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The Best Time to Visit England: A Complete Guide

England is a country with so much to offer. History is everywhere you look; here, you can marvel at everything from Roman ruins to Victorian palaces. Plus, while its nature isn’t as spectacular as other destinations around the world, there’s nothing more charming than the British countryside. 

best time to visit england

While British food is hardly famous, larger cities have an excellent international food scene, with London being a top destination for foodies. And you’ll also find great nightlife and hundreds of attractions for people of all ages and styles.

However, one thing that England does not excel at is the weather. This means that it’s a kind of seasonal place to visit – although some areas are decent year round. This local guide will tell you what the best time to visit England is, and give you some tips for visiting in all seasons! 

England in Summer

Cheddar Gorge England Summer

Summer is largely considered to be the best time to visit England. While we still get rainy days – this is Britain, after all – we also get plenty of sunny days over 20 degrees Celsius, with some reaching temperatures of up to 30 degrees. 

This means that you can enjoy Britain’s great outdoors, including its many hikes and beaches. It’s the ideal time to go on a road trip around Cornwall or another coastal area of the country. 

Another reason why so many tourists visit England in the summer is because the days are long. At peak summertime, it doesn’t get dark until 10pm in some areas – and then the sun starts to rise again at 3am! 

One of the drawbacks of visiting England in Summer is how busy it can be. The last week of July and all of August are school holidays, so locals flock to the tourist areas – the beaches and nature spots like Cheddar Gorge in Somerset get packed.

June and early July aren’t as hectic, but are certainly busier than other times in the year. British people really make the most of every bit of sun they see – so if it’s good weather when you’re here, prepare for places to be packed! 

Orcombe Point, Start of Jurassic Coast

Tips for visiting England in summer

  • Book everything in advance, as hotels, museums, car rentals and even trains can get fully booked.
  • Don’t forget your SPF! It’s certainly possible to get sunburn in the English summer, even if it isn’t that hot. 
  • On very hot days, beaches will be incredibly busy – so arrive early.
  • If you can, try to visit popular tourist areas on weekdays. 

Read More: 10 Literary Places in Devon and Cornwall

England in Winter

Exmouth Beach at Sunset

Winter in England officially starts on the 21st December and ends on the 21st March, but any Brit will tell you that sometimes it feels never-ending! We frequently get wintery weather from November until March.

There is rarely snow in England in the winter – and when there is the entire country panics, much to the amusement of visitors from snowier countries – but expect temperatures of around 0-5 degrees from December to February. 

We do get some sunny winter days during this time, but we can also get very gloomy, cloudy and rainy weather too. 

However, that doesn’t mean you should lose all hope if you’re visiting England during the winter – there are plenty of all-weather activities, such as all of these things to do in Cornwall in the rain. Cornwall is a rural county that most people associate with the beach, so trust me when I say that there are rainy day attractions everywhere!

The biggest issue that you might have with visiting England in the winter is not the weather, but the daylight. At the shortest time of the year (December and January), it doesn’t get light until around 8:00 am and the sun sets again at 4:00 pm. This doesn’t leave you with all that much time for exploring, but if you are sticking to the cities they are well set up for visiting in the dark!

Tips for visiting England in winter

  • Base yourself in a city, where there are lots of rainy day attractions to enjoy if the weather isn’t great. 
  • If you are venturing out of the city make sure that you are aware of the time that it will get dark and know if it will affect your plans. 
  • Wrap up warm! Even though it doesn’t snow often, it can feel very cold!
  • Check opening times of different attractions, as they may be different in the winter. 

Read More: 11 Unique Things to Do in York (Local Secrets)

England at Christmas

Bath Abbey winter england

While England can be quite bleak during winter, it is absolutely lovely at Christmas. There are loads of spots to enjoy the festive season, from Winter Wonderland in London to the epic Bath Christmas Markets. 

Most cities in England will have some sort of festive attractions, whether they be Christmas markets, parades or particular events. Many UK families go to see a Pantomime at Christmas,  which is a comic play that retells a typical fairy story like Peter Pan or Cinderella. Most theatres all over the country have at least one pantomime in the festive period, so try to book one near to wherever you’re staying! 

Tips for visiting England at Christmas

  • Make sure that you go to at least one Christmas market!
  • Pre-book everything from around the 21st December to 3rd January. This includes accommodation, meals out and transportation – this is a really busy time in England, so you could get caught out! 
  • Some restaurants and pubs are open on Christmas Day, but you will need to book tables by October latest. 

England in Autumn

england rooftop views

Once September rolls around, the leaves start to change colours and fall off the trees. This is a beautiful time to be in England – we take Halloween quite seriously, and we even have our own celebration called Bonfire Night on the 5th November. This actually commemorates when a man called Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament, and is celebrated by firework displays all over the country! 

The weather can be unpredictable during this time. We do get some beautiful days in September – sometimes it’s even like summer is still trying to hold on. However, some days in November can feel like winter has really taken its hold! It also starts to get dark after the end of October when the clocks go backwards. 

However, there are still lots of things to do all over the UK in this season, and prices can be lower and it is generally less busy.

Tips for visiting England in Autumn

  • The days get a lot shorter quickly in November. In my opinion, October is a much nicer month to visit because of this! 
  • Pack for different weather, but unless you’re visiting at the start of September you will need a coat. 

Read More: York Ghosts & Haunted Places (+ Ghost Tours)

England in Spring

Plymouth Barbican Boats

Spring (from April onwards!) is a lovely time to be in England. At the start of April, the clocks go forward so the days get longer, and while the weather can be hit and miss, you should get some nice days!

March can still be very cold and sometimes it even snows, but toward the end of the month you’ll likely see some warmer, sunny weather too. It usually isn’t too busy from March – May at the main tourist attractions, with the exception of children’s school holidays. These are the Easter holidays (two weeks whenever Easter falls) and May half term, which is the last week of May. 

Tips for visiting England in Spring 

  • Be prepared for all weathers – seriously, all of them. In late March, you could get 28 degree weather, or there could be snow on the ground. 
  • There are a few holidays in this season (as well as Easter, we have two long weekends in May). Check whether your trip coincides with any and book accommodation early if it does. 
  • Do as the British do, and make the most of sunny days! On the first sunny day of Spring Brits tend to spend hours outdoors, perhaps having a BBQ – even if it’s only 15 degrees!

Read More: The Ultimate 3 Day Oxford Itinerary (UK)

England at Easter

Bristol coloured houses

Easter is a fun time to visit England, although it can be busy, as schools have holidays for two weeks. However, there are lots of events at this time – if you are visiting England with kids, you’ll be able to join Easter egg hunts to find chocolate eggs, and if you’re on holiday as a couple or with a group of friends there are lots of events to enjoy. 

So when is the best time to visit England? 

The best time to visit England largely depends on what you’re doing here. If you’re just spending a few days in London, then you can visit any time of year – and you might prefer to see the city during the festive period or outside of summer holidays. However, if you’re spending some time at the beach, you will probably want to visit England in the summer! 

I would recommend avoiding school holidays and, if you want to visit in the summer, coming in May or June. June often has beautiful weather, and it can be good in May as well! 

However, no matter what time of year you visit England, I’m sure that you’ll have an amazing time. The museums, castles and nature spots that make up this unique country are wonderful all year round! 

Claire is a South West England travel expert. She has spent the last eight years living in Bristol and Devon, and has built her blog Go South West to shine a light on this region. On her blog, she posts all of her best tips on visiting the area, as well as articles about the history and culture of South West England.

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