Scotland in March: tips for visiting in early Spring

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Spring begins to rear its head in March and Scotland enjoys the lengthening days, (slightly) warming temperatures and pretty flowers coming out in the grounds of many of the stately homes and parks.

Scotland in March still quite a mix of temperatures. We want it to be warmer and we’re willing it on but it’s still in the grip of the winter weather! It can be variable, that’s for sure!

March is a great time to start exploring the country though and enjoying much of the nature that’s around before the season gets too busy. Thankfully one bit of nature isn’t active yet – the midge!

Read on if you’re planning an early Spring trip to Scotland and it includes the month of March, this post is for you! We’ll look at the weather, what to do and any festivals taking place.

Booking in advance – is it advisable in March?

It’s technically still low season through March, but some years can see Easter fall in the month which brings with it School breaks and busier destinations.

Accommodation is worth booking in advance if you have specific places to stay in mind and the cities can always book up fast too. Check (best for hotels and also has some apartments/cottages) and also VRBO (similar to Airbnb).

You might wish to book any activities closer to the time, especially if you’re worried about weather. Many providers such as Viator and Get your Guide offer good cancellation policies though.

Is Scotland worth visiting in March?

I love Scotland at any time of the year and, of course, you can visit well through all the seasons, but is March any good?

March is a fairly quiet time of year to visit Scotland as many locals have their kids in School and Easter breaks haven’t happened yet (unless Easter falls early). A few festivals start to happen as the country starts to waken after the winter slumber!

Attractions that have been closed over the winter still might not be fully open in March. If you have specific plans to visit certain places while in the country it’s advisable to check their opening times.

As the days get longer and the evenings get lighter it makes exploring a lot easier than it has been in the previous months – it still gets dark in the early evening though so be aware if you’re off for a long day out or heading out for a walk later in the day.

The weather in Scotland can always be a little tricky to figure out. Expect it to still be cold and damp in early Spring. The temperatures will vary depending on where you are in the country but as a guide expect highs of around 8-10°C (46-50°F).

Hills in Scotland in Spring
Cool, even on sunny days – Scotland in Spring can still be beautiful

Scotland weather in March

As I touched on before, Scotland in the month of March will likely bring cool, damp and potentially rainy weather. High winds and storms can also still be an issue in March. As always, you might be lucky with the weather and get sunny days with crisp clear skies. All kinds of weather is a possibility in Scotland, no matter when you travel.

Where you are based in Scotland will dictate your weather and if you move from one coast to the other you can often see different weather patterns. If you’re flexible in your itineraries you could certainly move to where the weather is best.

Sunset and sunrise times

The days in March are starting to get longer which is much better for sightseeing in the country. We’re not quite in the bright evenings of early summer but it’s working it’s way towards it.

With the Spring Equinox taking place this month the sunrise and sunset times are beginning to equal out all over Scotland. Soon, the further north you go the longer the days will get but for now they are similar.

Mar 1st7.04 am/5.46 pm7.11 am/5.47 pm
Mar 15th6.29 am/6.15 pm6.33 am/6.19 pm
Mar 31st6.46 am/7.48 pm6.49 am/7.54 pm

What to pack for Scotland in March

With the weather still being on the cool side and plenty of potential for wet weather you’ll want to be prepared for a trip to Scotland in March.

  • A down jacket is still a great idea to keep warm in spring – I like lightweight packable ones
  • A waterproof layer to go over the top will also be essential for the wet days and waterproof trousers make sense if you want to go hiking.
  • Layers can help to combat the different weather eventualities and are good if you feel the cold too. Thermal layers are definitely a cosy option I’d recommend.
  • a thermal coffee cup to have with you when sightseeing can help keep you warm inside, especially in the morning
  • binoculars are an essential if you’re exploring the countryside or islands so you can spot wildlife

You will NOT need any midge repellent as midges won’t be a problem in March. They are one of Scotland’s most famous annoyances but you shouldn’t see them in early Spring.

Festivals and events in March

Mother’s Day (Mothering Sunday)

The UK celebrates Mothering Sunday, or Mother’s Day, at a different time to many other countries such as the US and Australia who have it in May.

In the UK it takes place in March but the date depends on Easter as it’s related to that and Lent. It happens 3 weeks before Easter Sunday so in 2023 it happens on March 19th.

For any travelers to Scotland this can have an effect on you if you like to go out for meals in restaurants – they can get booked up! It might also mean that attractions are a little busier through the weekend too.

Hebridean Dark Skies Festival

9th – 21st March 2023

An annual festival taking place on the Isle of Lewis. As the name suggests there’s a lot of stargazing at the heart of it but also live events, music and films.

It’s a family friendly event too so great if you have kids interested in astronomy and the night sky.

See their website here for more information.

Glasgow International Comedy Festival

15th March – 2nd April 2023

If you can’t get to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival but you like a little bit of comedy then March in Glasgow might be a good idea for you.

The city hosts the International Comedy festival and there’s a host of exciting shows by some of the top names in comedy and show business.

Shows take place all over the city and you can see what’s on here.

Hawick Reivers Festival

A history filled festival based in the Scottish Borders town of Hawick. It aims to explain what happened in this area in the past when ‘reiving’ was a past-time.

Reiving means raiding and it happened a lot in the border towns which were an area of intense fighting between different families and even the countries of England and Scotland.

Lots of re-enactments take place in the town of Hawick, fireworks and even a ghost walk. You’ll definitely learn a lot!

Find out more about this festival here

Things to do in Scotland in March

Here are just a few ideas of things you might like to consider if you’re visiting Scotland in the month of March.

Places to ge when visiting Scotland in March

Go Stargazing

Scotland has loads of dark sky areas and the benefits of doing some stargazing in spring is that it still gets dark relatively early – not like in the summer months!

Check out Galloway Forest Park in the south of Scotland which we enjoyed a few years ago – it’s easy to get to from Glasgow. Once you get out the cities you’ll find amazing skies and views!

Bealach na Ba applecross road on NC500
The NC500 is remote but the popularity can mean it’s better to visit slightly out of season

Drive the NC500

This popular driving road takes you all around the north west of the country into some of the most desolate and remote spots around. The problem is that it’s getting busier and busier to drive!

You can drive the North Coast 500 in 5 days (or slightly less if you need to – or more if you have time!) and early spring means two things – less tourists there and no midges! Result!

Explore some Outlander sites

Outlander is a really popular Amazon Prime TV show based on the books by Diana Gabaldon and in past years there’s been a surge in tourists visiting any sites related to the show!

Again, being in Scotland in March means you can explore without the bigger crowds so taking advantage of that and enjoying these sights is a good idea.

There are Outlander sites all over Scotland from Edinburgh to some villages in Fife and then all the way into the Highlands too.

Book your Scotland Vacation:

Check flights: Skyscanner
Book Car Rental: DiscoverCars
Book hotels:
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And don’t forget to pick up a guide book!

Photo of author

Kirsty Bartholomew

Kirsty has been getting lost around the world for over 30 years and writing about it for 10 of those. She loves to help people explore her favourite places in Scotland, England and beyond. She cannot stay away from historical sites.

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