Be Prepared: Handling the Weather Like a Brit
If you’ve ever visited the UK, you might have been exposed to a somewhat bizarre phenomenon. You’re standing in a public place, waiting. Maybe you’re in a lift. Perhaps you’re sat at a bar. Or you might be stood in line to see an event or exhibition.
A British person, through pure chance, comes to stand or sit next to you.
As a seasoned traveller, you know the etiquette. The British, you have been told, are remarkably reserved. There’s no smiling on public transport, no pushing in queues, and no idle chit-chat. Then something happens that amazes and confuses you. The Brit, with a shy smile on their lips, turns to you, rubbing their hands briskly together and says, “Cold outside, isn’t it?”
A very British obsession
This unusual drive to talk about the weather is a particularly British habit.
Part social ice-breaker; part genuine fascination – it’s a national tick that has baffled many a UK visitor.
But there is good reason for it…
It’s all in the geography
As a collection of small-ish islands on the edge of the Atlantic, the UK is subject to some unusual weather influences. The Gulf Stream makes it warmer than many of its northerly neighbours, and it sits at the end of a storm track, causing the British to catch the tail-end of Atlantic cyclones.
It’s the perfect recipe for unpredictable weather. But it can be hard to know what to prepare for, considering it could be sunny in the morning and bucketing with rain by mid-afternoon. So, keen to arm you with the very best travel advice, we’ve compiled our top tips for surviving whatever the British weather throws at you.
Planning for wet weather
Chances are that on a trip to the UK, you might encounter a spot of rain. And nowhere is this truer than in Cardiff, the UK’s wettest city.
While there are plenty of museums and cultural attractions well worth a visit – a quick tip: if the dark clouds are rolling in, it’s your cue to head for the nearest pub.
One of our favourites is The Longhouse. Housed in a 17th century building, this gem of a pub offers glorious views across the city, original exposed stone walls, a flagstone floor and, of course, a log burning fire. However, once the rain starts to fall, you might find that the rest of the city’s inhabitants have had the same idea…
Making the most of sunny spells
It’s not all cloudy skies! Even in Manchester, one of the most overcast cities in the UK.
When the sun comes out, especially on weekends during the summer, you’ll find parks filling up with people out to make the most of the weather. Heaton Park, just north of Manchester, is a gorgeous spot to lay down a blanket and bathe in the sunshine. It’s a huge space – so whether you’re chilling with friends or bringing the family, you’re sure to find the perfect patch of green. The park also hosts plenty of events throughout the year, including fun runs, fairgrounds and even a music festival.
A touch of frost
Although UK weather is relatively mild, the further north you travel, and the higher up you climb, the colder it becomes – even in the summer months.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs is a stunning national park, just outside of Glasgow. Filled with mountains, lochs, forests and breath-taking scenery; this is an incredible place for walking, hiking and mountaineering.
You’re unlikely to encounter frost and snow during the warmer months, unless you decide to hike up one of the park’s many mountains. Then again, you could just enjoy the view.
Whether you’re chasing snow peaked mountains, making the most of the sunshine, or just fancy an excuse to enjoy a pint while the rain falls outside – the UK has something to offer. Just make sure you plan ahead for every eventuality. Because if one thing’s certain, it’s that you never know what the weather might throw at you.
So, don’t use the weather as an excuse not to plan a trip in the UK. Why not Plan Ahead and Save – by booking ahead you could save 15% on Millennium Hotels and Resorts locations too.