Scotland’s weather can be really unpredictable. This is because it can be sunny and then it can become cloudy and cold all of a sudden. Scotland’s weather is very much a changeable weather, which makes what to pack for Scotland a little difficult.
If you have been to London or perhaps Seattle you are well on your way to understanding what to expect and therefore putting together your Scotland packing list somewhat easier.
Whether you are working through the perfect UK itinerary or just visiting Scotland’s amazing cities like the likes of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness or exploring the beautiful hiking trails on Isle of Skye or in the Highlands, there is no disputing the fact that Scotland is blessed with stunning cities and coastlines. They just forgot to ask for decent weather from the weather gods when being handed beautiful and scenic cities and villages.
So, you are planning a trip to Scotland and wonder just what to pack when visiting Scotland. Whether you are in Scotland in summer, winter or spring. Below I will take you through what people in Scotland dress like, what to expect of the weather, what essentials to park when visiting these rainy and beautiful locations in Scotland.
Clothing Style In Scotland | How Do People Dress In Scotland
When is comes to clothing style or how people dress in Scotland a lot of it is determined by what the weather throws at you. Summers in Scotland can be cool and cloudy but still partly wet and windy.
Winters are long, cold and really windy. Spring and autumn are mild in comparison. This means that will Scottish people can still be stylish, much of the clothing style will still consist of layering components. Things like tops layered with jumpers and a scarf on top of that then a jacket or coat that is either light or heavier for colder months.
Much like my advice for what to pack for Iceland, the best way to go when visiting Scotland is to have elements of clothing you can layer up, whether exploring the city or hiking the beautiful trails in Scotland.
With regard to what shows to wear in Scotland, most Scottish tend to spend their lifetime in closed shoes because it rains so much. Yes, there are spells of good weather now and then when you might see people in sandals. For the most part you will find that most women are in boots, whether ankle boots or knee-high boots. I will go into more detail below.
How To Dress In Scotland
When it comes to how to dress in Scotland, you are really free to wear as you please really. There aren’t any major rules as to what not to wear in Scotland. Providing you are not running around naked in the streets, you can wear a bin bag if you like, you may get stares but just about it. Rankly on a pub crawl with drunk students this scene wouldn’t be amiss anyway so, there is that!
The Perfect Packing List For Scotland – The Essentials
So what to pack for a trip to Scotland? The whole house minus the kitchen sink. I am kidding. I will go into more detail below regarding the weather for each more to help you even further depending on what month you are visiting Scotland. Below are some of the essential items to to pack as part of your Scotland packing list of items to bring with you:
- Warm Jacket: Yes, even in the summer you may need to bring, whether a mac trench or a light quilted jacket that you can easily layer up with other clothing depending on what the weather looks like. For winters in Scotland, a heavier wool coat or faux wool, that key thing is that it needs to be warm as the weather even when not raining you sometimes get really cold and chilly air with bite.
- Shoes for Scotland: This is an important part of your packing list. If you are just exploring the cities in Scotland then a normal pair of shoes are ok. During the rainy season I would not recommend weather meshed trainers but leather ones like Addis classic style, The meshed or woven ones, I find that when it rains they get wet quickly and you end up with wet feet. If trainers are not part of your travel shoes then a pair of ankle boots. These also ensure you can dress them up when doing dinner or experiencing the nightlife in Scotland. If you are going beyond the city and walking or hiking the trails of Old Man of Storr or the Highlands then I highly recommend not only a waterproof pair of walking shoes but suitable hiking shoes.
- Jeans: They are easy to pack and easy to dress up or down and you get a lot of wear out of them than any clothing item which allows you to pack much less as well.
- Sweaters/jumpers: sweaters are very important. You should wear a sweater after you have dressed up and then your coat or jacket will be placed on it. These sweaters will keep you warm, and you can easily remove these sweaters when you get to a warm environment.
- Jumper dress: I find them super easy to pack and wear too. They can be worn with or without legging depending on the weather. I have heaver and lighter jumper dresses and I tend to pack one of each. You can also dress them down or up if you are going for a night out during your travels.
- Shirts: For the guys you might want to pack a shirt or two but supplement it with a jumper or two on top for colder days.
- Thermal underwear: These can be both leggings and tops. I shared a post on the best thermals for Iceland if you need tips on the best ones to take. Essential whether exploring Scottish cites in winter or hiking in the summer as some mountain ranges can still be wet and cold in the summer too.
- Umbrella: Its Scotland, rain is always around the corner.
The Best Jackets and Best Raincoats For Scotland
The weather between December and January In Scotland is very cold and mostly wet. March and April and mid-October and November being cold. From May to mid-October the weather is mostly mild and cool with summer weather falling between mid-July and mid-August. With this in mind below are are some of the jackets for Scotland you should consider packing.
Best Jackets For Scotland Weather
If you are doing city exploring with light walking tours in the countryside or taking to Arther’s seat in Edinburgh you may be able to get away with just packing a normal wool-like coat to keep you warm. Below are some perfect examples of coats and jackets to pack for Scotland weather,.
To cope with wet weather especially if much of your Scotland itinerary is spent outdoors you might want to consider packing winter insulated jacket that is also waterproof. You can stay warm and dry at the same time. Below are some options for perfect waterproof jackets and coats for men and women that are suitable to wear in Scotland.
Raincoats and Best Scottish Rain Gear
If you already have a suitable coat or jacket for Scotland then adding a raincoat on top of that may just the perfect option. This way you also reduce the likelihood of wrestling with an umbrella in the windy weather. Many of the raincoats below come with a hood too so you can stay dry from head to perhaps up to the knees depending on the length you go for.
Other Items To Consider Packing For Scotland
- UK Electric adapter
- First aid kits essential items when hiking in Scotland.
- The perfect camera of course to capture your trip. Consider a GoPro with water cover which can be sure even when its pouring with rain.
- Beauty products from hair to skincare, you can have your favourite brands all in mini travel sizes. Check out my post on travel size skincare kits.
- Might want to consider packing a waterproof phone cover.
- Pack your own water bottle stainless steel and just fill up at your hotel to save having to buy single-use plastic bottles of water.
The Weather In Scotland | Best Time To Visit For Good Weather
If I had to pick the best months to visit Scotland it would be between June and September. The days are still long and you get really warm weather even if some days may be overcast. This warm season lasts about three months. Perfect for picnics in Scottish parks and mountain hikes in addition to being the perfect time to go hiking in many of Scotland’s beautiful trails.
Between June and mid-September temperatures in Scotland range between 10°C and 20°C. This is also the best time to visit many of the stunning beaches in Scotland as far as the Outer Hebrides. Bet you didn’t know that Scotland had beautiful beaches, huh. They weather might be crap but the beaches are still beautiful. You can also take to winter swimming too in a wetsuit.
After the above warm season, you have the cold season that falls between November to March. The cold season lasts about four months. The coldest days are usually in January with temperatures falling between 1°C and 6°C. Yep, not the best, during this time you might also be contending with ice showers too so that warm and waterproof clothing will be working twice as hard.
Scotland Annual Average Climate
|Min Temp (°C)||0.9||0.8||1.9||3.3||5.7||8.4||10.4||10.2||8.3||5.8||3.1||1|
|Max Temp (°C)||6.1||6.3||8||10.4||13.4||15.7||17.6||17.3||15||11.7||8.5||6.3|
Month By Month Packing For Scotland
Depending on the month you are planning on visiting Scotland below is what to expect for each month. The length of the day in Scotland varies a lot for a city like Edinburgh you will find that the month of December you have the shortest days in the year with only 6 hours of daylight. So plan accordingly if you are visiting in winter so that you make the most of your exploring time.
The wet season in Scotland is between July and the beginning of February. From February to the beginning of July it’s mostly dry with very little rain,
Weather And What To Wear In Scotland In January
The weather in Scotland in January is pretty windy, with about 7 hours of daylight. Temperatures in January can be as low as 1°C. It can be really wet in January so make sure you have suitable shoes and clothing to keep you dry. If you are hiking this is not the time to skip on hiking gear or camping gear. Safety first!
Weather And What To Wear In Scotland In February
Typical weather in Scotland in February is still freezing so pack a warm jacket and if you are hiking or walking to Arthurs Seat or any of the Highlands tours then waterproof boots should be an essential item to pack for Scotland. As is a warm coat, gloves, scarf and perhaps a woolly hat. Temperatures in February can be as low as 1°C and the highest about 8°C. Although it will feel even colder with the rain and wind.
Weather And What To Wear In Scotland In March/April
The temperature of Scotland in March and April is just starting to pick up and you are going to be seeing between 3s and 9°C. Grant its not African summer weather but what the hay, its heading in the right direction. Its still mostly overcast for half the days. Its also between March and April you are starting to get longer dryer spells. You will still experience rain but maybe not as much as January.
Weather And What To Wear In Scotland In May/June
Scotland in May and June the weather is a lot milder. It’s actually cool and pleasant both in terms of weather and just overall exploring leisurely as you require less clothing to keep you warm and dry. During May and June, you get really long days where sunrises are from 4.30am with as much as 17 hours of daylight.
Temperatures are between 9°C and 18°C. You can afford to pack lighter clothing as will be experiencing some of the warmest weather during this time in Scotland. Hiking in Scotland in June is also popular so if you are looking for outdoor adventures this is one of the best times to do it.
Weather And What To Wear In Scotland In July/August
And then we come onto the best time to visit which is in late June to late August. You can the most ideal temperatures for exploring and seeking all the coolest adventures Scotland has to offer. Temperatures are between 11 and about 21°C. You may not need thermals during these two months. You can also wear sandals during your visit too as well as flat pumps.
Weather And What To Wear In Scotland In September/October
The warm temperatures are between mid-June and mid-September so after mid-September, you start to see temperatures decreasing to match those you would see in February and March. Scotland weather in September and October will be mild just before entering a season with cold and cold weather that is brought about in November and December.
Weather And What To Wear In Scotland In November/December
Scotland in November and December is cool and verging on very cold. Its mostly cloudy which makes it feel even colder. Its also a lot windier so pack a hat to avoid hair flying about and increasing the case of bad hair days. During this time you raincoats, umbrellas and warm jackets and waterproof shoes are essential.
Essential Items For Hiking In Scotland – What To Pack Hiking In Scotland
If you are hiking in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Highlands, Isle of Skye or wherever make sure you pack items required for the hike and its difficulty level.
- Hiking boots – make sure you buy waterproof ones.
- Hiking poles – optional
- Waterproof jacket/coat
- Thick and warm socks
So there you have it, I hope that gave you insight into Scotland fashion, weather, and Scotland clothing to pack for your trip. If you are passing by London during your visit I have a post on what to pack for London in Spring/Summer and what to wear in London in Winter.
Visiting The UK? Also Read:
- The Best Cities To Visit In The UK
- Essential Accessories To Pack For A Trip To Europe
- Things To Do On A Weekend In Edinburgh
- What To Pack For London In Spring Or Summer
- The Best London And Paris Itinerary
- Exploring The Romantic Side Of Edinburgh
- The Best Travel Pillows
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