Now that summer is coming to an end you will be looking for things to do in Scotland this autumn. This post lists all the fun things to do during autumn in Scotland.
The nights are closing in, the dryer days are disappearing, and the trees’ leaves are changing colour. So make sure to wrap up warm, get into the Halloween Spirit and enjoy these fun-filled events followed by a cosy night in Scotland.
The whole season is very enchanting and doesn’t matter if you are wandering the ancient alleyways in Edinburgh’s Old Town or admiring the changing colour of the leaves on a walk in rural Perthshire. This post will help you decide on what events to do this autumn.
Oktoberfest Edinburgh celebrations have been ongoing sine 2013. Located in a large tent set up in West Princes Street Gardens.
Dig out your lederhosen and grad a stein of beer as the celebration of Bavarian culture comes to Edinburgh.
There will be German food, music and beer creating a great atmosphere for everyone attending. Tickets cost between £5 to £15.
Samhain Fire Festival
Every year on 31st October, you can join this modern re-imaging of an ancient Celtic Festival in the capital. This event is very specific to Scotland and only happens one night a year.
A more ancient version of Halloween is the centuries-old tradition of Samhain. The procession marks the end of summer and the oncoming winter with fire dancers and performers.
This is a symbolic battle between mythical kings of summer and winter. A street procession is usually involved with further celebrations at Calton Hill or Holyrood Park.
Edinburgh Horror Festival
Similar to the Fringe Festival but with a horror twist. From the 27th to the 31st of October, this is an ideal way to celebrate Halloween with a theatre festival, magic, movies, comedy and more.
The festival is the first of its kind in the UK, this event has been ongoing annually since 2016.
Edinburgh Cocktail Week
For only ten days in October, most cocktail bars in Edinburgh participate in Edinburgh Cocktail Week. You can buy signature cocktails from different venues across the city for just £5 with a festival wristband.
Over 120 bars take part in the event. There is an excellent tasting village which brings together a fantastic array of bars and spirits brands under one marquee canopy. Also, there are tastings and masterclasses.
Secrets of the Witches Wood
At Almond Valley Heritage Centre, you can immerse yourself in spooky experiences. Enjoy scary crafts and look out for clues on a spine-chilling trail of terror around the old farm.
Follow the winding footpaths and venture into the lost lands of the Calder Witches. In a place of old magic, unexplained sounds, ghastly unforgettable smells and strange sights will be encountered.
Terminal V Halloween
On the 29th October, at the Royal Highland Centre you can experience a one day electronic music festival. It is Scotland’s biggest electronic festival.
This is a great event and a chance for adults to dress up in Halloween costumes if they wish.
GlasGLOW, Botanic Gardens
Presented by Itison events, for four years now, this event has been selling out. Wander through Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens in the West End of Glasgow and experience the gardens like never before.
This is a spectacular experience and people of all ages will be wowed. There is a gourmet street food village with the Loop & Scoop, Mangiamo Pizza, GLOW Bar, Marshmallowland and much more.
Every year is a different show, past examples include, superheroes and dinosaurs. It takes approximately one hour to walk through the trails. Tickets for adults are £22.
Paisley Halloween Festival
Annually in the historic town of Paisley, there is a Halloween Festival. The dates of this festival are usually the weekend before Halloween.
Visitors can enjoy the festival from 5 pm to 10 pm each day. This festival is fun for all the family and is great for little and big kids.
This is event is one of the spookiest, biggest and best free Halloween events in the UK. Also, there are a trail of light displays and installations centred of the River Cart.
You can see the famous Abbey come to life with supernatural parades, street performances and bespoke installations.
The Enchanted Forest, Pitlochry
This light show takes place from the end of September until October 30 at Pitlochry.
The Enchanted Forest lights up the area’s woodland as part of a spectacular night-time festival of light and sound. Tickets for adults cost £24 each.
Spirits of Scone, Scone Palace, Perth
Spirits of Scone is a fright-fest guaranteed to give everyone an unforgettable experience. Prepare yourself for a terrifyingly brilliant Halloween experience.
Spirits of Scone is located at Scone Palace not far from Perth. As you walk around the estate you will be frightened by horror film freaks, menacing ghouls, chainsaws and scary witch stories.
Also, you can walk through the spooky maze, but beware you will not know whats hiding around the corners of the maze.
Dundee Cocktail Week
From the 6th to the 15th October you can celebrate all things cocktail in Dundee. You can support all the local businesses and have a great time in the city’s best restaurants, cocktail offerings and bars.
Wristbands start from £5 per person, and you can get £5 cocktails at participating businesses.
Ghosts of Glamis, Glamis Castle, Angus
Join one of the spooky tours to learn about the stories of ghosts and ghouls that are said to haunt the rooms of Glamis Castle, from the Grey Lady to the Tongueless Woman.
Be prepared for the thrills and lots of scares. Glamis Castle is one of the most dramatic, gothic and atmospheric visitor attractions.
For four days across Halloween weekend, tours will run every fifteen minutes and visitors will be taken deep into the majestic rooms of the castle.
Expect lots of jumps, and friendly and foe characters lurking in the shadows. Tickets are £15 per adult, and £10 for a concession.
Glamis Castle is one of the most stunning castles near Dundee.
Old Aberdeen Ghost Walk
Celebrate Halloween by discovering the strange occurrences in Old Aberdeen. There are self guided Ghost Tours taking place over the halloween weekend.
You will learn about a haunted church, an alleyway that people would not go down and other bizarre encounters. Also, you can hear tales about the Old Ghallows, the Little Drumer Boy and the spooky going-on at Correction Wynd and The Green.
The tickets cost £6 which will get you a map and audio files. The tour is one hour long and begins at Castlegate and ends at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen.
The Scottish Tree Festival
Celebrating the country’s most amazing woodlands and there are stunning seasonal shows they put on as autumn arrives. Running from the end of September through October and November.
This is the best way to explore Scotland’s estates and gardens. There are various locations throughout the country which will be inviting visitors to explore some of the finest collections of trees and woodlands.
You can take park in walks and talks, guided tours and family activities all aimed at encouraging as many people as possible to tramp amongst fallen leaves, hug a bark-covered giant, spot wildlife amongst the branches and enjoy the beauty of our woodlands in Autumn.
Amongst the many events where visitors can experience the beauty & grandeur of the trees:
- Logan Botanic Gardens near Stranraer – view the tropical trees
- St Andrews Botanic Garden – catch a lunchtime lecture
- Aden Country Park Mintlaw – tree climbing adventures
- Japanese Garden, Cowen – mindfulness, woodland breathing and forest therapy
- Dawyck Botanic Gardens, Stobo, Fungi forays
- Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh – Halloween trail
The Royal National MOD
The Royal National MOD is an international Celtic festival which focuses on Scottish Gaelic literature, traditional music and culture.
The locations of this festival change every year. Running for a week in October, there is a massive programme of performances. In 2022, the event took place in Perth.
Guy Fawkes Night
Guy Fawkes Night is a British tradition which takes place every year on the 5th of November. It has been celebrated since the 1600s and remembers when Guy was part of a group who were plotting to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London.
He was caught just in time, just as he was lighting up the gunpowder and the day was saved. In recent times, Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated by making fireworks and a great big bonfire.
In Scotland, you can find a large arranged display where there are lots of large-scale fireworks. Below are a list of selected locations that are holding a private ticked event or are open to the public.
City of Glasgow, Ayrshire & Lanarkshire
Glasgow North East Firework Display
Clydebank Fireworks Display
Drumchapel & West Winterfest Fireworks
Strathclyde Park, Motherwell
Bonfire Night Firewalk, Walton Community Centre, Giffnock
Kilwinning Community Fireworks, McGavin Park
Strathaven Bonfire Night
Troon Round Tabel Fireworks
Lenzie Family Fireworks
Ancrum Village Green
Deer Park Golf and Country Club
Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline
War Out Road Football Pitches, Glenrothes
Kelty Hearts Football Club, Kelty
Highlands & Islands
Ton, Isle of Lewis
Meadows Park, Dornoch
Bught Park, Inverness
North East of Scotland
Aberdeen Beach Boulevard
Cooper Park, Elgin
Gadle Braes, Peterhead
Pumpkin picking is more of an American tradition but more and more places in Scotland are jumping on the bandwagon. There are over fifteen locations throughout Scotland now where you can go pumpkin picking.
Some destinations have other entertainment on including family photographer opportunities, cooking with pumpkin themed crafts, chainsaw carving show, pop-up food trucks, quad bike rides, face painting and much more. Here is a list below of the best places to go for pumpkin picking:
- Cairnie Fruit Farm, Cupar, Fife
- Arnprior Farm, Stirling
- Valley View at Gouldings, Carluke
- Craigie Farm Shop & Cafe, Edinburgh
- Kilduff Farm, East Lothian
- South Ardbennie Farm, Perthshire
- Broadslap Fruit Farm, Perthshire
- Westerton Farmers, Aberdeenshire
- Ernespie Farm, Castle Douglas
- Udny Pumpkins, Ellon
Scotland’s Ghost Trail
Scotland’s Ghost Trail is a trail of the most haunted places from all over Scotland. You can explore castles, battlefields, graveyards and more.
Ghostly attractions are all over the country. There have been over 1,100 ghost manifestations declared in Scotland over the past few years.
To get an idea of the sites covered on the trail – Ubby of Skail House in Orkney is the furthest north attraction.
The Phantom Piper at Clanyard Bay is in Dumfries and Galloway is one of the most southern attractions in Scotland on this trail. To find out more about the most haunted attractions in Scotland, book yourself on a ghost tour or trip.
Wigtown Book Town Festival, Wigtown
Wigtown is a small town in Dumfries and Galloway which is known for books. This festival celebrates hundreds of thousands of books and Wigtown becomes the “cultural heart of the nation”.
Book lovers adore this event. You can get the chance to meet incredible writers and authors from across Scotland, it runs from the end of September until the start of October.
Orkney Storytelling Festival
The Orkney Storytelling Festival is a long weekend of storytelling which occurs in October. This festival is a celebration of the oral tradition in Orkney, with tales focusing on the history and heritage of the islands.
There are events all over Orkney. So, as the night draws it’s a perfect atmosphere to listen to stories, just like the ancestors did. You are never too old or too young to hear a well-told story.
Portobello Book Festival
Portbello Book Festival is organised by a group of local book enthusiasts from Portobello Library.
There is a distinctive mix of subjects, writers, commentators and reader, hundreds of people are attracted to the festival which occurs every September/October.
Is Autumn a good time to visit Scotland?
Autumn is a lovely time of year to visit Scotland. All seasons are great but for lots of different reasons.
In autumn you can participate in Halloween festivals, Guy Fawkes Night and night-time light illumination shows. Also, at this time of year it is quieter, easier to book accommodation and there is much great places to explore.
Scotland’s countryside will look so different from the Spring and Summer months. The weather will be cooler than in summer but not getting as chilly as in winter, therefore, it is a great time of year to visit Scotland.
Is Scotland worth visiting in October?
A trip to Scotland in October is 100% worth it. During this time of year, the main attractions are a lot quieter, there is most choice for accommodation and visiting will be cheaper.
You can explore the outdoors where waterfalls will be more dramatic with the increased rain and you can admire the changing colour of the trees’ leaves to shades of amber and red.
Also, at this time of year, there are good Halloween and Bonfire Night events in which you can get involved in.
Now, once you have ticked off a few of these things on the list. It is time to snuggle up with a pumpkin spice latte and some lovely Scottish shortbread.
If you are travelling to Scotland for an autumn break, then thats great! The autumn months are usually quieter and accommodations options are much wider and costs go down.
I hope this post has inspired you to do some events this autumn. As summer ends and the nights are drawing in, there is so much to look forward to in Scotland.
Also, Scotland is a great place to go for solo travellers and check out this guide for things to do at Christmas.