Many people visit Scotland in the summer months of June, July, and August, but April is also a fantastic time of year to visit for a multitude of reasons
April is a very mild month in Scotland. Statistically, it’s one of the driest months of the year and average daytime temperatures are a comfortable 9°C. It can get quite sunny in April, with warmer days often coming in 2-3 day-long stretches at a time. The days are notably longer in April than in March. This is due to the recent clock change and naturally lengthening days. Snow still crests the summits in the Highlands, but generally, it no longer falls further down. As noted, April is a (surprisingly) dry month with only 3.5 inches of rainfall on average across the country.
Scotland’s tourism season doesn’t really start till the end of May. This means that if you visit in April you can enjoy Scotland without the summer crowds! Venture to the Highlands & Islands and share your views with fewer fellow travellers. Benefits include tourist-free pictures, a better chance of booking the type of room you want to have, or going out for an incredible meal without making a reservation first. In short, with more capacity in the tourism hot spots like the Highlands, Edinburgh, the Isle of Skye, and Glasgow; visitors have more flexibility and options if they come in April than in other months.
If you love spring flowers, then April is a great time to come to Scotland. The whole country erupts into colour as comely pastels dot the machairs of the west coast and the inland woodland floors are carpeted with bluebells. Yellow is a common sight with the combination of rapeseed flowering in the fields and coconutty gorse growing just about everywhere else. Immerse yourself in a cornucopia of spring blossoms by visiting a castle garden or city park, or the best place to see an abundance of wildflowers would be at the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. The banks of both Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond are lined with ramson, primroses, bluebells, wood sorrel, and wood anemone amongst other flower types.
Most castles close their doors to visitors during winter and reopen again around the 1st of April. Therefore, coming in April means you get to take in our magical castles at the start of the season when it’s less busy. Combine your castle trip with a picnic, as many castles will have beautifully maintained public gardens which will be flowering in April. Castles also do renovations or set up new exhibitions over winter, so be one of the first to enjoy the new attractions.
Did you know there are more sheep than people in Scotland? This is especially true in April when lambing has commenced and the fields are filled with adorable wobbly-legged lambs. It’s not just frolicking lambs that will melt your heart. Many other animals in Scotland have their young at this time of year like highland cows, stoats, and red squirrels. Importantly, the latter are more difficult to see, and in most cases, visitors are advised to keep a respectful distance.
There are more than just cute animals being born that’s interesting for wildlife watchers in April. Many birds will return in April to Scotland from warmer climates like puffins, swallows, and osprey. Therefore, keep your eyes to the sky and watch out for large of flocks travelling back to their breeding grounds for summer. You’ll be glad to learn that the midges don’t come out to play till late May, and the biting kind hatch even later. This means that visiting in April guarantees a midge free experience. As a result, April is a great month for hiking, biking, and paddling, with dryer and midge-free forecasts.
Although April can be a challenging time for photographers with the harsher light during the day, there are a couple of reasons why this can be an incredible month for photography. Firstly, the golden hours are still accessible. Not too late or early on either end of the day that makes it challenging in winter and summer when it clashes with sleep hours or working times. Secondly, spring’s morning light is absolutely stunning, especially if you manage to capture the morning mists with it as pictured above. Lastly, the changing landscapes are really something to behold and provides interesting contrasts for landscape photographers.