London weather is known for its cloudy, gloomy skies, particularly in the winter months. But how is it in reality? What’s the number of sunny days in London?
How many hours of sunshine does the city get and how are they distributed over the year? That’s what I’m going to answer in this article.
Here’s the Number of Sunny Days in London
According to the Met Office, London Heathrow (the biggest airport located close to the city) has the following sunshine hours (see the table below).
From that, we can calculate percent possible sunshine and later the average number of days that get at least some sun. It’ll be only a rough estimate based on an imperfect methodology but that’s the most we can get from available weather data.
Here are my calculations for the average weather conditions in London:
|Month||Sunshine hours||Percent possible sunshine||Average sunny days|
The data suggests that London has 126 sunny days. This means that it has 239 cloudy days. The sunniest month is August with 14 days of sun and the least sunny is January with only 7.
Note that the sunshine sensors don’t give us cloud cover (they calculate direct solar irradiance). This means that the calculations in the table above suggest how many days get some sun but not necessarily blue skies the entire day.
Sunshine Hours in London Compared to Other Big Cities
To get a better understanding of how sunny the climate is, here are some major cities around the world with their corresponding sunshine hours compared to London.
Liverpool: 1,499 hours of sunshine, 176 fewer than in London
Glasgow: 1,280 hours of sunshine, 395 fewer than in London
Birmingham: 1,395 hours of sunshine, 290 fewer than in London
New York City: 2,535 hours of sunshine, 860 more than in London (read my London vs New York weather comparison)
Los Angeles: 3,254 hours of sunshine, 1,579 more than in London
Chicago: 2,508 hours of sunshine, 833 more than in London
Paris: 1,717 hours of sunshine, 42 more than in London
Madrid: 2,744 hours of sunshine, 1,069 more than in London
Berlin: 1,759 hours of sunshine, 84 more than in London
Dubai: 3,570 hours of sunshine, 1,895 more than in London
Sydney: 2,639 hours of sunshine, 964 more than in London
Cape Town: 3,094 hours of sunshine, 1,419 more than in London
How Many Days of Rain Does London Get?
Another helpful piece of weather data to understand how sunny a place is, is the number of rainy days. Granted, rain may only fall for 30 minutes and give way to blue skies. Still, it’s another helpful factor to guesstimate the amount of days with potentially bad weather.
So, does it rain a lot in London? Here’s how it looks:
London gets on average 112 days of rain, meaning that it doesn’t rain 253 days of the year.
Frequently Asked Questions
London gets 1,675 sunshine hours a year. This means that the percent possible sunshine is 35%.
London has on average 239 cloudy days a year.
Considering that on average there’s at least some sun on 126 out of 365 days, the percentage of a sunny day is 35%.
London isn’t sunnier than Paris. London has 1,675 sunshine hours a year. Paris has 1,717. The difference is small but Paris gets 42 hours of sunshine more, nonetheless.
The sunniest city in England is Chichester with 1,919 hours of sunshine a year. Check out my article on the sunniest cities in the UK for more information.
London gets on average 112 days of rain, with 615 mm of rainfall. Among European cities, that’s a rather typical amount of rain, not a lot and not little.
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