Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.
With May recorded as one of the sunniest months ever in the UK, many of us can look forward to the summer of 2020 being a real scorcher, as temperatures are anticipated to be 1C to 1.5C above the long-term average. But do you prioritise protecting against sun damage in the UK as much as you do when abroad?
Holiday habits have seen a major shift in recent years with more Brits choosing to take a staycation - or holiday at home - in the UK rather than travelling abroad. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Barclays found that over half of 25 to 34-year-olds planned to spend their main holiday in Britain (52%), and a third (31%) spent more holiday time in the UK last year than ever before.
We’ve broken down where in the UK offers the best value for money when it comes to sunshine, by analysing average temperatures, sun hours and the average cost of a summer holiday, to help you make the most of your next holi-stay.
Where is the sunniest place in the UK?
The South East wins for the best sun in the nation, enjoying more hours of sun and higher temperatures on average than any other region in the UK. It also offers the best value for money, with the perfect location being the Isle of Wight and Canterbury the best city. Despite this, London is the warmest place in the UK overall - but it’s also the most expensive vacation destination with each stay costing £252 on average.
Comparing the average annual sun hours of the top-ranking UK cities to other global locations reveals that Canterbury experiences 142 more sun hours than Paris, France. London’s annual average maximum temperature is equivalent to 15.5 degrees, which is just 2.3 degrees cooler than the annual temperature in Nairobi, Kenya, and is higher than most European cities.
To experience the best sun for spend in the UK, take a look at our Isle of Wight cottages and get that holiday feeling without the hassle of travelling abroad.
Top 5 tips for staying safe in the sun
Unfortunately, a large portion of Brits do not take proper precautions to protect themselves against sun damage when holidaying in the UK. However, it is vital to follow proper sun safety tips to prevent overexposure to harsh UV rays. Our top five tips to staying safe in the sun are:
- Use effective SPF. According to the NHS, when buying sunscreen, the ideal strength is at least factor 30 with four-star UVA protection. All sun creams in the UK are rated on a scale of 2-50+ based on their level of cover - the lower the number, the weaker the protection. To keep children safe, it’s best to use SPF30 or SPF50 for added safety.
- Routinely reapply SPF. Sunscreen is most effective when applied correctly. Apply it 30 minutes before venturing outside and reapply every two hours, and immediately after swimming to maintain protection - even when it’s cloudy. Make sure that it’s applied to all areas not covered by clothing, including the ears.
- Wear sunglasses. Tsippora Shainhouse, a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills, says: “Wearing dark, UV- protective sunglasses will reduce the sun’s glare and help you keep your eyes on the road in front of you when playing, cycling, running, boating and driving. It will also prevent squinting in the sun, which can cause premature wrinkles, and reduce the risk of developing UV-induced cataracts.”
- Stay out of the sun in peak hours. The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) say that Brits should stay out of the sun during the peak hours of 11am-3pm to minimise exposure or stick to shady areas if it’s not possible to completely stay out of the sun.
- Wear lighter clothing. Tsippora Shainhouse also suggests wearing lighter clothing and hats, as: “Wearing a wide-brimmed hat will minimize sun on your face, ears and neck, and will help prevent accelerated collagen breakdown due to UV exposure, in addition to protecting your skin from burning. It will also keep you feeling less hot and fatigued from the sun.”
You should also learn to spot the signs of sun damage, as UV rays bring out a chemical in your body associated with melanin that darkens your skin in an effort to protect it. Although sunburn only lasts a few days it can lead to skin problems later in life and is characterised by your skin turning red and feeling warm to the touch.
While it’s vital to avoid overexposure, it’s also important to enjoy sun rays in moderation to avoid vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common in the UK due to the cloudy climate, but the vitamin is essential to maintain a strong immune system and healthy bones.
According to Saadia Noorani, registered nutritionist, vitamin D supplements are recommended all year round to prevent deficiency. She states: “Vitamin D supplementation is also recommended for adults especially during the autumn and winter months. That's because while you can get vitamin D from some foods (e.g. eggs and fish), most of our vitamin D is created by our body after exposure to sunlight - and there isn't much sunshine in the UK during the winter months.
“At risk groups are recommended to take vitamin D supplementation all year round - these include people who have dark skin (for example you have an African, Afro-Caribbean or South Asian background) and those of us who spend most of our time indoors - according to UK government recommendations.”