There’s just something about Scotland in the autumn months. As the nights draw in, the weather begins to cool, visitors may find themselves called to the Highlands and Islands or drawn towards the brighter lights of the towns and cities. Scotland shines in Autumn, so we’ve gathered our top ten places to visit where you can experience the best of Scotland’s beautiful autumn scenery.
The charming town of Pitlochry in Perthshire is home to Faskally, an area of protected forest that oozes autumnal charm. Set around Loch Dunmore, the forest was created as a model by the owners of the nearby Faskally House in the 1800s. A huge variety of tree species can be found in this forest – and it’s particularly beautiful when the leaves begin to change colour in the autumn months. You can follow along specially marked out trails and absorb the fresh Highland air as you explore the colours of autumn.
A natural waterfall set in the beautiful woods of Glen Affric, Dog Falls is a truly stunning sight to behold. In the surrounding forest, you’ll find a variety of trees, including oaks – whose leaves turn gorgeous shades of orange, yellow and red in the autumn – silver birch and old Scots pines. You can climb up towards the falls to explore the pools or get a gorgeous view over the Glen – or take a picnic to lunch under the autumnal trees.
One of the most famous – and most visited – viewpoints in Perthshire, Queen’s View Visitor Centre is gorgeous in the autumn. Found in Tay Forest Park, the view stretches out for miles over hills, forests and – depending on when you visit – a dramatic sky behind it. The site was even popular with royalty! When Queen Victoria initially visited, she believed the place had been named for her. Not true, sadly – it’s believed to have been named for Isabella, the wife of Robert the Bruce – but Victoria was still very much taken by the view over Loch Tummel.
A stretch of Perthshire forestland, the space was originally designed for the Dukes of Atholl in the 1700s – and is now a magical stretch of natural land for visitors to explore. Home to some of the tallest trees in Britain, the Hermitage also includes a pine and fir woodland, walking trails along the River Braan and Ossian’s Hall, which overlooks the Black Linn Falls. Using illusions with glass and paintings, its purpose is to surprise you with the sudden shock of the waterfall itself.
Once a roaring hub of industry, Roslin Glen has quieted somewhat over the years, now replaced with a variety of wildlife and an array of gorgeous trees. Down the hill from the town of Roslin is the Glen, where the ruins of an old castle lie dormant – a castle that was believed to have housed historical texts that were smuggled to the Vatican from Midlothian. Now, you can wander along the riverside and through the woodlands, taking in the beauty of the autumn, while also discovering a slice of Scottish history.
Just west of Aberdeen is the picturesque Royal Deeside, near the Cairngorms National Park and between the villages of Braemar and Banchory. Another favourite spot of Queen Victoria, the landscape is intersected by the River Dee, which itself is surrounded by towering woodland. With the natural landscape integrated into the villages in the area, autumn is the perfect time to visit – particularly when the leaves begin to turn golden. It also marks the annual Braemar Gathering – one of Scotland’s oldest Highland Games events.
The area where the Trossachs is found is one of great historical importance to Scotland. From Robert the Bruce to Mary, Queen of Scots, the place has been encapsulated by the works of Sir Walter Scott. Loch Lomond runs through the dramatic landscape of the Trossachs, on which you can admire the scenery via a Loch cruise – or visit one of the thirty individual islands that populate it. Rolling hillside, quiet forests perfect for getting lost in and even local villages to explore and stay in – the Trossachs’ tranquil, romantic beauty is a must-visit for anyone looking for autumnal charm around the Highlands.se
Settled in the Cairngorms National Park, Rothiemurchus was described as one of the ‘glories of wild Scotland’ by Sir David Attenborough. Home to 10,000 hectares of forest, lochs, glens, mountains and wilderness, the area is known for the gentle harmony it exudes – from the local wildlife to the businesses and visitors who come to stay. Visitors looking for a real chance to unwind can even camp or stay in Rothiemurchus, getting back to the beauty of the natural world. One of Britain’s largest areas of natural forest, its particularly breath-taking in the autumn, where the colours of the season are put on full display.
Another view considered one of Scotland’s finest, Loch Trool is the sight of a major Scottish battle over 700 years ago. Commemorated by Bruce’s Stone, which remembers the Battle of Trool in the 14th century, the landscape is peaceful and beautiful – particularly from the viewpoint overlooking the loch’s waters. Set in the Galloway Forest, there are plenty of beautiful autumn trees to view the seasons changing on. It’s also an excellent place to enjoy stargazing; perfect as the days become shorter and the night sets in quicker.
Cared for by the National Trust of Scotland, Mar Lodge in Aberdeenshire is Britain’s largest National Nature Reserve. Nestled in the Cairngorms, the natural area is a haven for hikers and walkers looking for a scenic route to explore and was a popular spot to visit and relax for Queen Victoria. Mar Lodge is also home to the Caledonian pinewood, a tree that once fell victim to deforestation and is now being reborn into the natural landscape. Mar Lodge offers 29,000 hectares of space to explore – from moorland to forest to glens.