Climate of England
According to the Köppen climate classification, England has a moderate maritime climate (types Cfb), with relatively mild winters, warm summers and precipitation throughout the year.
England has a reputation for being very wet. If you can believe the stories, it rains every day. That applies at most to some parts of the island of Great Britain, of which England is only a part. Scotland to the north and Wales to the west are considerably wetter than England. The southeast of England is on average even drier than the Netherlands: some parts of Essex, Kent and Cambridgeshire even remain below the 500 millimeter limit, which means that these areas can compete with the French Riviera in terms of precipitation.
Influence of sea
Due to its location in the northwest of Europe, England has a lot of influence from the surrounding seas, such as the North Sea, the Celtic Sea, the Irish Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The Gulf Stream provides the supply of relatively warm seawater. Due to this warm seawater, it does not cool down so quickly in England and the temperatures in winter are on average above freezing point everywhere. In the summer months, the seawater ensures that the temperatures are somewhat tempered. The highest summer temperatures are therefore most often measured in those parts of England that are least affected by the sea. This is mainly the south-east of England and in the summer months also the south-western tip of England (Cornwall and Devon). The latter area often benefits from the supply of warm air from the south. Some spots in the southwest are more like the Mediterranean coast than England. Palm trees and beautiful sandy beaches are simply un-English.
Pleasant summer months
The summers in England are on average comparable to the Netherlands. However, there are indeed differences. For example, the capital London is slightly warmer and drier than our own capital Amsterdam. During longer periods of good weather, the temperatures are often around a pleasant summer level of 24 to 28 degrees and the chance of an abrupt end accompanied by heavy thunderstorms is smaller than with us. A weather turnaround in England in summer is often due to a change in the direction of the weather. Less stable weather with lower temperatures and precipitation are usually the result of a supply from the north or west. Especially if the jet stream that runs from America to Europe comes to lie above England, this can ensure a constant supply of depressions over the relatively cooler seawater.
On average there is only about seven hundred millimeters of precipitation per year in England, a very large part of it in the form of rain. These quantities are a few percent lower than in the Netherlands. There is a significant difference in the distribution of precipitation: the southwest and northwest of England are a lot wetter than the eastern part. In the northwest, it is mainly the hills and mountains that receive large amounts of rain. The Lake District is the wettest area in England, with about two thousand millimeters of precipitation per year. Fog and clouds quickly complete the gray picture here, making this part of the country fully in line with the image many people have of the weather in England. On average, in the very green hills, the sun only shines for a thousand hours a year.
Winters in England are fairly mild. In many places the maximum temperatures are well above freezing on many days, and the number of nights with night frost is not too bad. However, if there is a supply of cold arctic air from the north, temperatures in England can drop sharply and severe frost can develop at night. It doesn’t snow very often in England, because the air is often not cold enough for that. However, if it does snow, there may be reasonable amounts of local rainfall, potentially causing traffic problems. Some cities almost come to a standstill during heavy snowfall. Organized winter sports in England is not possible. Although there is sometimes a beautiful white snow cover in the hills on which you can sled, cross-country or even ski yourself, there are no official ski slopes in England.
Under the influence of depressions that are brought in by sea, England suffers a lot from wind. Especially in the higher areas in the north there is often a stormy wind and the chance of storms is also high. Another place where the wind has regular free reign is the south west of England. In the worst storms, the wind force can reach force 10 or 11 (heavy to hurricane-like), occasionally even hurricane force (wind force 12) is measured. There are never any real hurricanes that arise from tropical depressions in England.
The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).
|Maximum temperature||Minimum temperature||Hours of sunshine per day||Days of rainfall per month||Water temperature|
Best time to visit England
Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to England? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result. England is almost entirely surrounded by sea, except where the country borders Wales and Scotland. Its location between the 50th and 56th degrees North latitude ensures that almost the entire country has a temperate maritime climate. Only in the more mountainous areas in the north and northwest of England does a cool maritime climate occur at the higher locations. England has the image that it rains a lot. That image is not quite right. The western regions of England are indeed a bit wetter and especially the northwest receives a bit more rain. With about 1500 millimeters of rainfall per year, the Lake District is a lot wetter than, for example, the capital London, which is drier than the Netherlands with about 600 millimeters of precipitation on an annual basis.
Knowing that it can rain all year round in England, June to August is the best time to travel to England. During this summer period the temperatures are highest and the weather is pleasant in large parts of the country. Precipitation unfortunately remains an unpredictable factor, with a portion of luck determining what kind of weather you eventually get.
England is not really known as a sun destination. Nevertheless, especially the southern beaches of England are often fine during the hottest months of July and August. The seawater is on the fresh side: about 17 to 18 degrees Celsius. The water does not get much warmer along the British coasts. The maximum air temperatures in the middle of summer average around 19 to 22 degrees Celsius. There are plenty of days with summer weather, where the mercury rises to 25 degrees or higher, but there can also be periods with cooler weather.
For a tour of England, the period from May to September is the best time to travel. From October, the chance of autumn showers and strong winds increases, which can make it less pleasant to travel through England. The months of July and August are generally the nicest, because the chance of good weather is the highest. It can be a bit busier on the roads due to holiday traffic.
You can actually travel to England all year round to make a city trip. In winter it is colder and gloomier, but the weather is rarely extremely bad. Heavy snowfall or severe frost does not happen so easily in England, so you will hardly be bothered by it. Some tourists travel to English cities such as London especially in December to enjoy the wintery Christmas atmosphere. If you want to see the cities at their best, we would choose the period from mid-April to mid-October. In the spring the greenery in the cities comes to life, in the summer there is a lot to do outside and in the autumn the city parks show the most beautiful autumn colours.