Weather in Scotland in April

The weather in Scotland in April marks a clear transition from cold winter conditions to a moderately warm but still variable spring climate. Landscapes shed their winter lethargy as the last vestiges of snow disappear in the highlands and more visible signs of spring appear in the lowlands. Scotland's majestic castles and historic sites retain their grandeur, enhanced by the lengthening day. Their silhouettes become more distinct against the changing background, symbolizing the transition from the harsh chill of winter to the warmth of spring.

What is the weather like in Scotland in April?

April in Scotland sees a pleasant transformation from a cold and wet winter to a milder spring climate. This month is characterized by longer daylight hours, giving more opportunities for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The weather in Scotland in April is varied, with sunny days interspersed with cloudy and rainy days.

April is particularly known for its unpredictable weather. It can be sunny one moment and raining the next, which can affect travel plans, especially when it comes to outdoor activities such as hiking, visiting castles or exploring the countryside. However, transportation tends to remain unaffected, making getting around the country relatively easy.

As for rainfall, April sees moderate amounts, with average rainfall similar to other spring months. Downpours can be sudden and short-lived, so it is recommended to carry an umbrella or rain gear when traveling.

This month falls on the shoulder of the tourist season in Scotland, the period between the low and high seasons, resulting in still fewer tourists compared to the summer months. Prices for accommodation and tours can be lower and attractions are less crowded.

Overall, April can be a great time to visit Scotland due to more or less good weather, fewer tourists and beautiful spring scenery. This is a great time if you prefer a more relaxed travel experience while still enjoying the country's natural and historical attractions.

Rough Guide tip: A trip to Scotland is an amazing adventure, so for the best travel experience, consult our travel experts.

Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct, Scotland © Nick Fox/Shutterstock

Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct, Scotland © Nick Fox/Shutterstock

Temperatures in Scotland in April

In April in Scotland, average high temperatures are around 11°C (52°F) and average low temperatures are around 3°C (37°F). These averages can vary from region to region: for example, the Highlands tend to be cooler, while urban areas such as Edinburgh and Glasgow can be slightly warmer.

With these temperatures in mind, the weather in Scotland in April tends to be cool, with a crisp spring air rather than outright cold or warm. It's a transitional period where the winter chill is receding, but the full spring warmth has yet to arrive. Mornings and evenings can be particularly chilly, so you should prepare for different conditions.

This temperature range means that although it is not the time for summer clothing, the harsher winter chills have passed, making outdoor activities more enjoyable than during the winter months. It is recommended that you wear light outerwear to adapt to temperature fluctuations throughout the day.

Set on taking a trip this spring? Read up on the best places to visit in April.

Is April a good time to visit Scotland?

April is considered a good time to visit Scotland, primarily because it falls in the intermediate season between the cold, damp winter and the busy touristy summer. The weather in April is more travel-friendly than the winter months, with milder temperatures and longer daylight hours, perfect for outdoor walking and sightseeing.

The weather in Scotland in April can be unpredictable, but this variability doesn't seriously affect travel plans. On the contrary, it offers a unique opportunity to see Scotland's landscapes as it transitions from winter to spring. Activities such as hiking, visiting castles, and exploring the countryside are more enjoyable, and with fewer tourists, the experience tends to be more intimate and authentic.

However, you should still be prepared for sudden changes in the weather and stock up on layered and waterproof clothing in advance. Unpredictable April weather can sometimes interfere with active vacations, but in general, this is compensated by fewer tourists and the scenic beauty of spring.

Can't decide on the season to travel? Explore our Scotland year-round weather guide.

The world’s most fascinating streets: Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland @ Shutterstock

What about crowds and costs

April in Scotland sees a moderate tourist flow compared to the high season of summer months such as July and August. There are fewer crowds in April, during the 'shoulder season', allowing for a more relaxed and personal experience when visiting popular attractions and towns. 

Accommodation and travel prices are generally lower than during peak season, making April an attractive time for those looking to explore Scotland on a tight budget. In addition, the combination of off-peak prices and the blossoming spring landscape offers unique value. 

While May and June offer warmer weather, April allows you to enjoy the beauty of the Scottish spring with the added benefit of avoiding the summer rush and associated higher prices.

Festivals and events in Scotland in April

April in Scotland is full of festivals and events catering to a wide range of interests, making it a rich time for cultural events. The Edinburgh International Science Festival, one of the largest of its kind, enthralls visitors with interactive exhibitions, workshops, and talks, perfect for families and science enthusiasts.

The Beltane Fire Festival, held in late April, offers a unique experience with spectacular fire shows, drumming, and performances celebrating ancient traditions and the coming of summer.

These events offer a unique opportunity to experience Scotland's culture and participate in local traditions. Given the popularity of these festivals, you should book accommodations and event tickets well in advance to ensure availability. Experiencing these festivals firsthand adds an unforgettable dimension to an April trip to Scotland, combining educational opportunities with festive fun.

Looking for more options for your holiday in April? Find the perfect holiday destination with our top suggestions.

Edinburgh Castle viewed from Princes Street Gardens

Edinburgh Castle viewed from Princes Street Gardens @ VisitScotland

Ready for your dream trip to Scotland in April?

Depending on the weather in Scotland in April, make your dream trip a reality by selecting one of our tailor-made trip services. We simplify planning by providing Scottish itineraries created by local travel experts.

  • Scotland's Wildest Natural Scenery (11 days): Want to lose yourself in some of Scotland's wildest natural scenery? This itinerary is a breath of fresh air and the perfect place to explore the most enchanting landscapes of the Highlands. It will allow you to experience Scotland's wildest landscapes, its fast-paced history, and amazing traditions.
  • A true 'Outlander' Adventure (7 days): To all the Outlander lovers out there - you're in luck! Who would like to follow in the footsteps of Nurse Clare Beauchamp on her journey to Scotland in 1743? We've designed the perfect itinerary to explore some of the most charming corners featured in the series.
  • Walking around vintage England and picturesque Scotland (14 days): Visit two traditional capitals, London and Edinburgh, and enjoy a hike in Loch Lomond National Park. This trip allows you to discover the quiet Scottish islands on foot, as several days of detailed walking tours are included in the trip.
Sandwood Bay in Sutherland, Scotland © John A Cameron/Shutterstock

Sandwood Bay in Sutherland, Scotland © John A Cameron/Shutterstock

Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 29.04.2024

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

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