The United Kingdom is an ideal holiday destination at any time of year because of its temperate climate which means that doesn’t usually have extremes at any time of year. Spring – late March to early June and the autumn – September to November can often be the best times to visit for a holiday. It is usually less busy then, the weather can be at its best, the beautiful spring flowers are delightful and the autumn colours glorious. If you can avoid the busy summer months travelling around will be easier and restaurants and hotels not so crowded. December to February is an ideal time to visit the cities such as Bath, London and Edinburgh all the sights remain open and it will be quieter for sightseeing.
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Here’s your guide to the best places, events and festivals to visit Great Britian month by month
January – usually the coldest month of the year, the days are often clear and frosty with blue skiesand temperatures as low as 5-6C. Cities and towns throughout the UK have New Year’s Eve celebrations with live music, fireworks and processions, the largest of these being in cities of London and Edinburgh. In Edinburgh during January there is also the 5k run which takes place over a challenging course through Holyrood Park. Burn’s Night Suppers take place every January and in Dumfries the town hold 10 days of festivities to celebrate the life of Robert Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire.
Manchester hosts a beer and cider festival at the end of January which attracts over 14,000 visitors and showcases over 750 beers and ciders, the festival is held in the former Central Railway Station and is the perfect way to banish the post-Christmas blues!
February – There will still be snow on the mountains of the UK in February, and snowfall is still likely on the higher ground, in the south of England the snowdrops start to appear in the gardens giving a feeling that spring is on its way.
In York there is the week long Jorvik Viking Festival, which isa commemoration of the conquest of England by the Great Viking Army in AD 866. The festival includes, talks, tours, walks and dramatic performances.
March – The beginning of Spring sees the flowers and blossom on the trees start to appear, and in Cornwall spring is officially announced when all 7 of the Champion Magnoliacampbellii trees have at least 50 blooms, these trees are spread across Cornwall and can be found at the following gardens; Caerhays, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trebah, Tregothnan, Trengwainton, Trewidden and Trewithen.
Daffodils start to bloom, this is the national flower of Wales and they celebrate their national day on the 1st March – St David’s Day. Throughout the UK daffodils bring a sea of yellow to the gardens,non-more famous than those in Grasmere, Lake District – made famous by the poet William Wordsworth.
For those who love horse racing, the three-day Spring Festival in Cheltenham which culminateswith Gold Cup Day, shouldn’t be missed
April – The weather in April can be mixed with warm sunny days or plenty of ‘April showers’. Many of the attractions that have been closed in the UK over the winter start to open in April, especially around Easter time.
The famous Boat Race takes place on the River Thames, with teams from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge rowing against each other in one of the world’s oldest sporting events. In Devon at the end of April the Salcombe Crab Festival is held, this delicious seafood festival is a great place to enjoy local food and drink.
Towards the end of April, the bluebells start to appear throughout the gardens and woodlands of England, those at Enys Garden, near Falmouth, Cornwall are worth a visit.
May – During May the weather starts to warm up, there are two Bank Holiday weekends in May one at the beginning and one at the end. These two weekends can be quite busy as a lot of British people take time off work around these dates and the last week of May is usually a holiday for British school children.
May is the month when many of the festivals take place, in Falmouth the Fal River Festival celebrates the best of the great British seaside, with art and craft exhibitions, street food, a beer festival, jazz music and boat trips along the River Fal or Helford River.
On the island of Islay in the Southern Hebrides, is the Islay Festival of Music and Malt, this festival is in the true Gaelic spirit with songs, music, food. golf, bowling and whisky tasting.
June – with the warmer weather and longer days – the sun doesn’t set until nearly 10pm in the far north and far west of the UK, June is a perfect month for outdoor events.
The world-famous tennis tournament takes place in Wimbledon, South London. The Royal Ascot horse racing week which is attended by many members of the Royal family, Glastonbury music festival. The Royal Regatta – a series of boat races on the River Thames, in the picturesque town of Henley-on-Thames all take place in June. And of course, at Stonehenge, Wiltshire people gather to celebrate the Summer Solstice also known as midsummer.
July and August – are traditionally known as the summer months and are in theory the hottest and driest months of the year, although you should be prepared for all weather! The schools are now on holiday for 6-8weeks so everywhere is usually much busier. The first weekend of August in Scotland is a Bank Holiday and the last weekend is a Bank Holiday in England and Wales, the roads, ports and airports are much busier so do allow extra time for travelling.
These are just some of the many events and festivals that take place in the UK throughout July and August.
In Edinburgh the Fringe Festival takes place, the city is very busy with shows, music and comedy performances taking place in various locations. For music lovers the Boardmasters Festival at Newquay, Cornwall takes place and for sailors, Cowes Week, one of the oldest and most respected of regattasis held at Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
September – can often be drier and warmer than August, although the days are now slightly shorter. The summer crowds start to disappear as the children go back to school. It is an ideal time to visit the Isles of Scilly and enjoy the quiet beaches and watch the birds.
The sea is now at its warmest and the Scilly Sea Swim Challenge takes place, with 150 competitors swimming and walking between the main islands in one day.
September is also the month when many food festivals take place to mark the harvest, these include the Ludlow Food Festival, the Oxford Food Festival and the one at Broadstairs, Kent.
October – sees the start of autumn and the colour of leaves on the trees are at their best, Sheffield Park Gardens, East Sussex is a blaze of colour at this time of year as are many of the other gardens belonging to the National Trust. The days are now getting cooler,but it is an ideal time to travel around the UK as it is not so busy. The last week of October is a school holiday, but it is not as busy as in the summer.
During October walking festivals takeplace, as it is an ideal way to see the beautiful changingcolours of the countryside, these include the Dursley Walking Festival in the Cotswolds and Walk Scilly, guided walks on the Isles of Scilly.
November – The days are now getting shorter with only seven hours of daylight in the north of Scotland, the autumn colours are still in full show, but in the mountainous areas of the UK snow may start to fall. The weather can be cold and dry, but it can also be cold and damp.
Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated on the 5th of November with fireworks and bonfires which brighten up the winter skies – the event commemorates the failed attempt to blow up Parliament in the 17th C.
In Llandudno, Wales there is a Christmas Fayre which lasts for 3 days with over 100 craft stalls and 65 food stalls it is a great place to buy things that aren’t found in the shops on the high street. There are many other Christmas markets and fayres which take place during November across the UK.
December – The weather in December can be cold and damp and the days have the least daylight hours, but the towns and cities are lit up with Christmas lights from the beginning of the month.
The Christmas lights on Oxford Street and Regents Street in London attract visitors from all over the world. In the tiny fishing village of Mousehole, Cornwall the Christmas lights are a stunning sight, with floating displays in the harbour, the village is ablaze with lights and the narrow streets are full of lanterns, the aroma of mulled wine and festive food.