Visiting Scotland in June

Once you decide to go to Scotland (and well done on that!), one of the first decisions to make is when to go. Though the winter has its charms, it can be daunting, and I usually recommend first-time travelers go in the less challenging summer. Scotland is never going to top anyone’s list of beach destinations, and you’ll always want a good raincoat, but June is one of the driest, warmest months of the year, an excellent time to introduce one’s self to the wonders of Scotland.

Kayaker on a Scottish Loch, Creative Commons photo by Tristram Biggs.

Kayaker on a Scottish Loch, Creative Commons photo by Tristram Biggs.

Weather

Scottish weather doesn’t come with guarantees. There is always a chance of rain, but in June, across most of the country, you’ll only get significant rain on about a third of the days. Highs are climbing into the 60s Farenheit, though they won’t hit their peak until July or August. In Edinburgh, it tends to be a little warmer than in May, but also a bit grayer, with about a half hour less sunshine per day. Here is some data from around the country, averaged between 1981 and 2010:

City Max Temp Min Temp Rainfall Days >
1mm Rain
Sunshine/Day
Edinburgh 17.2 C
(63 F)
9.7 C
(50 F)
61.3mm
(2.4 in)
9.6 5 hr. 30 min.
Paisley
(near Glasgow)
18.1 C
(65 F)
10.1 C
(50 F)
66.4mm
(2.6 in)
11.1 5 hr. 17 min.
Kinloss
(near Inverness)
16.7 C
(62 F)
9 C
(48.2 F)
58.1mm
(2.3 in)
11.1 5 hr. 17 min.
Kirkwall
(Orkneys)
14 C
(57.2 F)
8.1 C
(46.5 F)
52.7 mm
(2.1 in)
10.7 4 hr. 57 min.

Source: UK Met Office

Things to Do

With higher temperatures come more outdoor opportunities. There are some amazing hiking and mountain bike trails all through the country, especially in the more remote areas like the Highlands and the Hebrides. On calm days, kayaking on either a loch or around the western islands can offer stunning views and near-perfect isolation. This is the center of the brown trout season, so a great time for fishers to come and try their skill on Scotland’s rivers. It’s a good month to get out of the pubs and castle tours and see some of the wilder corners of Scotland.

Prices

Of course, the question of when isn’t just about weather. Price can be a huge factor, and this is one advantage of coming in June rather than later in the summer. Prices in Edinburgh rise sharply in August, due to the festival tourists, and throughout the country, you’re more likely to get a deal the farther you get from that point. That being said, June is still considered the high season, and so will be more expensive than the cooler months of the spring and fall.

Events

June is the start of the Scottish summer, and this festival-mad country will start to host some big events as soon as the sun comes out. Most years, there will be clan gatherings, Scottish games and other events starting up, and these can have huge effects on local availability and price of hotel rooms, especially outside of the big cities. So, whether you’re looking for a big party or some time to yourself, it helps to know the events coming up in June: