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The Best & Worst Time to Visit the United Kingdom in 2024

The Best & Worst Time to Visit the United Kingdom in 2024

The best time to visit the United Kingdom?

The best time to visit the UK is spring (April to June) for mild weather and blooming landscapes, ideal for outdoor activities and enjoying events like the Chelsea Flower Show. Summer, however, is perfect for festival lovers, offering warm weather and a plethora of events from Glastonbury to the Edinburgh Fringe, showcasing the UK’s vibrant cultural scene.

There is so much to see and do in the United Kingdom, that it almost makes no sense to try and sum it all up in a few paragraphs. Music lovers will want to visit Liverpool, the birthplace of The Beatles, or Manchester, the birthplace of The Smiths.

Lovers of literature will want to lose themselves in Arthur Conan Doyle’s footsteps in Edinburgh or on the moors made famous by the Bronte sisters.

Nature lovers will find plenty to do between the hills of the Scottish Highlands and the dramatic coastline of Northern Ireland, while no trip to the UK is complete without stopping in the dynamic capital, London. But be sure to go at the right time.

The Overall Best Time to Visit the United Kingdom

Neat view of a red phone booth outside of Big Ben pictured during the best time to visit the UK, with clear blue skies and few people on the streets


The best time to visit the United Kingdom is in the spring (April-June), unless you want to catch the country’s famous festival season, which peaks in the summer.

A concern for visitors to the UK is the weather. The good news is that the UK has a temperate climate all year round, with mild temperatures in all seasons. It rarely gets too hot or too cold, except at very high elevations or in the far north.

Rain is a bigger concern, especially if you were planning on hikes or other outdoor activities. Make no mistake, the UK is rainy no matter when you visit, but between March and May, you have the biggest chance of catching clear skies.

Even rainy Wales receives the least precipitation in the spring. If you’re hoping to spend plenty of time outdoors, even just exploring the parks of London and other cities, spring is the best time to visit. The weather is mild, perfect for outdoor activities.

Plus, spring is when all the wildflowers are in bloom. The UK has many beautiful flower species, and now is a great time to explore the hills of Northern Ireland or any natural place.

The country’s cultural calendar is consistently full, no matter what time of year you visit.  In the spring, one of the marquee events in London is the Chelsea Flower Show.

Lovers of racing will want to visit the Grand National horse race. However, festivals truly peak in the summer. The weather is at its warmest, and Britons take advantage of this to head outdoors and enjoy the rich cultural scene.

Summer is peak time for weekend-long music festivals showing that the UK’s musical tradition is still up and running. Glastonbury is the most popular, but there’s also the Isle of Wight Festival, Download Festival, and many more.

Up in Scotland, theater lovers flock to Edinburgh Fringe, a street drama festival that lasts all of August. The festival is one of the highlights of the UK’s cultural calendar.

Besides the big name festivals, summer is a time for small, traditional festivals. Practically every village hosts some kind of celebration, and this is the best season to explore the countryside and stumble upon a special fair.

Cheapest Time to Visit the United Kingdom

Postcard-worthy view of golden trees and still water with people walking along the river pictured during the cheapest time to visit the United Kingdom, in autumn

Gorma Kuma/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit the United Kingdom is in the fall or winter, when prices tend to drop. The least expensive time to visit the United Kingdom is in mid-late winter.

Around December, visitor numbers are high, and prices are high because businesses want to profit off of the holiday rush. Once New Year’s comes to a close, the UK sees a drastic drop in visitors and prices alike.

Even in top cities such as London and Edinburgh, hotel prices drop by up to 20%, with discounts even higher in less popular attractions.

To get to the UK, January and February are also the least expensive months. Whether you are flying from continental Europe, the United States, or another destination, you can expect to save money on your flight.

That’s because there are no major holidays that increase demand during this time, and airlines tend to offer discounts. Try to fly on a weekday or during a less desirable time slot to save even more.

Winter in the UK can be cold and dreary, but you’ll probably feel warmed up when you think about all the money you saved. This is also a great time to focus on a city break without breaking the bank, picking a destination where the weather doesn’t matter as much.

Least Busy Time to Visit the United Kingdom

Pictured during the least busy time to visit the UK, winter , the Eilean Donan Castle is pictured with snow all around and an orange sky behind it


The least busy time to visit the United Kingdom in absolute terms is the winter, but you can also beat the crowds by visiting in the fall. Due to the cold weather, the UK gets the fewest visitors in the winter once the holiday rush is over.

If you want to wander cities without feeling like part of the crowd, this season is the best time to go. Fall is a hidden season for visiting the United Kingdom, but actually brings many advantages.

Once August ends, the number of visitors steeply drops off as people head back to school or work. However, the beautiful weather continues. The UK frequently has warm “Indian summers,” with sunny days and high temperatures lasting into September and October.

Even when the temperatures turn crisp, the days usually stay sunny and clear. This is the perfect weather for hiking or just going on a ramble outdoors.

You’ll get to take in the fall foliage and often have popular trails to yourself. If you want to go camping, this is the last time to do so before the weather gets too cold and damp. Many popular cultural events last well into the fall.

For example, although the peak of the Highland Games is in the summer, there are events taking place well into September. Chances are, you can still find a fall festival relevant to your interests if you try hard enough.

Worst Time to Visit the United Kingdom

Photo of a bunch of flags above the walkway of an open-air shopping center pictured in Leeds during the best time to visit the United Kingdom

Leeds, United Kingdom – June 15, 2022: British flags and people walking in Briggate shopping street in Leeds, United Kingdom/Jan Kranendonk/Shutterstock

The worst time to visit the United Kingdom depends on what you want to do. If you want to get into nature, the worst time to visit is the winter, while summer is the worst time for a city break.

Although the UK boasts mild temperatures all year round, winter is definitely chilly. Higher altitudes and more rural areas even see below-freezing temperatures and snow. Worse than the cold is the driving rain, which can make any hike or walk unpleasant.

Expect less infrastructure when heading outside of the major cities as well. Many businesses, from tourist information centers to B&Bs, close during the off-season in small towns because there aren’t enough guests to sustain them.

However, if you know that you want to stick to just the major cities, summer is the main time to avoid the United Kingdom. This is when crowds and prices are the highest. You’ll probably pay a lot of money for even a simple hotel room.

You also don’t want to underestimate how annoying the crowds are—for example, many Edinburgh locals flee the city in the summer because they find it impossible to get around.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pictured during the spring, the overall best time to visit the UK, the Glenfinnan Railway train makes its way over the viaduct and is surrounded by lush green vegetation

Pajor Pawel/Shutterstock

These common questions can also help you pick the best time to visit the United Kingdom:

Which is the best month to visit the UK?

The best months to visit the UK are April, May, September, and October, which tend to have the best weather.

What time of year is the least expensive to go to the UK?

Late fall and mid-late winter tend to be the least expensive time to go to the UK, as long as you avoid the holiday rush in December.

Which month has the best weather in the UK?

July and August are the warmest months in the UK, but April and May tend to be more pleasant and receive less rain.

What time of year has the best weather in England?

English weather is the best from June to August, when it tends to be warm and sunny, although lately there have been intense heat waves.

What is the rainiest month in the UK?

January and February are the rainiest months in the UK, with consistent showers and near-daily cloudy skies.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit the UK?

The best time to visit the United Kingdom is in the spring for good weather, and in the summer for festivals. Bargain-hunters will want to travel in the winter, which is as close to an off-season as this year-round destination gets.