The United Kingdom, or UK as it is more commonly known, is also called Britain or Great Britain. It made up of four separate nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. So, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for adventure or a culture vulture seeking history and culture, UK won’t disappoint you. With a history that goes back thousands of years, the old culture and traditions of UK still find a place, and continue to thrive, in these modern times as well.
As a holiday destination, UK will satisfy even the most ardent traveller with its motley collection of experiences that make for a wonderful vacation. From England’s mighty castles to Scotland’s mysterious-looking rolling green moors, a UK holiday is a rich tapestry of adventure, history, culture that seamlessly co-exist besides all the modern indulgences. The ultra-modern London Eye opens some spectacular panoramas of the city that is dominated by centuries-old architecture and designs. Some of London’s most iconic landmarks include royal parks, world-class museums and grand palaces.
There are well over 30 UNESCO World Heritage sites in the UK that counts stalwarts such as the Stonehenge, Hadrian’s Wall, Giant’s Causeway and the Tower of London amidst them. Scotland’s Cairngroms National Park and northern England’s famous Lake District are some of the most ecologically diverse hotspots in the world. UK’s spectacular coastline is one of its biggest draws. The beaches all over the UK come alive with activity whenever the weather plays nice.
UK’s picturesque countryside is dotted with quaint villages that will charm you with their old-world vibes and a serene pace of life. Britain’s calm and composed rural side presents a striking contrast to bustling and chaotic urban sprawl. UK has over 1500 castles and 2500 museums. In the UK history is everywhere, in the museums as well as outside them. The castles are especially fascinating as most of them have a myth or a legend attached to them to add to the aura of mystery and intrigue. From King Arthur to Robin Hood and even the Loch Ness monster, the stories will keep your attention riveted and your heart racing.
Great Britain also has a great tradition of education that has produced some of the greatest thinkers, philosophers and scientists. These hallowed institutions now stand as a testimony to its educational prowess. They’re worth a visit for their beautiful architecture as well as the history that is contained within those corridors. Art festivals like the Edinburgh Fringe and spring events like the Grand National Steeple Chase are some noteworthy events that should not be missed.
So, if you’re ready for your UK adventure, here’s a quick look at UK’s weather that will help you to plan a perfect holiday.
Peak Season : Summer (June to August) is the peak tourist season in the UK. The English summer brings out the locals as well as tourists to the outdoors. The beaches are some of the best places to spend your summer in UK. From surfing to simply lounging on the golden sands, you will find a range of activities to keep you occupied. You can go dolphin spotting on the Lizard Peninsula or sway to the beats of your favourite music at the music festivals. Just remember to book your travel and accommodation in advance.
Shoulder Season : The shoulder seasons of UK are spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the in-between seasons when you can sneak in a holiday without having to contend with the maddening summer rush. With mild temperatures and a pleasant weather, these are the best seasons to visit Great Britain if you enjoy peaceful holidays. Early spring and late autumn are slightly chillier, but the rest of these seasons’ months are quite enjoyable, with one exception. October is the wettest month of the year, so some outdoor activities may be curtailed.
Low Season : Though it doesn’t get as cold as some of the other places in Europe, winter (November to February) is a pretty cold time in the UK. February sees the most snow and the lowest temperatures of the season. If you’re seeking a placid holiday with no outdoor excursions and minimum sightseeing, then this is the perfect season for you. The museums and art galleries of London and Edinburgh will happily accommodate you for the evenings while the cheerful pubs and taverns will warm you on cold snowy nights. This is also the season to indulge in some retail therapy and window shopping.
|Spring||9 to 15°C||Cool, with rainfall|
|Summer||18 to 21°C||Pleasant, with rainfall|
|Autumn||9 to 18°C||Cool, with rainfall|
|Winter||0 to 7 °C||Cold, with snowfall|
Temperature - The spring temperatures in the UK range between a pleasant 9 to 15°C. Though they may dip as low as 5°C occasionally, it starts getting more comfortable as the season progresses.
Weather - After the chilly winter, spring brings a welcome thaw in the cold. April sees the most rains of the season, but the weather steadily warms up as spring marches towards summer. The snow melts away completely as the landscape regains its colours.
Significance - Spring is the season of new beginnings and some respite from the winter’s chill. As it gets warmer, Britain’s outdoors wakes up from its winter slumber and gets busy to prepare for the hustle and bustle of summer. Except for a couple of weekends in May, the UK is free from its usual tourist crowds. This is one of the seasons to enjoy Britain without being jostled about by the crowds.
Why you should visit now - As the colour makes a reappearance in the landscape, so do the people. After a snowy winter, they yearn for some outdoor fun and a brisk country walk is the most favoured activity. There’s a vast network of more than 2,25,000 kilometres of walking routes in England and Wales alone. These scenic routes pass through a variety of terrain and take you through some of the most beautiful scenery.
Blue, purple and green take over the landscape as bluebells spring up all over Britain. Some of the best places to see these are Stourhead in Dorset, Leigh Woods in Bristol and Bickling Estate in Norfolk. Set out on a trail of magic and wizardry as you explore the filming locations of Harry Potter movies around the UK. Some of these locations are magical by themselves. This is the best time to enjoy them without the crowds.
Explore UK’s cities as they emerge refreshed after the winter. London’s Chelsea Flower Show is a colourful affair. London itself is ablaze with colours as its many parks and garden start blooming. The trail of history and culture in UK starts from the museums and ends up outside. The cities cherish their past and take good care of their heritage.
Things to know before the visit - Enjoy the pleasant weather in spring but be ready for ‘April Showers’ which may catch you unawares. You will enjoy better travel and accommodation rates during this in-between season as it is free from the usual holiday rush. If you want to enjoy more of the outdoors, Scotland and Northern Ireland are the best places for it.
Tips - You will need a heavy jacket at the beginning of the season. But light clothes will suffice for the later months. The nights and evenings will be colder, so dress in layers and carry a light jacket when you’re out and about in the evenings.
Temperature - The summer temperatures in the UK average between 18 to 21°C. But they may go as high as 30°C on some days.
Weather - The UK warms up nicely in summer. But it rarely gets uncomfortably hot as the intermittent rains keep the heat in check. It is by no means the wettest season, but the rain does make its presence felt.
Significance - With longer days and more sunshine, this is a busy season all over the UK. This is the time of festivals and exciting outdoor activities. UK’s beaches are the hubs of activity during summer and parties spill out into the streets.
Why you should visit now - Summer is the time to visit the UK if you enjoy plenty of sunshine and don’t mind sharing it with a crowd of strangers. This is the perfect season to enjoy a range of outdoor activities. Climb the Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh or tour London on a Thames Clipper Boat. Enjoy fish n’ chips at the seashore or watch a mesmerising sunrise over the Stonehenge on summer solstice. Apart from these classics, there are many unique events taking place all over Great Britain.
Feast Nights in Cornwall is one such event held at the ‘Hidden Hut’. You simply show up with your plates, cutlery and the wine of your choice. They provide the food which you can then enjoy at the communal tables. If you fancy a drink at Britain’s highest pub, head to the Tan Hill Inn, a 17th-century pub, in the Yorkshire Dales. The Edinburgh Fringe, held in the month of August, is a month-long celebration of theatre and arts. It takes over the entire city and every street corner turns into an impromptu stage.
The Glastonbury and Isle of Wight music festivals are packed with fans who flock to these events for their historical significance as much as for the music. So, the best place to be in summer in the UK is outdoors.
Things to know before the visit - This is the most crowded season in the UK. Between all the music and theatre festivals, and sporting events like the Wimbledon, it will be really crowded. Accommodation and tickets will be hard to find unless you book yours at least months in advance. Also, expect to pay higher prices almost everywhere.
Tips - This is the season for light summer clothes and comfortable footwear. Always carry an umbrella for the rains are unpredictable and a jacket will protect you from the sun. Remember to stay hydrated. Book your concert and festival tickets online and you are more likely to get discounts.
Temperature - The autumn temperatures in the UK stay pleasant for the most part and range between 9 to 18°C. But they may dip lower towards the end as winter makes its presence felt.
Weather - October is the wettest month of the season and marks the transition between the pleasant September and the cooler November. The northern regions start getting snow by the end of November and are significantly colder than the south.
Significance - Like spring, autumn again sees a fall in the number of visitors. The weather starts to cool down and outdoor activities gradually begin to wind down. But you can still enjoy the outdoors, especially in Scotland with their Highland Games.
Why you should visit now - If you love art, culture and history, but don’t like crowds, autumn is the best time to explore UK’s vast reserves of the glories of the past. London comes alive with a plethora of festivals like Creamfields, Bestival and London’s Proms in the Park. Northern Scotland is ripe for your explorations with the North Coast 500 road trip. East Sussex’s white chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters will welcome you warmly and urge you to walk the length of the cliffs from Seaford to Eastbourne.
If you want to see the nature ablaze in its autumn foliage UK will oblige you with a multitude of places where you can enjoy them. The Lake District, Wye Valley, Perthshire and Loch Lomond are only some of them. Cornwall hosts the Newquay Fish Festival that brings together top chefs from around the region. You get to enjoy some delectable fish dishes surrounded by the beautiful autumn scenery.
London hosts the BFI Film Festival in the second half of October and treats you to cinematic art with around 300 films and documentaries. Halloween is celebrated in its usual spooky avatar. Birmingham in England and Londonderry in Northern Ireland put up spectacular fireworks displays for the occasion. Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated on 5th November all over the UK, but East Sussex has the best of them with torchlit processions passing through towns.
Things to know before the visit - Scotland and Northern Ireland are especially chilly in November. Most of the celebrations and festivals are free to attend, but some require tickets. Pre-book your tickets well in advance as they tend to sell out quickly.
Tips - Dress warmly, especially towards the end of the season. Hotel and travel prices are down, but you may enjoy even lower rates if you ask nicely.
Temperature - Winter in the UK sees temperatures average between 0 to 7°C. End of January and February may see further dips in temperatures.
Weather - The weather in December is much milder that the other two months of winter. But it rapidly deteriorates as the season progresses towards February, which is the coldest month of the year.
Significance - You can explore the UK’s museums, theatres and art galleries to your heart’s content without being hurried along by the crowds. This is also a good time to indulge in the warm British hospitality in its pubs and taverns.
Why you should visit now - Winter is a beautiful time in the UK. The weather’s cold is beautifully offset by the season’s warmth, especially in December. The colourful Christmas markets add their magic to the proceedings and warm your soul with their cheer. Since it doesn’t get too cold until much later, you can explore these markets in relative comfort. For a unique New Year experience head to Scotland where they call it ‘Hogmanay’ and the celebrations are second to none. But you can enjoy the New Year celebrations anywhere in the UK and most of them are followed by grand firework displays.
As January comes around, your sightseeing will be restricted to the indoors. With the number of museums around UK, you can enjoy exploring a different one every day. Around the end of January, Scotland celebrates Robert Burns night which is marked by poetry readings fuelled by whiskey and haggis, a traditional fare for the night. When February arrives, it is time to head to UK’s Georgian spa towns where you can ‘take the waters’ like in the old days. Harrogate, Royal Lemington Spa, Cheltenham and Bath are some of the most well-known spa retreats.
Things to know before the visit - Most of the old buildings around Great Britain are not well-insulated against the cold. The Christmas markets of Bath and Edinburgh are some of the best places to shop for souvenirs.
Tips - You will need your heaviest woollens to stay warm in the UK winter. Comfortable, grippy shoes will help you maintain your footing on icy patches. Keep yourself hydrated at regular intervals.
UK’s culture is a beautiful amalgamation of four distinct cultures that come together to treat you to a unique holiday experience. Here, the ancient co-exists with the modern and remains a part of the everyday life. Pick your best time to visit UK and book your tickets online or visit your nearest Thomas Cook branch and design your own UK holiday.