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A golden opportunity to see Scotland’s famous autumn colours and go exploring

Luskentyre beach on the Isle of Harris.
Luskentyre beach on the Isle of Harris.

Autumn is an enchanting time across Scotland; the leaves turn from luscious green to rich red, gold and fiery orange, there is no better time to explore the country’s vast woodland in the crisp air before curling up in front of a crackling fire with a wee dram or a warming hot chocolate.

From stargazing on the islands, enchanted forests in Perthshire, a storytelling festival in the city and stunning forest parks, autumn in the most beautiful country in the world is a truly magical time.

Inspiring islands

Autumn on Scotland’s islands is the perfect escape for those looking for a cosy break to recharge the batteries before winter sets in.

A blanket of reds, golds and oranges lies across the islands and the darker skies glitter with the light of the bright stars.

The Isle of Coll is a designated Dark Sky Island. With little to no light pollution, the island is one of the best places in the UK to view the inky night sky and autumn is the perfect time to experience this beautiful natural phenomenon, with the added bonus of spotting a star or two.

Alternatively, set off in search of the Northern Lights this autumn and head to the most northerly island group in Scotland, Shetland. With the right conditions, the “mirrie dancers” are most commonly seen from mid-October until mid-March.

The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis.

Autumn is a wonderful time to visit Lewis and Harris as the islands’ world-renowned beaches are likely to be quieter. Head to beaches such as Luskentyre, Seilebost and Hushinish to stroll along pure white sands and breathe in fresh sea air. Head for Orkney from October 25-28 and experience a long weekend of oral storytelling as part of the Orkney Storytelling Festival.

It takes places in various locations across Orkney and alongside local storytellers there’s invited guests from all over the world talking at this family-friendly festival.

Enchanting times

One of the biggest autumn events is The Enchanted Forest, which returns to Faskally Wood near Pitlochry with a show entitled Of The Wild.

The Enchanted Forest.

This spectacular event combines breathtaking visuals, state-of-the-art technologies and a rousing music score that fuses contemporary with traditional. Visitors can follow the winding trail past the mysterious Loch Dunmore deeper into the woods where they will come alive after dark with sights, sounds and scents guaranteed to enchant the senses and surprise curious minds.

It takes place from October 4 to November 4.

Tree celebration

Discover Scottish Gardens’ inaugural Scottish Tree Festival which runs until December 2. The festival will feature more than 70 tree events taking place across the country. Showcasing beautiful, unusual, heritage, exotic and champion trees from across Scotland, the festival culminates in the UK’s National Tree Week (November 24 to December 2). The festival has also inspired participation from the National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, all of whom will be putting their best branch forward in celebration of Scotland’s amazing trees.

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