UM2
Where to find snow in Scotland for a white Christmas holiday cottages

Where to find snow in Scotland for a white Christmas

Everyone dreams of a white Christmas. We want to rise out of bed, open the curtains and be greeted by untouched blankets of snow, a crisp glistening frost, and a wintery sky that promises a dry day.

A white Christmas makes everything feel more special and adds an extra level of fun to the holidays with winter sports and snowy activities being added to the agenda. Families are all different when it comes to snow sports. You get the families that are laid back and only undertake snowy expeditions for fun, like a leisurely walk tied in with a bit of sledging. Then you get the families that are keen snow-sport enthusiasts who will drive for miles to seek a snowy mountain edge to ski down. Each to their own we say, and luckily Scotland can cater for all!

So, whether you are looking for a snowy field to build a snowman, some wild hills for some good old-fashioned tobogganing or snow-covered mountains for skiing and snowboarding, here are the best places to find snow in Scotland for a white Christmas.

*If you are visiting Scotland for the first time, and are inexperienced with snowy weather, it is important to always be prepared with suitable clothing and to respect the unpredictability of nature. Don’t leave your group, stick together and be sensible.

Glenshee

Average snowfall: 60 days a year.

Suited to: Keen snow sport and outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Families with older children (unless booked into ski-school). Couples & groups of friends.

Glenshee, quite often referred to as ‘the Scottish three glens’, is made up of three valleys and is the largest ski resort in Scotland. Located in Aberdeenshire on the A93 road between Blairgowrie and Braemar, it offers more lifts and terrain than any other UK ski centre, boasting 36 runs and 21 lifts. The resort has welcomed skiers since the 1930s and still to this day is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike as it’s within easy reach of Stirling, Dundee, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. With slopes to suit all levels, this is a lovely place for a snowy day out. Opening a week before Christmas, you can tie in some snow-filled fun during your Scottish break.

Popular activities: Skiing, snowboarding, telemark skiing, winter mountaineering, ski touring and ice climbing.

Facilities

  • Café offering hot drinks, food and snacks
  • Shop selling gifts, winter warmers and equipment
  • Ski hire providing you with the right kit
  • Ski school offering lessons for your group

Stay close by: Get your extended family together for a snowy Christmas you won’t forget and stay in Cray (sleeps 20). If you are a couple looking to escape for some Christmas snow-sport fun, The Old Laundry (sleeps 2) will suit you perfectly.

Cairngorms National Park

Average snowfall: 76 days a year.

Suited to: Keen snow sport and outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Families with all levels of skill from beginner to experienced.

This is one of the best places in Scotland to go for snow, boasting the snowiest days in the country with an average of 76 days of snow each year! As well as being an incredibly popular tourist attraction all year round, it is another one of Scotland’s popular snow sports destinations offering 30km of pisted runs and 10 lifts, suiting a range of ages and levels. It is a treat to spend a day here, shooting around the slopes whilst being surrounded by frosted mountains and views over the valley, Loch Morlich glistening in the distance. For those who would rather not hurtle down the hills, the resort has its own herd of reindeer which both children and adults love. They roam free and are really used to humans, so be sure to wish them well on their travels with Santa.

Popular activities: Skiing, snowboarding, winter mountaineering, ski touring, tubing and ice climbing.

Facilities

  • Shop selling gifts, souvenirs and outdoor equipment
  • Café and bar located in the Day Lodge offering home-made dishes and freshly baked cakes
  • Ski hire providing you with the right kit
  • Ski school offering lessons for your group

Stay close by: Old Milton (sleeps 14) is the perfect base for your Highland adventure offering a luxurious setting for you and your loved ones. Couples will enjoy returning to Birch Croit (sleeps 2) to unwind after a full day of outdoor pursuits.

 

Discover more of what the Cairngorms National Park has to offer with our complete guide to the Cairngorms.

Orkney

Average snowfall: 59 days a year.

Suited to: Families and friends looking for slower and relaxed pace.

One of the surest ways to find snow in Scotland is to head to the most northerly place, rather than setting off for the mountains. The islands of Orkney and Shetland are set off the north coast of the Scottish mainland and are easily reached by ferry from John O’Groats. Orkney is closer and therefore easier to get to and, if you do make the journey, you are bound to come across snow at The Loch of Hundland. Whilst there is no activity centre here to fill a whole day, it is a peaceful place to come and marvel at the beauty of winter. With lots of trails for walking and cycling, you can take on mini adventures with a sledge and find plenty of places to play. With lots of wild ground to cover, this makes for charming days out with the children bird watching, exploring, playing hide and seek, and building snowmen.

Popular activities: Walking, cycling, running, bird watching, fishing.

Nearby attractions

  • Kirbuster Museum – an authentic museum of an old working farm
  • Skara Brae prehistoric village – a stone-built Neolithic settlement
  • Ring of Brodgar – a Neolithic henge and stone circle
  • Barony Mill – Orkney's last remaining water mill

Stay close by: Families can settle in Lower Midgarth (sleeps 7), a stylish house in Rendall, whilst couples can retreat to Neuketineuks (sleeps 2) in Kirkwall after days out adventuring the island.

Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway

Average snowfall: 20 days a year.

Suited to: Families and friends looking for slower and relaxed pace.

Most would head straight for the north if they were asked to seek out snow in Scotland, but the village of Eskadalemuir in the Scottish Borders has been known to be a great place to find it. Apparently, during the period 1981 – 2010, the village saw snow fall on an average of 50 days a year; there is less snowfall now but it’s a safe bet between the months of December and March. With lots of surrounding fields and hills, there are plenty of places to spend a relaxing morning of sledging, igloo building, snowman creating and snowball fighting. After hours spent rolling about in the snow, you can pop to the Eskadalemuir community hub where you can warm up next to the fire with some home-made food, soup and baking.

Nearby attractions

  • Traquair House – Christmas events and a nice stop for tea and cake
  • Lockerbie Ice Rink – ice skating and roller skating
  • Grey Mares Tail Nature Reserve – National Park
  • Dino Park – indoor and outdoor play areas

Stay close by: For two, Cuddies Lodge (sleeps 2) is the perfect getaway and base to explore from whilst Tweedsmuir School House (sleeps 6) promises any family a stylish and comfortable stay.

 

If you are interested in spending Christmas, New Year, or a winter break in Scotland with the added experience of snow, you want to look at planning your holiday between the months of November and March. If you aim for then, you have a higher chance of catching the snowfalls in Scotland. View our collection of luxury cottages for winter breaks and plan your holiday today.

 
 
For inspiration on how the Scots do it, read our guide on a traditional Scottish Christmas.
Like it? Share it...

Read more like this

Best family days out in Scotland

Come and read about some of the best things to do with your family in Scotland. These days out are bound to make memories that will last forever.

Guide to best dog walks in Scotland

With dramatic scenery, endless woodland and plentiful beaches, Scotland has it all and is a total haven for dogs and their owners alike. View our best walks here.

The best party houses in Scotland for celebrations

We have outstanding properties for larger groups dotted all over Scotland but here are some highlight holiday homes which we consider to be the best party houses for celebrations.
The Travel Chapter Limited, trading as holidaycottages.co.uk | The Travel Chapter Limited is registered in England and Wales. | Registered office Travel Chapter House Gammaton Road Bideford EX39 4DF Company No. 02431506 | VAT reg: 143053210