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Scottland in January

Hello! Me and my friends are living in Eastern Europe this year, but are planning a week long vacation the second week of January. We really want to visit Scotland, but wonder if it would be worth it in January. What is it like in January? Would there be things we wouldn't be able to see or do?

Posted by
1084 posts

Plenty of museums, castles, lovely coffee shops, music venues, pubs, lovely walks in parks and woods. Go!
The weather won't be that much different from E. Europe!
It does get dark early though.

Posted by
442 posts

Just need the proper clothing and attitude, I should think. Might have the place to yourselves. My Rick Steves book says many tourist attractions and tourist-reliant businesses are closed for the low season or have greatly reduced operating hours, possibly weekends only, so be sure to check ahead. If you’re just roaming at random, rooms should be easy to find and spots that usually has a long queue should be readily available. Way north so very short daylight hours. Depends on what you expect to see and do. If you’re skiing, you will be among winter crowds.

Umm, I have no personal experience, just looking up winter in Scotland in my stack of guidebooks. I’ll be in Scotland in April, just before the shoulder season starts in May. Assuming rain and wind and occasional snow and more of each.

Posted by
5504 posts

I travel to Europe during the winter months but haven't experienced Scotland in winter. The cities are year round activity centers and don't empty out in January. The difference may be opening hours of tourist attractions and of course some outdoor venues may not be open. As noted, daylight hours will be reduced and proper clothing important to comfort. The good news is fewer tourist and the pickpockets are likely to have moved to warmer climates.

Posted by
3954 posts

I've been to Edinburgh over new year, it was cold, snow flurries but everything was open and thriving.

I've been to Aviemore in late January, early February and there was heavy snow but that was expected and as I only had the intention to relax in a log cabin for a few days in front of a roaring fire it suited me perfectly.

Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? The cities will be open as usual, the Highland ski resorts will be operating, Scotland continues to carry on as much the same as the rest of the year.

I preferred my trips to Scotland in the warmer months (Aviemore the exception) but I still enjoyed those in the colder months. If January is the only time you can go just go for it.

Posted by
3954 posts

The good news is fewer tourist and the pickpockets are likely to have moved to warmer climates.

I don't recall reading any official advice about pickpockets in Scotland. I've certainly never witnessed such crime or been a victim. In fact I suspect pickpocketing in Scotland is pretty much non-existent.

Your comment may or may not have been flippant but fear of such crime is a big concern amongst many travellers and it does a place a complete disservice to suggest there is a problem where one doesn't exist.

Posted by
1084 posts

As far as crime in Scotland goes; I lived there for many years and never heard of any crime against visitors.
That said, I was there with my husband a few years ago, and he went off on his own for a few hours.
He was followed near the Cafe Royal in Edinburgh in daylight, by 3 youths who then grabbed him and tried to get his backpack from him.
He whirled around and got one of them hard under the chin with his elbow, and as he heard a loud crack, assumed he had broken the guy's jaw.
They quickly ran away after that.
The thing is to just be aware whenever you are in a new country.