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Adapting to the climate in England

Hello everyone,

Adjusting to new climatic conditions is key in any expatriation process. Moving to England is no exception.

What are the climate characteristics of England?

How does the local weather impact your daily life, mood or health?

What are the pros and cons of the climate in England?

Share you advice and help people adapt quickly to their new weather environment.

Thanks in advance,

Priscilla

Although I have lived the majority of my life in the Far East, I have actually spent a lot of my childhood and study years living in the UK so I consider the UK weather as normal weather. People talk about the rain in the UK, well yes it rains but mostly in the spring, but you get used to it. However, the summers are wonderful. Hot and not very humid.

As an ex-surfer I have spent a lot of time in Cornwall and the southwest of England, camping throughout the summer, working on farms, working for English China Clays and long hours in the sea surfing. Of course the water never gets warm, and one needs a wet-suit to spend half a day in the water, but overall the summers in the UK are absolutely fantastic.

I am more of a sun person. I believe that cloudy days, rain and cold weather is depressing. In fact, when people ask me how it is living in the UK, my answer would often be "grey, grey and grey" referring to the sky, the buildings and so on. So of course one's environment affects one's mood and in England I couldn't wait to travel or live overseas.

So living in the UK, my advice is keep a brolly handy, when the weather is grey then go out with friends, don't stay by yourself, and make sure you have warm clothes, coats, gloves, scarf, hat because the winters can be brutal.

September to November turns cold grey and damp all the time time. December is a mix of everything but often milder than January which is often icy and snowy. February does the same. March rolls in offering warming milder weather which April may or may not ruin. May is often nice and June becomes the start of summer. Warm days and long evenings back to September.
Rains a lot. The wind brings sand from. Sahara and Salt off the sea. Cold frosty days are great.
Hailstones, freezing rain and gales are also often experienced.
The fine days of summer are nice because they aren't wet.

If you love mild days with differing climates neither too hot or cold then England is great.

Raincoats more useful than umbrellas as they are annoying to take into shops etc as you have to carry them around.

I miss the crisp cold days just below freezing and the long summer evenings other than that, nothing.

England doesn't have climate, it has weather.

You can tell this by the amount of time we mention the weather every day.
There are seasons, but it has been known to snow in July and be reasonably warm in winter.
I can't count the number of times I've left home in a T shirt and frozen in snow on the way home.
Winter is generally cold, but not always.
Spring is generally war, and commonly wet, but not always and snow is reasonably common. Easter is firmly in spring, but I've known snow many a year.
Summer should be warm and dry, but please tell God that as it commonly isn't.
Autumn should be cooler, but Indian summers happen a lot.
Winter is cold, but God commonly needs reminding of this as it can be quite warm sometimes.
Scotland doesn't follow much of that as it's far further north, and the west tends to see more rain, especially in the Lancashire/Yorkshire area as the latter is in the rain shadow of the Pennines, that also protecting the latter from a lot of snowfall unless the wind is from the north.
Basically, it's 'fair' except when the brass monkeys are out buying welding gear ready for the winter/spring storms.
This years' summer saw the thermometers thinking they were on holiday in Jakarta, but then it turned cold again.

Follow the weather patterns as a rough guideline, but check the BBC's forecast every day.

The major influence on the British climate is from the Gulf Stream which comes in across the Atlantic ocean from the west. It hits the west coast of the UK first, and actually Cornwall has a particularly warmer climate than other parts of the UK which is why you can find palm trees in Devon and Cornwall.

The gulf stream or, to be accurate, the north Atlantic drift, brings warm waters to the British isles from the gulf of Mexico, giving the islands a warmer than expected average considering it's at the same latitude as parts of Canada that freeze deeply every year.
The artificially introduced palm trees find it warm enough to survive because of this.
The basic geography lesson for 12 year old kids starting their O level courses explains the reasons for the warmer temps but says nothing about what to actually expect when you arrive.

The practical upshot for new arrivals is found when you compare weather in the islands to that in the home country of the expat. A Malaysian would generally find they're very cold if they arrive in an average English summer because the top normal is around 24 degrees, compared with a likely 32 in KL.

Advice - Pack a jumper.

A Russian arriving in winter would probably feel warm, and so on.

Great information Fred. Yes Cornwall benefits most from the Gulf Stream and that is why palm trees can be found in the Southwest of England, because Cornwall has a warmer climate than most other parts of the UK. I used to think about buying a house and retiring to Cornwall because the scenery is just so beautiful, those little coastal fishing towns and wonderful beaches.

The climate was one of the reasons for me moving to Kenya! 

The UK weather is 'moody', so one summer day it can be beautiful and 26 plus degrees. The next it can be 16 degrees and raining, or you can wake up to snow in June.  It might just be me, but there appears to be so much more rain throughout the year than there used to be, with flooding being a regular feature.

I understand that one of the reasons for the variable weather is that the jet stream flows across the country. As others have said the presence of the warming effect of the Gulf Stream means that particularly winter weather tends to be considerably milder but the summers generally cooler than continental Europe. 

Prepare for long hours of summer daylight and long hours of winter darkness, particularly the further north you go.

Longonot62 :

The climate was one of the reasons for me moving to Kenya!

The winters were a little of the reason I moved to Indonesia.
Whilst not as harsh as in many countries of the same latitude, the cold can be bitingly bad to the point of your ears freezing if you don't wear the right gear.
Those winter winds from Russia are killers - literally.

Ah but don't forget the good old Geordies who walk about in vests in all manner of weather.

lukereg :

Ah but don't forget the good old Geordies who walk about in vests in all manner of weather.

They can't buy coats because no one understands a word they utter.
Wy ey man - just what is that supposed to mean? :D

somebody can say me something about of clothes, like dressing in winter in london?

Sure. Wear a coat with a shirt and sweater or polar fleece underneath. Layers will keep you warm. Gloves and a cap or hat of some sorts. And a scarf too. Boots with thick socks is good.

luzio :

somebody can say me something about of clothes, like dressing in winter in london?

Layers are the trick.

Building up layers traps warm air, so you keep warmer with less weight of clothing.
T shirt first, then heavier shirt, fleece, topped off with a water and wind proof coat.

Heavy trousers are usually enough, but thermal undertrousers are easy to buy if you still feel cold.

Two pairs of socks makes a difference when snow is down.

A woolly hat that covers your ears is good when it gets very cold.

Many types of gloves are available, but I find leather ones work very well in snow.

thanks for the information, very useful

Fred :
Longonot62 :

The climate was one of the reasons for me moving to Kenya!

The winters were a little of the reason I moved to Indonesia.
Whilst not as harsh as in many countries of the same latitude, the cold can be bitingly bad to the point of your ears freezing if you don't wear the right gear.
Those winter winds from Russia are killers - literally.

English winters are probably "mild" compared to the winters in eastern Turkey. In eastern cities like Kars and Erzurum , it can be as cold as in Russia.....

Wales weather Sucked; I could count on my hands the days it didn't rain and we seldom saw the Sun or blue sky within the 12 months we lived there and Summer totally bypassed Cardiff. Been living in Reading, English since March and we've enjoyed the weather; not too hot or cold, Summer was a delightful one and just the right amount of rain to keep the gardens from being too thirsty.  Having lived 15 years within USA in - 20 tempos and with 20" plus of snow and born / lived 40 years in Australia with in extreme Heat and Humidity; English weather is pleasing us the most, as it's convenient location affords us the opportunity to travel within a few hours to wherever the Sun Shines or the Snow Falls the Most...!

Aussie Dreamer :

I could count on my hands the days it didn't rain and we seldom saw the Sun or blue sky within the 12 months we lived there and Summer totally bypassed Cardiff.

There goes the downside of the North Atlantic drift.
The phenomenon brings warmth, but also bring wet to western areas, including Wales and Manchester.
The further East you go, the more likely you are to see dry weather, especially in the lower parts of Yorkshire and other areas protected by the partial rain shadow of the Pennines.

The English are masters of weather. St.Swithin is probably not that familiar to you but he was taught in my school. Unlike the American Groundhog day, some rely in England on the proverb of a dead bishop who died 1200 years ago. Basically if it rains on the 15th July it will rain for 40 days after.

Pine cones, dead bishops and cows lying in fields make for great English weather forecasts.

lukereg :

The English are masters of weather. St.Swithin is probably not that familiar to you but he was taught in my school. Unlike the American Groundhog day, some rely in England on the proverb of a dead bishop who died 1200 years ago. Basically if it rains on the 15th July it will rain for 40 days after.

Pine cones, dead bishops and cows lying in fields make for great English weather forecasts.

These are all examples of stories that tell us far more about the weather then their content.
English weather is a mixed up mess, so stories and old wives tales become common.

Anyone who talks of climate in England has clearly never been there; we have weather.

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