The months of June, July and August are typically the hottest and driest months, although it is still not unusual for summer to be rainy or chilly. The weather changes quickly in Ireland and Scotland, so even if it's cold and dreary when your plane lands the chances are good that the sun will come out tomorrow. One of the best things about vising during the summer months is that attractions are open later and the long daylight hours allow you to make the most of your visit. While most people do prefer to travel to Ireland and Scotland during the driest times of the year, it's important to note that both countries have mild climates, so there's really no bad time to visit.
For the cheapest hotel and airfare--and fewer crowds--consider traveling during the shoulder season, the months in between the busy summer season and the low winter season. In Scotland and Ireland, the shoulder season tends to be April and May or September and October.
One of the perks about traveling in the shoulder months of September and October is experiencing the changing leaves in Scotland, when the trees put on a fiery and vibrant show, changing to golden, red and orange hues.
While the spring months can be chilly and rainy, you'll be able to watch as the landscape comes alive. Wildflowers bloom throughout both countries and, of course, experiencing a St. Patrick's Day celebration in Ireland makes traveling to the country in March a no-brainer. Ireland's largest St. Patrick's Day parade is held in Dublin and is accompanied by a five-day festival with a huge street carnival and many Irish and international performances.
Consider timing your visit around the many festivals in Ireland and Scotland. August is a great month to spend in Edinburgh when the Edinburgh International Festival takes place, featuring performing arts from around the world. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo also takes place in August, an annual series of performances by the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth, and International military bands.
Christmas is a huge holiday in both Ireland and Scotland and an excellent time of year to visit. Each town has its own festivities, decorations and Christmas festivals. Most pubs have live music for the holidays. In all parts of Ireland, the day after Christmas is celebrated as a public holiday. In Northern Ireland, this day is known as Boxing Day. In the Republic of Ireland the day is known as St. Stephen's Day. Visitors to Scotland can enjoy the many New Year celebrations, called hogmanay, after Christmas.
Months to Avoid
Although visitors flock to Ireland and Scotland all year long, the least popular months are January and February, which can be particularly cold and dreary in both countries. In these dark winter months, average temperatures can be just 5 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit.)