Studying Abroad In The UK? How To Survive British Weather

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You’ve probably heard it rains a lot here, and it definitely does. However, with climate change making its presence increasingly known, the UK’s weather is rapidly changing; you can expect to see all four seasons in one day!

It is hard distilling your wardrobe into a few suitcases anyway, let alone planning to survive British weather as an international student. 

Even though you may have to buy some extra bits when you get here, you’ve got plenty of wardrobe space in your student accommodation.

Because you’re busy thinking about packing, we’ve focused on the research and put together a student’s survival guide to British weather.

Autumn: September – November

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Autumn (or Fall for you transatlantic folk), is highly insta-grammable and your wardrobe should really match too. 

Orange leaves, mild weather, iridescent sunsets and pumpkin spiced lattes all come into the mix as do chunky knits and boots. 

When you start university this autumn, there will be a mix of weather. Most likely it will be relatively warm in September, and then moving into gorgeous, red-y orange-y heaven. After this it’ll turn into dreary, grey sideways rain coupled with a good old gale or two in November.

Durable footwear, like boots, is a staple as are light coats over your chunky knits, sweaters and hats. 

Layering is key in autumn as the weather is super changeable; you want to be able to weather a storm and also not get all sweaty on the walk to lectures at the same time. 

Compact umbrellas are a must as well as raincoats. If you are heading North, a Parker is also a good shout.

Winter: December – February

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Despite having ample wardrobe space in your student accommodation, you need to be smart with packing to survive British weather.

Big winter coats are vital, but the benefits of layering tend to be forgotten. Long sleeve tops, cardigans, hoodies and comfy trackies are winter essentials. 

Waterproof boots and hand warmers will keep your hands toasty and warm while adding some hand cream will prevent them from drying out.

During your first six months here, it will probably rain a lot so you should think about how you are getting to your lectures. 

Waterproof coats are a must and you might want to consider changing your uni bag; if you’re carrying a laptop and papers and it’s raining cats and dogs, you don’t want an extra trip to the IT dept.

You will see snow and some parts in the UK can get to -10 degrees at night. With this in mind, thick waterproof gloves, scarves, hats and thick socks are a must. 

Student accommodation is pretty cosy during the winter months but a good pair of bed socks and pyjamas never hurt. 

When it snows, you’ll be amazed at how little we can do. The country basically comes to a standstill so that can be a giggle-fest for those of you who have proper cold winters.

The main thing about British weather is, don’t let it put you off doing something. Chances are the next day will be the same unpredictably wet day so simply embrace it and explore.

Spring: March-May

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Things start to heat up here and the last few years around April, we’ve had some heat waves with temperatures in the high 20s (degrees Celsius) for nearly a week. 

As it starts to get warmer, you’ll be tempted to ditch the coats for lighter more summery clothes but hold it right there! 

Spring brings warmer climates and also heavy showers. Hang onto those water repellent items while you’re looking at buying those baby doll dresses.

Summer: June – September

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You made it! The sunshine is here, and it is here to stay. Well…kind of.

Summers can be fairly warm across the UK so pack some cotton shirts, dresses and shorts as well as sandals. 

Whilst it might not be scorching for the whole three months, the UK does see a fair amount of heat waves spread across the months. 

Cool cotton sleepwear is a must as it can get rather humid at night. And yes, you guessed it, it will rain. The waterproofs you wore at the start of the uni year will come in handy here too.

The UK has some spectacular coastlines and beaches, and it is worthwhile packing for some beach fun. Before you decide to go for a dip in the sea or lake, always check with the coast guards beforehand as the currents can be quite strong.

Packing Essentials

  • Umbrella
  • Gloves
  • Waterproof coat with a hood (light)
  • Winter coat
  • Scarf
  • Woolly hat
  • Boots
  • Thick socks
  • Light pyjamas
  • Jumpers
  • Sunglasses
  • Dresses
  • T-shirts
  • Cotton Shirts
  • Trousers/Shorts
  • Swimwear
  • Sandals
  • Trainers
  • Sun cream

It might sound daunting, as you basically have to pack for every eventuality, but remember you can always visit local charity and vintage shops near your student accommodation for second-hand items. 

The vintage scene is great in the UK, and you can always donate the clothes to stores if you don’t want to take them home with you. Depop, ASOS Marketplace and its great-grandma, eBay, are fantastic places to find seasonal clothes.

Whatever the weather, your student life in the UK will be amazing and you’ll be able to laugh about how changeable it is. Those of you from warmer climates will find us Brits in the heat hilarious as we get out the old sandals and shorts at the slightest slither of sunshine, even in coldish March. If you expect the unexpected, then you are prepared! We hope you enjoyed our blog on how to survive British weather! If you’re studying in the UK for the first time, make sure to check out our latest blog about Freshers Week – what is it and why you should get involved.