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

Find out when summer officially starts in the UK

Two women sat in deckchairs facing the sea
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The UK has seen some wonderful hot weather over the last couple of years, so it's no surprise people are asking when does summer start. 

It only takes a bit of spring sunshine for us Brits to start thinking about getting our hands on the best sun creams and best paddling pools in preparation for those long, hot days spent in the garden with family. Rising temperatures also makes us rush to find out how to keep our house cool in summer, as we aren't used to such warmth. 

And as the weather finally starts to get warmer - with predictions of hot weather continuing throughout all the summer months, we're all wondering when summer actually starts. While the school summer holidays mark the beginning of beach trips and family getaways from many, there is actually an official start date for the warmest season of the year.

When is the first day of summer?

The official first day of summer in 2023 is Wednesday 21 June 2023, and summer ends on Saturday 23 September. This is what's known as astronomical summer, and this year the start and end dates fall on the same days as in 2022, though they can change from year to year.

The Met Office explains 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." 

Summer 2024 is set to begin on Thursday, 20 June 2024, and end on Sunday, 22 September 2024. 

Summer 2025 will begin Saturday, 21 June 2025, and draw to a close on Monday, 22 September 2025.

When does summer start in the UK?

Although astronomical summer begins on June 21st in 2023, there are two different dates considered to be the start of summer, with the other known as meteorological summer. Unlike the astronomical calendar, these dates are unchanging every year. Meteorological summer always starts on 1 June and end on 31 August.

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."

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Seasons in the meteorological calendar

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

When is the longest day of the year?

The longest day of the year - also known as summer solstice - takes place on 21 June in 2023. This is the same day as the start of astronomical summer.

This is the day with the most hours of sunlight and the earth’s axis is tilted at its closest point from the sun. This means that in the northern hemisphere, the sun is at its highest point in the sky.

When do the summer holidays start?

Most schools begin summer holidays on 24 July in 2023, until, normally, the first full week of September - which this year begin on September 4.

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.

For more information on whether there will be a heatwave in the UK in 2023, we have the latest updates. As those temperatures rise, we have some practical tips for keeping your house cool in the summer months. To feel cooler quickly, we have 8 ingenious ways to cool down fast, that are worth trying.

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Senior Digital Writer

Amy is Senior Digital Writer across Woman & Home, GoodTo and Woman, writing about everything from celebrity news to health, fashion and beauty features. When she isn't obsessing over the latest dress drop from Marks & Spencer, you'll most likely find Amy out running, or with a cup of tea in hand ready to dive into a gripping new Netflix series.

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