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When is the best time to visit the UK?

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Home to ancient sites, dramatic landscapes, historic cities, and vibrant contemporary culture, the countries of the United Kingdom are wonderful destinations to explore and discover throughout the year. However, based on the activities you want to take part in, or the places you want to visit during your trip, certain seasons or times of the year may be better than others.

 

The United Kingdom has a temperate climate, with warm summers and cool but mild winters. Although the region is famous (or rather, infamous) for its rainy weather, some seasons are wetter than others. And although the UK rarely experiences extreme weather conditions, it’s nevertheless possible to experience weather typical of very different seasons on the same day.

 

Here’s our guide to help you figure out the best time to visit England and the rest of the United Kingdom depending on what you would like to see and do.

 

What is the best time of year to visit the United Kingdom?

Thanks to the temperate climate and year-round mild temperatures, the United Kingdom makes for a great destination to visit at any time of the year. But each particular season has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Spring in the UK

With average temperatures between 66-77 degrees Fahrenheit and a mixture of sunny and rainy days, spring – from late March to early June – is one of the most popular times to visit the UK. Travelers on walking tours get to see wildflowers in bloom and trees bursting into leaf, while fun springtime festivities to experience range from London's Chelsea Flower Show to the Hay Festival literary celebration in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.

 

The cold weather lasts longer the further north you go, so spring in Northern Ireland and the northern regions of Scotland can still be quite chilly. One downside of visiting in spring is that there are more bank holidays (May has two bank holiday weekends), so you may encounter issues with businesses or attractions being closed.

Summer in the UK

The summer months of June, July, and August bring sunny weather and warm to hot temperatures, sometimes reaching higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Although it rarely gets uncomfortably hot, seaside towns and coastal areas enjoy cooling sea breezes to relieve the heat.

 

With pleasant weather and long days, summer is peak season in the UK, making it a prime time for walking tours and other outdoor activities. You'll also have the opportunity to check out world class annual events like Wimbledon tennis tournament, the Cambridge Folk Festival, and London's Notting Hill Carnival.

Autumn in the UK

Fall, from September to November, is another popular season to visit the UK, with moderate temperatures, vibrant foliage and festive events like Guy Fawkes Night. Autumn is also typically a rainier season, though, so bring your wet weather gear. If you're far enough north in the UK it's also possible to see the northern lights during autumn, if you're lucky.

Winter in the UK

Although the winter months have colder temperatures (with an average of 40 degrees Fahrenheit), more rain, and even the chance of snow, the holiday season makes it one of the best times to visit the UK. Big cities in England, in particular, go all out for the holidays, with Christmas markets, twinkling Christmas lights and decorations, and major celebrations for Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.

 

When is the best tourist season to visit the UK?

With the long daylight hours and fair weather, summer is peak tourist season for the UK. Along with a surge of international tourists, it's also when locals go on vacation thanks to their longer summer break. It can be a fun time of year to visit due to the fine weather, numerous festivals, and lively upbeat atmosphere. If you're coming to the UK for outdoor activities like hiking or walking, summer is one of the best times to do so. However, it's also when hotels, attractions, and accommodations are most crowded and expensive.

 

The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are generally regarded as the best times of year to visit the UK. The weather is overall pleasant, crowds are fewer, and prices for everything from airfare to hotels are lower. It's also possible to enjoy outdoor activities.

 

Low season lasts from November to April, encompassing the winter months. While you may not get to enjoy the best weather, temperatures are still moderate, prices are low, and you have the benefit of being able to experience festive end-of-year celebrations. While you can still enjoy outdoor activities, you need to pack for colder, wetter weather. However, if you want to focus on indoor activities like exploring museums and galleries, winter can be ideal.

 

With the reduced crowds and rates, spring and fall are great times for family trips to the UK. Solo travelers will find that the UK is a great year-round destination thanks to its overall safety and diverse seasonal offerings.

 

What is the most affordable time of year to visit the UK?

If you're looking for a bargain, low season (winter), from November to February, is the most affordable time to visit. But be aware that prices do go up around the holidays.

 

The best time to visit the UK depends on your ideal trip

No matter when you want to visit, the United Kingdom has a wealth of delights to discover throughout the year on guided small-group trips and solo expeditions alike.

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