Although Scotland is beautiful all year round, arguably winter offers up some of the country’s most cinematic views.
Its dramatic landscapes including castles and mountains can often be found with a dusting of snow. Though a wee dram found in any of Scotland’s plentiful distilleries, not to mention a roaring log fire are never too far away to keep you warm even on the chilliest of days.
Whether you are planning a Christmas getaway, are looking to partake in some winter sports or simply want to enjoy the splendour of Scotland without the crowds, here is everything you need to know about visiting Scotland in the wintertime to help ensure a memorable stay.
When Is Winter In Scotland?
Winter in Scotland begins in December and lasts until March.
It’s good to note that Scotland in general tends to have slightly lower temperatures than the rest of the UK all year round as it is more northerly and exposed.
In particular, The Hebrides will feel significantly colder and breezier than the mainland. So if you are visiting Scotland in winter, then be prepared to wrap up warm.
Also, daylight hours are much shorter in winter which will bring on that evening chill much sooner compared with the summer months. The shortest day of the year is on the 21st of December, with daylight hours averaging between 8.45am and 3.30pm during this time.
What Is Scotland Like In The Winter?
As with any other time of the year, Scotland in the winter is truly majestic. Its snow-capped mountains and castles are a photographer’s dream.
In the towns and cities of Scotland, seasonal festivities add plenty of sparkle to any visit. In particular, the Hogmanay event in Edinburgh on the 31st of December is a real spectacle to behold.
Although, whenever you visit during the winter season there’s plenty to see and do in Scotland, including whether you’re planning a remote cabin retreat or a city break.
How Cold Is Scotland In Winter?
December, January and February are generally the coldest months in Scotland, with the average maximum temperature usually around 5°C (41°F).
Snow typically falls between 15 and 20 days in Scotland. Although in the mountainous areas including the Highlands, snow falls for around 100 days a year. It is for this reason Scotland in the winter makes for a very popular ski destination, with five ski centres located across the country in total.
Does Scotland Ever Get Snow?
Yes. As noted above, Scotland averages around 15 to 100 days of snowfall depending on where you stay. So if your perfect idea of a winter getaway is waking up in a cabin with snow falling at the windows, Scotland can certainly provide this during the colder months.
Do I Need Snow Boots In Scotland?
If you plan on trudging through any snow-covered areas, then snow boots are certainly advisable. Even if you are planning a city break during winter in Scotland, it’s always good to have a pair of waterproof shoes that are easy to walk in, including during snowy or slippery conditions.
Where Can You See The Northern Lights in Scotland?
The exposed landscapes of Scotland make the Northern Lights visible from various areas including Shetland, Orkney, The Cairngorms, Fife and The Isle of Skye.
The autumn and winter seasons in Scotland offer prime Northern Lights viewing.
Can I Go Climbing In Scotland In Winter?
Yes. There are several popular mountain ranges and climbing destinations in Scotland to explore in the winter including the Cairngorms National Park, the Cuillin ridge of Skye and the incredible peaks of Stac Pollaidh.
Though, the climbing conditions in Scotland during the colder months are harsh and unforgiving. Therefore, it is only advisable for experienced climbers to attempt scaling the higher terrains of Scotland during the winter. In addition, you should check the weather forecast and ensure you are adequately prepared for everything the conditions will throw at you.
For beginners, visiting Scotland in the warmer months offers plenty of gentle walks and climbs that are much easier to tackle.
How Easy Is It To Get Around Scotland In The Winter?
Scotland is well connected by air, sea, road, trains and other forms of public transport. Although, the weather including snow, ice and poor visibility can affect how easy it is to get around regardless of the mode of transport you opt for.
Opting for a city centre location will likely provide the easiest way of getting around versus remote locations in Scotland.
Always check the weather forecast both in advance and on the day so that you keep up to date with any sudden changes to transport links.
If you plan on driving across Scotland, you’ll need to ensure your vehicle is equipped with winter tyres along with supplies should you break down. You will also need to drive carefully including at reduced speeds when driving through snowy or icy conditions.
Is Scotland Expensive During Winter?
Not necessarily. As peak visitor season is during the summer months, you may find it cheaper to visit Scotland during the winter. Though, the basics such as food and supplies will likely have a similar cost compared with visiting at any other time during the year.
What Is The Cheapest Month To Go To Scotland?
As it happens, November and December tend to be the cheapest months to travel to Scotland in terms of the cost of flights and accommodation.
What Is There To Do In Scotland During The Winter?
There are endless things to do in Scotland all year round including during the winter. Although some tourist attractions close during the colder months, you’ll still find plenty to pack into your trip if visiting between December and March.
Some of the top things to do include mountain climbing, riding the Caledonian Sleeper Train between Fort William and Glasgow, a husky ride on the Bowland Trails, island distillery tours, Edinburgh Christmas markets or staying up to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
There are many other tourist attractions including museums, natural wonders, shops and restaurants located right across Scotland.
What Type Of Holiday Can I Take In Scotland During The Winter?
Of course, Scotland is also incredibly popular for winter sports including skiing and fishing too. Therefore, the country offers an incredibly mixed bag especially for those who enjoy breathtaking scenery along with outdoor life.
Where To Stay In Scotland During The Winter?
What’s great is not only does the type of accommodation vary but so do the locations. Whether you’re in search of a rural retreat or a city break there’s something for all holiday hunters.
Where To Find Log Cabins With Hot Tubs Scotland?
We can think of nothing better than sitting back and relaxing in your own hot tub. But with the incredible scenery of Scotland in the background things just went up a notch.
Here at Best Scottish Cottages, you’ll find log cabins (and plenty of other accommodation types) with hot tubs. Browse our hot tub accommodation collection to see what’s available in your chosen location.
Is It Worth Visiting Scotland During Winter?
Absolutely. A visit to Scotland really is a must at least once in your life, and during winter is no exception.
Scotland is a land of incredible sights, scenery and people. In the winter, things get that extra bit cosy as you can experience everything the country has to offer all wrapped up in your cosiest clothing.
During the day, there are endless things to do and explore. At night the skies come to life, and if you’re lucky enough you might just catch the Northern Lights while you’re here.
Memories will be made for life when you holiday in Scotland during the winter, making it well worth visiting during the chillier months.
Best Scottish Cottages – Find Accommodation In Scotland For Your Winter Visit
Now you know all the top questions people ask relating to winter in Scotland, all that’s left for you to do is book your trip here.
Luckily you’re in the right place, as here at Best Scottish Cottages we have holiday accommodation to let right across Scotland. Whether you’re reading this post in winter or at any other time of the year, now is the time to book your dream stay with us.