April is spring in the UK. Temperatures slowly rise, and flowers come into bloom. The weather in April can be fine and pleasant, or it can be rainy and chilly—and sometimes both in one day. Pack accordingly with layers and waterproofs. Temperatures in the UK in spring average between 48°F to 59°F (9°C-15°C), but this varies from north to south, where London continues to be the warmer of the major cities and Edinburgh the coldest. The days are getting longer throughout the month (15 hours of daylight in Edinburgh by month's end), and more and more flowers bloom in woodlands and manicured gardens and parks.
Crowds & Costs
April is shoulder season for travel to the UK. Domestic travel picks up, especially if Easter falls in this month when schools let out for vacation. Prices of accommodation, transport, and attractions don't fluctuate much throughout the year but if you're planning a trip over Easter, try to book accommodation and long-distance travel in advance to get your first options.
Where to Go
If you're interested in literature and history, then England's Stratford-upon-Avon should be on your radar at any time of year. However, April is a particularly good month to visit Shakespeare's hometown. In England's West Midlands, south of Birmingham, the town hosts the week-long Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival around Shakespeare's birthday (April 23). Events and activities will appeal to travelers of all ages, and you don't need to be able to quote the Bard to enjoy participating in this festival.
To enjoy the blooming flowers, especially later in April, visit a national park, like the Lake District National Park, or an area like the Cotswolds with its beautiful gardens. If you can't make it out into the countryside, London's Kew Gardens is a top year-round attraction, whatever the weather, and Cardiff's Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show is beautiful (see more below).
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
Travelers in top physical condition who fancy a challenge can sign up for the London Marathon, held on a Sunday in late April. Everyone else can be a spectator. Thousands of participants run through London, which is an attractive backdrop for the huge event.
April is also a good time to embark on a road trip in various parts of the UK. With changeable weather, you might enjoy seeing the countryside from the comfort of your car, while you can stop to enjoy fine weather and views when opportunities arise. Many road networks throughout south and central England are very congested, but the coastline of Wales or the Scottish Highlands offer more pleasant driving experiences.
Events in April
Trailhead Get Jerky Devil's Staircase Ultra Trail Race, Wales. If puffing your way up one of Wales’ steepest mountain roads, the Devil’s Staircase, is your idea of fun, sign up for this 31-mile (50-km) ultra trail race in early April. The race kicks off in Llanwrtyd Wells.
Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show, Cardiff, Wales. This flower show sometime in April is one of many good reasons to visit Wales. It's the first major Royal Horticultural Society flower show of the year, and others are held throughout the UK at other times.
Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival, England. One of the most important literary events in the UK is held in Shakespeare's hometown toward the end of April.
London Marathon, England. Participate or just watch this big running event on a Sunday in late April.
Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. On the last evening of April (April 30th), snag tickets for this unique ancient Celtic festival on Calton Hill in Edinburgh to celebrate the onset of warmer, longer days in May. Look for elaborate costumes, special bonfires, drums, and other performances.
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, Speyside, Scotland. Malt whiskey lovers might want to travel to this annual festival in northeast Scotland centered around their favorite drink. The region of Speyside is known for its distilleries and is considered a protected region for Scotch whisky. Festival-goers will find tastings and traditional food, music, and events centered around the heritage and culture of the region.
Traveling to the UK in April? Check out these great itineraries
Self-Drive Wales: Culture, Castles & Coastlines - 12 Days. After catching a train from London to Cardiff, you'll get behind the wheel and make your way up the wild Welsh coast, embarking on fascinating tours and excursions.
Scottish Highlands Self-Drive Tour: Edinburgh, Inverness & Loch Ness - 8 Days. Starting in Edinburgh, drive north to the rugged highlands, where you'll explore ancient castles, visit important battle sites, sail Loch Ness, and ride the world's most scenic railway.
Cotswolds Road Trip - 8 Days. Explore the heart of England from Oxford's famous "dreaming spires" to the Roman baths in Bath, passing by some of the most quintessentially English villages of the Cotswolds.
Antrim Coast and Glens Hike - 5 Days. Spend five days exploring Ireland's beautiful northern coast, featuring the fabulous Glens of Antrim, the Giant's Causeway, fantastic castles, gorgeous beaches, and a memorable distillery.