In a couple of weeks I will be going to Edinburgh, Scotland. I've been told that the weather is very unpredictable throughout the year. Can you suggest what I should pack as regards clothes?
I frequently go to Edinburgh for a few weeks till the end of July because I take groups of students there for language courses. What I have learnt from these stays is that no summer is exactly the same as the previous one.
Last year we had good weather, with few rainy spells (we even went to sunbathe at Portobello Beach, where I got sunburnt!). This year is likely to be cooler, as winter and spring were colder and rainier than the previous year. In 2009 it rained quite a lot, so that it was difficult to keep one's clothes dry, and we had problems with eternally wet shoes (the problem was overcome by wearing flip-flops because it was much easier to dry one's feet rather than one's sneakers).
My advice to you then is to pack a bit of everything, meaning t-shirts (both long and short sleeved) which you can wear one on top of the other if need be, a pair of jeans but also shorts, certainly a sweatshirt or pullover and a rainproof jacket, sneakers and sandals/flipflops, and, why not? swimwear as well if you think you'll have time to go to the beach. What is important is that you can put on garments in layers, and be ready to take them off when the sun comes out.
That's the way I'll pack myself tomorrow, as I'm leaving for Edinburgh on Friday morning. Enjoy your stay!
I was in Edinburgh in the first week of August a couple of years ago, and I got a quite wide array of weather conditions, often on the same day: cloudy, then sunny, then cloudy again with rain, and so on.
Regarding clothes, I usually went around the city with jeans, sneakers, a t-shirt, a light sweater and a light waterproof jacket for the rain. The temperature was never too cold, so when the sun came out I took off both sweater and jacket and walked around in my t-shirt, and I wasn't cold at all.
I live in Edinburgh and in August I'm sweating if I go out wearing jeans in the daytime, especially if it's sunny but often even if not. I'd advise wearing thin/loose trousers and a T-shirt, then take several layers (thin jumper and maybe a waterproof of some kind) so you can layer up if the wind picks up or it begins to rain.
A light waterproof jacket is a better idea than an umbrella since Edinburgh is often windy - which is also the reason why I recommended thin trousers rather than shorts, and a thin jumper as an extra layer. Even if the air temperature isn't too cold there might be a bit of a breeze, and in summer you're more likely to be chilled by the wind than needing huge thick jumpers.
Regarding packing, I would say take as many different options as possible. Then check the weather forecast the day before (or in the morning) to decide what to wear on the day. There are plenty of smartphone apps that can do this for you, or you can use the internet/TV in your hotel if you have such facilities. The BBC news is at 6pm and 10pm (and has been that way for years so is unlikely to change) and they have weather about 20-25 minutes in.