The UK is an island and this means the sea plays an important role in the general weather conditions. A warm ocean current keeps the island warmer and wetter than other places in continental Europe. A very changeable climate, in winter it is colder and wetter and the days are shorter than in the summer but the UK can surprise you with a warm Spring/Autumn and wet Summer.
Although not a big land mass the weather conditions vary widely from day to day and from region to region, but in general:
- South has more sunshine, is warmer and drier than the North.
- West Coast tends to be wetter then the East Coast.
- East Coast tends to be colder and windier than the West Coast.
- South West (Cornwall/Devon) is the warmest area.
- South East is drier and has more sunshine.
- Mountain regions in the North can be wet.
- Is the furthest North of the UK regions and has longer summer days and shorter winter days but is normally colder and wetter than the rest of the UK.
- Is to the West and is generally less sunny and more rainy than England but its coasts can be the best if you get a sunny spell.
- The Welsh Mountains can be very wet and misty.
- Northern Ireland
- Suffers highly changeable weather conditions and tends to be wetter with less sunshine than other parts of the UK.
In regard to sea temperatures, the North Sea is colder than the North Atlantic as the later benefits from the Gulf Stream. The sea tends to be warmer in the South than the North and then warmer in the West than in the East. Overall, the average sea temperature in the UK ranges from 6-13 °C in the North and 8-17 °C in the South, with the coldest month being February and the warmest August.
For a more detailed look at the UK regions see our UK Coast and Beach pages.