There are many stereotypes about Scottish weather, that it’s always cold and rainy. But are these stereotypes true?
There’s an old saying in Scotland: There’s no such thing as bad weather in Scotland, only the wrong clothes!
Despite stereoptypes that the weather in Aberdeen is always bad, you’ll probably find that the weather is definitely changeable, rather than extremely hot or extremely cold. In the space of an hour, it can go from sun... to rain... to sun again. Come on – it keeps life interesting!
Let's explore some common myths below:
Scotland...constant rain, 365 days a year? Right?
Do you cross the border from England to find instant rain? Hmm… not really.
In fact, rainfall in the UK depends more on what side of the country you are. Generally, it’s wetter on the UK's West Coast than on the East Coast. Aberdeen is no exception. 800 millimetres of rain per year may sound like a lot but that’s almost the same as Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh, and considerably less than Belfast (861 days), Glasgow (1245 days) and Bristol (900 days).
Some parts of Scotland’s East Coast receive less rainy days per year than Rome, Barcelona and Rabat in Morocco! Average rainfall in Milan is about 900mm per year, 100 more than Aberdeen!
Tip: Do bring an umbrella with you. But don’t expect to use it every day!
Brrrr, yes – it’s always cold in Aberdeen, right? Well, it’s true on average Scotland is slightly colder than the south of England. But that doesn’t mean you need to wear a woolly jumper all year. Average temperatures in Aberdeen are only around 3 degrees lower compared with London.
And don’t forget that Aberdeen region broke a record this year. In June 2015, Aberdeen region, was the hottest place in the UK – 23 degrees in June!! Aberdeen also set a record for the hottest day in in the UK in March 2012: A lovely 22 degrees and hotter than Portugal's Algarve, Crete and Tel Aviv that day - all a compatably chilly 19 degrees!
Tip: Do bring a jumper. But bring some sunscreen too!
Did you know that Aberdeen is one of the sunniest places in the UK? No, I’m not joking!
Aberdeen enjoys an average of 1433 days of sunshine a year, very similar to London (1481) and Cambridge (1495) and more than Edinburgh (1421) and Glasgow (1265).
Also because of Scotland’s high latitude, it may get dark quite early in winter but you can enjoy hours of daylight in summer. In June & July the sun rises at 5am and sets again at 11pm, giving you hours of daylight to explore the city and enjoy the summer! Fancy hillwalking at 9pm or Golf at 10pm? No problem!
Tip: Do bring sunglasses. You might need them at 10pm on a summer night!
If you want to see snow, you might be lucky. But don’t count on it! It does snow in Scotland’s mountains in the winter (100 days per year) which are not far from Aberdeen and a great base of skiing and winter sports. However, in Aberdeen city, it’s snows considerably less and varies from year to year: Some years we might get 2-3 weeks of snow, some years 2 days!
Winter temperatures in Aberdeen are not as cold as you might fear: Average high in winter is about 6 degrees and average low is about 0. And on a cold day, it is perfect for meeting friends in a cosy pub for a ‘wee nip’ of Scottish whisky!
Tip: Bring a scarf and gloves. But leave the skis at home.
Overall it depends what you want to do. If you want to learn English in the mornings and get a sun tan on the beach after class, there’s always Malta or Sydney! But Scotland’s ever-changing weather is part of the package. Whether covered in mist or bathing in bright sunshine, Scotland looks beautiful in any weather!
Moj Tafazoli, from Iran, studied English at IH Aberdeen for over a year before successfully completing a MSc in Project Management at RGU. After nearly 4 years in Aberdeen, Moj has seen all types of weather. Let's hear what she has to say:
"Is the weather in Aberdeen a big issue for students who want to learn English in Scotland? Just think about it for a moment… what’s your target? Enjoying the weather or learning English in such a pleasurable environment?
To date I have lived in many countries around the world such as China, India, Singapore, Dubai, Malaysia, England, Scotland and visited many more! I would say among all those places, Aberdeen's climate is the most convenient one!
I am originally from Iran, a country with a hot climate. So it might seem hard for someone like me who comes from a hot country to tolerate this stereotype of cold weather in Aberdeen. But to be honest with you it was not hard at all.
After living in Aberdeen for almost 4 years going back to my country was such a hard decision for me. I always remember that lovely summer weather when I used to have long walks with friends in the country side and passing through Aberdeen’s beautiful farm lands.
By far the best golf courses in are in the North East of Scotland and the finest ones in the world are located in Aberdeen which could give people an experience of playing game in fine weather.
Experiencing long days in summer gives you the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine and outdoor activities. Also long nights in winter time makes you feel staying at home drinking coffee and reading books or maybe it is a great opportunity to drop into the great pubs close to IH and taking a shot of famous Scottish whisky!"
Tamara Seoane Goas, Administrator & Marketing Support for IH Aberdeen, moved from Spain to Aberdeen 3 years ago and studied at IH Aberdeen before joining our team. Let's hear what she has to say about the weather in Aberdeen:
"After living in Aberdeen for almost 3 years, I can really say that the weather in Aberdeen is much better than I expected!
For me, the best thing about the weather in Aberdeen is the huge contrast between the 4 seasons.
While in some parts of Spain you hardly experience differences between them, here you can go from sunny, never-ending daylight in spring and summer, where you can enjoy lots of outdoor activities, both water sports and on the mountains, to dark and cold autumn and winter days, perfect for putting on your cosy winter clothes and going for a walk in the park between beautiful falling leaves, full of vivid colours! This time of the year it’s for me the best for meeting friends in pubs and cafes and catch up with films, books, and enjoy the cultural side of the city. But the best of this part of the year is that you could even see the Northern Lights! Yes, here in Aberdeen we are lucky enough to see them every year!
Believe me, whenever you decide to come to Aberdeen, I am sure you will find lots of good reasons to love the weather! Open your mind and enjoy the northern adventure!"
So, now you know! Come and learn English and explore Scotland in the rain or the sun.
To find out more about studying English at IH Aberdeen, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or call on +44 (0)1224 634006