The responses to photoinhibition of photosynthesis at low temperature and subsequent recovery were examined in Arabidopsis thaliana (ecotype Columbia) developed at 4°C cold-acclimating conditions, 23°C non-acclimating conditions and for non-acclimated plants shifted to 4°C (cold-shifted). These responses were determined in planta using Chl fluorescence imaging. We show that cold acclimation results in an increased tolerance to photoinhibition in comparison with non-acclimated plants and that growth and development at low temperature is essential for this to occur. Cold-shifted plants were not as tolerant as the cold-acclimated plants. In addition, we demonstrate this tolerance is as a result of growth under high PSII excitation pressure, that can be modulated by growth temperature or growth irradiance. Cold-acclimated and cold-shifted plants fully recover from photoinhibition in the dark, whereas non-acclimated plants show reduced levels of recovery and demonstrate a requirement for light. The role of the PSII repair cycle, PSII quenching centres, and the use of Chl fluorescence imaging to monitor photoinhibitory responses in planta are discussed.