1. WHEN DOES WINTER START IN SCOTLAND?
Winter in Scotland roughly ranges from mid November till early March. However, winter conditions in Scotland can arrive as early as October and remain in the higher mountains until late April, early May.
2. HOW COLD IS WINTER IN SCOTLAND?
Despite what you may have heard, Scotland has a pretty temperate climate, even in winter! Generally, January and February are the coldest months, but even then the daytime maximum temperatures average from 5 °C (41 °F) to 7 °C (45 °F) - much higher than other places on the same latitude, such as Hudson Bay in Canada, Stavanger in Norway or Nunivak Island in Alaska.
3. WHAT WILL WINTER CONDITIONS IN SCOTLAND BE LIKE?
In terms of where to expect snow in Scotland, it's very hard to say, and depends quite a lot on where you're going. You're much more likely to encounter freezing conditions and snow in the north of Scotland than in the south, while the west coast gets more rain and snow than the east.
On the whole you can expect cool and crisp weather, but ice, rain, wind and snow are all possible too. Extreme weather rarely lasts long in Scotland though. Often you can encounter freezing conditions one day and wake up to warming sunshine the next.
4. WHAT SHOULD I PACK FOR A WINTER BREAK IN SCOTLAND?
There are some key items you'll need to enjoy winter in Scotland:
- A thick coat, ideally windproof and waterproof.
- Sturdy winter shoes/boots with good grip.
- Plenty of clothes for layering.
- A cosy hat, scarf and gloves.
5. DOES IT SNOW IN WINTER IN SCOTLAND?
In winter there's nothing more magical than fluffy snow on the ground, but when does it snow in Scotland? Although we do regularly get fresh snowfalls in Scotland (on average it snows 15 - 20 days per year), the amount of snow - and likelihood of it lying - really depends on your luck and where you visit.
When it comes to snow in Scotland, the north of Scotland and the west coast are most likely to receive snow and you'll see snow on the mountains almost all winter.
Check the Met Office weather forecast for your trip
6. HOW EASY IS IT TO GET AROUND IN A SCOTTISH WINTER?
Although Scotland does experience extreme weather that can disrupt travel from time to time, getting around is relatively straightforward (and fun!), even in winter.
Read more about getting around Scotland
Scotland has a good road network that is carefully maintained throughout the year. Roads are regularly gritted in winter and any heavy snowfall is cleared as quickly as possible.
However, it's always sensible to check road conditions before setting off on any journey in winter, and to adjust your driving style to suit the conditions.
Check road conditions on the Transport Scotland website
Read Transport Scotland's advice on driving in bad weather
By public transport:
Whether it's by bus, train, ferry or plane, there are plenty of options for getting around Scotland. Although services run regularly throughout the winter (some with winter timetables) if the country is experiencing extreme conditions some services may be delayed or even cancelled for safety reasons.
Always check your journey before heading off and, if you do encounter bad weather, consider travelling later, once the weather improves.
7. WHAT ARE THE WINTER DAYLIGHT HOURS IN SCOTLAND?
At the beginning and end of winter, daylight tends to last from around 7am to 6pm. The daylight hours in Scotland gradually reduce through winter until the shortest day of the year on 21 December at around 8.45am to 3.30pm, at which point the days begin to get longer again. The timings above are for Edinburgh - the further north you go, the later the sun will rise, and the earlier it will set.