Top Scottish wildlife tours that will take you deep into our stunning forests and landscapes, or out to sea and along our breathtaking coastlines, for the chance to see all sorts of Scottish wildlife species. From dolphins and whales playing in the sea, and majestic birds of prey swooping overhead, to our popular Highland coos and so much more, pick your favourite Scotland animal and head out on a wildlife tour.
Based in the stunning coastal location of Moray in the Scottish Highlands, Birding Ecosse offers a great way to get outdoors and spot some of your favourite bird species. Offering an enjoyable and welcoming experience, soak up the stunning scenery, get chatting to your friendly and knowledgeable tour guide, and learn a thing or two about the history of the local area along the way too. Choose your favourite day tour; The Big Day Tour, Highland Birds, or The Moray Coast. You never know, you may spot species you never knew existed!
You’ll be picked up and dropped off at your accommodation, with all transport and guiding included, plus light refreshments throughout the day. All you need to bring is a tasty packed lunch and your sense of adventure.
Start/End Point: starting on the Moray coast and finishing in the Monadhliath mountains Season/Months: year-round – winter is from October to April and summer is May to September Location: Scottish Highlands (based in Moray) Price: from £120 Length of Tour: day trips, mid-week breaks, and long weekends
Located in the magnificent Cairngorms National Park, Highland Wildlife & Birdwatching Safaris is the perfect way for you and the family to explore the outdoors. They’re flexible with their tours, so choose from a 4-hour tour or full-day tour.
Have something specific in mind? They can customise a bespoke tour for you. Venture on a guided wildlife excursion with an experienced local nature watcher in a luxury 4X4 Land Rover Discovery to see a range of special birds and animals in the heart of this beautiful National Park.
The meeting point is Aviemore Train or Bus Station. Or if you are staying locally, pick up from your accommodation can be arranged. You will need to bring a packed lunch and snacks for the day.
Start/end point: Aviemore, Cairngorms National Park Season/months: open all year Location: Aviemore Price: varies on tour and number of people Length of tour: 4 hours or full-day (12 hours)
Head north to glorious Shetland where you can spend a week hopping around the islands on a birdwatching trip. Birdlife on Shetland is rife, and a boat trip out to the Isle of Mousa means you can see hundreds of European Storm Petrels, which return ashore to their nests as darkness falls.
This will be a trip to remember with options including coastal walks on the stunning St Ninian’s Isle, a bird watching cruise to Noss National Nature Reserve, and visiting the Isle of Fetlar. Join your knowledgeable and experienced guide as you explore the remarkable archipelago of Shetland, with hundreds of fascinating sites, history, spectacular wildlife and a colourful culture to uncover along the way.
The tour also includes your accommodation, transport, meals and transfers, so all the organisation and planning is done for you!
Start/end point: Sumburgh Hotel Season/months: June Location: Mainland Shetland Price: from £1,800 Length of tour: 7 nights
The Highlands are a vast and magnificent area of Scotland, and Strathspey definitely plays up to those qualities. Located just north of Aviemore, this corner of Scotland is perfect for birdwatching. Join a minibus day or multi-day tour with Heatherlea Birdwatching and you’ll be in the capable and experienced hands of their tour guides, who will show you all the wildlife gems that make the area so special and the best locations to spot them.
Enjoy a pre-organised tour, or hire a guide to travel in your own transport to look for specific species or visit particular places.
Start/end point: all trips begin and end at The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge Season/months: open all year Location: Strathspey Price: varies on tour Length of tour: day tours or week tours
Journey deep into the magical Highlands for an unforgettable experience exploring Scotland’s wintery landscapes and elusive wildlife. In the chillier months a whole new realm of wildlife can be seen across Scotland, and many Scottish animals even change their entire appearance to blend into the snowy surroundings.
Venture on this 5-day escape into Caledonian pine forests and snow-capped peaks where you can explore a variety of different habitats, learning more about the wildlife and their incredible capabilities to endure the harsh winter conditions. Spot incredible species such as red deer, ptarmigan, whooper swans, free-roaming reindeer and much more!
Your trip includes accommodation, meals and travel, so all the planning is done for you. All you need to do is bring yourself and the correct clothing and equipment!
Start/end point: start and finish in Kingussie Season/months: winter Location: Cairngorms National Park Price: varies Length of tour: 5 days
Spend 4 nights onboard vessels Elizabeth-G or Emma Jane for an incredible cruise to spot the ‘Big 5’; red deer, common seals, otters, eagles (both golden and white-tailed) and harbour porpoises. Starting at Oban harbour, set off on a picturesque journey around Scotland’s west coast and island gems to spot incredible Scottish species. Aside from the amazing wildlife, the cruise is also a great way to take in the fantastic scenery, glimmering seascapes, and mesmerising sunsets.
The cruise is the perfect choice for an autumn getaway around some of Scotland’s most idyllic locations, with remote sea lochs and towering mountains. Potential stopovers at Loch a Choire on the Morvern Coast and Loch Spelve on Mull are both great places to spot otters.
As you are onboard for 4 nights, all accommodation, transport and meals are included. However there are limited vessels and space onboard, so please book in advance so you don’t miss out.
Start/end point: start and finish in Oban Season/months: autumn – September/October Location: Oban, west coast, and the Isle of Mull Price: varies Length of tour: 4 nights
Red deer are very common in the mountains of Scotland throughout the year. On a Wild West Safari, you’ll be out looking for the UK’s largest land mammal.
Autumn is an ideal time of year to spot deer, as you’ll find them out rutting in the wild. You may be lucky enough to see a pair of stags lock antlers in a duel and hear the sound of their roars vibrating across the glen. Rut safaris are available daily throughout autumn, with the option of a trip at dawn to catch the best of the action.
Throughout the winter when the climate and terrain gets tougher, red deer often make their way further down the mountain in search of food. This can often lead them to the roadside for great photo opportunities.
You can also enjoy the half-day Wee Safari to spot otters and see a magnificent view of Ben Nevis on the return journey.
Start/end point: Fort William Season/months: autumn – late September to end of October Location: Scottish Highlands Price: £195 for up to 6 passengers Length of tour: 3.5 – 4 hours
Head to the west Highlands and Ardnamurchan for some of the most spectacular scenery, mountain ranges and coastline, alongside an array of incredible wildlife to spot in their natural habitats. Venture on a guided tour with a knowledgeable wildlife expert for the best chance to see these amazing creatures up close. With its varied landscape, the Ardnamurchan Peninsula is home to a wealth of animals from pine martens, golden eagles and red deer to hen harriers, wild cats and even sea life, including dolphins, porpoises, and basking sharks.
A range of tours are on offer throughout the year, allowing you to see rare and exciting birds, animals and habitats, as well as exploring important issues that affect the conservation of these areas. You can also discover Ardnamurchan and its wildlife at a more personalised and slower pace on a 5 day holiday in spring and summer.
Start/end point: Ardnamurchan Season/months: open all year Location: Ardnamurchan Price: from £150 Length of tour: 3-hour day tour or twilight tour, or 4-hour night time tour
It wouldn’t be a wildlife trip to Scotland without experiencing Scottish sea life. Did you know basking sharks are the biggest fish in Scotland and the UK, and you can spot them off our coasts? Most commonly spotted on the west coast in between our stunning islands, basking sharks can be seen swimming close to our shores and coastlines in search of food. Despite their often scary appearance, basking sharks are typically harmless and only feed on plankton. So if you ever see a strange fin poking out of the water, it could be your friendly neighbourhood shark!
Venture out on a boat tour for a better chance of seeing these giant creatures up close. Experiences on offer include scuba diving, so hop onboard and let the expert marine guides show you the best of Scotland’s water wildlife.
Join in an expedition on the west coast to experience Scottish sea life in their natural habitats with whales, dolphins and otters, seals, golden eagles, puffins and more. All of the trips on offer include the Corryvreckan Whirlpool and the Ballachuan Hazelwood (a Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserve) so you are guaranteed dramatic sea cliffs, uninhabited islands, and untouched landscapes no matter which boat trip you choose.
The tours are an ideal choice for a family day out as they’re open to all ages. You’ll be in safe and experienced hands with your skipper, who knows all the best places and times of year to spot dolphins, whales and porpoises. Keep an eye out on the island’s rugged coastline where you can often spot deer and wild goats too.
The infamous Corryvreckan Whirlpool makes for a trip to remember as your capable skipper steers you around the choppy waves of the third largest whirlpool in the world.
You can also arrange private charters and landings, if you have somewhere specific you’d like to see.
Start/end point: Seil Island Season/months: April – October Location: Oban Price: varies on tour length Length of tour: 3 – 5 hours
The Moray Firth is one of the best places in Scotland to see dolphins playing in the water. Located in the north east just along from Inverness, head out on a boat trip where you can learn more about bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises, whilst keeping a watchful eye out to spot some for yourself.
Experience a family-friendly dolphin cruise, taking in incredible sights and scenery as you travel up the Beauly Firth towards the Caledonian Canal, then head out to the Inverness Firth under the Kessock bridge and as far out as Munlochy Bay. Aside from dolphins poking their heads above the water, the Moray Firth is also home to an abundance of other wildlife including otters, seals, birdlife and more.
Remember to wrap up warm (even in summer) and waterproofs are always a good idea!
Start/end point: Inverness Marina Season/months: April – October Location: Inverness Price: from £12 Length of tour: 75 minutes, or 2 hours
Sharks and dolphins are not the only animals you can spot off Scotland’s coasts – whales often make an appearance too! Head out on a cruise towards the Shiant Islands where you will not only encounter many species for wildlife, but you’ll be enchanted by the mesmerising scenery and landscapes that surround you. For the best chance of whale spotting, your knowledgeable captain and guide will take you out into the waters of the North Minch where there is known feeding grounds.
As one of Scotland’s recognised hotspots for whale and dolphin sightings, the North Minch boasts undersea mountains which create powerful currents on the surface that are rich in nutrients and frequently visited by whales, dolphins and many other marine species. It’s also a great location to see an abundance of exceptional seabirds.
Start/end point: Gairloch Season/months: mid-April to mid-September Location: Gairloch Price: varies Length of tour: 2.5 hours and 4 hours
Located along the iconic North Coast 500 driving route, enjoy a fun, interactive and educational Farm Buggy Tour in an off-road all-terrain 4-wheel drive buggy. Get to grips with everything to do with farming, spend time with the farmer to learn all about how your food is produced, and learn a thing or two about the local history of the area along the way too.
A perfect choice for a family adventure, each buggy can seat three adults, or two adults and two children, all with fitted seat belts. Along the tour there will be opportunities to stop off and get up close to a range of farm animals from sheep, Highland cows and pygmy goats, to friendly farm dogs, horses and more. You’ll be taken to a great vantage point en route for unparalleled views of the surrounding Highland landscape, so make sure you have your cameras at the ready!
Start/end point: Kirkton Farm, near Melvich Season/months: open all year Location: Thurso, Highlands Price: varies Length of tour: 1.5 – 2 hours
Head to the pretty south west Scotland to Airyolland Farm where you can enjoy a range of farm tours and experiences that allow you to get up close to different farm animals, and also get involved in the atmosphere of a working farm.
Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, head on a walking tour of the farm where you can see Highland cows up close, wander past remains from the Bronze Age and finish off with some delicious home baking. Or get involved with the Insta Coo Tour where you can get outdoors with the majestic Highland coos in their natural habitat. There’ll be plenty of time to get that Instagram-worthy shot, you can learn all about the coos from your experienced guide, and you’ll travel around in a comfortable farm tour trailer.
Start/end point: Airyolland Farm Season/months: throughout the year Location: Dumfries & Galloway Price: from £7.50 Length of tour: varies for each tour
Counting sheep Campers have wide a range of campervans and motorhomes to hire in Scotland and are conveniently located at the gateway to Scotland. Just a short drive from Edinburgh or Newcastle. If you wish to leave your car with us, no problem we offer free on site secure parking. We also offer a free local Train station Meet & Greet service, if you wish to travel to us by public transport. We are in the perfect location to start your holiday, exploring Scotland or Northern Britain.