We spend a lot of our time living in the endless heats of sunny Thailand, so what we really miss is the 4 distinct seasons celebrated in Northern Ireland. The Spring, summer, autumn and winter. And while people do generally see the summer months as being the best time to visit Northern Ireland, I do find that each season has their own advantages, as well as disadvantages. And while the summer months obviously have the sunnier weather and long daylight hours, they are also the busiest months and attract tourist crowds. As the best time to visit Northern Ireland really depends on personal interests and reasons for travelling to Northern Ireland in the first place. For some ideas of this check out our road trip video sharing the best of Northern Ireland below.
Spring in Northern Ireland
After the dreary weather of winter, Spring in Northern Ireland marks the beginning of the tourist season with many tourist attractions reopening after their hibernation including the various gardens and tours run by the National Trust. In spring the leaves return to trees, flowers begin to bloom, the weather and grey skies brighten up, and it’s just a nice time to visit Northern Ireland. Baby sheep. The weather is still a bit hit and miss, but daylight hours are longer, and the climate only gets better on the run-up to summer. The forest parks are also great to get back to as well where they are otherwise wet, muddy and neglected through the winter months.
When is Spring in Northern Ireland? Spring begins on the first of March in Northern Ireland, it then includes April, and continues through until the end of May. It is a time when animals and plants begin to wake up from the long winter.
Best Tourist Attractions in Northern Ireland in Spring: Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Mount Stewart, Rowallane Gardens.
Summer in Northern Ireland
Summer marks the start of t-shirt weather in Northern Ireland, and, with the long summer holidays, people are out on the streets and at the bars to soak up some sun while they can. There will be almost daily events taking place all over the country, and, with the sunny weather and late daylight hours, it is the perfect time to get out to explore the country. However, the main beauty spots are busiest through summer in Northern Ireland, so we generally avoid the Causeway Coast and other popular tourist attractions due to the crowds and limited parking through this time. The same goes for local beaches like Crawfordsburn Country Park which packs out with day-trippers jumping on the train down from Belfast. But there really are countless offbeat and outdoor excursions to be found up the mountains and in the forest parks at this time of the year in Northern Ireland.
When is Summer in Northern Ireland? Summer begins on the first of June in Northern Ireland, it then includes July, and continues through until the end of August.
Autumn in Northern Ireland
Autumn, or ‘fall’ for the Americans, is a contrasting season, as September is definitely one of the best times to visit Northern Ireland on the shoulder month of the summer. This when the schools have returned, the crowds are less at major beauty spots, and the weather is still warm/mild to explore. Accommodation is also cheaper and widely available outside of the busier tourist months in Northern Ireland. But then comes October when the temperatures grow colder, and the daylight hours become much shorter. However autumn in Northern Ireland is a great time to explore the parks and gardens through the changing colours before the arrival of Halloween in Northern Ireland.
When is Autumn in Northern Ireland? Autumn begins on the first of September in Northern Ireland, it then includes October, and continues through until the end of November. It is a time when plants and vegetation lose their leaves and animals go into hibernating for the coming winter.
Winter in Northern Ireland
It’s really not long after Halloween when the festive season arrives in Northern Ireland with the annual Christmas lights switch-on and baubles going up around late-mid-November. Then it’s all cheery right through to the New Year, and there’s the Belfast Christmas Market smack in the centre of the city. The weather is otherwise fairly miserable through to Spring, the daylight hours are few, and I really wouldn’t recommend touring Northern Ireland in winter. It rarely snows either (a rare video of Bangor below), although it is possible to find snow in the higher grounds of the Mourne Mountains. Otherwise enjoyment is more from indoor comforts, like the traditional bars and pubs of Belfast that make the city an excellent destination for a winter break.
When is winter in Northern Ireland? Winter begins on the first of December in Northern Ireland, it then includes January, and continues through until the end of February.