When does summer start in the UK? This is why there are two start dates

It's already pretty warm outside...
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  • The weather is already practically tropical outside right now in the UK - but when does summer actually offically begin?

    With ongoing talk of the coronavirus – the summer, after all, gives us all a little something to look forward too. Days spent splashing in the best paddling pools, the delicious smell of sun cream, and more time to spend time outdoors with the family – take a look at how to make gardening for kids fun.

    Because despite the current lockdown guidelines and restrictions, there’s still plenty of opportunity to enjoy the season and the annual school summer holidays.

    So when does summer start in the UK?

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    Technically, there are two official dates for the start of summer in each calendar year. It all depends on how you calculate it.

    When does summer start in the UK?

    The Met Office report that, this year, summer starts on Saturday 20th June, and ends on Tuesday 22nd September – making it a lovely, long four months.

    Last year, it was slightly later, beginning on 21st June and ending on 23rd September.

    This date is the astronomical summer. The Met Office explain that “the astronomical calendar determines the seasons due to the 23.5 degrees of tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis in relation to its orbit around the Sun.”

    When does summer start in the UK?

    Credit: Getty Images

    However, there is also a meteorological summer.

    Unlike the astronomical calendar, these dates are unchanging every year. So, summer will always start on 1st June and end on 31st August on this calendar.

    The Met Office explain, “The meteorological seasons consist of splitting the seasons into four periods, made up of three months each. These seasons are split to coincide with our Gregorian calendar, making it easier for meteorological observing and forecasting to compare seasonal and monthly statistics.”

    In the meteorological calendar, the seasons are:

    • Spring (March, April, May)
    • Summer (June, July, August)
    • Autumn (September, October, November)
    • Winter (December, January, February)

    When do the summer holidays start?

    Of course one of the main markers of summer time for children and families is normally, the much-awaiting summer holiday period.

    This year though, the summer holidays will undoubtedly be a little different, with it remaining unclear whether children will even be back in school before September (read more if you’re confused about ‘Should I send my child back to school‘?), as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

    But on a typical year, the date on which schools break up for summer varies between council districts.

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    Most schools begin summer holidays on 1st July, until, normally, the first week of September.

    However, some schools begin their summer holidays earlier in June, and some break up after 1st July. To check the summer holiday dates for your school, you can visit this gov.uk page here.

    So what are your plans for a socially distanced summer?