The climate of the UK

The UK has a temperate climate. In general, this means that Britain gets cool, wet winters and warm, wet summers. It rarely features the extremes of heat or cold, drought or wind that are common in other climates. The weather conditions are also very changeable.

Not all parts of the UK have the same climate. London, in the south-east of the UK, is a region characterised by a warm and dry climate in the summer and a cold and dry climate in the winter.

Cumbria, in the mountainous north-west of England, has generally cooler temperatures and more rainfall throughout the year.

Cumbria sees much more annual rainfall than London, peaking in November. London has higher average temperatures, peaking at 18 °C in July.

The general pattern of the climate across the UK has four distinct regions:

  • south-east – cold winters, warm and dry summers
  • south-west – mild and very wet winters, warm and wet summers
  • north-west – mild winter, cool summers and heavy rain all year
  • north-east – cold winter, cool summers and steady rain all year
NE: Arctic - cold winters & summers, steady rain. SE: Continental - cold winters, warm summers, dry. SW: Tropical - mild winters & summers, rain. NW: Maritime - mild winters, cool summers, heavy rain.