When to go?
It’s true: Summer, the high tourist season, offers warmer weather and less rainfall. But the tradeoff is putting up with hordes of fanny-pack-wearing tourists and peak, highway-robbery prices. Worse, a “cultural slump” occurs in the summer; the best opera, ballet, theater, and symphonic music takes place in late fall, winter, and early spring. So please, don’t tie yourself to summer! Cusp periods, in April, May, September, and October, provide a great compromise, especially if you’re a culture vulture. If your plans consist primarily of walking and hiking, then maybe summer months are best for you—unless you’re a hearty soul who enjoys cold weather! The Brits are certainly hearty. They tend to keep their homes and hotel rooms at goose-bump temperatures, which startles the average American.
UK weather, year round, compared to many parts of the US, is very temperate. The ocean moderates UK temperatures, so the winters are generally mild, and summers, cool. But temps and rainfall vary greatly across the UK! Generally speaking: London and Essex have the warmest and driest weather; Wales and Scotland, the wettest; and Scotland, the coolest. (I heard one cheeky weatherman in the UK tell his radio audience that it was raining in Scotland “like it has been since about the mid-fifteenth century.” I laughed so hard, I nearly choked on my Shandy.)
Bottom line: Regardless of when you visit Britain, you’ll probably experience rain! So carry an umbrella and adopt a British “stiff upper lip.” Remaining unfazed by rain proves you’re a true Anglophile and builds character. Plan both indoor and outdoor activities, and save those museum visits for rainy days. (Frankly, one of the most pleasurable experiences I’ve had in the UK was hiking the moors on a rainy, autumn day. The “rain” was mist and felt glorious on my face!) And finally, always, year round, bring layers of clothing. (London, which has some of the UK’s warmest summertime weather, may bake in a heat wave, then a few days later, luxuriate in cool, sweater-wearing temperatures. You need layers.)
Now, go plan your UK trip! You can start here: VISIT BRITAIN Or chat with fellow Anglophiles: CHAT FORUM Or read more on ANGLOPHILES UNITED
Be sure to check back tomorrow—I’ll discuss the best time to buy an airline ticket to the UK!