Wondering what to pack for a trip to Scotland? Look no further! We'll discuss rainy days, that Scottish sunshine, and warming up when it gets chilly up north!
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Somehow, after many posts about Scotland and quite a few about what to wear in various countries and cities across Europe, I've never combined the two!! I'm happy to finally be diving in today!
Scotland continues to be one of my favorite places "across the pond," no matter how many other places I visit in my travels. Gorgeous landscapes, romantic history, and charming people - what more could you want! If, for some reason, you need more convincing to visit gorgeous Scotland, check out my full post, 5 Reasons to Visit Scotland, and you'll be booking your flights before you even know what happened! Well, the honest truth is that Scottish charm also comes with quite a bit of rain, mist, and sometimes, a weirdly bone-chilling cold, even though the mercury might not actually be that low. Ha that said, in late September/early October, I was fine without gloves or a hat, but if you're coming from a warmer weather climate, you might want to include those as well!
As we're all getting ready for fall, and you might even be planning a trip to Scotland this fall, I'm focusing on what to wear in Scotland in the fall! My pictures below were taken during our trip in late September/early October. One final note before we get going - these are tips to feel comfortable as a tourist, doing all the walking and hanging out at so many of the big tourist attractions. I'm not Scottish (I'm American), so I can't pretend to offer commentary on what Scottish people think is stylish, etc. Just offering my thoughts on what I like to wear and what makes me feel comfortable when I'm on vacation!
So grab a cuppa, or a pint!, and let's walk through a great packing list for Scotland!
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What to Wear in Scotland: Getting organized with packing cubes
If you've been reading my "what to wear" articles for a while now, you know that no packing article would be complete without recommending my favorite packing cubes, to keep you organized before your trip even starts!
I was a skeptic originally, but my Husband bought these for me and after the first trip, there was no turning back! We both have our own set now (color-coded, obviously), and they'll be going to Spain and England with us over the next year!
These light-weight packing cubes keep all your clothes, socks, shoes, etc. organized before, during, and on the way home from the trip, and - the best part- they're super affordable! I love being able to keep small items neat and tidy *in* those cramped European hotel rooms, and they're also a great way to pack-up souvenirs for your trip home. And, if you're concerned about hotel room germs, you could even leave all of your clothes in the cubes and just transfer them into the drawers in your hotel.
For more travel essentials, check-out the constantly updated list of all the items that I don't travel without!
What to Wear in Scotland: A rain coat and umbrella
First, and most important things, first!
Rain, rain, mist, mist, mist, rain, rain, rain! It really does rain quite a lot in Great Britain, though in reality, a lot of it is either short-lived or just sort of mist. It's not like a tropical, mid-afternoon downpour; it's normally more of a constant, light, drizzle. The British don't let it stop them from going about their day, and neither should you!
That said, you'll definitely want to bring the right clothes. In "shoulder season," aka spring and fall, the right, light, rain jacket is essential. Also, the average temperature is only between 46 and 57 through most of the fall, so definitely keep that in mind! Even if it's sunny, it's generally not super warm, but lovely and comfortable (with very little humidity).
For me, there is no better coat for Scotland than a traditional, waxed Barbour coat. It was literally made to withstand that British mist, and you'll definitely look like a local! I bought a hood that buttons onto mine, which worked out so well when it started to mist! When the mist ended, I could just pop it down and carry on!
And, while you're at it, might as well pick-up a small umbrella, if you don't already have one! You're going to need it! I try to find one that's small enough to fit into my Barbour coat's (or whatever coat your bringing's) pocket, when not in use, so that I can just whip it out, use it, and then dry it off and jam it back in the pocket and carry on with my day!
What to Wear in Scotland: Waterproof shoes
Sensing a theme? Let's talk shoes. Again, we aren't talking, for the most part, steady downpours. In fact, we had lovely weather in late September/early October. But, there is an occasional mist/afternoon shower, even on days that may start out nice. So, don't run around in shoes that can't get at least a little wet - and definitely not shoes that would be ruined by a sudden rain! If you're going full country chic, I'd just rock some riding boots. If you're in town and feeling a bit more chic, booties will do the trick!
Perhaps this is a bit too pragmatic, but don't forget some warm athletic or wool socks to go in those boots! on the colder days, I definitely appreciated keeping the toes warm, and it's always good to have a bit of cushion if you're going to be taking 20,000 steps in a day!
A note on rain boots: While I love full-on rain boots, I do find them hard to walk in, hot, and extremely difficult to pack (can't wear them on the plane if they don't fit in your suitcase). With the intermittent nature of the rain, I don't think tromping around in rain boots is really necessary, especially when you're popping in and out of different tourist sites.
What to Wear in Scotland: Great jeans
To cap off your jacket/rain attire for fall in Scotland, I'd pair it with some pairs of classic jeans that work with whatever boots you've selected for your adventures. Personally, I found it too chilly for bare legs, so if you're rocking a skirt, I'd definitely bring some thick tights/leggings for underneath. We found Scotland generally to be pretty casual, but just a quick reminder that some European restaurants have stricter dress codes than American ones, so if you're going somewhere nice, be sure to check and make sure that jeans won't be a problem, if you were wanting to wear them to dinner.
(Pro tip: if you're going to be rocking the jeans/boots/jacket look, be sure to try it all on together before you go to make sure that it all fits and is comfortable and tucks in at all the right places!)
What to Wear in Scotland: A giant sweater
For walking around during the day, or hitting the pubs at night, you can't go wrong with some cozy sweaters! I'm all about Irish fisherman sweaters (I know, I know), as they're just about the warmest thing around! I also like a few turtlenecks, as I find them comfortable under the coat without having to wear a scarf, but a nice scarf is never a mistake!
What to Wear in Scotland: Sunglasses
Enough talk of rain and cold!
On the days the sun shines (which, generally, are quite a few in the lovely fall!), you'll want to have those shades! I remember sitting on a train to St Andrews with a lovely couple - as they left the train, the lady said "Enjoy the Scottish sunshine" and it completely made my day!
Alrighty! That's all I can think of for now, but I'll be sure to come back and add anything else that comes to mind (I'm sure there will be something the minute I hit publish!!)
Thanks so much for stopping by and bon voyage! Have some whiskey for me! xx
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