Weather in Scotland in December

Is December a good time to visit Scotland?

The dark days of December in Scotland are brightened by the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle, warm hospitality and bright lights. Snow falls in the mountains and frost decorates the rural hamlets. Days are short – in fact when the skies are cloudy it may seem to never become fully daylight at all – and wind is common. What it lacks in the weather stakes, Scotland in December makes up for with an abundance of festive spirit.


Climate in Scotland in December

Be prepared for rain when you visit Scotland in December – with an average of 170mm to be precipitated, it is unlikely you will avoid having some of it fall on your head across the average of 18 wet days for the month. There are only an average of 7 hours of daylight between sunrise and sunset, which, compounded with the usually cloudy skies, makes for a gloomy time. It will be cold, too, with a mean average maximum temperature of 5.5°C. The mercury will seldom drop below freezing, but the very real possibility is there. Snow – and a white Christmas – has historically been rare except in the extreme high altitude areas of Scotland, but in recent years December snowfalls and severe weather has caused transport delays.

What’s on in Scotland in December?

Edinburgh pulls out all the stops in the run-up to Christmas – and right through to New Year (Hogmanay in Scotland) – with the centre of the city transformed into a Winter wonderland, packed with events, activities, spectacles and, of course, superb shopping. All around Scotland – even in little villages – the festive season is celebrated with torchlight processions, carol singing and other heart-warming festivities. The grandest festival of all in Scotland is Hogmanay – the new year celebrations across the land, kicking off at midnight on the 31st December.

What to pack for a holiday in Scotland in December

You’ll need your party clothes in Scotland in December, for sure, but layered on top of them outdoors you will need plenty of warm clothing, and a waterproof overcoat. A hat to cover the ears, gloves, thick socks, long underwear and good quality waterproof boots will see good service.