FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SCOTLAND IN DECEMBER
Whatever you’re wondering about visiting Scotland in December, we’re here to answer your most commonly asked questions.
December is a good time to visit as there is less traffic on the roads and less visitors at popular attractions like Edinburgh Castle. It’s good to be aware that some sites will operate on reduced hours, but you’ll find you have them more to yourself.
It is one of the best months to experience Scotland’s winter wonderland, with Christmas markets aplenty and snow-capped hills.
Read below to find out all the details from our local travel experts.
What are the best things to do in Scotland in December?
A huge benefit is that many of Scotland’s amazing attractions are accessible all year long. What’s more, even with short daylight hours and cooler weather, if you’re travelling to Scotland during the winter months, you’ll find plenty of things to do.
Here are the 10 best things to do in Scotland in December:
Drive around the beautiful Scottish Highlands
Taste the local whisky flavours at distilleries
Admire the stunning, natural scenery
Visit the buzzing cities, charming towns and fishing villages
Walk along the lochs and glens
Explore picturesque, ancient ruins and castles
Head off the beaten path in the islands
Meet the local wildlife
Attend the Christmas markets in Edinburgh and Glasgow
Stay up until midnight with Hogmanay, Scotland’s New Year’s Eve celebrations
What are the best places to visit in Scotland in December?
December is a great month to travel to Scotland. It’s still easy to drive around and visit the top attractions, including its lovely towns, historic sites and natural highlights.
Here are some of the best places to visit in Scotland in December:
What is the weather like in Scotland in December?
As December is the start of winter in Scotland, you can expect mild and wet weather. On average, there are highs of 11°C (55°F) and lows of 0°C (32°F).
Does it snow in Scotland in December?
It is possible you will encounter snow in Scotland in December. In the lowlands it is more likely to rain. However, if you drive into the Highlands you may find more snowfall, especially in Cairngorms National Park.
Is it difficult to drive in Scotland in December?
Winter in Scotland can bring icy and snowy conditions. However, in December, you’re more likely to encounter rain, making it an easy location to do a winter road trip. Just make sure you come ready to drive on the left!
During your trip check weather and road conditions regularly. For your peace of mind, our team is on hand 24/7 should you need to contact us at any point. And if there is an unexpected event or severe weather, we’ll get in touch and modify your itinerary while keeping you safe and informed.
When you book a self-drive tour with Nordic Visitor, your car rental comes with collision damage waiver, a GPS, and a hand-marked map of your route. You also get two named drivers on the insurance policy so you can share the driving with a travel companion.
What are the daylight hours in December in Scotland?
In December, the days are the shortest of the year as we approach the winter solstice.
Early in the month in Scotland, the sun rises around 8:20 AM and by the end of December rises at 9 AM. Throughout the month, you can expect the sun to set around 3:40 PM.
What are December temperatures in Scotland?
The daily average for December is 5°C (41°F). But you can expect average temperatures to be anywhere between 0°C (32°F) and 11°C (55°F).
What to wear in Scotland in December?
Like in many of the Nordic countries, Scots have the saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”.
As the weather is mild throughout the winter in Scotland, we recommend a mix of thin and warm layers.
For a trip to Scotland in December, it is best to be ready for all kinds of weather. From rainy weather to the colder mountain climate, make sure to pack all the necessary clothing. That way, come rain or shine, you can enjoy the natural beauty of the country.
Here is a list of packing essentials for your Scotland tour in December:
Warm jumpers or fleeces
Waterproof winter jacket
Scarf, gloves and a warm hat
Sturdy boots for forest and hill walks
Can I see the northern lights in Scotland in December?
In December, it is possible to see the northern lights in remote corners of Scotland, but it is a rare occurrence.
For your best chances of spotting the auroras, we recommend heading north into the “Northern Lights Belt”. You could pick a northern lights tour in Iceland, Lapland or Northern Norway.
What are the most popular events in Scotland in December?
December is a month of celebration in Scotland, so you’ll find some fun events and festivals to attend around the country.
Some of the most popular events in December include:
Christmas markets across the country
Irn Bru Carnival in Glasgow
Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee Santa Dash runs
Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony
Hogmanay and New Year’s fireworks in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and more
How to tour Scotland in December?
There are various ways to travel on your Scotland tour in December. Depending on your personal tastes and requirements, you could either go for a guided or self-guided vacation.
Road trip around Scotland
December is a great time to visit Scotland on a self-drive tour, which would allow you to stop at the sights you want to see at your own pace. At this time of year, there are fewer visitors and less traffic on the roads.
Pick up your rental car from Edinburgh or Glasgow and drive to iconic locations. You could visit Loch Ness, Inverness, the Isle of Skye and Fort William, amongst many more.
Driving in Scotland is an adventure that you won’t regret! Especially if you book with Nordic Visitor, as we offer collision damage waiver, free GPS, and a 24/7 helpline for emergencies.
Good to note: In Scotland, and the wider UK, motorists drive on the left. If you’re not used to that, we recommend you hire an automatic car or book a private tour.
Tour Scotland with a private guide
Do you want to leave the driving to someone else? You might prefer to be accompanied by your very own local expert throughout your Scotland experience.
A privately guided tour is one of the most exclusive ways to see Scotland and learn all about this beautiful country. You’ll have your own personal guide to show you the best locations and teach you about the local history.
Whatever tour you pick, you’ll take advantage of all our signature benefits. These include charming accommodation, daily breakfast, our Nordic Visitor Scotland Travel Guide, and a hand-marked map with your route and highlights. All our winter tours include a Historic Scotland Explorer Pass so you can pick the attractions you want to visit.
Good to know: Our Scotland itineraries aren’t set in stone. Our Edinburgh-based Scotland experts know the country inside out. They’ll help you see the country your way, tailoring your itinerary and adding all the best excursions to suit you.
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