Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Welcome to winter: a guide to surviving the British weather

Icy breezes, the aftermath of Fresher’s Flu and pumpkin spiced lattes appearing in Starbucks can only mean one thing: winter is truly on the way. Of course, the season brings with it the obvious perks of cosy catch-ups amongst friends over hot chocolate and a range of festivities. However, following last year’s ‘Beast from the East’, many are dreading the onslaught of winter this year.


For some of us, particularly those not accustomed to British weather, finding a way to keep warm and deal with fluctuating conditions can be overwhelming. So, how should we deal with dropping temperatures and the prospect of venturing out into a snowstorm (or, more likely, relentless showers)? Read on to find out!


Invest in a thermal vest

It may not be the hottest fashion statement out there in one sense, but a good thermal vest will keep you toasty as the nights start to draw in. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but you’ll be glad you invested in this practical garment when sub-zero temperatures hit campus: the extra layer, albeit concealed, makes all the difference! Check out the traditional ‘outdoorsy’ stores such as Trespass and the North Face for a range of thermals within a student’s price range. Equally, order online if you don’t feel like venturing out into the cold.


Keep warm at home

Stuck with that landlord who hasn’t bothered to fix your central heating for the past month despite being contacted several times? We’ve all been there. Whilst you’re waiting for the repairman to come around, invest in an electric blanket or a purse-friendly hot water bottle. Likewise, keep yourself topped up on hot drinks (as if anybody needed an excuse to consume even morehot chocolate). To keep warm at home, the NHS recommends closing curtains at dusk and keeping doors shut to trap in the heat. Hopefully this will see you through until the landlord gets his act together… Coming back to a warm home after a day of exploring is always the best feeling.


Planning to explore?

British weather is known for its unpredictability, which can make preparing for travel around the UK considerably difficult in winter. Whilst the evening weather forecast is known for its inaccuracy, it is worth keeping an eye on your phone’s weather app for a vague idea of what the world might throw at you.


When the snow starts to fall, this is the time to plan carefully for travel in advance. The last thing you want is to be stuck at a freezing bus stop or train platform only to find out that your mode of transport does not arrive. Download the National Rail app to stay up to date with train cancellations, delays and alterations, in the face of winter weather. Likewise, based on the number of UK airports that suffered from this year’s ‘Beast from the East’, those wanting to fly should always check in advance what the status of their flight may be with their designated airline provider. Many airlines now have apps that post this type of information, although your provider’s website should be your first port of call.


Stock up on winter supplements

If you’re out and about a lot over the winter months (particularly if you’re exploring the North, where temperatures are generally lower) then the chances are you’ll be more susceptible to picking up a cold. Not to worry! This can easily be avoided or, if necessary, remedied. Wrap up warm with a thick scarf to cover up your chest. Stock up on vitamins to protect your immune system (Vitamin C is perhaps the most effective at this and can be sourced in orange juice, red peppers and broccoli) and carry supplements on the go if you really can’t stand the thought of having a cold.


Be prepared

With what British weather can throw at you in the space of an hour, it is difficult to be prepared. However, your best bet is to invest in a robust umbrella (strong winds have destroyed many of my own) and a pair of grippy, waterproof shoes to avoid slipping when the temperatures plummet.


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