thank you for your help.

Best Answers

  • MoFMoF Member ✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    You are talking about the shoulder season, I recently did a trip in December and a lot of the Highlands were pretty much shut down I found out during my planning stage so I shifted over to do Islay, and Argyle, with a touch into Fort William and Mallaig.   

    However I am going back this year for a solid week mid September during the first week you are suggesting for a visit. 

    What I can tell you is the later in the year the less stuff is open, the key to do the later trip (which also will avoid a lot of the crowds), is to just send out emails and touch base with the places you'd like to visit it never hurts to ask, also once you get to mid-October it can't hurt to ask about off season rates.  Through the end of Sept is the waning part of the high season, and October is the start of the off season.

    From my research and with a 'December' perspective, I'd say the lowlands and the cities have the most open year round, I found argyle to have a decent amount open, the highlands were much less, but I didn't make it over to speyside (where there are so many distilleries you'll probably find activities to do)  But a lot of the private historic sites shut down and so do quite a few of the B and B's.

    In regards to driving, the roads are a lot tighter, and I didn't feel comfortable driving until about the 4th day in, the manual transmission, the other side of the road, and the fact there are no shoulders whatsoever.  But your mileage may vary as I was driving around Argyle and the West Highlands.
  • VisitScotlandMurielVisitScotlandMuriel Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Accepted Answer
    Hi @Sno_lovr2018
    Thanks for you post. Most attractions will remain open right until the end of October, however a few will close at the end of September like Hopetoun House just outside of Edinburgh for example. Historic Environment Scotland's properties (Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, Urqhuart Castle, etc...) went onto Winter Opening Hours from 1st October this year which means reduced opening times and closed some days. Generally though October is still a good time to visit Scotland. Of course days are getting shorter but the weather isn't necessarily too bad (it can be really bad anytime of the year) and the autum colours are just spectacular!!  :)
    The vast majority of accommodation providers will be open right through the year with some closing down at the end of October. You can search on our website for accommodation available for your dates.
    I can't think of places where you cannot drive - if there is, it should be quite clearly signposted.
    As far as travelling, you can have a look at itineraries  on our website for inspiration. If it's scenery you are after, the further north and west, the more typical the scenery although Scotland is beautiful all over.  :D
    Wishing you a wonderful New Year and holiday in Scotland when it comes. Don't hesitate to get in touch should you need anything else
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