Though England's climate is temperate year-round, the thermostat does begin to climb a few degrees this month, and it will feel less dreary than in the previous winter season. March average temperatures in the nation's capital, London, typically reach daily highs of 54°F (12°C), while lows are in the 43°F (6°C) range. Places like Leeds and Newcastle in the north near the Scottish border tend to be a few degrees cooler, while the southwest tip in Cornwall will likely feel milder than the rest of the country due to its proximity to the Gulf Stream.
Though there is less rainfall this time of year, English weather can be hard to predict, and you should always expect some mix of sunshine, clouds, and precipitation during your visit. It's wise to pack layers, a warm coat that can handle moisture, and an umbrella. Daylight hours are gaining steam with close to 13 hours by the end of the month; plus, the clocks move forward an hour toward the end of the month for later sunsets—a sure-fire sign of spring.
Crowds & Costs
The winter to spring transition in England is still considered off-season making it a quieter time to travel around the country. This is a great time to snag off-peak pricing for flights, hotels, car rentals, and activities, though keep in mind that prices and crowds may increase in late March if Easter week falls early, especially in London, where you might find an influx of spring break crowds. If you're looking for more elbow room at the popular attractions, the beginning half of the month is your best bet.
Where to Go
London is one of the most exciting and cosmopolitan cities globally and is often the place where travelers come and go considering it has the country's biggest airport: Heathrow. A trip to England is hardly complete without at least a few days in "The Big Smoke" no matter how many times you've been here before, and there's always something new to experience.
That said, you can find plenty of distinct English culture in the smaller, often overlooked cities. Such as Manchester with superb art galleries and sports arenas, Liverpool, home of the Beatles, and the walled city of York, known for its medieval architecture, can quickly fill a few days or more, with lower prices than London. You can also take a day trip from London to get a taste of engaging cities like Bath or Birmingham, which can be accessed by train in about 90 minutes, and beautiful college campuses like Oxford with architecture dating back to the 12th century.
If you have more time to spend and want the freedom of having a car, this is a peaceful month for exploring the English countryside, allowing you to stop and go at your own pace. There is much to see and do in the expansive Cotswolds, which takes up several counties, with rolling hillsides and charming villages. Or drive to northwest England and explore the Lake District, home of pristine lakes and valleys, before the summer crowds arrive.
The southern coast provides fresh sea air and stunning scenery. You can take a train to the town of Brighton for the day or drive to Dorset along the English Channel to experience the UNESCO-listed Jurassic Coast, a stunning 95-mile (153 km) stretch that offers unique rock formations and fossils. In the southwest is the Cornish Peninsula boasting the country's longest stretch of coastline with beaches and cliff walks. At the same time, Dover in the southeast offers picturesque white cliffs and a regular ferry service to Calais, France.
What to Do
Culture is usually high on the list, and England offers an impressive array of free attractions. For instance, while in London, check out regular free concerts at Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral, and spend quality time at famous museums like the National Gallery, British Museum, and Tate Modern. Most permanent collections are free, while charges could apply to special exhibitions. There are notable museums in every city, including Liverpool with the International Slavery Museum, which comes to terms with the city's significant role as a trans-Atlantic port city.
Though it's still brisk in March, there is more daylight for getting into nature with paths all over England. You can hike a portion of long-distance trails, like the Jurassic Coast, the Cotswold Way, or the South West Coast Path, one of England's most famous trails that passes surfing beaches on the Cornish coast. Or, head to one of 10 national parks in England, including Lake District National Park, home to England's highest mountain and largest lake, Scafell Pike and Lake Windermere. Look for a poetry festival in the area this month.
Events in March
St Piran's Day, Cornwall. On March 5, Cornwall celebrates its patron saint, St. Piran, by staging local events across the county. Look for parades, festivals, and Cornish-themed food and drink celebrations like pasty contests.
Words by the Water Festival, Lake District. In early March, poetry fans can discover the Words By the Water Festival in the Lake District, featuring literary events, readings, and discussions.
Easter weekend, nationwide. Easter may fall in late March or April, depending on the year. Festivities start with Good Friday and run through Monday (expect closures on both days). There are church services, Easter egg hunts, Sunday roasts, and a plethora of chocolate treats and hot cross buns.
Traveling to England in March? Check out these great itineraries
Hike the Northern Cornish Coast - 6 Days. This hiking adventure follows a spectacular section of England's famed South West Coast Path with rugged clifftops, sandy bays, ancient ruins, and whitewashed fishing villages.
London and the English Countryside - 7 Days. On this week-long itinerary, you'll immerse yourself in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of London, then venture out into England's fertile green countryside, which boasts some of the most scenic landscapes in all of Europe.