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Midges or not, Scotland in May is a fairy tale destination for a springtime break. The weather is pleasantly cool, and the month is almost rain-free. From charming countryside for a perfect cottage holiday to cities laced with history and culture, Scotland is studded with incredible experiences. From hiking through the highlands and sampling drams of whiskey to conquering medieval castles and embarking on a fantasy-filled chase of Nessie with the dramatic landscape of Great Glen for company, you can dress up your itinerary with dollops of imagination for a dreamy Scottish vacation.

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Scotland Weather in May

A tourist with a scottish pattern umbrella enjoys the view to the cityscape
While Scotland can see a few instances of erratic weather, there are plenty of warm and pleasant days.

With the beginning of May, spring starts to tiptoe towards summer in the country. Scotland sports a temperate climate in May, with a daily high averaging at around 14°C and lows of around 6°C. If you are among a lucky few, you can even experience some warm days as well when the temperature climbs anywhere between 20 to 25°C.

Scotland is notorious for variable weather conditions all packed in a day, which is why packing layers is advisable. Peel off or pile on as the day unfolds and no weather surprises can make you uneasy. Although rainfall decreases considerably in May (only 85 mm in total), keep a waterproof rain jacket handy, just in case. This month also sees daylight hours lengthening. Scotland enjoys a total of 178 hours of sunshine throughout the month. Get as high on activities as you wish since the sun is out for anywhere between 15 to 18 hours every day.

To know how the country fares in other months, take a look at our travel guide on the best time to visit Scotland.

Weather in Scotland in May - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)111417
Avg Nightly (°C)369
Avg Daily (°F)525863
Avg Nightly (°F)384349
Avg Rainfall (mm)405060

Why Visit Scotland in May

People Strolling around Edinburgh's City Centre
Since the peak tourist season is yet to hit, you can go on sightseeing tours without hassle.
Edinburgh city skyline from Calton Hill., United Kingdom
Discover the cultural and historical depth of Scotland's cities on your tour during May.

May falls on the quieter side of the spring stretch, a shoulder season. The weather is fabulous, the days are long and the high tourism of summer is months away. To understand why visiting Scotland in May is irresistible, take a look at the seasonal perks that Scotland enjoys during this month. 

  • Better rates: You can still find the last figments of discounted rates during your trip to Scotland in May. Steal some deals on hotels and vacation rentals as well as flight prices and car hires.
  • Lesser crowds: You can skip the overcrowded summer, when you might just have to jostle with more than six million holidaymakers, during a trip to Scotland in May. Have the castles to yourself, keep distillery visits calm and focused and enjoy restive breaks at quaint bars and pubs without feeling rushed.
  • Festivals: There are several events in May, including the Aviemore and Cairngorms Walking and Mountain Festival, Isle of Bute Jazz Festival, and the Arran Wildlife Festival. Whisky lovers should check out the spring edition of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival which is held at the beginning of the month as well as the Islay Festival of Malt and Music, which takes place at the end of May. And if you are setting sail to the Scottish island of Orkney, be sure to attend their Orkney Folk Festival, which celebrates folk music.
  • Highland game shows: May is when the highland game season begins in Scotland. Spend a day in the open watching athletes competes in traditional games like tug 'o war, caber toss, and hammer throw. Interspersed with traditional music and dancing, this event offers a good glimpse of Scottish culture.

Where to go and what to do

Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct in Scotland
If you are a Harry Potter fan, do not miss out on exploring the Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct when you are in Scotland.

With the land finally waking up from a harsh winter stupor, you can enjoy sights of hills and valleys awash with wildflowers like daffodils, primrose, bluebells, cherry blossoms, and rhododendrons. Peeling your eyes off the lush scenery of the Scottish Highlands can be difficult, but its cities are equally enticing. When traveling in Edinburgh, do make it a point to visit the Edinburgh Castle, which is steeped in more than 800 years of history. To sample the wild landscape that the country is famous for, make way to the Isle of Skye. Score some tee time with Grand Old Lady, the world's oldest gold course which dates back to the fifth century and is located in Saint Andrews.There is no way potterheads can miss out on the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Time your visit with the Jacobite Steam Train to fully capture the Hogwarts magic. Finish off your trip with a generous serving of traditional haggis, scotch egg, and deep-fried Mars bars.

With dry days, pleasant temperatures, and super-long daylight hours, the weather in Scotland in May is simply the best to plan the perfect Scottish holiday. The whole country is accessible during this period and activities are in full swing. Roads are empty, apt for a self-drive road trip. Take a peek at our travel guide for our recommendations on how many days to spend in Scotland. For an in-depth cultural experience, it would be ideal to opt for a week-long trip. If you have a few more days to spare, a two-week trip would give you the luxury of having a detailed experience while at your own pace.  

If you have difficulty choosing, let our local travel experts design a customized trip to Scotland according to your preferences.

So start planning your trip to Scotland in May without delay! 

Other articles:
Scotland in April
Scotland in June

Published by Lucas Toft, updated on January 4, 2024

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