When is the Best Time to Visit England?
Published on: August 15th, 2017
Last modified: July 28th, 2023
The best time to visit England for avoiding the crowds is spring, early summer and early autumn - from April to June and September to November.
Although England has four distinct seasons, the weather is typically not as reliable as other European countries.
The saying, ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes’ can easily be applied to England!
Although unpredictable, you can still expect pretty spring flowers, crisp autumn leaves and lots of Christmas cheer in the winter.
Seasons and Weather in the UK
This is a wonderful time to visit England as the gardens are starting to bloom. Streets are lined with blossoms that explode in clouds of pink and white during late March and early April and parks are filled with daffodils and crocuses. Showers can be common during spring but tend not to be long lasting and it is rarely properly cold.
The first picnic or barbecue of the summer is a cause for real celebration. While the sunshine can’t always be guaranteed, there have been very warm spells from June to September in recent years. In London, when the weather is on form, expect parks to be full of those looking for a few rays on their lunch break and people spilling out onto the pavement outside pubs for post-work drinks. Gardens are in full force during the summer with sweet smelling roses and colourful hydrangeas. This is a great time to visit the country's stately homes.
As the leaves turn shades of red and burnt orange, this is a great time to visit arboreta, such as Batsford and Westonbirt. The weather is usually still good enough to go walking in the countryside, and even if it is a bit on the chilly side, there’s always a local pub with a crackling fire ready to welcome you.
Come to England during December and enjoy the Christmas festivities. Shops go all out with their window displays and there are great markets to shop for stocking fillers while sipping a mulled wine. Carol concerts are the perfect way to get into the festive spirit and they are held everywhere from historic cathedrals to local cafes.
Best Time to Visit...
For Iconic Sporting Events
Crisp whites, Pimm’s and strawberries and cream – no sporting event is more British than Wimbledon. Held every year at All England Lawn Tennis Club during June/July, this tournament entertains both avid tennis fans and those who simply like the camaraderie that comes with it. A few weeks before Wimbledon, and also in London, is Queen’s which attracts the top players looking to get some practice in on grass before the big event.
The iconic Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race takes place every year around Easter (normally during March or April) with dense crowds thronging the banks of the Thames to cheer on the teams, day-long festivals and celebrations spread along the route from start to finish line, and after parties at pubs and clubs around London well into the night.
Goodwood hosts a selection of flagship events throughout the year, including the Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival for motor enthusiasts and Glorious Goodwood for those interested in horse racing. Other notable horse races include Ascot in June and the Grand National in April, but there are a number of other events throughout the year.
The British Grand Prix is currently held at Silverstone in Northamptonshire and takes place in July. July also sees The Open, a prestigious golfing tournament usually held in Scotland.
For the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
London's RHS Chelsea Flower Show is held every year in May. Top garden designers showcase their work in the hope of receiving a coveted gold medal. There are also suppliers offering perennially popular plants as well as unusual hybrids and more niche varieties.
For Bonfire Night
Bonfire night is held every year on November 5th and firework displays, funfairs and, of course, bonfires are put on all across the country by local councils and sports clubs.
The big displays in London (Alexandra Palace and Battersea Park, for example) are well worth watching, or simply stroll along the Thames after dark to see the city skyline fire up with a kaleidoscope of light and colour.
For a real trip back in time, head to one of England's old castles such as Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire or Castle Rising in Norfolk, to see dazzling displays of pyrotechnics light up these stunning historic buildings.
For the Christmas Cheer
During December there are plenty of Christmas markets all around the UK, which usually consist of wooden chalet-style stalls selling everything from handmade goods to roasted nuts and mulled wine.
Areas with an olde-England charm like York, Oxford and the Cotswolds are particularly picturesque at this time of year, with the frosted fairy-tale magic of a scene painted on a Christmas card or iced on top of a Christmas cake.
For some urban glitz, the Christmas lights in central London, as well as the window displays in Harrods and Harvey Nichols, are a much-anticipated annual event.
Hogmanay in Edinburgh is a wild and wonderful way to celebrate the new year, and few things will get your year off to a fresher start than a windy New Year's Morning walk through the rugged Scottish landscape.
When to Avoid Travelling to England
Generally speaking, you want to avoid travelling during the UK summer school holidays which run from July to early September. The crowds at popular attractions swell and prices of hotel rooms rise. The Easter bank holiday can also be difficult as the roads become congested with people looking to escape to the coast or countryside.