The Lowlands of Scotland usually have a moderate year-round temperature. In spring, the average is around 53°F (12°C), rising to about 65°F (18°C) in summer. By the time the crisp fall has arrived, the temperatures have dropped to spring levels. In winter, the average temperature is 43°F (6°C), but can be colder and sub-freezing days are not unheard of, but not the norm, either. Temperatures of northern Scotland and the Highlands are generally lower, especially in winter, and you should dress accordingly. On the islands, the weather is just a bit more temperate, but can be typically windy. In the cities, daytime temperatures are higher.
It rains a fair amount in Scotland, but perhaps not as much as age-old myths would have it: The average annual rainfall in Edinburgh is about the same as that in London. September can be the sunniest month.
When You Find Bargains
The cheapest time to travel is off-season: Late October up to Easter (excluding Christmas and New Year). Rates for hotels hit their peak in the high season from June through September, and particularly in Edinburgh during the Festival in August rates at some hotels rise noticeably. Mid-July and August are when many locals take their holidays, which are increasingly spent inside the U.K., so besides the higher prices, you'll have to deal with bigger crowds and greater demand for hotel rooms.
Those coming from abroad should note that airlines are known to offer cut-rate fares during off-periods. Weekday flights are generally cheaper than weekend fares, often by at least 10%. The best news for bargain hunters is that many tourist attractions in Edinburgh and Glasgow are free. Most remain open year-round, which is not always the case outside these cities.
Spring offers the countryside at its greenest, fall brings on steely skies, and summer's warmth gives rise to the music and theater festivals. But winter offers savings across the board and a chance to see Scots going about their everyday lives largely unhindered by tourist invasions.
The following holidays are celebrated in Scotland, although individual cities and regions will have their public holidays, too: New Year's Day (Jan 1-2), Good Friday and Easter Monday, May Day (first Mon in May), spring bank holiday (last Mon in May), summer bank holiday (last Mon in Aug), Christmas Day (Dec 25), and Boxing Day (Dec 26).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.