Weather in the UK - Climate in UK Cities

  • 01 of 07

    Average Temperatures in England (Celsius)


    Although the UK is about the same size as Michigan, it is an island caught between the warmer Atlantic Gulf Stream and the frigid North Sea. That makes for a greater variety of changeable weather than you might expect. It may be at about the same latitude as Canada's Hudson Bay, yet the temperature climate means that palm trees will grow outdoors through the winter - even in parts of Scotland.

    Temperatures across England are temperate - hard freezes and very hot weather are rare. In fact, it's not unusual for some tropical plants to thrive out of doors through the winter. Some smaller palm trees grow along the Cornish Coast and in the microclimates of sheltered gardens.

    But don't let that lure you into packing for the tropics. Wind and high humidity make even relatively high temperatures feel much colder. And keep in mind too that days are much shorter in England through the winter than they are in North America or further south in Europe. The temperatures drop at night and the lack of sunlight can make you feel chilled to the bone.

    Plan on packing the kinds of clothing that you can layer up or peel off depending on how you feel. Layers are also useful if you're staying in or visiting a historic building - you may need to pile on the extra jerseys to stay comfortable indoors.

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  • 02 of 07

    Average Temperatures in England (Fahrenheit)


    Temperatures across the UK vary by only a few degrees from place to place. But those few degrees can make a world of difference.

    The average high and low temperatures on this page are just that - averages. Like most places around the world, the UK has experienced its share of temperature extremes and unseasonal weather in recent years.

    Visitors are sometimes surprised that temperatures in England between mid-March and mid-October don't vary a great deal. It's possible to experience days in spring and early fall that are as warm as any you might experience in the summer. And it's not unknown for a holiday weekend in August to be brisk.

    The climate in Seattle and along the Pacific Northwest is similar to that of England, though, contrary to the myths about the UK, it rains more in Seattle.

    This temperature chart should give you a rough idea of what to expect. Whatever you do, don't overpack heavy clothing. You can always pick up an extra layer or two, or some warmer socks Marks & Spencer if you find you need them.

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  • 03 of 07

    Average Temperatures in Scotland (Celsius)



    Scotland is marginally cooler than England but in the wetter western part of the country that few degrees can make a big difference. You can expect brisk mornings and chilly evenings, even at the height of summer.

    Up until recently, heavy snow has been as relatively rare in Scotland as in the rest of England. Around the highest mountains, and in the Cairngorms, where there is skiing and winter sports, they usually have to make the snow to keep skiers happy. But since the millennium, Scotland has seen some dramatically harsh weather and very heavy snowstorms.

    One element of Scottish weather that few first time visitors anticipate is the plague of midges that gather in lowland areas and near water from late spring to late summer. They arrive as biting clouds of virtually invisible little flies and can even get under loose clothing. In the evening, they tend to stay near the ground so protect your ankles and other bare skin with plenty of flying insect repellant.

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  • 04 of 07

    Average Temperatures in Scotland (Fahrenheit)


    How cold you find Scotland, summer or winter, depends on where you come from in the first place. If you're coming from Saskatchewan, you won't find winter weather in Scotland bitterly cold. Given how far north this part of the UK is, the climate is temperate.

    Not everyone would agree, of course, so this chart of average temperatures in Scotland should give you an idea of what to expect.

    What can make Scotland seem colder than the mercury would suggest, in spring and autumn, are the preponderance of older houses with thick stone walls and big drafty windows that tourists seem to pick (real Scots have cottoned on to insulation and good central heating just like everyone else - it's those mad visitors who like the drafty old castles).

    If someone offers you a "hottie" before bedtime, they aren't suggesting any between-the-sheets shenanigans. It's what the locals call hot water bottles and they are invaluable in big old country houses to make the beds easier to climb into. Even in August.

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  • 05 of 07

    Average Temperatures in Wales (Celsius)


    Bring a raincoat, a thick woolly sweater and a good pair of waterproof walking shoes to Wales. The climate is moderate, as is the rest of the UK but getting wet can make you feel colder than the temperature would suggest and in the winter months, Wales, like the west of the UK in general, is wet.

    Summers on the Welsh beaches can be very warm during sunny stretches. Spring and summer are reasonably mild and visitors who want to avoid school vacations and the busier tourist season will find mild weather in May and September.

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  • 06 of 07

    Average Temperatures in Wales (Fahrenheit)


    The Met Office, Britain's main weather information provider, describes the Welsh climate as essentially maritime - often "cloudy, wet and windy but mild." But in the mountains of Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons the weather can be harsh.

    The number of days per year when the temperature falls below freezing, creating what is known as air frost, varies greatly. Along the west coast, the Met Office reports, air frost occurs 25 days or less per year. Inland, that varies from 40 to 100 days. Ground frost, when the temperature at the level of the grass drops below freezing overnight occurs about 40 times a year along the coast and about 110 days per year well inland.

    The weather is coldest when skies are clear overnight.

    The southwestern coast of Wales is its sunniest region. Most of the rest of Wales is prone to a typical Atlantic cloud cover.

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  • 07 of 07

    Average Precipitation and Rainfall in the UK


    Average precipitation and rainfall in the UK may surprise you. Everyone has seen pictures of London in the fog, mist and driving rain. But actually, it's one of the driest spots in the UK.

    Western Scotland, on the other hand, can be very wet. Glasgow, in the west, is only about 50 miles from Edinburgh, on the east, yet it has almost twice as much rain.

    The truth is the UK has very changeable island weather. During the rainiest months, wherever you are in the UK, the chances are a little bit of rain may fall at any time. Buy yourself a mini-collapsible umbrella or a folding rain hat if it worries you. You may be surprised at how many fashionable women in London go hat and umbrella free unless a little bit of rain turns into a downpour.