England might be small, but it packs a lot into its pint-sized shores. Whether you're climbing the Lake District's uplifting fells or wandering along Dover's fabled White Cliffs, England delivers a bucolic feast for the senses. 

But the weather is never far from the conversation in England. The elements here are notoriously subject to change from hour to hour, though that rarely stops the people of this gregarious nation from getting out and having fun.

Here's a month-by-month breakdown of what's going on, from festivals and events to the all-important weather, to help you pick the best time to visit.

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The peak season (June–August) is the best time for good weather and festivals

The weather in England is at its best from June to August, with plenty of sunny days. This is the school holiday period, and many UK families make the most of the break from school, so prices for accommodation are high, particularly in August. Parking can be tricky, especially in national parks, seaside areas such as Cornwall and Devon, and popular cities such as Oxford, Bath and York. Public transport in London can be sweltering on a hot day. This is festival season too, and there are some huge outdoor events across the country.

Bright blue bluebells cover the ground in woodland
Spring is a lovely time to wander through the woods in England © Martyn Ferry / Getty Images

The spring and autumn shoulder seasons are best for exploring the great outdoors

There are fewer crowds in spring and autumn and the weather is often mild, making this a great time for hikes and cycle rides in national parks. Expect sun mixed with sudden rain showers from March to May, and some balmy autumn days from September to October. Seasonal sights start to open up in spring.

The low season (December–February) is the time for country pub lunches by an open fire

It's normal for the weather to be wet and cold through the low season. It can be snowy too, especially up north, where the weather can affect transport schedules. Opening hours are often reduced from October to Easter, with some places shut for the entire winter, but major sights (especially in London) remain open all year. Make the best of the season at Christmas markets and inside cozy pubs with roaring fires.

A couple warming up by the fire at an English pub
In winter, make the most of the roaring fires in England's country pubs © Myles New / Lonely Planet

Enjoy budget-friendly city breaks in January

After the frenetic festivities of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the chilly first few weeks of the year can feel a bit of an anticlimax, but there are still events taking place. January is a good time of year to take advantage of cheap city breaks and low hotel prices.
Key events: London New Year’s Day Parade, Chinese New Year (can fall in February)

February sees the return of the Six Nations

The countryside can be glorious under snow and sunshine, but it's more likely to be grey and gloomy. The Six Nations rugby tournament brings colorful flags and a jovial atmosphere to pubs across the country.
Key events: Jorvik Viking Festival (York), Six Nations Rugby Championship, Dark Skies Festival (temporarily moved to October and November in 2022)

England begins to bloom in March

Spring starts to show itself in March, with daffodils, bluebells, crocuses and primroses brightening up the month. Many hotels and inns offer special weekend rates to tempt people out from under their duvets.
Key events: Bath Festival, University Boat Race (London)

April brings iconic events and warmer weather

The weather is looking up, with warmer and drier days bringing out the spring blossom on the trees. Sights and attractions that are closed for the low season open up around the middle of the month and major events such as the Grand National horse races take place.
Key events: Grand National (Aintree), London Marathon (temporarily moved to October in 2022)

A huge rainbow flag flows along a street, lined with people holding up flags from around the world
Celebrate diversity with the LGBTIQ+ community at Pride in London © Ms Jane Campbell / Shutterstock

Beer gardens begin to fill up in May

With sunny spring days, the calendar starts to fill up with events. Two public holidays (the first and last Mondays of May) bring heavy road traffic, and pub beer gardens get very busy. 
Key events: Stratford Literary Festival, FA Cup Final, Brighton Festival, Chelsea Flower Show (London), Glyndebourne (May to August, East Sussex), Keswick Mountain Festival

England goes music-mad in June

Headlined by the legendary flag-waving Glastonbury, June sees the music-festival season kick off properly, and some big sporting events fill out the calendar.
Key events: Derby Week (Epsom Downs), Isle of Wight Festival, Trooping the Colour (London), Royal Ascot, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships, Glastonbury

July brings festivals up and down the country

This is it: summer is in full swing, with weekly festivals and county shows. Schools break up at the end of the month, so there’s a holiday tingle in the air, dulled only by busy Friday-evening roads as people head out of town for weekends away.
Key events: London Pride, Latitude Festival (Suffolk), Wireless (London), Womad (Wiltshire), Truck Festival (Oxfordshire), Camp Bestival (Dorset), Cowes Week regatta (runs into August)

August is for exploring the coast (and more festivals)

Schools and colleges are closed, parliament is in recess, the sun is shining and England is in a holiday mood, with many families heading down to the warm coasts of Devon and Cornwall. It's the start of the football (soccer) season, with packed stadiums through till May.
Key events: Notting Hill Carnival (London), Reading and Leeds Festivals, Manchester Pride, Camp Bestival (Shropshire)

A female hiker taking in the mountain views of Hayeswater, Lake District, UK
Visit popular national parks such as the Lake District in autumn to avoid the worst of the crowds © Duncan Andison / Shutterstock

Enjoy the last days of summer in September

The first week of September feels more like August, but then schools open up again and motorway traffic returns to normal. The daylight hours start to get noticeably shorter, but it's still possible to find decent weather and even some warm days.
Key events: Great North Run, Last Night of the Proms (London), Heritage Open Days

Make the most of England’s autumn colors in October

Leaves turn golden-brown, the weather begins to get colder, and days get shorter. Take advantage of cheaper hotel rates and enjoy the regal autumnal colors of the great outdoors.
Key events: Falmouth Oyster Festival, Cheltenham Literature Festival, Halloween

Ease the November chill at Bonfire Night

The weather’s often cold and damp in November – suitably somber for Remembrance Day – while Guy Fawkes Night sparks up fun and fireworks in memory of a failed attempt to blow up parliament in 1605.
Key events: Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire Night), Remembrance Day

December brings bright lights and Christmas festivities

Schools break up around mid-December, and many towns and cities hold Christmas markets, ideal places to browse for Christmas presents with a plastic glass of mulled wine in hand. New Year’s Eve is the year’s biggest party, particularly in London and other big cities.
Key events: Christmas markets, New Year celebrations

This article was first published March 2021 and updated June 2022

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