FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SCOTLAND IN JANUARY
Whatever you’re wondering about visiting Scotland in January, we’re here to answer your most commonly asked questions.
January 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.
Read below to find out all the details from our local travel experts.
What are the best things to do in Scotland in January?
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 January:
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
Take on a winter activity like skiing
Attend a traditional Burns Night
What are the best places to visit Scotland in January
January 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 January:
What is the weather like in Scotland in January?
In terms of weather conditions, if you travel to Scotland in January, you can expect cool temperatures, wet weather as well as snowfall. On average, there are highs of 5°C (41°F) and lows of -1°C (30°F).
What are January temperatures in Scotland?
The daily average for January is 3°C (37°F). But you can expect average temperatures to be anywhere between -1°C (30°F) and 5°C (41°F).
What to wear in Scotland in January?
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 January, it is best to be ready for all kinds of weather. From rain 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 January:
Warm jumpers or fleeces
Waterproof winter jacket
Scarf, gloves and a warm hat
Sturdy boots for forest and hill walks
What are the daylight hours in January in Scotland?
As January is just past the winter solstice, the days are still short, but slowly growing longer.
Early in the month in Scotland, the sun rises around 8:45 AM and sets by 3:45 PM. By the end of January, you can expect a slightly longer day, with daylight between 8:10 AM and 4:45 PM.
Does it snow in Scotland in January?
While snowfall can be expected on many days of the month, you’ll find it doesn’t settle on lower ground. It is in fact more likely to rain. However, if you head up into the Highlands and especially up the many hills, such as Cairngorm Mountain, you can expect more snow.
How is driving in Scotland in January?
Winter in Scotland can bring icy and snowy conditions. However, in January, 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!
The winter days are short, especially in December and January, so we recommend not overloading yourself with too much driving. This way, you can enjoy the sights along the way during the daytime.
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.
Can I see the northern lights in Scotland in January?
In January, 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 aurora borealis, 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 January?
January is a quieter month in Scotland, after the festivities of December. You will still find some fun events and festivals to attend around the country.
Early in the month, you may still catch the leftover of the Hogmanay celebrations as Scotland enters the new year. In Edinburgh, the Christmas market usually lasts until early in January if you want to stay in the festive spirit.
It’s good to be aware that the 1 and 2 of January are public holidays in Scotland. This means that some attractions and public transport may be shut on those days.
The 25 January is a date to keep in mind as Scotland celebrates the national poet Robert Burns on that night. Nicknamed “Burns Night”, this evening comprises traditional dancing (ceilidh), haggis dinner, poem readings and whisky drinking.
Other popular winter festivals and events in January include:
Celtic Connections in Glasgow
Up Helly Aa, a Viking fire festival in Shetland
Sled Dog Rally in Aviemore
Start of the Snowdrop Festival in Fife
How to tour Scotland in January?
There are various ways to travel on your Scotland tour in January. Depending on your personal tastes and requirements, you could either go for a guided or self-guided vacation.
Road trip around Scotland
January 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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