British weather: A survival guide

4 December 2020

The only predictable thing about the British weather is its unpredictability. Luckily, the SSW team is here to share their top tips so that the weather in London never ruins your day!


Coronavirus (COVID-19) and London life

We understand that some of you may be studying remotely to begin with due to the coronavirus situation and therefore unable to arrive on campus and in London in January. 

We hope that even if you can't join us immediately, that these articles get you excited for when you are able to join us here in London and give you a flavour of the amazing things to come. 

For all the great things London will bring to your life as a UCL student, the weather may just take the shine off! Here are 6 ways to cope with London weather during your time here. In today’s forecast, there is a high chance of terrible weather puns.

1. Expect the unexpected, but overall, expect it to rain

British people talk about the weather so much because the weather here can be so fickle. The trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it. A UK city can experience all types of weather in the same day. Londoners can see the weather change from sunshine, rolling clouds, drizzling rain, and delicate thunder storms, and sometimes all within one day! Whatever the season, expect all the weather, but overall, expect it to rain.

2. Be prepared

You will thank the weather gods for your timely purchase of a thick coat with a hood, thick socks, a stack of jumpers, and a scarf! Small umbrellas are handy but useless in the wind, and there certainly isn’t the pavement width for everyone to be protecting themselves with one of those. A nice thick hood (waterproof if possible!) will save your hair (and good mood) and you’re unlikely to leave it on the tube.

3. Enjoy the snow... and mulled wine!

On average, there are between four and six days a year with snow in London – and with almost half of London considered green space, there’s a lot of snow angels to be made! Once the cold has really set in, you may be in need of a warm seasonal drink. Mulled wine is a city favourite - a red wine that has been heated up and mixed with a variety of spices, which typically include cinnamon and cloves. Cider also has a mulled option, and both are served all over the city from November!

4. Summer will come again! And it will be fun fun fun!

During the summer months, London is transformed into a whole new city, and nothing good comes for free. So just think, when the chilly days are finally behind you, you will be straight to that rooftop bar, open-air theatre, and day festival. And you won’t waste a sunny minute!

5. Look after yourself

Whether you are new to the UK climate or not, some people can be affected adversely by the cold. Seasonal affective disorder [SAD] is one such malady that makes some feel under the weather, literally. If your sleep patterns, appetite, and mood changes in the winter months, you may have SAD, and you should speak to your GP as soon as possible. 

6. Have an attitude adjustment!

Weather is a great metaphor for life: sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and there’s nothing much you can do about it. Anyway, whoever said sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain! :)

UCL Student Support & Wellbeing