UK snow

Snow in the UK

How much snow do we get in the UK each year?

The UK gets on average 23.7 days of snow fall or sleet a year (1981 - 2010). Most of this is snow falling on higher ground where temperatures are lower, as can be seen on the maps below.

Where gets the most snow?

In Scotland, the figure is much higher, with snow or sleet falling on 38.1 days on average. Statistically, the snowiest place in the UK is the Cairngorms in in Scotland, with 76.2 days of snow or sleet falling on average. Cornwall is the least likely to get snow, with an average of only 7.4 days of snow or sleet falling a year.

How much snow settles?

Much of this snow fall does not settle, and the figures for snow on the ground (snow lying) are much lower. On average across the UK there's only 15.6 days a year when snow is on the ground, compared to 26.2 days in Scotland. Again, most of the snow on the ground can be found in mountainous areas.

UK snow events

  • On 25 September 1885 snow was reported to have fallen at London and Wallington in Surrey making it the earliest fall of snow on the capital.
  • On 2 June 1975 snow showers forced the abandonment of several cricket matches across the country.
  • The snowiest winter of the twentieth century in the United Kingdom was 1947. Between 22 January and 17 March snow fell every day somewhere in the country. 
  • The most disastrous avalanche in the United Kingdom occurred in Lewes, East Sussex on 27 December 1836. Eight people were killed and several houses were destroyed.

Snow on the ground annual average (1981-2010) Snow on the ground annual average (1981-2010) Snow falling annual average (1981-2010) Snow falling annual average (1981-2010)

Last updated: 28 January 2016

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How does snow form?
We all associate snow with wintry and stormy conditions. But how does it form? In this video Charlie explains how snow forms and how it is different from hail and sleet.