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June 28, 2023

Destination: Cotswolds


The British Weather Myth

The Myth: Whether English Weather is Wet

How wet will you get in an English Summer? Now I’ve lived in England all my life, and we’re used to a good bit of rain! England truly is a green and pleasant land, and we couldn’t get there without our beloved drizzle and the occasional downpour.

But just how rainy is England? During our cycle tours in England we are often met with trepidation from cyclists who fear that the heavens will open at any moment, on any day, even when sunshine is predicted all week. Confusion arises when they experience day after day of blissful sun during weeks filled with bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds. We do also often have days with decent cloud coverage, perfect for being outdoors and cycling while protected from the more intense heat of direct sun. And sometimes, undeniably, it rains.

Does England Have Good Weather for Cycling and Walking?

As far as I know, we have not had a single ‘rain check’ day! Not one day was called off due to poor weather. On a recent tour, we experienced one rain shower. It lasted about 30 minutes and we hid in the magnificent Blenheim Palace from the worst of it – there are worse places to hide out!

We believe that England is the perfect place to come for a cycling and walking holiday. So why does England have a reputation for rain? We’ve been looking into this a little deeper at Active England. We know many worry about the weather in Britain so we decided to look into the facts. Just how wet (or not…) can you expect to get?

How many days a year does it rain in London?

We found a recent study that compared supposedly ‘wet’ American cities with our very own capital, London. This is what we discovered:

London ‘doesn’t even make the top 15 rainiest cities’ in America! Even New York is wetter, with over DOUBLE the amount of rainfall per year in inches!
London has 259 dry days a year. That’s 259 days with no rain at all!  And only 10 of these days are summer rainy days. And even then they don’t come all at once.

In fact, we wanted to turn the tables on London’s wet, foggy reputation once and for all, so we looked up cities further afield. How about Miami?! I’ll be the first to admit that my knowledge of Miami stems mostly from CSI on TV, but the actors are always wearing sunglasses and at the beach right?? Well… even Miami has a whole 22 days more rain per year than London, and 6.7 inches of average summer monthly rainfall compared to London’s 2.5 inches. That’s a lot more rain for a city with a sunny reputation.

I’ve always thought of Sydney as one of the driest cities around. I mean, there’s a whole lot of desert on that continent! But I was surprised when I looked up the actual figures: Sydney has 144 rain days on average, that’s 38 more rain days than London – Whoa!

Rain is a good excuse to stop at a pub or cafe!

So we would like to straighten out the record and reassure all those wishing to visit our beautiful countryside and cycle or walk outdoors: we love the sun, and we love our weather. Our holidays are tailor-made tours, so anything more than a quick shower is seen by us as the perfect excuse to find a little café or a local pub. Our guides have expert local knowledge and can always seek out the best tucked-away places for tea and cakes, or some perfectly pulled pints – and enjoy a well-earned break from pedalling.

Whether you want to cycle the Cotswolds, explore Devon and Cornwall or take a walking holiday in the Lake District we have a tour to suit you. Go self-guided, or join a group trip. Journey on your own or bring your friends and family with you. Want to do something special? Why not book a Private Tour with us – we can turn any of our trips private, or create a bespoke itinerary.

So whether you bike or hike, by all means, bring a raincoat (I always have one tucked away nearby) but our advice is to pack more sun cream than waterproofs!

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