Loch Morlich, Cairngorms National Park

We've all heard plenty of jokes about the Scottish weather - but most of them aren't true! Scotland's climate is actually quite moderate and very changeable, although on occasion we get really hot or really cold weather. As the old Scottish saying goes, 'there's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes!'

Despite being a relatively small country, one of the most surprising things about the Scottish climate is just how much it varies from one region to another. It's often the case that you can drive for 20 minutes and find that the conditions are completely different. The unpredicatable nature of the climate means it's not uncommon to experience all four seasons in one day!

Spring

Edinburgh cherry blossomCherry blossom in the Meadows, Edinburgh

You can expect average maximum temperatures to range from approximately 7°C (45°F) to 13 °C (55°F) during the months of March, April and May. A beautiful time to visit, this season sees daffodils, bluebells, cherry blossom and rhododendrons bursting into bloom. With sprightly wildlife and a milder breeze in the air, there's plenty of activities to enjoy. Even if you do experience an April shower or two, there is a fantastic range of galleries, museums and other attractions to keep you entertained all year-round, regardless of the weather. Why not come for an Easter break?

Summer

East Beach at LossiemouthThe East Beach at Lossiemouth, Highlands

June, July and August are normally the warmest months in Scotland, with average maximum temperatures ranging from approximately 15°C (59°F) to 17°C (63 °F). Scotland's high latitude means that we enjoy lovely long summer days and often an extended twilight. In the north of the country, Lerwick in Shetland has about four hours more daylight at midsummer than London. At this time of year there is actually no complete darkness in the far north of Scotland. And, with the extra hours of daylight, you can pack a lot into your summer holiday. Round of golf at midnight, anyone?  

Autumn

Autumn leaves CrieffLady Mary's Walk, Crieff

In the Autumn (or Fall), Scotland is likely to experience temperatures ranging from around 8°C (46°F) to 14°C (57°F) from September to November. The colours of autumn are eye-catching and vibrant, as the trees change from green to fiery reds, oranges and yellows. It's a perfect time of year to snap some photographs as you take an invigorating autumn amble through the forest. 

Winter

Snow Wallace MonumentWallace Monument, Stirling

December, January and February are generally the coldest months in Scotland, with the average maximum temperature usually around 5°C (41°F). The average number of days with snow falling in Scotland ranges from 15 to 20 days. However, the peaks and mountains of the Highlands experience around 100 days of falling snow. The snowsports season varies each year, but generally it runs from November to April. Scotland's five ski centres provide some of the best value snowboarding and skiing in Europe.

Find the answers to more frequently asked questions about winter in Scotland.

Source for average maximum temperatures: Met Office

Did you know?

  • In Scotland, we have an old proverb that goes, 'today's rain is tomorrow's whisky.'
  • Strong winds driving in from the Atlantic and North Sea make the Outer Hebrides and Sutherland a paradise for windsurfers.
  • The eastern part of the country, from Inverness across to Aberdeenshire and down to Angus, Fife and the Lothians, enjoys an annual rainfall that is actually similar to (or less than) New York, Barcelona, Rome or even Rabat in Morocco.
  • The long daylight hours means that you could play a round of golf in the middle of the night on Orkney and Shetland.
  • Long dark winter nights are the best time to see amazing constellations of stars at Scotland's designated Dark Sky areas.
  • The Gulf Stream brings warm winds to Scotland's west coast. You can find palm trees in the Highland coastal town of Plockton.
  • Dundee is Scotland's sunniest city, with an average of 1,523 hours of sunshine per year.

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