Pack a mac for the Edinburgh weather

Edinburgh does not so much have four seasons in one day, as one season all year round, and it's usually a wet day in autumn. The Edinburgh weather is predictable in the sense that you know that it's reasonable to expect rain. Locals will tell you that the stone architecture looks all the prettier when it's wet.

The facts about the Edinburgh weather only tell half the story. The tourist office will tell you that the city enjoys a temperate climate with rainfall comparable with that in New York or Rome. Extremes of temperature are rare, although that has changed in recent winters.

Visitors from the south of England will notice a temperature difference of at least a couple of degrees, and will also comment on the infamous wind that blows down the city's very exposed main shopping area on Princes Street.

Summers are never sultry but are often pleasant. That said, the annual arts festival, in August, is one of the few summer events in Europe where visitors are recommended to pack a cardigan and a thick sweater.

If you are visiting Edinburgh for the New Year Hogmanay Festival (edinburghshogmanay.org), the Edinburgh weather will be an important consideration. The celebration sees hundreds of thousands of visitors take to the streets of Edinburgh. In recent years, high winds, snow and freezing temperatures have affected the Festival. Wear several layers, and thermal underwear might be a smart precaution.

The lead up to Christmas is a perfect time to visit the city, with a German market in Princes Street Gardens, colourful carousels and ferris wheels, and the first snowfalls giving the city a very festive air.

There are specific Edinburgh 5 day weather forecasts available from the BBC (bbc.co.uk) or from the Met Office (metoffice.gov.uk), which will offer guidance on what to expect in some detail. Weather in the capital is very changeable though, so carry a light mac even on a blithe sunny day.

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