You’re planning a trip to Scotland OR you’re getting ready to move. Congratulations! I’m excited for you, and I hope you’re excited for yourself! I’m sure you’ve been thinking about what foods to try or the different drinks you’ll sample, but have you figured out packing yet? If not, don’t worry. I’m here to help you plan what clothes to bring to Scotland! Having lived there, and visited during different times of the year, I have one big tip that will really help you out.
Now, obviously, you’ll be packing for different occasions, depending upon your goals. You might only bring camping clothes or you might be planning several nights on the town. Each of those styles has very different needs. No matter what, there’s planning involved.
But I’m not going to tell you EVERY ITEM you need in your bag. I’m going to start with something general, then give you a handful of items that I consider essential. I don’t want anyone thinking they need to run out and buy a million things. What you have in your closet now will work. So, we’ll start by thinking broadly, then narrow it down.
Let’s get into it. I have one thing in mind when I start packing. The secret to packing clothes to bring to Scotland is…
Honestly, layering is key.
Why? Because Scottish weather can be very temperamental. Scotland is famous for experiencing all 4 seasons in 1 day. It can be raining in Glasgow, but sunny in Edinburgh—and then flip just as quick! You’ll plan a day of outdoor adventures, and as soon as you step foot outside—BOOM!—hailstones (personal experience). And there are countless jokes about how summer might only last for two days!
Scottish weather will keep you on your toes—so you ought to be prepared. Being able to layer your outfits will make sure you are ready for whatever comes your way.
What this means is you’ll choose your outfits so that you can easily add or remove layers based on the weather you’re experiencing.
And each day might mean different layering techniques. It will depend on:
- what the weather’s like that day
- what time of year you’re visiting Scotland
- your personal cold tolerance
If you decided to visit in late-spring/early-summer, you might not need a heavy jacket—unless you’re used to much warmer climates. Scottish summers may hit the 70°s (F), but they don’t often don’t get much hotter. Sure, there are the occasional freakishly hot days, but they’re rare.
The reason why I’m being general is: you know your body type and heat/cold preference, and what you have in your closet. Don’t go rushing out to buy something new. Think about your packing in layering terms first, and look at your clothes with that in mind. After that, then you might decide you need something extra. If you usually prefer hot sunshine and beaches, you may find you need an extra sweatshirt in Scotland—just in case.
I find when it comes to Scotland: it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it, with clothes.
Clothes To Bring to Scotland
Now, there are a few things I recommend if you are going to be in Scotland for an extended period. If you’re moving there or will be there for several months, there are clothing staples you should either bring to Scotland or buy there.
But don’t tune out just because you’re just heading on vacation. These might be things to consider depending upon your holiday type as well. If you’re going camping, some of these may be valuable.
Invest in a good rain jacket. An umbrella can be helpful, but if it’s windy, it’ll only end up destroyed. If you get quality rain gear that suits whatever your clothing needs, then you should be good.
It’s also beneficial to have a few options for rain jackets if you’re living there full time. Or at least a single quality one that can be worn for any occasion: a night out with friends; hill-walking; a nice dinner. Find one that’s versatile.
Another big recommendation if you’re going to be living in Scotland: rain boots. Often referred to as “wellies”, these are not difficult to find. Grab yourself a pair that you like—they have plenty of fun designs—and save them for those all-too-common rainy days. You can thank me later.
This one is especially important if you’re going to be in Scotland in the winter months or you’re living there full-time. The average maximum temperature in Scotland during the winter is approximately 41°F. And when those winter days get windy, the bite gets worse. So be prepared and have a good quality winter jacket.
But I’d recommend a decent windbreaker as well. If you’re moving to Scotland, you’ll definitely venture out for trips now and then. A windbreaker is a good investment that allows you to move easily, while still being warm. It won’t weigh you down like a winter jacket, and a few of them are weather-resistant as well. It’s probably a good choice for cooler autumn days, too.
Tights and/or Leggings
I’m a lady that loves wearing dresses but hates getting catcalled. When I went to London for a work placement, I’d wear dresses with nude tights as I often did in the States. And, man, did I get honked at A LOT. As soon as I was able, I ran out and invested in different colored tights.
And now I wear tights and leggings all the time because I love them, so it’s been a positive change. But these are great because if you like wearing dresses, it’s a way to add layers to your clothes. Shops will sell different styles, including ones that are designed to keep you warm in winter.
Tights and leggings are very popular out there, and I live for it. If you like wearing dresses, these might be a great way to keep you stylish even when it gets cold.
Comfortable Walking Shoes
This isn’t just a recommendation for hill-walking enthusiasts. I walk a ton when I’m in Scotland. It’s just so easy to get around! I walk to grocery shops; train stations; around city centres. If I can walk there, I do.
And so should you!
So it’s important to have shoes that you’ll feel comfortable walking around in. For you, that may be sneakers, or Converse, or kicks. Whatever it is, plan like you’re going to do tons of walking. Because you may very well find that you do.
There are tons of suggestions for clothes to bring to Scotland. But I find it’s important to consider your personal style and your weather tolerance. Traveling is such a personal thing, and packing can be, too. You have to know you. So think about the above in terms of your own closet. Start looking at clothes in that way, and begin your packing from there. After that, you can begin thinking about if you really need or want more for the trip.
I’m always in when I’m thinking about clothes to bring to Scotland in the way I’ve shared about. So I hope sharing my tips and thoughts has given you a more personal way to pack and plan out your journey.