Coldest day of each year from 1875

Some points about cold days

-25C has been reached or bettered only 4 times since 1955; -20 has been reached 21 times. The earliest date for the coldest day since 1900 is 14 November (in 1919, at Braemar; -23.3); the latest is 20 March (-16.1C at Newport, Gwent, 1930). The highest yearly minimum is just -8.4C, in February 1990, at Grantown.

The lowest temperatures usually occur in the morning, often just before dawn, under a clear sky above a layer of fresh snow (which is an excellent insulator and allows the air above it to cool radiatively. An absence of winds prevents warming by mixing of layers of air. The 1995 ALtnharra though happened relatively early in the night; a slight breeze developed and may have prevented the temperature falling even lower. Valley bottoms can act as frost hollows, permitting low temperatures. In Scotland and Northern Irleand the lowest temperatures usually occur in Arctic air with northerly winds. In the south, the coldest winter days happen when very cold continental air is brought in from the east. In the south the easterly air mass has to cross a smaller area of warming water (the Channel) than east Scotland, say, where the North Sea is much wider. On the other hand, the nights are longer in Scotland, and snow cover is more frequent. Although continental air is cold in winer, the exact degree of coldness depends on its origin and the track followed by the air mass from its source. Air that comes straight from northern Russia over Poland and Germany can be exceptionally cold (e.g. as happened most notably in 1987, and most recently 1991). If the easterly blows from the Balkans and east Mediterranean it is less much less cold (about 5C) and the weather tends to be damp and grey.

Low minima in summer happen on still nights with clear skies, over sandy soils, which are also poor conductors of heat.

The coldest nights for each month of the extended winter are:

November. -23.3 Braemar 14 November 1919

December. -27.2 Altnaharra 30 December 1995

January. -27.2 Braemar, 10 January 1982

February. -25.0 Braemar 23 February 1955

March. -22.8 Grantown-on-Spey 12 February and 14th at Logie Coldstone, Grampian, 1958


Frost days

Also of interest in winter are frost days, when the maximum temperature is beneath 0C.

1987 saw 14 consecutive days continuously beneath freezing (14-28 January)

1963 saw 10 consecutive days continuously beneath freezing (16-25 January)

2010 saw 12 consecutive days in December, counting sites in Norther Irealnd and the Scottish Highlands and Islands

The lowest lowland maximum since 1900 is -9.2 at Warlingham (Surrey) on 12 January 1987; Pershore saw a maximum of -8.2 on 19 December 2010, and Altnaharra -15.8 on 22 December 2010.


The coldest temperatures in Britain from 1875

1875 -14.7 Hawes (N Yorks.) 1 January

1876 -12.2 Buxton (Derbys.) 11 February

1877 -15.6 Braemar 3 January

1878 -18.9 Gainford (Durham) 13 December

1879 -26.7 Kelso (Borders) 3 December

1880 -17.7 Braemar 27 December

1881 -26.7 Kelso (Borders) 17 January

1882 -22.4 Braemar 15 December

1883 -15.1 Alston (Cumbria) 15 March

1884 -12.5 Kingussie (Highland) 3 January

1885 -14.9 Braemar 16 January

1886 -18.9 Alston (Cumbria) 7 March

1887 -15.3 Marlborough (Wilts.) 17 March

1888 -17.2 Lairg 16 February

1889 -14.8 Logie Coldstone 5 March

1890 -17.4 Stokesay (Shrops.) 22 December

1891 -17.2 Ketton (Leics.) 18 January; Lairg 12 March

1892 -22.2 Scaleby (Cumbria) 19 February

1893 -20.0 Braemar 6 January

1894 -20.2 Hodsock (Notts.) 6 January

1895 -27.2 Braemar 11 February

1896 -12.8 Braemar 23 December

1897 -21.7 Braemar 4 February

1898 -16.1 Braemar 24 February

1899 -16.1 Braemar 21 March

1900 -19.4 Braemar 11 February

1901 -18.8 Swarraton (Hants.) 9 January

1902 -18.9 Lairg 14 February

1903 -17.2 Braemar 13 January

1904 -14.4 Appleby (Cumbria) 27 November

1905 -15.0 Braemar 18 November

1906 -16.8 Woodbridge (Suffolk) 30 December

1907 -15.0 Llangammarch Wells (Powys) 25 January

1908 -18.3 Liphook (Hants.) 30 December

1909 -17.8 Marlborough 3 March, Balmoral 7 December

1910 -23.3 Balmoral, and Logie Coldstone 28 January

1911 -12.2 Garforth 1 February

1912 -20.6 West Linton 4 February

1913 -15.6 Braemar 31 December

1914 -13.9 Braemar 25 December

1915 -13.3 Balmoral 5 December

1916 -16.7 Braemar 20 February

1917 -20.0 Benson (Oxon) 6 February

1918 -19.4 West Linton (Borders) 14 January

1919 -23.3 Braemar 14 November

1920 -18.3 Raunds 13 December

1921 -15.0 Braemar 7 March

1922 -13.3 West Linton, Eskdalemuir, Garforth 18 January

1923 -14.4 Braemar 25 Decembe

1924 -16.7 Balmoral 3 March

1925 -16.7 Braemar 20 December

1926 -16.7 Luton 17 January

1927 -17.8 Braemar 18 December; Logie Coldstone 17, 18 December

1928 -13.3 Braemar 1 January

1929 -18.3 Usk (Gwent), Ross-on-Wye 14 February; Houghall (Durham)17 February

1930 -16.1 Newport (Shropshire) 20 March

1931 -17.2 Braemar 3 March

1932 -11.7 Dalwhinnie 12 March

1933 -15.6 Logie Coldstone 19 January

1934 -12.2 Braemar 14 March

1935 -15.6 Braemar 24 December

1936 -15.0 Braemar 5, 13 February

1937 -21.7 Braemar 13 December

1938 -15.6 Braemar 22 December

1939 -17.2 Dalwhinnie, Braemar 4 January

1940 -23.3 Rhayader (powys) 21 January

1941 -21.1 Houghall (Durham) 5 January; West Linton (Borders) 6 January

1942 -19.4 Braemar 8 March

1943 -13.9 Braemar 5 January

1944 -15.0 Braemar 28 February

1945 -19.4 Dalwhinnie 26 January

1946 -14.4 Dalwhinnie 26 February

1947 -21.3 Elmstone (Kent) 30 January

1948 -15.6 Logie Coldstone 24 January

1949 -17.8 Braemar 5 January

1950 -18.3 Dalwhinnie 15 December

1951 -16.1 Dalwhinnie 11 March

1952 -17.2 Logie Coldstone 30 January

1953 -12.8 Braemar, Dalwhinnie 3 January

1954 -20.0 Welshpool 2 February

1955 -25.0 Braemar 23 February

1956 -18.9 Perth 3 February

1957 -16.1 Sutton Bonnington (Notts.) 20 February

1958 -22.8 Logie Coldstone (Grampian) 14 March

1959 -17.8 Braemar 15 January; Kincraig (Highland) 4 February

1960 -22.2 Grantown-on-Spey 18 February

1961 -22.2 Cannich (Highland) 30 December

1962 -21.1 Corwen (Clwyd) 2 January

1963 -22.2 Braemar 18 January

1964 -15.6 Caldecott (Leics.) 29 December

1965 -21.7 Corwen (Clwyd) 3 March

1966 -20.0 Braemar 15 Februar

1967 -14.4 Carnwath (Strathclyde) 10 December

1968 -18.3 Braemar 21 February

1969 -20.6 Grantown-on-Spey 18 February

1970 -21.1 Carnwath (Strathclyde), West Linton (Borders) 7 January

1971 -12.8 Braemar 4 January

1972 -18.5 Moorhouse (Cumbria) 31 January

1973 -21.2 Carnwath (Strathclyde) 15 February

1974 -10.2 Lagganlia (Highland) 14 February

1975 -11.4 Balmoral 8 February

1976 -16.2 Carnwath (Strathclyde) 5 December

1977 -18.7 Lagganlia (Highland) 17 January

1978 -22.0 Keith (Grampian) 20 February

1979 -24.6 Carnwath (Strathclyde) 13 January

1980 -17.5 Clashnoir (Grampian) 2 January

1981 -25.2 Shawbury (Shrops.) 13 December

1982 -27.2 Braemar 10 January

1983 -14.2 Lagganlia 19 February

1984 -23.6 Grantown-on-Spey 20 January

1985 -23.4 Lagganlia (Highland) 27 January

1986 -21.2 Grantown-on-Spey 27 February

1987 -19.1 Warsop (Notts.) 13 January

1988 -11.6 Carnwath (Strathclyde) 22 November

1989 -14.0 Tummell Bridge 15 December

1990 -8.4 Grantown-on-Spey 15 February

1991 -16.0 Cawood (N Yorks.) 14 February

1992 -14.2 Grantown-on-Spey 21 December

1993 -15.8 Altnaharra 26 December

1994 -16.1 Braemar 17 February

1995 -27.2 Altnaharra 30 December

1996 -13.0 Aviemore 25 December

1997 -14.5 Santon Downham (Suffolk) 3 January

1998 -17.0 Altnaharra 1 March

1999 -14.0 Sennybridge (south Wales) 20 December

2000 -15.0 Dalmally (Argyll) 30 December

2001 -21.7 Kinbrace (Sutherland) 3 March

2002 -16.1 Grantown 2 January

2003 -18.3 Aviemore 7 January

2004 -15.2 Kinbrace (Sutherland) 19 December

2005 -13.2 Ravensworth (North Yorks.) 29 December

2006 -16.4 Altnaharra 2 March

2007 -13.0 Aboyne 22 December

2008 -12.9 Aviemore 30 December

2009 -18.4 Aviemore 9 February, Braemar 29 December

2010 -22.3 Altnaharra 8 January

2011 -13.0 Althnaharra 8 January

2012 -18.3 Chesham (Bucks.) 11 February

2013 -13.4 Marham (near Norwich, Norfolk) 16 January

2014 -9.0 Cromdale (Morayshire) 27 December

2015 -12.5 Tulloch Bridge, Glascarnoch 19 January

2016 -14.1 Braemar 14 February

2017 -13.0 Shawbury (Shropshire) 12 December

2018 -14.2 Faversham (Kent) 28 February

2019 -15.4 Braemar 1 February

2020 -10.2 Braemar 13 February and Dalwhinnie (30 December)

2021 -23.0 Braemar 11 February