Lake District Weather Guide

The Great British Weather: A popular topic of conversation at bus stops around the UK thanks to its unpredictability. In the Lake District the erratic nature of the British weather takes it one step further with micro-climates that change from valley to valley, and days where experiencing all four season within a few hours are not surprising.

Much of the Lake District and Cumbria’s weather is dominated by the North Atlantic Drift, which brings regular weather fronts into the area, and with that comes lots and lots of rain. Seathwaite, a small hamlet in the Borrowdale Valley, south of Keswick, holds the precarious honour of being the wettest place in England. There is, after all, a reason the area is called the LAKE District. One thing is certain when visiting, and that is to be prepared for all weather related eventualities.

December to January

Snowy summit of Helvellyn

Snowy summit of Helvellyn

The coldest months of the year are made tougher by long nights and days dominated by rain, sleet, and snow. However, winter days can also give rise to the most stunning scenery, as on crisp, clear days visibility extends for miles and the snow-capped mountains provide a beautiful background.

  • Average Temperature High: 6°C
  • Average Temperate Low: 0.5°C
  • Average Rainfall Amount: 22cm

Packing Tips: Crampons are a must for fell walkers. Even if there is no snow, the temperature on the fell tops will be considerably lower than at sea level, and large patches of ice are to be expected.

You’ll also need plenty of warm jumpers, fleeces, gloves, hats, and waterproofs. Don’t bother with an umbrella; the winds will be too strong for it to be of any use.

February to March

Daffofils in Derwent Water

Daffofils in Derwent Water

Wordsworth’s daffodils produce a delightful display, as winter begins to release its grip on the lakes and fells. Don’t be too complacent though, as snow can still be a regular feature and fell tops are treacherous with ice.

  • Average Temperature High: 7°C
  • Average Temperate Low: 1°C
  • Average Rainfall Amount: 17cm

Packing Tips: If you live in the southern UK you will have probably packed away your winter coat by now, but you will need it for your Lake District stay. Crampons are still a must, as are multiple layers.

Umbrellas become a bit more user-friendly as the winds ease, but if you want to blend in with the locals you will stick with a waterproof jacket and hood.

April to May

Spring bluebells in Patterdale

Spring bluebells in Patterdale

Now is an excellent time for exploring bluebell lined woodlands as spring finally takes hold. The air feels warmer, and although the average rainfall is considerably lower than in the preceding months, it is to be anticipated and consecutive days enveloped in a blanket of grey cloud are not uncommon.

  • Average Temperature High: 12.5°C
  • Average Temperate Low: 3.5°C
  • Average Rainfall Amount: 9cm

Packing Tips: Don’t put away that winter coat just yet, it might still be needed, and snow on the fell tops is not uncommon in May. With that in mind, it’s best to bring a mixture of light and heavy layers. If you’re very lucky, you’ll be able to spend a day on the lake shore in shorts and t-shirts.

June to July

Buttermere in early summer

Buttermere in early summer

The driest months of the Lake District year are also the warmest. June and July are certainly the best months of the year to visit the fells, as the landscapes transform into luscious green pastures. You would still need to be brave to take a plunge into one of the lakes, though paddling along the shore will be pleasant on the hottest days.

  • Average Temperature High: 17.5°C
  • Average Temperate Low: 8.5°C
  • Average Rainfall Amount: 7.5cm

Packing Tips: Scotland isn’t the only place in the UK that gets over-run by biting insects in the summer. Midges abound in the warmer weather in the Lake District and you will certainly need some insect repellent.

Sun cream is a must, and a light jacket is recommended for the evenings and on the fell tops, where it can still feel decidedly cool.

August to September

Summer in Blea Tarn

Summer in Blea Tarn

The latter part of summer in the Lake District is characterised by regular showers. In fact, average figures show that there is more rainfall in August and September than in April, which is better known in the UK for being the month of showers. As the leaves start to turn brown the temperatures fall, and autumn begins to creep into view.

  • Average Temperature High: 16.5°C
  • Average Temperate Low: 8°C
  • Average Rainfall Amount: 10.5cm

Packing Tips: You will still need sun cream as sunny days are still a regular occurrence, but it’s best to bring waterproofs and layers that you can add to or take away as the temperature varies. Children will love splashing in the puddles, so don’t forget their wellies.

October to November

Autumn in Watendlath

Autumn in Watendlath

Autumn makes itself known with great fanfare, as the arrival of gusty storms dominate the weather. Buffeting, both on the fells and whilst driving, makes travelling hazardous, and flooding is a regular feature of the local news. Snow is unlikely, making this time perhaps the most miserable period in which to visit.

  • Average Temperature High: 10°C
  • Average Temperate Low: 3.5°C
  • Average Rainfall Amount: 17cm

Packing Tips: Waterproofs are essential, including trousers. Fell walkers should bring gaiters to help keep feet dry as well as waterproof covers for rucksacks.

Umbrellas are generally useless, thanks to the strong winds, and warm clothing is a must.