50 Years of Winter in the UK

There’s nothing more British than a conversation about the weather, and with winter fully underway it’s often a moan! Whether it’s too cold, too dark or even too warm to snow, it seems we’re never quite happy with what’s going on outside. Some of us, however, have more reason to complain than others.

Despite having a fairly mild climate overall, during the winter months parts of the UK can often feel more Nordic than British when it comes to their weather! To truly establish just how different winter can be across Britain, we have analysed 50 years of Met office data to see how each region compares when it comes to winter frost, rain, sunshine and cold.

As expected a Scottish region takes both the frostiest and coldest crown with Scotland East. This region sees 18 more days of frost than the least frostiest region England South West & Wales South, and is 2.6 degrees colder on average than the warmest region, also England South West & Wales South.

Scotland North comes in at a close second for frost and cold, with 39 frosty days in total and an average winter temperature of 2.6 degrees. Despite holding two of the Met Office’s top ten coldest days on record, once reaching a low of -25.2 °C, the Midlands comes in at 6th place with an average winter temperature of 4 degrees.

Somewhat unsurprisingly the coldest English region is England East & North East which sees an average temperature of 3.5 degrees during winter, 1.4 degrees colder than England South West & Wales South. The chilly region also has over a week’s worth more frost than England South West & Wales South with 34 days in total.


When it comes to rainy days Scotland North has the most, seeing over 8 weeks of rainy days during winter. That’s 25 days more than the driest region East Anglia which only suffers a month’s worth of rainy days. The second rainiest region is Scotland West with 53 days of rain, followed closely by Northern Ireland which has an average of 49 rainy days.

Although East Anglia is the driest region, it’s England South East / Central that sees the most winter sun with a total of 180 hours of clear sunshine during December, January and February, That’s 77 hours more than the darkest region Scotland North which only sees an average of 103 hours of cloudless sunshine, that’s almost an hour less sunshine a day!

Overall, England and Wales see 45 hours more clear sunshine during winter than Scotland, and 24 hours more than Northern Ireland. When compared to England and Wales Scotland also has 9 more days of frost, 12 more days of rain and is 1.4 degrees colder on average during winter.

So if you live down south, next time you want to have a moan about the weather, just remember that you might not actually have it that bad… And if you’re currently enjoying a winter in Scotland, grab your socks, wellies and ice scrapers because you’re going to need them a lot more than the rest of us!

Have a play with the data below and let us know what you think.

Here’s the data sheet for those who love to pour over the figures :-) Just look at that 1963 data, brrr.

Many thanks to Wiser for the information.