Weather in Scotland in May

Is May a good time to visit Scotland?

Many regular travelers regard May as the ideal month to visit Scotland – as spring heads for summer temperatures rise, the salmon are jumping and the landscape (well-watered during the winter months) is lush and green. Parks and gardens are ablaze with colour and bluebells carpet the woods. May is also one of the driest months in Scotland, the occasional showers bringing pretty rainbows, and the pre-summer high season prices are attractive for tourists. 


Climate in Scotland in May

During May the temperature in Scotland in degrees Celsius averages the low double figures, on odd “lucky” days approaching 15°C, and rainfall levels are at their lowest point, at around 350mm. Unless you are mountain-climbing you can leave the heavy coats at your digs, and enjoy the great outdoors, where spring is “busting out all over”. Daylight hours in these northern latitudes stretch out – Scotland in May enjoys around 17 hours of daylight out of 24, and if you are lucky a lot of them will be sunny. Remember, though, that the weather in Scotland is notoriously unpredictable and the odd pocket of wintry weather could still invade regionally, particularly in the Highlands.


What’s on in Scotland in May

The Hebridean island of Islay – known as “Queen of the Isles” – is suffused with spring in May to the extent that it can hold its annual Festival of Malt and Music, celebrating island heritage and culture, and drawing many appreciative visitors. Meanwhile a three-day literary gathering is the Ullapool Book Festival, a more sober affair in this highland town on the banks of Loch Broom, with readings, talks and workshops. Hikers flock to the Aviemore and Cairngorms Walking and Mountain Festival to appreciate the spectacular scenery on guided walks.


What to pack for a holiday in Scotland in May                          

Unless you are hiking in the mountains, which may require specialist gear, a visit to Scotland in May requires some warm fleeces, woolly sweaters, jeans and comfortable “trainers”. A waterproof poncho or anorak will be useful in your day pack, even though this is a dry month in Scotland, because showers can be unpredictable. Layers are the key … indoors the central heating will probably still be turned on, and fires roaring in the hearths.