Wiltshire Tourist Guide

Weather in Wiltshire

Weather in Wiltshire is very much of a seasonal nature but overlying this seasonal pattern there are daily variations.

The Seasonal Pattern
In recent years English summers have become hotter and winters milder. Whether this is in fact global warming or temporary remains to be seen, however the English climate and weather continues closely tied to the seasons.

England is part of the British Isles and lies in the path of the Atlantic westerlies. Unlike our neighbours on the European mainland the entire United Kingdom is surrounded by sea, the warm Gulf Stream of the Atlantic to the west and the cooler waters of the North Sea to the east. This sea influence keeps England relatively equable and mild throughout the year. The British Isles are orientated north to south. In the north of England, more so Scotland, the summers are shorter and cooler, the winters longer and colder than in the south of England. The county of Wiltshire is located in central southern England.

Spring in England is usually from mid to late March through to end of May.

During this time the sun is climbing higher and although often a time of clear skies and cold nights, days can become quite warm with temperatures rising to the low 20s Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) especially during the month of May. Early spring is characterised by sunshine and showers with cold nights and sunny days. Periods of damp or wet weather occurring during this season often give way to warm afternoon sunshine once the sun breaks through as the days lengthen and the sun moves higher.

Summer is generally considered by the English as the months of June, July and August.

Summer weather may often extend well into September During the summer months temperatures over England generally rise to around 20-25C (68-77 Fahrenheit) on warm days but in recent years maximum temperatures of 25-30 Celsius (77-86 Fahrenheit) have not been so unusual. Of course there are variations of dry and wet summers but you can expect significantly warmer temperatures at this time of the year. The months of July and August are often characterised by thundery outbreaks especially after several days of warm dry weather.

Autumn or Fall often begins in late September through to the end of October although the fall has become noticeably later in recent years

The early part of autumn can often start off dry and warm but sometimes there are periods of very wet weather following a change of weather pattern over the Atlantic. Storms from the tropics can break northwards into the Atlantic during autumn to affect the British Isles. These often bring heavy downpours of tropical-type rainfall and thunderstorms interspersed with warm sunshine. By the middle part of autumn the more characteristic autumnal gales are beginning to set in as increasing numbers of Atlantic cyclones and depressions move east across the British Isles to dominate the English weather. Occasionally this will be modified by drier air from the continent, particularly over the south of England. Sometimes there are spells of dry weather with cold nights, morning autumn mists followed by occasional sunny and warm afternoons. These short dry sunny interludes become increasingly infrequent as winter approaches and the days become shorter.

Winter generally extends from the end of October through to the end of March.

Winters in England are characterized by periods of mild, wet and windy weather which generally reach peaks in the months of November and January. Frosty weather is usually of short duration but can occur at any time through this season. Quiet weather at this time of year often brings winter fog. Apart from brief cold snaps in November the coldest weather usually occurs after Christmas particularly during the months of February, March and sometimes April. Although the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 had cold and snowy periods both before and after Xmas these have been the exception rather than the rule. Prior to these very recent snowy episodes widespread heavy and prolonged winter snowfall has been very rare over England. Usually on those occasions the snow soon melts once the sun gets on to it and temperatures rise above freezing.

There are exceptions of course, notably the severe winters of 1947 and 1963 and the very hot dry summer of 1972 and more recently the hot months of August 2003 and July 2006. These are of course rare extremes. The severe winter of 1963 was the coldest for 223 years and villages and towns throughout Wiltshire were cut off by deep snowdrifts.

Weather in Wiltshire is a variation of that in the west and east of England. In the east of England the weather tends to follow a drier European climate regime with hot dry summers and cold winters. In the west and southwest of England the weather is of an Atlantic maritime type with wet and frost free winters and warm ‘not so wet’ summers. Wiltshire lies between the two and we like to think shares the best of both the east and the west of England’s changeable weather.

Weather in Wiltshire