What Are the Sunniest Cities in the UK?

What Are the Sunniest Cities in the UK?

The United Kingdom is known for many great things, but one thing is isn’t known for is great, warm weather and plenty of sunlight. Average sunshine hours throughout the country are low, even compared to other countries in Europe. This has a clear impact on mental and physical health.

Thankfully, there’s some variety between different cities in the United Kingdom. You can noticeably increase the amount of sunshine hours you get by moving to a sunnier place. In this article I’m sharing my list of the sunniest cities in the UK.

While nowhere in the UK is super sunny year round, some places provide more sunshine per round and may help reduce SAD and seasonal fatigue. More natural light throughout the year helps better tolerate the gray winter months and long dark nights.

I created my list by researching climate data provided by the Met Office (Met Office UK climate averages). These are averages, meaning that some years the ranking may be slightly different. On average, though, these are the sunniest places in the UK.

Below I’m listing the top 10 sunniest cities in the United Kingdom that get most sunshine year round. Later in the article I share the entire table with data for 72 UK cities.

Top 10 Sunniest Cities in the UK

Chichester, sunniest city in the UK

Here are the top 10 sunniest cities in the UK, with the top three getting noticeably more sunshine than other places.

1. Chichester – 1,919 hours of sunshine a year

Chichester is a West Sussex town that claims the top spot in our ranking. With a little less than 2,000 hours of sunlight a year according to the Met Office weather data, Chichester offers the highest probability of clear skies. The sunniest month, with 254 hours of sun, is July.

How much sunshine does Chichester get in comparison to some other cities in the UK? The sunniest place in the UK gets 360 annual hours of sunshine more than London, 418 more than Birmingham, and 686 hours more than the gloomiest UK city, Glasgow.

This also makes West Sussex the sunniest county in the UK. Chichester is also one of the warmest cities in the UK. Just a short drive from Chichester is South Downs National Park, further adding value to living in the sunniest city in the UK.

2. Brighton and Hove – 1,892 hours of sunshine a year

Located on the south coast of England in East Sussex, Brighton and Hove gets the second place, with 27 fewer sunlight hours than the sunniest place in the UK. Brighton’s beaches are definitely more enjoyable during sunny days. Conveniently, the sunniest month is July, with 252 hours of summer sun compared to just 62 winter hours in December.

3. Southend-on-Sea – 1,884 hours of sunshine a year

Southend-on-Sea is the third sunniest city on our list and the first that isn’t located in South East England but instead in East of England. It gets just 8 fewer sunlight hours than Brighton and Hove. With its location close to London, it’s a convenient place to enjoy more sun than the average sunshine hours in other parts of the UK.

4. Portsmouth – 1,772 hours of sunshine a year

Portsmouth is just a 25-minute drive away from Chichester, yet on average it gets 147 fewer hours of sunshine. It’s still one of the sunniest places in the UK, though, particularly in the summer.

5. Truro – 1,758 hours of sunshine a year

The small town of Truro in South West England gets the fifth spot. Combined with a milder Cornwall climate with less extreme temperatures, it makes it a perfect place for those looking to live in one of the sunniest parts of the United Kingdom.

6. Canterbury – 1,737 hours of sunshine a year

Yet again, we’re back to South East with another city enjoying sunnier than average weather in the UK. As a popular tourist destination famous for its cathedral, the city is definitely lucky with its sunnier climate.

7. Plymouth – 1,732 hours of sunshine a year

Plymouth is the second-largest city in the South West after Bristol, which is also featured in our ranking. If you’re looking for a sunny big city in the western part of South West England, Plymouth is a top option for you.

8. Southampton – 1,706 hours of sunshine a year

Southampton is another coastal city in our ranking and another place located on the south coast. Like other cities, it gets most hours of sunshine in the summer months. Its sheltered location also gives it some of the warmest temperatures in the UK.

9. Salisbury – 1,699 hours of sunshine a year

Located just 25 miles northwest of Southampton, Salisbury has a similar climate, with just 7 fewer average hours of sunshine a year. Just a quick trip of 9 miles north of the city is Stonehenge.

10. Bristol – 1,658 hours of sunshine a year

Bristol closes our list of the sunniest destinations in the United Kingdom with 261 fewer hours of sun that the sunniest city, Chichester. Compared to the average sunshine hours in the UK, it’s still an improvement over most places.

Video Summary of the Sunniest UK Cities

All Cities in the UK Ranked by Annual Hours of Sunshine

Brighton, second sunniest place in the United Kingdom

Here’s my list of 72 cities in the UK ranked by the amount of annual sunshine hours. I included most of the big cities. All data comes from the Met Office. As you can see, the difference between the sunniest and the grayest city is quite stark. Glasgow is to Chichester what Chichester would be to Barcelona in terms of sunshine hours.

CitySunshine hours
Chichester1919
Brighton and Hove1892
Southend-on-Sea1884
Portsmouth1772
Truro1758
Canterbury1737
Plymouth1732
Southampton1706
Salisbury1699
Bristol1658
Peterborough1645
Chelmsford1644
Lincoln1631
St Albans1621
Oxford1615
Norwich1611
Wells1606
Swansea1583
Worcester1583
Bath1582
Winchester1579
Hereford1578
Liverpool1573
Cardiff1573
Wrexham1573
Chester1573
St Asaph1573
Exeter1562
London1559
Kingston upon Hull1559
Westminster1559
Lancaster1559
York1557
Newcastle upon Tyne1551
Sunderland1551
Ely1550
Gloucester1543
Cambridge1523
Milton Keynes1509
Coventry1507
Birmingham1501
Nottingham1487
Derby1487
Ripon1487
Sheffield1485
Durham1480
Dundee1461
Newport1459
Bangor1458
Leicester1452
Edinburgh1449
Stoke-on-Trent1448
Aberdeen1447
Carlisle1421
Wolverhampton1386
Lichfield1386
Leeds1384
Bradford1384
Wakefield1384
Perth1370
St Davids1370
Preston1367
Derry1358
Lisburn1345
Stirling1280
Newry1279
Armagh1279
Belfast1277
Manchester1265
Salford1265
Inverness1250
Glasgow1233

Further Reading

I also published a list of the warmest cities in the UK and covered in more detail the sunniest part of England.

You may also want to read my in-depth article on the number of sunny days in London.

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