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Scotland in Spring?

Hi, we usually travel in early Spring (late March-early April). Would we be completely out of our minds to go to Scotland at this time? My husband hates the heat, so trying to avoid summer (and summer crowds). We have had good luck in the past traveling in Europe at this time of year, but from what I have read so far, about Scotland weather, is this advisable? Your thoughts? Thanks so much! Karen

Posted by
4737 posts

With the current unpredictable weather, forecasting is impossible. Usually, February is the worst month for snow. Late March/early April could be glorious cool, bright spring days or you could get lots of rain.

In May when I was in southern France, for several days, the weather was better in Scotland, which isn’t normal.

The first three weeks of April will be U.K. school holidays, so places will be busier.

Just be prepared for four seasons in one day clotheswise.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Karen,

Your husband hates the heat and you're living in Dallas? He has my deepest sympathy! If you can push your time frame forward to late April/early May, you will in all probability have better weather. Plus more daylight hours. Scottish weather is notoriously unpredictable. We just got back from a month in Scotland, June into July, and the weather for the most part was scorchingly hot. At least the heat and constant sunshine kept the midges away!

There is much to see in the spring in Scotland, especially as May approaches. Many spring flowers will be in bloom, and lambing season will be approaching, especially in the southern part of the country. Scotland is beautiful, at any time of the year. However, as Jennifer said, be prepared for four seasons in a day.

Your husband will definitely enjoy the cooler weather, and will no doubt be trying to convince you to move to Scotland!

Best wishes for your holiday plans!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
3201 posts

When we visited it was in May. We had some light rain and some overcast days, but overall, the weather was fine. Some days we did need light jackets.

Posted by
127 posts

Thanks so much for the kind and helpful replies. Looks like May would be better. Has anyone have experience traveling there in the Fall, like October? Thank you! Karen

Posted by
2743 posts

The advantage of traveling in the spring, after the March equinox, is that the days are longer so you have more hours of daylight to enjoy the scenery. (It's easy to forget how far north on the planet Scotland is.) We've been to Scotland in early-ish May twice and were struck by how late in the evening it stays light. If you went in September, especially after the equinox, the reverse would be true.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Karen,

October is the only month when I've never been in Scotland. I've been there in each of the other eleven months. In late September, the nights start closing in, but there are still several festivals going on, like the Wigtown Book Festival and the Findhorn Bay Festival.

However, springtime would still be better for visiting Scotland. As epitd says, you can experience the daylight hours getting longer. If you're in Edinburgh on May 1st., and if you can get up early enough, you can participate in the time-honored Beltane tradition of washing your face in the morning dew on Arthur's Seat.

If you could possibly travel May in to June, you'll find that the daylight hours get longer the closer you are to the solstice. You can read a newspaper out of doors as late as 11 p.m., and after a period of gloaming, it's broad daylight again at 3:30 a.m. The farther north you go, the longer the daylight hours.

Whatever you decide to do, you'll find lots to do and lots to see in Scotland.

Good luck with your planning!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
1280 posts

One thing to keep in mind is the tourist season tends to be March to October, with things winding down in October. Outwith the cities far fewer places will be open at the ends of the season or out of it, as will fewer places to stay.

Posted by
123 posts

Planning the same ourselves...and we usually go end of March or mid to late November; never had any problems. No different than visiting here in Vermont or northeast USA at same times of year.

Posted by
1724 posts

Karen,
We went to Scotland in 2002. We didn't plan it this way, but we were there the week after Easter. It worked out great!

It turns out that the week leading up to Easter is a huge tourist week. Then everybody goes home. Attractions and lodging open up to catch the Easter crowd and remains open for the rest of the season. When we were there, daffodils were in full bloom and it was gorgeous! There was still some snow in the upper Highlands (the 5 Sisters) that was fun to see.

The weather was fine, much better than we expected. It was sunny and mild most days. There was one day when we were on Mull that was rainy. Also, we woke up to frost one morning we were on Mull. There were a few days that the wool sweaters we bought in the Barrows in Glasgow felt good.

As I mentioned, everyone had gone home so the crowds were small or non-existent. There was an added advantage for those of Scots descent, the high season prices for lodging hadn't kicked in!