United Kingdom climate
The United Kingdom has a generally mild climate. Wales gets most of the rain and Scotland and northern England get most snow in the winter. The south gets most of the mild, dry weather and the vast majority of sunny days.
When to fly to United Kingdom
The UK is a year-round destination and flights to the UK are always packed with travellers eager to explore the country's main attractions. Peak summer months are busiest, especially in London, and the major tourist centres. Summer (June to August) temperatures range between 14 and 30 degrees Celsius.
Winter months (December to early March) can be cold (average temperatures about one-two degrees Celsius), but in general, the further north you go, the colder the weather. This is the time to visit for winter sports. Scotland has five main areas for winter sports: Nevis Range, Glencoe, Glenshee, Cairngorm and the Lecht.
Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) can be great times to visit. The tourist season is just gearing up (or gearing down) and the weather can be sunny and warm. May and September, in particular, can enjoy very good weather.
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Getting around United Kingdom
Several airlines connect cities around the UK including BA, easyJet, bmi, bmibaby and Flybe. Air Southwest operates services to the south west of England. ScotAirways connects Scottish cities and Eastern Airways links the east of the UK with Scotland.
Train service is decent, if expensive. In London, the underground rail is punctual and comprehensive. Buy an Oyster card at any Tube station to get around more cheaply. Buying a ticket at the station is much more expensive than using the card - £1.50 for a zone 1 ticket as opposed to £4 at the station. There are trams in several cities including Manchester and Sheffield. Croydon has a Tramlink and Blackpool, the resort town in Lancashire, has the UK’s only remaining “traditional” tramway.
The National Express bus service is an economical way to get around the UK and it offers a very good service. London buses are fast and regular, linking up the capital day and night. There are good bus services in other cities around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Postbus is a nationwide service of more than 200 routes, mostly in remote areas.
Car hire is easy. All the major companies are represented at airports and in cities around the UK.
United Kingdom insider information
- The UK has a proud theatre tradition. London's West End is the largest theatre district in the world. The reconstructed Shakespeare's Globe on London's Bankside has exhibits, educational programmes, and, of course, an annual season that runs from May to October. In Shakespeare’s Day, the cheap areas of the theatre were filled by "groundlings", theatre-goers who had paid one penny to watch the performance. These tickets now cost £5. Outside London, the Minack Theatre, an open-air theatre in Cornwall is celebrating its 75th anniversary season with a performance of The Tempest, the play for which the theatre was created.
- Follow the Ridgeway National Trail from Avebury, a stone circle about 5,000 years older than Stonehenge. Unlike Stonehenge, you can wander among the stones. Close to Avebury are the white horses – five large white horses - cut into the chalk downs. The Cerne Giant, in Dorset, is another giant chalk figure. Beside the sea in Cornwall is Tintagel Castle, said to be King Arthur’s birthplace.
- Get a glimpse of the Royal Family (maybe) by visiting Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle, two of the Queen’s official residences. You may spy them at Balmoral in Scotland during the summer months, going to service at Crathie Parish Church on Sunday morning or at the Highland Games in Braemar every September.
- London is an expensive city, but culture vultures can enjoy museums and galleries free of charge. These include the National Gallery, Royal Academy, Tate Britain and Tate Modern, the Imperial War Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Outside London there are The National Football Museum in Preston; The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead and the national museums of Scotland and Wales to name just a few.
- Among the top seaside resorts are Whitby, Yorkshire; Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk; Frinton-on-Sea, Essex; Swanage, Dorset; and Sidmouth, Devon.
- Trivago is a useful website for user reviews and recommendations on accommodation in the UK. Take a look at the pages on hotels in London, hotels in Whitby or Wales.