Winter is not for the faint of heart as temperatures hover near the freezing mark early in the morning and don’t get much warmer later in the day. With temperatures being so cold, there is also the good chance of experiencing some snows throughout the season.
Overall, Edinburgh has a very wet climate and winter is no exception. Consisting of December, January and February, the wettest months of the season are the first two with 70mm of precipitation per month. February is slightly drier with an average of 50mm. However, each month experiences between 20-24 days of precipitation making raingear a necessity with visiting during this time of the year.
Temperatures are the other big story with average daily temperatures between 3°C (37°F) and 5°C (41°F). Overnight lows hover between 1°C (34°F) and 2°C (36°F). Average afternoon highs are not much warmer with temperatures only climbing to between 5°C (41°F) in January and 7°C (45°F) in December. With a cold wind coming off the coast, temperatures can also feel much colder than they actually are.
There is also not a lot of sun during this time of the year thanks to the extreme northern location of the city. On average, the city doesn’t see any sun during December and only one hour of sunshine in January. The average sunshine, however, does climb to 4 hours per day come February. This is also not the time of the year to visit the beach as water temperatures hover between 7°C (45°F) and 9°C (48°F).
Spring consists of March, April and May, but at times can still feel more like winter. This can be a good time to visit as the summer crowds have not yet appeared and prices are still reasonable for flights and hotels. However, it is important to consult the extended forecast for any cold spells that may hit while you are in the city.
Overall average daily temperatures range from 6°C (43°F) in March to 10°C (50°F) in May. Overnight lows gradually climb from near freezing in March with an average temperature of 2°C (36°F) to 6°C (43°F) by the end of the season. Average afternoon highs range from 9°C (48°F) to 14°C (57°F). However, it is still important to bring a heavy coat or clothes that can be layered as the temperatures change throughout the season.
While the rainfall amounts are lower throughout the season, the number of rainfall days remains about the same as it had in the winter months. With two-thirds of each month on the wet side, umbrellas and raingear are essential for a vacation now or any time of the year. Overall, the rainfall amounts range from 70mm in March to just 40mm in April and 50mm in May.
The sun also makes a welcome reappearance during this time of the year with 6 hours of sunshine per day in March, 9 hours a day in April and 7 hours in May. While it is still too cold to get in the water, at least the weather is warming enough to take a stroll on some of the local beaches. Water temperature, however, will average between 7°C (45°F) and 10°C (50°F) throughout the season.
Summer brings the warmest temperatures of the year as well as the largest crowds. As a result, be prepared to pay more for hotel rooms and flights as well as at some restaurants. Additionally, be sure to make any reservations well in advance to be certain you have a room at a hotel or restaurant.
The average afternoon temperatures during June, July and August range from 17°C (63°F) in June to 19°C (66°F) in both July and August. Average overnight lows will be well above the freezing mark and range from 9°C (48°F) to 11°C (52°F). While temperatures are warmer, you will still want to pack a light jacket and clothes that can be layered in case it is colder or warmer than anticipated.
Rain gear also needs to come along for the trip as overall rainfall amounts range from 60mm in June to 70mm in July and 50mm in August. Much of this rain is light in nature; however, it will fall over a period of about 20 days out of each month. Despite the rain, there will be periods of sun with 6 hours of sun in June and climbing to 10 hours of sunshine per day in August.
Summer is also the most popular time of the year to hit the beach. Water temperatures are now mild enough to enjoy some of the various water sports offered at the local beaches, though a wetsuit may come in handy. Water temperatures will range from 12°C (54°F) in June to the annual high of 15°C (59°F) in August.
By the calendar, autumn consists of September, October and November, but winter has a way of setting in much earlier during the later half of the season. Visitors are often surprised by how cold it can get and how quickly, so it is important to pack appropriately and bring with you plenty of clothes to help keep out the chill.
Additionally, rain will continue to be an almost daily occurrence for the city with the wettest month of the year coming in October as 80mm of precipitation is expected over 23 days. October is bookended with September and November both expecting 70mm of precipitation, each. With temperatures falling rapidly, it is also not out of the question to see a late season snow in late November.
Temperatures on land fall quickly throughout the season as average afternoon highs plummet from 16°C (61°F) in September to just 9°C (48°F) by November. Average overnight lows are also much colder with temperatures falling from 9°C (48°F) in August, to 7°C (45°F) in October and just 3°C (37°F) in November. Overall, the average daily temperature will range from 13°C (55°F) to 6°C (43°F).
The sun will also begin to disappear during this time of the year with 7 hours of sunshine per day in the early part of the season, down to just 1 hour per day in the latter. While a brief beach trip may be possible in September, taking a dip becomes a chilly proposition later in the season with water temperatures ranging from 14°C (57°F) to 11°C (52°F).