You might not think of the UK as the best place to be for some sun-seeking, but you’ll be surprised at just how hot parts of Britain can get. Sure, average annual temperatures hover around a daily high of 14 degrees Celsius (56 degrees Fahrenheit) and a low of 6 °C (43 °F). But the hottest places in the UK can rival balmy European destinations. The hottest day ever recorded in the UK was July 25, 2019, when the mercury hit 38.7C in Cambridge. This heatwave was due to a weather pattern that drew hot air from Africa northwards across a broad patch of Europe.
In fact, there has been an increase in regional temperatures across the UK since the 1960s.
Generally, the South West part of England has the warmest weather, with parts such as Cornwall enjoying a special sub-tropical climate. Northern parts of England and Scotland typically experience the coldest weather and harsh winters. As for the UK’s reputation for rain, rain. and more rain? London on average has just over 106 rainy days of the year, lower than Miami or New York City, which both come in higher at 135 and 122 days respectfully.
Planning a staycation this year and hoping for some sun? Add these warm places in the UK to your vacation hotlist.
The Hottest Places in the UK
1. The Scilly Isles
The Scilly Isles is the place to go for year-round fair weather. This archipelago of five inhabited islands, St. Mary’s, Tresco, St. Martin’s, Bryher and St Agnes (and some 150 islands and rocks) is located south-west of Cornwall. While summer temperatures rarely reach above 22/24 °C (72/75 °F), the subtropical climate is pleasant all year.
With an average annual temperature close to 12 °C (53 °F), the Isles of Scilly are the mildest place in Great Britain, mainly due to the high winter temperatures. The islands also enjoy more hours of sunshine than any other region in the UK, with an average of 7.6 hours a day in July. It’s perfect for swimming too: the sea temperature is between 8c and 16c throughout the year.
Hottest month: August (18°C)
Average summer temperature: 17.2°C
Average winter temperature: 8°C
With its southern-westerly position, Cornwall has mild and weather pretty much 12 months of the year. The climate here is unlike the rest of the UK; it’s subtropical with warm weather in spring and summer, and winters rarely see frost.
On average in Cornwall, the hottest month is July in summer and the coldest is January in winter. For sea swimming, hop in the water in August when the average sea temperature is a balmy 17°C. Cornwall is the most popular place in the UK for a staycation, and we can see why! Summer days here involve fresh seafood, surfing in the turquoise waters and lots of sun.
Hottest month: July (16°C )
Average summer temperature: 16°C
Average winter temperature: 5.5°C
London’s weather can be unpredictable, with frosty spells in winter, rain and HOTTTTT summers. In fact, London often tips record highs in the summertime. In recent years, London has experienced heatwaves with temperatures well above 30°C. A huge contributor to London’s sweltering summer heatwaves is that the city is an Urban Heat Island (UHI). This which is an area that has consistently higher temperatures than surrounding areas because of buildings that retain heat, and a lot of concrete and asphalt.
The summer months in London are full of fun, with outdoor dining, swimming pools and public parks all extremely popular.
You can also expect between 11 and 15 rainy days every month.
Hottest month: July (25°C)
Average summer temperature: 23°C
Average winter temperature: 2°C to 10 °C
Cambridge experiences a similar climate to London, although there is more of a breeze here. This university city is the official record holder for the highest temperature in the UK. A 38.7°C recording taken at Cambridge University Botanic Garden (CUBG) in July 2019 became the highest temperature officially recorded in the UK. You’ll spot students lazing on the greens and enjoying row boats and outdoor drinks when the temperature starts to heat up in Cambridge.
Hottest month: July (record high of 38.7°C!)
Average summer temperature: 23°C
Average winter temperature: 12°C
The birthplace of Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon is also one of Britain’s warmest cities. The climate here is mild, and usually warm, although there is often rain. July is the hottest month of the year and January is the coldest month of the year. The best time of year to visit Stratford-upon-Avon is from late June to early September.
Hottest month: July (22.4°C)
Average summer temperature: 18.1°C
Average winter temperature: between min 1.6°C (34.9°F) and max 7°C (44.6°F)
In Wisley in Surrey, the temperature has risen above 35 °C (95 °F) on more than one occasion. Generally, the weather here is quite mild, with cool winters. Snow is rare in Wisley, and summers are warm without being overbearing. The driest month is July and October is the wettest.
Hottest month: July (22°C)
Average summer temperature: between 19°C and 23°C
Average winter temperature: between 7°C and 9°C
Cardiff, located on the Bristol Channel, is probably the warmest city in Wales with August temperatures often rising as high 22°C. In 2019, temperature soared to as high as 29°C in the Welsh capital. You might not picture a break in Wales for a summer staycation, but the weather is surprisingly fine here.
The warmest month of the year in Cardiff is July, with an average temperature of 16.4 °C. At 5.1 °C on average, February is the coldest month of the year. The average annual temperature is 10.4 °C.
Hottest month: August (22°C)
Average summer temperature: 16.4 °C
Average winter temperature: 3.3°C
As for the all-time coldest place in the UK? the coldest place in Britain is probably Braemar in the Grampian region of Scotland. It has set a British all time low record not once but twice! The temperature in Braemar dropped to (-27.2 on 11.2.1895, and 10.1.82).
Glasgow was recently named as the of coldest and wettest city in the UK by the Met Office. St Davids, Newry, Leeds and Bradford join Glasgow as the top five coldest cities in the UK, based on 2020 .