Dartmoor National Park
Dartmoor National Park
Sara and John say...
Wild, mild, wet and warm… and that can be in a single day! The southwest of England is a region of huge variety, from rugged coast to high moorland and sheltered valley. It is often one of the warmest parts of the UK too, and sunny summer days at the beach are like no other. The price we pay is quite a lot of rain, especially towards the coasts and hills of west Devon and Cornwall - facing the Atlantic. Talking of hills: the bleak high tors of Dartmoor and Exmoor are in a ‘different world’ - winter cold can bite hard 1000 feet up! But to the east of the hills, sheltered lowland parts of Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire enjoy a softer, milder climate.
Here’s a wider picture of the UK climate if you’re travelling further afield…
There’s an old saying that “Britain doesn’t really have a climate; it just has weather!”. Conditions vary so much from day to day and week to week that it’s easy for even the locals to get caught out!
Despite the variability, the UK tends not to have extremes of hot or cold, wet or dry. Year-round, the weather tends to be quite mild, thanks to the prevailing Atlantic winds.
Through the winter months, daytime temperatures typically sit a few degrees above freezing. However, this air is often cloudy, bringing with it occasional rain, especially to the north and west of the country, where winds also tend to be strongest.
Infrequently, winds from the north and east cut off the supply of mild air. During these periods, much colder conditions can bring severe frost and snowfall, almost anywhere in the United Kingdom. And the Scottish ski resorts are buzzing during these winter cold snaps.
Spring sees a haphazard transition to warmth; and even in the middle of summer, some days are chilly enough to require several layers. But British summer days typically sit in the comfort zone of the low to mid 20s Celsius in London, whilst further north and west - for Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast - the high teens are more normal.
Whilst unreliable, hot weather does make an appearance most summers. Steamy winds from the Med can send the mercury into the 30s - even in Scotland and Northern Ireland. British beaches can fill up quickly during these heatwaves; but if you head to the countryside, you can enjoy the unique unspoilt landscape at its best.
Early autumn - season of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ - can still bring occasional warmth; but by October, the darker, damper days and lengthening nights usher in a chill, with frost and snow not uncommon as early as November. Not always though - expect the unexpected from British weather!