The climate of Wales
According to the Köppen climate classification Wales has a moderate
sea climate (type Cfb) with relatively mild winters, quite cold
summers and precipitation all year round. However, most of the
precipitation falls during the winter. The rugged landscape, the many
mountains, hills and valleys make for a beautiful interplay between
nature and the elements. Because Wales gets a reasonable amount of
rain and frost is uncommon, Wales has a characteristic landscape with
green hills, partially covered with trees alternated with rugged brown
and grey slopes. Because many depressions reach Wales from the west it
gets a lot of rain. The annual amounts of rain vary from 800-1,000
millimeters along the coast to 3,000 millimeters in Snowdonia National
Park which is situated in the north west of Wales. This makes
Snowdonia one of the wettest places in the United Kingdom and even in
Europe. The period from October till March is wetter than the summer
months. The further you travel into the interior the bigger the
differences in annual precipitation figures are.
Climate information of places and areas in Wales
The climate information on this page is only brief. Specific
information about weather and climate can be found on the climate
pages per area or town. As for Wales the following climate
information is available:
Influence of the sea
The supply of relatively warm sea water explains why subzero
temperatures are uncommon during the winter. The temperature of the
sea water still is about 9-10 degrees Celsius; this has a warming
effect on Wales’ coastal places. Because of the large differences in
temperatures of the sea and the land cloudy skies and fog make for
gray weather conditions in Wales. An entire week without a single
sunray is quite possible in the interior. Because of the differences
in temperature and the supply of depressions from the Atlantic Ocean
fierce winds are not uncommon. The highest parts of Wales get the
hardest winds. During the summer the sea water is responsible for a
tempering effect on temperatures. Because Wales is located outside the
European mainland chances of the supply of warm air from the south or
east are much smaller. Whenever it does happen the sea has a tempering
effect on temperatures so it doesn’t get as hot as in the interior of
On average summers in Wales are cooler than elsewhere in mainland
Europe. There is a small chance high pressure areas reach Wales; so
there hardly is any supply of warm air. There often are low pressure
areas in the vicinity of Wales; or high pressure areas that lie far to
the east. When the latter is the case the supply of warm air is
tempered by the colder sea water. However, chances of rain and low
Wales is not a summer sun destination. Not only are the temperatures
too low to be suitable as a summer sun destination; the total amount
of hours of sunshine is also much lower than in popular summer sun
destinations. The south western part is reasonably sunny with 1,700
annual hours of sunshine. However, an ever blowing sea wind makes it
too cold to enjoy the sunshine. The mountainous interior gets much
less sunshine; about 1,100-1,200 hours of sunshine per year. During
the darkest years the total amount of sunshine doesn’t even reach
1,000 annual hours of sunshine.
Winters in Wales are reasonably mild. Along the coast subzero
temperatures are uncommon. However, in the period from December till
March subzero night time temperatures may occur; even during the day
light frost may occur. Chances of subzero temperatures are much higher
in the interior, especially on the highest peaks which are about 1,000
meters above sea level. Snowfall is more frequent here as well. The
higher regions get about 25-35 snowy days per year. Most of the snow
falls in Snowdonia, which lives up to its name. The south western part
of Wales gets the least amount of snow; 6-10 snowy days per year on
average. The total amount of snow is usually a few centimeters here.
In the mountains tens of centimeters of snow may fall within 24 hours.
This can’t be compared to the amount of snow that falls in the Alps.
However, there is a possibility of winter sports in Wales. Most of the
tracks are covered with artificial snow. However, you may get lucky
enough to go skiing or snowboarding on real snow. Snowstorms may occur
in Wales. Snowfall in combination with hard wind can cause dangerous
situations, especially in traffic.
The figures below are based on long term weather and climate
records. They are an average for the coastal places in Wales. However,
some deviations may occur: The north coast is slightly colder, the
south west is a little sunnier and the south east is a little warmer.
The higher regions in the interior are a few degrees colder, less
sunny and much wetter.
More climate information
Climate tables are useful but they don’t give an overall picture of
the climate and possible weather conditions during a period of time.
How high the chances are of hot or cold weather or hurricanes can
often not be found in these tables. This is why we offer extra climate
information per month. The information below is an average for a large
part of Wales. However, there are some deviations. In the mountains
there is a higher chance of wintry weather, a smaller chance of warm
weather, a higher chance of long lasting precipitation and there is
less sunshine. The south western part of Wales gets more sunshine and
has a smaller chance of wintry weather or long lasting precipitation.
The information at this site was carefully composed from climate data collected by meteorological services, meteorological offices, climate experts and other sources. “More climate info” is based on statistics, climate data and personal experience. No rights can be derived from this site. Weather has no memory and gives no guaranties. Nothing is as changeable and unpredictable as the weather. The authors of this site feel in no way responsible for any damages caused by misinterpretation or other circumstances that may influence your holiday or trip to a certain destination. We provide information, it’s up to the reader to use it to it’s benefit.