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The Cotswolds, England

When is the best time to visit UK?

The United Kingdom can be visited at any time of year, as its climate is relatively temperate and, in general, doesn’t experience extremes during either summer or winter.

Overall, spring (late March to early June) and autumn (September to November) are the best times to visit, when it’s usually warm and dry. At these times you’ll see beautiful spring flowers or the leaves changing hue in autumn, and avoid the much busier summer period.

Winter (December to February) can also be an enjoyable time to visit. Although some attractions close in mountainous areas and in the north, where there’s likely to be snow, the main cities remain fully open and will be quieter for sightseeing. The highest temperatures are experienced in the summer, but these rarely rise above 30°C (86°F).

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UK Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Bath 7°C 88mm 7°C 64mm 10°C 73mm 12°C 57mm 16°C 68mm 19°C 66mm 21°C 62mm 20°C 74mm 18°C 80mm 14°C 78mm 10°C 84mm 8°C 96mm
Cambridge 6°C 44mm 7°C 33mm 10°C 42mm 13°C 43mm 16°C 48mm 20°C 50mm 21°C 44mm 21°C 53mm 19°C 47mm 15°C 48mm 10°C 51mm 7°C 49mm
Edinburgh 6°C 61mm 6°C 43mm 9°C 51mm 12°C 43mm 15°C 54mm 18°C 52mm 19°C 63mm 19°C 70mm 16°C 69mm 13°C 70mm 9°C 68mm 7°C 61mm
Inverness 5°C 71mm 5°C 46mm 8°C 55mm 10°C 39mm 14°C 51mm 18°C 54mm 19°C 61mm 19°C 74mm 15°C 72mm 12°C 77mm 8°C 76mm 6°C 71mm
Liverpool 7°C 60mm 7°C 44mm 9°C 51mm 12°C 48mm 15°C 53mm 18°C 56mm 19°C 53mm 19°C 66mm 17°C 70mm 14°C 75mm 10°C 76mm 7°C 68mm
London 8°C 57mm 8°C 40mm 11°C 47mm 14°C 46mm 18°C 49mm 21°C 51mm 23°C 48mm 23°C 53mm 20°C 57mm 16°C 60mm 11°C 61mm 9°C 59mm
Oxford 7°C 56mm 7°C 40mm 10°C 52mm 13°C 45mm 16°C 55mm 19°C 55mm 22°C 47mm 21°C 59mm 18°C 55mm 15°C 55mm 10°C 54mm 7°C 64mm
York 6°C 53mm 6°C 40mm 9°C 48mm 12°C 44mm 15°C 51mm 19°C 52mm 20°C 53mm 20°C 64mm 18°C 53mm 14°C 51mm 9°C 54mm 7°C 57mm

Month-by-month guide to travelling in UK

Buttermere, the Lake District

Visiting UK in January

Typically the coldest month of the year, January is also when you’re most likely to experience clear and frosty days, with blue skies and crisp mornings. Extravagant New Year celebrations are held in all the major cities and often include live music, floats and firework displays. The average temperature throughout the month can be as low as 5-6°C (41-42°F), if not lower.

Events & Festivals

  • New Year celebrations are held, with fireworks on New Year's Eve and floats and processions in some cities on New Year's Day.
Oxford

Visiting UK in February

There will still be snow on the mountains in February, and parts of the country may experience snowfall. In the south of the United Kingdom, snowdrops begin to emerge, particularly in woodland areas.

Harbour seal

Visiting UK in March

Temperatures begin to rise and spring flowers appear, both on the ground and as blossom on the trees. The rugby Six Nations Championship is held during February or March, when England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy are pitched against each other.

Belfast Eye

Visiting UK in April

April is a notoriously unpredictable month for weather. It can be warm and sunny, with spring flowers made more vivid by the clear skies and sunshine, or it can be a very rainy month. Towards the end of April swathes of bluebells cover woodland areas. Many of the sites that close over the winter months tend to reopen in April or around Easter, a public holiday. The London Marathon is held on one Sunday towards the end of the month, with thousands of runners making their way around central London.

Events & Festivals

  • An annual event, the London Marathon is a great spectacle to watch, with runners running for charity around the main sites of the capital.
The Cotswolds

Visiting UK in May - June

The weather is usually warm during May and June, and is typically drier than the winter months. May has two Bank Holiday weekends, which can be particularly busy as British people make the most of this time off work. There are several events and festivals held across the United Kingdom during May and June as the weather becomes more pleasant and reliable. The most famous are the outdoor tennis tournament Wimbledon, the Royal Ascot horse-racing event, Glastonbury Festival and the Royal Regatta, a series of boat races on the Thames, held in picturesque Henley-on-Thames.

Events & Festivals

  • Wimbledon outdoor tennis tournament
  • The Royal Regatta is a key event in the summer season, with boat races and picnics held in Henley, and a strict dress code to adhere to.
  • Often attended by the Queen, Royal Ascot is a major event in the horse racing calendar, where race-goers dress up for the occasion.
  • Glastonbury Festival is held in Somerset this month, predominantly a music festival with famous bands and singers.
Isle of Skye

Visiting UK in July - August

Traditionally the summer months, July and August are in theory the hottest and driest months of the year although, as with all British weather, this cannot be relied on. Schools break for the summer around the middle of July, so this is also the busiest time to travel throughout the UK. There are a number of outdoor music festivals held in July and August, as well as large agricultural shows such as the Great Yorkshire Show. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a lively series of performances including shows, music and comedy, is held during most of August, making the city extremely busy. The last weekend of August is the final Bank Holiday of the summer.

Events & Festivals

  • The Royal Regatta is a key event in the summer season, with boat races and picnics held in Henley, and a strict dress code to adhere to.
  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a lively series of performances including music, comedy and theatre.
Portree, the Isle of Skye

Visiting UK in September

September often has warmer and drier weather than August, and the summer crowds start to disperse as schools reopen. Towards the end of the month the leaves start to change hue, and there are a number of food festivals held across the country to mark the harvest.

Loch Leven

Visiting UK in October

The autumn leaves are at their best, most vibrant russet shades during October. Temperatures are cooler and some sites in more rural areas start to close for winter. By the end of October most places are much quieter, making this a pleasant time to travel if you prefer to avoid the crowds. The schools generally break for a week at the end of the month though.

York

Visiting UK in November

In early November the autumn leaves are still in full show, but mountainous areas may experience snow and daylight is restricted to around seven hours in northern Scotland. The weather is usually cool and damp, although it’s not uncommon to have wonderful cold, dry spells. Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated with bonfires and fireworks on the 5th, to commemorate a failed attempt to blow up parliament in the 17th century. Remembrance Day for fallen soldiers is held on the eleventh day of the month across the country, with Sunday memorial services and military marches. A two-minute silence held at 11am on the eleventh day itself.

Events & Festivals

  • A celebration of bonfires and fireworks, Guy Fawkes Night commemorates a failed attempt to blow up parliament in the 17th century.
London during winter

Visiting UK in December

December is usually cold and damp, with little foliage and the least daylight hours of the year (fewer than seven in the north of Scotland). Christmas lights in towns and cities are switched on in early December, and shops remain open for most of the month, often only closing on Christmas Day and Boxing Day (26th December).

Events & Festivals

  • Christmas lights decorate towns and cities, and carol concerts are held in churches.

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