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

It's already pretty lovely out there...

When does summer start in the UK?
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The weather is already practically tropical outside right now in the UK - but when does summer actually offically begin?

We're all dreaming of the time when the mornings and evenings start getting lighter (opens in new tab). Days spent splashing in the best paddling pools (opens in new tab), the delicious smell of sun cream (opens in new tab), and more time to spend time outdoors with the family - take a look at how to make gardening for kids (opens in new tab) fun.

Because despite the current lockdown guidelines (opens in new tab) and restrictions, there's still plenty of opportunity to enjoy the season and the annual school summer holidays (opens in new tab).

So when does summer start in the UK?

MORE: Top tips on how to keep cool in hot weather during pregnancy (opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab)'?), 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.

MORE: How would social distancing in schools work? (opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab).

So what are your plans for a socially distanced summer?

Amy Hunt

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.