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Scotland in December 2017

Hello, I was after some advice on climate, attractions and getting around Scotland.  My husband, daughter and myself will be in Scotland in December 9-13 this year and we are from Australia, would really like to know what the weather is like then.  The best way to get around the country.  We would love to travel around especially up to Mallaig and to see the countryside from Glascow to Mallaig.  Is this too far for that time of the year?  Do trains run up there and back in one day or is it too far?  Any advice is welcome and thank you.


  • FofomaFofoma Member ✭✭✭
    @triciaf68 Your guess is as good as mine about the weather! I would suggest layers - warm fleece with a good waterproof coat for example. You would probably be best to sign up for one of the excellent day tours that leave from Edinburgh & Glasgow such as Rabbies, Timberbush , Haggis Backpackers to name a few. They'll take you to all the hotspots and you don't have to worry about driving.
  • VisitScotlandAngelaVisitScotlandAngela Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hi @tricia62 and welcome to the community!  :)

    Winter in Scotland can offer some very changeable weather.  The maximum temperature in winter averages between 5 °C (41 °F) to 7 °C (45 °F) with the coldest dropping below freezing.  Have a look at this section of our website - it has some useful information about winter in Scotland. :)  

    The rail journey from Glasgow to Mallaig takes around 5.5 hours and travels through some of the most spectacular scenery in Scotland.  I particularly enjoy this rail journey during the winter months when the mounains are dusted with snow or the moors are glistening with a covering of frost.  It is possible to do this journey in one day, with just a short visit to Mallaig before heading back to Glasgow, but you do need to be prepared for a long days travelling.  The 2017 winter schedule for the West Highland Line is not available yet, although keep an eye on the Scotrail website for up to date times and prices.  I'm sure you will have a fantastic holiday!

  • MoFMoF Member ✭✭
    edited August 2017
    So I'm posting because we're visiting at the exact same time, and will be hitting up similar points.

    I've done a bit of research on how to make it work as I'm guessing you're going to be planning on taking the jacobite train. We may see you there.  I've  been doing a lot of research on whats plausable and whats not.

    The main thing is the period we're visiting the sun will set at 3:30 pm.

    I've been fretting about the weather but I'm more concerned with the lack of daylight and the lack of tourist options at that time of year. 

    Our plans are based more around a rental and doing the driving here and there (Yes I'm american but I do love myself a manual microcar.. I wish they still sold them over here)

    If anyone has any advice I'd gladly take it as well.

    Here is a TLDR tenative plans for our trip with a lot of leeway added.

    Day 1-3: Fly into Edinburgh, Take megabus or other bus route to Glasgow, get car rental near glasgow airport. (reservation for the week is about 100pounds including the insurance that reduces all damage to 100)
    Drive up to Perth for 3 nights.  We've found a farmstay so I can see what rural life in scotland is like.
    See stuff in that area, limit to 2 hour drive range max due to lack of sun at that time of year.  There is a christmas market/festival in edinburgh at that time of year, and (it seems that the park and ride near the airport offers a really good place to leave a rental and get in and out on the cheap)

    Day 4: Drive up to Mallaig, leave car in one of the long stay parking lots there, take scotrail to fort william.  Stay overnight in fort william.

    Day 5: Take Jacobite Train one way to Mallaig, start driving rental towards glasgow

    I've looked into things, it is feasable to do islay, or orkney during this period as well.  But the trip would have to be dedicated to that.
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    @MoF has a really solid plan lined up, I wasn't aware that the Jacobite runs in the winter but they have scheduled a December service outlined on their website

    One activity that isn't mentioned and needs some luck would be stargazing. The long nights can provide spectacular stargazing opportunities and maybe even the northern lights if the sky is clear. I personally have not been brave enough to venture out of Edinburgh in the winter months so don't have any further insight.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

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