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UK Climate & Weather Overview


The UK as a whole is known for fairly unpredictable weather and a wet climate throughout the year but conditions can vary greatly from region to region.Northern Ireland, Wales and the western parts of England and Scotland have weather heavily influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and they tend to be wetter, windier and milder than other areas. Eastern areas are drier and occasionally cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer, while they also experience greater variations in daily, and seasonal, temperatures.

Northern areas are largely cooler than the south of the islands but they have slightly larger temperature ranges. There are a number of factors that can affect the different weather conditions in each region and this can lead to huge differences in temperatures, despite the relatively small size of the UK, and in the summer months there could be a difference of up to 20 °C between the south east of England and the far north of Scotland.

Western regions are more susceptible to wet weather and sporadic rainfall but if you're well prepared this shouldn't be a major issue, and there will usually be somewhere interesting to take shelter! The winter months throughout the UK tend to be cold and freezing temperatures, frost and snowfall are not uncommon, while the summers can be hot or mild and often a warm period of a few days will be followed by a slightly cooler spell but tourist hotspots remain popular throughout the year despite these issues as the tourism industry in the UK has adapted to cope with unreliable conditions.


Areas such as the mountains of Wales and Scotland and the Pennines in northern England can receive as much as 4,577 millimetres (180.2 in) of rain annually, making them some of the wettest areas in Europe but there are huge variations in rainfall throughout the UK. London, for example, is actually drier than Sydney in Australia and Italy's capital Rome with just 650 millimetres (25.6 in) of rain falling annually.

Eastern English counties such as Essex and Cambridgeshire tend to be the driest areas in the UK and in some years less than 450millimetres (17.7in) of rain has been recorded in a single year in Essex and South Suffolk - which is less annual rainfall than Beirut or even some part of the world with a semi-arid climate.

Weather Through the Seasons - (Note: This is a rough guide as each region can vary greatly).

January - March: These are generally the coldest months of the year and freezing temperatures and snow are not uncommon in many areas of the country. These months also tend to be fairly dry.

April and May: This period is considered as spring in the UK and temperatures begin to warm, although there can be some very cold days or some very hot days. These months also tend to be quite wet, hence the British phrase "April showers", but rain usually falls intermittently rather than constantly.

June - August: The British summer, this can be glorious and is usually the driest part of the year. There is always the danger of showers or even thunderstorms but these tend to be few and far between and usually there will be plenty of sunshine to enjoy.

September and October: September signifies the start of autumn when the trees begin to shed their leaves. These months can be wet but they can also be surprisingly warm.

November and December: The British winter can start in November but these months tend to be wet rather than cold, as colder weather usually starts to take hold in January.