Please sign in to post.

GB weather

Hey Travelers! My husband and I are doing Great Britain for 2 weeks next month and I just want to know what people have experienced, weather-wise, in recent years. I have (obviously) a good pair of walking shoes, and a good pair of hiking boots, and I just got a pair of packable/foldable rain boots, but any other tips are always welcome. This isn't my first European trip, but it's the first in GB for the entire time, and I know it'll be rainy.

Posted by
6821 posts

And how do you know it will Be rainy?

I go to London nearly every November. Clear blue skies and a crisp chill have been the norm with only a few days of rain.

Have never taken or needed rain boots.

Posted by
58 posts

I hope I have the same luck, as that sounds like the perfect weather for me! Maybe winter is slightly different than fall/late summer? I guess I'm just assuming, because every weather prediction I have checked for September says to expect some rain? We are going to all 3 countries and I figured I'd need rain protection at some point. I mean, considering it's rained in every country I have ever been in, at least once or twice, and I've never packed rain boots. But maybe I'm wrong, who knows. I hope I am, and that I don't need rain boots. But my question was: what has been your experience in Great Britain in mid September, rain-wise?

Posted by
10674 posts

I’m with Claudia. I’ve been in October and hit some rain but not enough for rain boots particularly in a city.

Are you planning a lot of hiking? I have hiked in late Sept and it was rainy some days but also had wet grass in the AMs when it wasn’t rainy.

Posted by
5818 posts

Here's a good website for UK climate statistics:
https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/regional-climates

The UK is well known for the variability of its weather - from day to
day, season to season, year to year and place to place. Its position
in the mid-latitude westerly wind belt on the edge of the Atlantic
Ocean with its relatively warm waters, yet close to the continental
influences of mainland Europe, plays a major role in this.

My safe bet is that it's a good bet to plan on wet weather. But the consequences are vastly different if you are just touring urban centers or walking the moors.

Posted by
58 posts

Pam, no, we're not planning a ton of hiking, but we've signed up for 2 tours (a thing we'd never normally do, just as a personal preference) and they're outdoors all day, and I just have a feeling. If I don't anticipate SOME stereotypical English weather, then what should happen? Well, it'll probably rain for 4 days and all I will have are my Lems and no rain boots. 😄 Of course. I am hoping for the best, but planning for some mud.

Posted by
58 posts

Thank you Edgar!! We are doing a lot of urban and rural walking, so I don't think bringing foldable rain boots is the worst decision I'll ever make.

Posted by
10384 posts

We were in London for 2 weeks in late Oct. last year. I used my umbrella for about an hour the whole two weeks! Mild temps although I needed a jacket, lots of sun. OTOH, I recall they had a veritable typhoon in Sept. because we were hit with terrible weather in Amsterdam and saw the UK was worse!

Not sure what you mean by “rain boots” but if you mean what we in Britain call wellies (https://goo.gl/images/v9vv4X) then they’re overkill. No one would wear them in the UK unless they live on a farm or are going to an outdoor festival. Just make sure your walking shoes are waterproof (you can spray them to make them so) and stuff them with newspaper overnight if they get wet.

Posted by
4843 posts

October can be variable, it can be quite pleasant with warm days and chilly nights but equally it can be quite stormy if there are any Atlantic storms coming in however this year has been, and is forecast to be, reasonably quiet for Atlantic storms.

There is a good likelihood that you'll encounter rain at some point, the west of the island will be more likely but I wouldn't imagine that you'll experience a lot but who knows, anything can happen and that's the problem with trying to second guess the UK's weather. You won't receive an answer that will be definite enough to convince you either way. I also don't know what a foldable rain boot is but I'm also guessing that they're what are known as wellies and as has already been mentioned are not seen typically on Britain's streets, they're usually reserved for walking the dog through muddy fields.

Posted by
647 posts

You don't say exactly where in the UK you will be so that, coupled with our unpredictable weather, makes it impossible for anyone to tell you what the weather will do when you are here. However, you can assume it may rain, it may be windy, and it will be chilly. You will not need 'rain boots' if you mean wellington boots or wellies and you would attract some glances if you wore them in towns and cities (they are mainly for muddy dog walks as others have said). Waterproof walking boots or shoes is the way to go. Windy conditions (certainly up here in the Western Isles of Scotland) makes an umbrella redundant, but you might want one for town centre walking. Layers is the way to go clothing wise.

Posted by
58 posts

Thank you all! So I am going to GB in September, for 2 weeks, to all 3 countries. I have read a lot saying that rain is pretty normal in September, but yeah, if I don't have to bring rain boots then I don't want to. I was mostly anticipating wearing them on our tours, one to Stonehenge (please reserve judgement, I know what Rick Steves has said about it) and one to Loch Ness, as we're going on a boat and I just anticipate some mud in the area. My walking shoes are not waterproof and unfortunately would not be able to be made waterproof, just by the way they are designed. But I used them in Boston in lots of rain last year and they weren't that bad. So I think I am in good shape either way. Thanks everyone!

Posted by
4494 posts

Rainy, sunny, cloudy, windy, hot, cool, sleet, and a few snow flakes. No idea what the next hour will bring. We’ve generally had good weather traveling in September. If it got cool, a light jacket sufficed. When it rained, it was only a light rain. I think we’ve been lucky.

Posted by
3707 posts

signed up for 2 tours...and they're outdoors all day...

When we are out and about all day we each have a pair of dry socks in a zip lock bag in our day bag. Occasionally a heavy, albeit brief, shower can really soak the best of shoes. If that happens dry socks will really help save the day.

Posted by
58 posts

Oh good call on the extra socks...I honestly would have overlooked that! That is a really smart idea, thank you! I have my favorite canvas jacket, and a rain jacket as well, so I think we're good.

Shoes that stood up to heavy rain in Boston and are comfortable to wear all day are a very good choice. Comfort is key. I mean, the worst that can happen is your feet get a bit wet. We don’t get monsoon rains here in the UK, but Just resign ourselves to getting a bit wet sometimes. You’ll see loads of Brits trudging around in wet trainers in the rain.

Bring a waterproof jacket that packs up small for carrying, plus a couple of thin light layers. Thin fleece tops are ideal because they’re so light, warm and dry out quickly.

Plus if you feel you need more weather gear when you get here, there are outdoor clothes/camping shops everywhere. Mountain Warehouse is a good cheap chain that you’ll find on most high streets.

Posted by
10674 posts

I love Stonehenge and I'm glad you are going to see it. I've been there rain and shine and the only place it felt really wet was when I walked back to the Visitor Center thru the fields via the barrows/tumuli and the grass was long and wet. IF you wind up taking the shuttle out and back from the Visitor Center to the stones then you should be fine without boots. There is some area around the stones that is grass, some is rubber matting. The grass is kept short so not a problem. I also walked to Stonehenge from Woodhenge one time and going thru the fields was the worst for getting wet and yucky as the grass was long and the sheep poo was frequent, hahaha!

Are you taking the boat on Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle? If so there was mostly paved paths, maybe some grassy paths within the ruins, when I visited in June. It had been rainy so I'd have noticed.

From what you've indicated you're going to do, I'd leave the rain boots at home. IF your hiking boots are waterproof, I'd go ahead and take them. I'd make sure to wear them to Stonehenge just so you can say you've worn them even though you likely will not need them.

If your walking shoes do get wet, take out the insole, stuff with newspaper if you have any and they'll probably be dry overnight. IF your bathroom has a towel heater and you can figure out how to turn it on, place your shoes underneath it so they are in a warmer area.

You can, of course, take any clothing and boots you like BUT a canvas jacket seems like a very weighty layer to take. Can you wear the rain jacket over it? If not, I'd consider a puffy vest layer or polarfleece layer. It will be lighter to carry than the canvas jacket - based on the canvas jackets I've known, hahaha! Plus the puffy or polarfleece layer will squish down smaller than the canvas.

Posted by
5818 posts

RE: We are doing a lot of urban and rural walking....

Your kit for walking in London or in Edinburgh, surrounded by shops, cafes and museums is vastly different from your kit for fell walking and crossing open moors.

Your kit for city walking in Great Britain isn't likely to be much different from what you need for walking about in a temperate zone North American city during the early fall. And if you err in dress, the mistake will not be life threatening or greatly uncomfortable.

But your kit for fell walking or crossing long streches of open countryside can be the difference between life threatening (hypothermia) and discomfort and a memerable adventure. In such environments, we not only have our weatherproof jackets with storm hoods, but weatherproof overpants, gaitors. wool socks and waterproof (breathable membrane) walking boots. And we carry dry clothing and extra socks. And we still get wet and our boots are still soaked by the end of the day.

The bottom line is the probability of rain and wind (my experience in May walks is that over the course of 7 days, expect to get wet) and the consequence of getting wet. Getting wet in London is just an excuse to duck into another museum or cafe. Getting wet crossing the North York Moors or the Scottish Highlands is the hope that we can find a mid-day pub for a hot bowl of soup.

Posted by
2686 posts

How do you know it’s going to be rainy? I’m sorry, but no one can know it’s going be rainy. I’ve been in England and Wales the last few September’s, never needed rain boots (never even thought about taking any), only had a few sprinkles that lasted five minutes. I would just take a water proof jacket.