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Does It Snow In Scotland?

Scottish Tours Glencoe Photography Experience


When imagining Scotland in the winter, are you picturing snowy landscapes and twinkling city lights? You might be curious to learn more about Scotland’s climate before booking a trip. Although the weather is known to be unpredictable during the winter, it is very rare that Scotland experiences extreme weather. So, does it snow in Scotland?

On average, there are 38 days of snow in Scotland, with 26 of those days resulting in settled snow. Primarily in the northern mountainous areas, snow tends to arrive in Scotland during the winter months from December through to February. Further south and in cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh, snow tends to melt much faster than in the north.

Keep reading to find out more about snowfall in Scotland, and what an average winter looks like. 


What are Winters Like in Scotland?

Between the months of December and February, Scotland tends to experience colder and shorter days than the rest of the UK. Despite the drop in temperature, Scotland’s climate is still considered to be fairly mild. With that being said, it is not uncommon for a white blanket to fall over the north of Scotland during winter months, and snow has been known to arrive early in November, or even as late as March/April.

Average Temperatures in Scotland

Unlike some countries, Scotland does not have a wet or dry season, and instead rainfall is fairly consistent throughout the year. For warmer months, the temperature tends to sit around 18°C, and the colder months average 0°C. In Scotland, it is generally colder, windier and wetter than in England. 

Do Scottish Cities Get Snow?

It is generally rare that snow will fall and stick in Scottish cities like Edinburgh. Positioned on the West Coast of Scotland, it is also highly unlikely that Glasgow will receive snow at all throughout the year. If there is any snowfall, the mild climate prevents any snow from staying for extended periods of time. So, if you are planning a city break for winter in Scotland, it is unlikely you will be getting much snow. Further north, however, in the city of Inverness, temperatures tend to be far colder and snowfall more likely during winter months. 


Where in Scotland Gets the Most Snow?

The colder climate in the north of Scotland means that snow is far more likely, and will often stay for the duration of winter. If you are looking for a stunning snowy landscape in Scotland, you are best heading to Cairngorms National Park. With an average of 76 days of snowfall a year, the Cairngorms are a great destination for skiing, hiking, and photography opportunities

In the area of Glenshee, the average snowfall is 60 days a year, and also boasts the largest ski resort in Scotland. In easy reach of Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh, Glenshee offers a wide range of activities for all outdoor adventure enthusiasts.


What is There to Do When it Snows in Scotland?

Winter is a brilliant time to visit Scotland to experience the beauty of snowy landscapes and breathtaking scenery. Here are some of the best things to do in Scotland during the winter:

The Northern Lights

The Aurora Borealis is viewable from some of the northern parts of Scotland. Primarily observed between 60°-75° latitude, winter is a great chance to see the Northern Lights. Similarly, the conditions in the north of Scotland are ideal for stargazing due to the lack of light pollution. The best places to see the Northern Lights include the Outer Hebrides, the Cairngorms, and the Isle of Skye.

Winter Wildlife

Taking a long hike through the stunning winter scenery of Scotland promises the chance to see a range of wildlife including foxes, mountain hares, and red squirrels. It is also more likely that you will spot red deer as they descend from the colder slopes in search of food and warmth. At night, you may also be able to spot bats, badgers and hedgehogs. 

Winter Events

Winter in Scotland is not just characterised by snowy landscapes and winter sports, however. Due to the lack of substantial snow disruption, cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen are full of winter festivities and celebrations. On the 25th of January, Burn’s Night is widely celebrated across the country to remember the poet Robert Burns.


Book a Tour of Scotland for Winter

Explore the scenic Scottish Winter landscapes with a tour of the highlands, or book on a photography tour to take advantage of the snowy scenes. We offer a range of tours through stunning Scottish areas, giving you a chance to fully immerse yourself in the local culture. Contact us today to find out more about our wide range of tours and experiences.