Scotland Weather, climate and geography
Scotland is generally colder than the rest of the UK, especially in the more northerly regions. The west tends to be wetter and warmer than the cool, dry east. In upland areas, snow is common in winter, and fog and mist may occur at any time of year. The five Scottish ski areas are usually open from December/January to April, but as snow accumulations come and go with the varying temperatures, check ahead to make sure the lifts are running. If there’s been late-season snow, skiing sometimes continues into May.
Springtime sees the Highlands wake from their barren winter slumber, and come alive with wild flowers and fresh green shoots; August sees a striking landscape dripping in purple Scottish heather; autumn brings a rush of gold and crimson leaves.
The busiest tourist season is July and August, when schools are on holiday and when many summer festivals occur (including the Edinburgh Festival in August).
Similar to the rest of the UK, according to season. In autumn, winter and often well into spring you’ll need a warm jacket. Although temperatures rarely dip below freezing during the day in winter thanks to the warming Gulf Stream, overnight frost is common. (You should expect daytime freezing temperatures at altitude however.) Summer can see temperatures hit the mid-20s °C (mid-70s °F) on occasion, but this is the exception rather than the rule, so you’ll generally need at least a light sweater and probably a light jacket too.
The Scottish weather is unpredictable and changeable though, so you could easily find yourself needing an umbrella and warm coat one day and a T-shirt and sunhat the next. Wherever you’re travelling, you should definitely take a waterproof jacket (and trousers too if you’re hiking in the hills). You might be lucky and hit a heatwave, but chances are you’ll need warm clothing in the Highlands, even in summer.