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10 of the snowiest places in the UK

In this article we look at some of the snowiest places in the UK based upon how many days of the year on average they see snow falling. Snowy conditions in the UK are often associated with a flow of air from the east or north during the winter and so it is little surprise that upland areas of the east and north-east of the UK dominate the list.

1. Cairngorms

Home to the most popular snowsports destination in the UK, the Cairngorm National Park in the Grampian mountains hosts some of the snowiest locations in the UK.

The weather station at the Cairngorm chairlift has the highest average number of days of snow falling with snow falling on 76 days throughout the year (based on 1981-2010 averages), while the station at Aviemore records 66 days.

Cairngorms summit. Photo: John S Ross

2. Shetland Islands

170 km north of mainland Scotland, the Shetland Islands are a series of around 300 islands, though only 16 are inhabited. The village of Baltasound on the island of Unst is home to the Met Office's most northerly weather station and is the snowiest location on the Shetland Islands with 65 days of snow each year, closely followed by Lerwick on the mainland island with 64 days.

Burra Isle, Shetland Islands. Photo: Greg Fitchett

3. Fair Isle

Home to the famous knitwear and with good reason, the tiny island of Fair Isle (part of the Shetland Islands) sees snow falling on 63 days each year.  The island is midway between the Orkney Islands and mainland Shetland Islands and is home to just 68 people.

Fair Isle airstrip in snow Photo: Dave Wheeler

4. Orkney Islands

The Orkney Islands lie off the north-east tip of mainland Scotland and are grouped into the North and South Isles. The Loch of Hundland on Mainland recorded the most snow with snow falling on 59 days each year.

Bay of Semolie, Orkney Islands. Photo: Karl Cooper

5. Copley, County Durham

The North Pennines are one of the snowiest parts of England and Copley, County Durham, sees snow falling on average 53 days each year. It is just south of the North Pennines AONB, home to one of only a handful of outdoor ski centres in England.

Hindon Beck, Copley. Photo: Andy Waddington

6. Leadhills

The small village of Leadhills in South Lanarkshire is the second highest village in Scotland at a height of 1,460 ft (450 m) and has snow on an average of 52 days each year. 

As it name suggests, the village has been involved in mining lead for hundreds of years possibly even as far back as Roman times.

Horsegrain Dod, Leadhills. Photo Chris Wimbush

7. Widdybank Fell

Widdybank Fell is located in the heart of the North Pennines. It is home to two of the UK's most impressive waterfalls, High Force Falls and Cauldron Snout and the Pennine Way passes through the area.  Snow falls on an average 50 days each year.

Cow Green Reservoir, Widdybank Fell. Photo: Helen Wilkinson

8. Eskdalemuir

The village of Eskdalemuir in Dumfries & Galloway is one of the most established weather stations in the UK with data going back over a hundred years. During the period 1981-2010, the village saw snow falling on an average 50 days each year.

Girdle Stanes, Eskdalemuir. Photo: James McCulloch

9. Kinbrace

Kinbrace is a tiny village in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands. Due to its northerly, inland location, this station can record some very low temperatures. On 29 November 1985, the temperature did not get above -10.5 °C all day, the lowest November maximum temperature on record for the UK.

With an average of 49 days each year receiving snowfall, Kinbrace is one of the snowiest places in the UK.

Harvieston, Kinbrace. Photo: Steven Brown

10. Knockanrock

The Knockanrock weather station recorded snow falling on an average of 49 days per year. The village of Knockan is famous for its line of cliffs, Knockan Crag, the name derived from the Gaelic Creag a' Chnocain meaning 'cliffs of the small hill'.

Lochan an Ais, Knockan Crag. Photo: Sylvia Duckworth

Annual average days of snow falling
Cairngorm chairlift Balta -sound Fair Isle Loch of Hundland Copley Leadhills Widdybank Fell Eskdale -muir Kinbrace Knockan
(663 m) (24 m) (57 m) (28 m) (253 m) (393 m) (513 m) (236 m) (103 m) (244 m)
76.2 64.7 62.8 59.0 52.7 51.6 50.2 49.8 49.2 48.5

Find out more about snow in the UK on our Snow and snow forecasts pages or look at snowfall averages in more detail on the UK climate pages.



All data is based on annual average days of snow falling for the UK from the period 1981-2010. Since falling snow may melt on the ground this is distinct from the number of days of lying snow.

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