Lake District and Cumbria Weather
Overseas visitors to the United Kingdom tend to believe that it rains all the time in England, but in practice rainfall is very similar to that in mainland Europe, in fact many areas are much drier on average. Rainfall is fairly evenly spread through the year, so even in summer a visitor could experience some wet weather. In spring and autumn there is a risk of heavy showers, amongst glorious sunny spells. In winter the rain is generally lighter but may be more prolonged, and snowfall, sometimes heavy, is not uncommon. In the summer there is often an extended period of hot sunny weather which ends with a spectacular evening thunderstorm. It is because of the changeable weather that many British people carry an umbrella or light raincoat with them, even when it appears to be a fine day.
The Lake District and Cumbria
Typical weather figures to be used as a guide(only):
- 200 wet days per annum
- 145 dry days per annum
- 20 snow fall days per annum
- Rainfall 3300mm per annum (Borrowdale)
- Summer temperature typically 20 to 30 degrees C at sea level
- Winter temperature typically 0 to 10 degrees sea at sea level
The Lake District and Cumbria is located on the West coast next to the Irish Sea, and as such is subject to much cooler summers and much milder winters than one might normally expect. This direct result of the heating and cooling effect of the large mass of sea water, which itself warms and cools much more slowly than land/air and hence has a constraining effect on the local weather system.
On average the low lying fells in the Lake District and Cumbria are subject to about 20 days per annum of falling snow. However, and winter walkers be warned!, this increases to over 67 days per annum on the mountain tops. A useful guide is that the temperature decreases by approximately 1 degree C per 100m increase in height above sea level, hence snow days increase by approx 5 per 100 meters elevation. A typical weather pattern can be seen in Keswick, where the winter average temperature is 4.7 degrees C with summer being 15 degrees C. The local weather system is what makes the Lake District and Cumbria so special! But be warned!, only a fool would venture up the mountains without knowing the weather forecast and having the correct equipment. However, the weather rarely spoils the general visitors enjoyment of the area as there is so much to do come rain, hail or shine, winter, spring, summer and autumn.
Weather through the seasons:
- January - March are the coldest months with a strong possibility of snow fall on the fell tops.
- April and May are significantly warmer months often with pleasant sunny periods.
- June, July and August the driest period of the year and often signifies typical glorious English summer, but take a rain coat for those predicable summer showers.
- September and October brings beautiful autumnal days and the area is particularly beautiful with the spectacular and vivid foliage around the lakes and fells. The weather is also surprisingly pleasant at this time of year.
- November and December is the rainy season although difficult to predict year on year.
Sunrise in winter is typically after 8:00am and sunset is before 4pm, making approximately 8 hours of daylight. In the summer months sunrise is generally around 4:30am and sunset is around 9:30pm, making approximately 17 hours daylight. At the end of March the UK switches to British Summertime (GMT+1) and clocks are put forward by 1 hour. Be alert to the change to avoid missing appointments and travel connections. At the end of October clocks are put back by 1 hour as the UK reverts to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). If you forget this time you may arrive 1 hour too early for appointments or alternatively, as most Brits do, just spend 1 hour more in bed without feeling guilty!