Tourist Information UK

UK Weather

British people love to make conversation about the weather because it can be so variable and unpredictable. Visitors to the UK should be prepared for all weathers.

The seasons are far from predictable and it is therefore advisable to bring at least a sweater or fleece in the summer and definitely pack a waterproof for any time of the year! You will also find it becomes useful to watch the weather forecasts on television, radio or the newspapers. There are some excellent websites too, including;

The UK has a temperate climate, with lows in the winter of up to -10°C and highs of up to 30°C in the summer. Although the UK is not large, the weather does differ slightly between the north, south, east and west. Scotland and Northern England tend to have slightly cooler temperatures and are quite likely to see some heavy snow in the winter months. In contrast, the south of England experiences warmer temperatures and is unlikely to see more than a few flakes of snow in the winter. The west of England and Wales tends to see slightly higher rainfall than the east.

The UK rarely sees extreme weather although there have been incidents of storms and gales in autumn and more recently a problem with flooding.

The only place where severe conditions arise suddenly is on mountains or higher ground. Conditions can be very different to that at lower levels, so walkers and climbers should be well prepared or they may end up with frostbite or worse. A useful book for walkers and mountaineers is Mountain Weather: A Practical Guide for Hillwalkers and Climbers in the British Isles available on Amazon.co.uk

The average temperatures listed below are based on those from England.

Spring


Early spring is unpredictable and can bring either snow or warm weather. Temperatures for March (in England) average 9.3°C and rainfall averages 66.5mm. By the end of spring in May, the temperature average is 15.4°C. The amount of daylight increases at the end of March when British summertime officially starts. The clocks are put forward for one hour, giving darker mornings but longer daylight in the evenings.

Summer


The summer months of June, July and August are the hottest but not necessarily the driest. The average August temperature is 69°C with an average rainfall of 66.7mm. There is more chance of seeing sunshine during the summer months due to Britain’s northerly latitude. In Scotland for example, there is sunlight for 18 hours on midsummers day.

Autumn


September is the start of autumn, temperatures start to drop and rainfall increases. By the end of September the leaves are falling from the trees and the summer is well and truly over. In November, the maximum average temperature is 9.5°C with an average rainfall of 83.5mm.

Winter


Winter in England is generally mild with temperatures generally staying above freezing. Scotland and northern England get the coldest weather and sometimes heavy snow. The maximum average temperature in January is 1.1°C with an average rainfall of 84.2mm. Daily sunshine during winter averages 1 to 2 hours due to frequent fog and low cloud. Daylight hours are also reduced as the clocks go back 1 hour at the end of October. This results in the sun setting as early as 4pm.

Whatever time of year you visit, remember that it will probably rain. On the occasions when the sun does appear, don't forget to use sunscreen. A strong breeze can make the sun seem cooler than it is and it's very easy to get sunburnt.