How miserable June washout has left Britain's beaches deserted (2024)

Traders in Britain's tourism hotspots fear they could face financial peril this summer if the washout weather continues as normally-packed beaches are left deserted.

Seafront-based operators have noticed a drop in trade in recent weeks amid the miserable conditions compared to this time year when the mercury hit 30C (86F).

Temperatures are half the level they were a year ago, which was the hottest June on record. It follows a washout Easterfor many areas of the UK and unsettled weather last month over both May bank holiday weekends and the school half-term break.

While many families will have booked summer holidays months in advance, others will be day-trippers who will be far less likely to travel if the weather remains poor.

And fears for tourist areas are intensifying amid concerns more people could stay away compared to 2023, after the Met Office warned Britons will have to wait until next month for warmer weatherbecause of cold winds blowing in from the Arctic.

Meteorologists also said the last time the first ten days of June were this cold was in 2020, at a time when many businesses were still closed due to lockdown rules.

Britain also faces further rain and strong winds today as the miserable summer weather continues – with more heavy downpours expected over the coming weeks.

It comes amid extreme weather at different ends of the spectrum in Europe this week, with a heatwave in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus while Spain is hit by floods.

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Bournemouth beach is seen on June 13, 2023 (left) during a heatwave - and yesterday (right)

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Bournemouth beach was empty yesterday (right) but was packed on June 13, 2023 (left)

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The busy promenade at Bournemouth on June 13, 2023 (left) - compared to yesterday (right)

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People on the beach at Bournemouth on June 1, 2023 (left) - and an empty beach yesterday

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Bournemouth beach on June 24, 2023 as people head into the sea (left) - and yesterday (right)

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Bournemouth beach on June 10, 2023 (left) and empty deckchairs yesterday (right)

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Bournemouth beach on June 1, 2023 (left) and no one to be seen on the sand yesterday (right)

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Bournemouth beach on June 1, 2023 (left) and the empty seafront yesterday (right)

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Bournemouth beach on June 24, 2023 as people head into the sea (left) - and yesterday (right)

Many hospitality firms in coastal resorts rely on a warm and sunny summer to boost sales - increasing opening hours, staffing and outdoor seating to meet demand.

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But businesses in the holiday hotspot of Bournemouth yesterday told MailOnline of their concerns about the impact the miserable summer was having on trade.

The seaside town is normally bustling with holidaymakers and daytrippers at this time of year.

On June 13, 2023 the temperature hit 30C, resulting in thousands of people basking in the sun in bikinis and shorts and cooling off in the sea.

Yesterday, as the temperature reached just 14C and the grey rain clouds hung overhead, the seafront was almost deserted.

Ice cream kiosks were closed, the adventure golf attraction was empty and the beach itself had only a handful of hardy souls sitting on the sand.

Shaun Williams, from SDK Catering, runs a seasonal fish and chips van just off the seafront in Bournemouth. He said the business was done 70 per cent on trade compared to last year

Steve Coombes, who owns Front Bike Hire on the promenade in Bournemouth, said yesterday: 'Trade is definitely down and if the percentage I'm down continues then by the end of the summer that would be quite a large amount'

Outlets next to the pier in Bournemouth including the Beach Shop are very reliant on weather

People walk past beach huts on the promenade in Bournemouth yesterday on an overcast day

A lone windsurfer was spotted on the water making the most of the stiff breeze.

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Businesses in the town said there had definitely been a downturn in trade and they fear it could be a bad year for business if the cold and windy weather continues.

Shaun Williams, from SDK Catering, runs a seasonal fish and chips van just off the seafront. He said: 'We have had this spot for a couple of years and we are definitely down on trade, I'd say by about 70 per cent compared to last year.

'Even on sunny days we are not seeing as many people. I don't know if it's the unfortunate incidents, like the young woman that was stabbed, which are pushing people away or if it's just that people can't plan around the bad weather.

Overcast weather at Bournemouth beach yesterday as people stay away from the seafront

The adventure golf attraction was empty on Bournemouth seafront this afternoon

A closed ice cream kiosk on Bournemouth seafront yesterday as the bad weather continues

El Murrino Beachside Kitchen in the Boscombe area of Bournemouth was closedyesterday

'It really does worry me that they keep saying on the news it's going to stay like this, it's going to have an effect. I own the business and would normally have staff here but I have been doing it on my own because there isn't enough business to pay staff.

Read More The summer of showers: Map reveals how rain will fall across the whole country today

'Thankfully my staff have two jobs so they are still able to work.'

Ms Williams was referring to the death of Amie Gray, a 34-year-old personal trainer who was killed on Durley Chine Beach in Bournemouth on May 24.

Catherine El Murr, from family-run restaurant El Murrino, said they had to make the decision to close their beach pop-up due to the windy weather yesterday.

She said: 'Our beach pop up venue is completely weather dependent, we always live our life by looking at the weather forecast and have to play it by ear.

'Last year it was really good, absolutely packed, but this year has started off quite badly, we're probably about 50 per cent down on last year.

George Kyriacou, 51, co-owner of No. 1 Fish & Chips in Weston-super-Mare, said: 'When the weather is nice it's really busy, but when the weather is not so good there are not as many people around at all. We've noticed it a lot more than previous years because the weather has been so inconsistent'

An empty Weston-super-Mare beach yesterday as Somerset is hit by more cloudy and wet weather

Alfie Hardy, 26, a cashier at Cove Kiosk in Weston-super-Mare, has blamed a decline in sales on patchy weather. He said: 'The weather doesn't really match up to previous years and no one's really going on the beach in weather like this'

An empty Weston-super-Mare beach yesterday as Somerset is hit by more cloudy and wet weather

Richard Warbuton, 51, of T&L Vincent donkey rides in Weston-super-Mare, said the weather has blighted footfall with the few riders returning less than the cost of fuel for the lorry

'We have quite a few bookings for this weekend but weather-wise Saturday is looking like a complete washout.

Read More Majorca braces for yet more rain as brutal 43C heatwave closes the Acropolis in Athens

'It has a massive impact. Our main business is in the town centre but we need to make the pop up financially viable in its own right and when you wipe out a whole month that has a huge impact.

'We're just really hoping it gets better in July and August.'

A man who works at an adventure golf attraction said: 'Trade is definitely down compared to last year. Normally we would have many people coming and playing golf but today there is hardly anyone at all.

'The seafront businesses are mostly weather dependent, if the weather is bad, business is affected and we can't make money.

A small number of people visit the Grand Pier yesterday in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

Don Trapnell, 60, of Weston-super-Mare, said business was down significantly this yera

Wet weather onWeston-super-Mare seafront inSomerset yesterday as the rain continues

Closed kiosks at Weston-super-Mare yesterday as the bad weather brings a slow start to summer

Wet weather on Weston-super-Mare seafront in Somerset yesterday as the rain continues

Donkeys onWeston-super-Mare beach wait for business yesterday as the wet weather continues

'I think everyone is worried about this bad weather continuing, we might have to ask some casual staff not to come in if it carries on like this.'

Read More Why is Britain so cold in June? Temperatures this month are at HALF the level of 2023

Steve Coombes, who owns Front Bike Hire on the promenade, said: 'Financially, I am not too much worse off than last year at the moment, but trade is definitely down and if the percentage I'm down continues then by the end of the summer that would be quite a large amount.

'For my business I don't actually want boiling weather because then people just stay on the beach and don't hire bikes. But the flipside of that is if less people come to the beach then I still won't be busy. A bit of sunshine would be nice now.

'The beach itself and Bournemouth generally is definitely a lot quieter. Normally by this time of year I can't see a path to the water because the beach is busy.

An empty crazy golf course on Weston-super-Mare seafront in Somersetyesterday

Wet weather on Weston-super-Mare seafront in Somerset yesterday as the rain continues

Empty picnic benches next to a crazy golf course onWeston-super-Mare seafrontyesterday

Donkeys on Weston-super-Mare beach wait for business yesterday as the wet weather continues

An empty crazy golf course on Weston-super-Mare seafront in Somersetyesterday

'I think bad weather definitely puts off day-trippers and I think most of the holiday makers we get in Bournemouth are day-trippers now. Most of the people I speak to aren't here for more than a day or two.

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'I also think with the price of train tickets and things now a lot of people think it probably works out cheaper to get on a flight and get guaranteed sunshine. If you come here when the weather is bad you have to spend lots of money finding things to do.'

Sarah Hunter is managing director of Open Wide International, who run multiple attractions on Bournemouth Pier.

She said: 'Because of where we are located, it impacts us massively if the weather is bad and we have definitely noticed a drop in trade.

'I think there are other factors that come into play too - the cost of living crisis, everything that has happened in Bournemouth lately that is negative in the press.

Deborah Stanyon (pictured in the rain yesterday), manager of the Porlock Information Centre in Somerset, said many local businesses are 'still struggling to recoup their losses following the pandemic'

'If the weather continues like this it is a worry, we are a very tourist-orientated town and I think a lot of businesses are in the same situation.

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'We have tried to put an events schedule together to attract more locals and on the flipside Rock Reef, our indoor climbing is doing very well.

'But the outlets at the front of the pier, including the beach shop, that's very weather dependent and it is a concern for the summer, it's going to be a hard year for us.'

Mark Cribb owns The Urban Garden restaurant in Bournemouth, which has a large outdoor terrace for 250 people.

He relies on warm, sunny evenings to attract customers who want to eat and drink al-fresco but said trade is down by as much as 50 per cent due to the cold weather.

He said: 'We have a large outside terrace where people come and drink beer and wine and co*cktails in the summer evenings. Unfortunately, where it has been so cold, not many people want to do that.

'I would say our mid-week trade is down 50 per cent from last year and about 30 per cent down at weekends.

'We need a good five months from April to August to help get us through the rest of the year. Half of that period has gone now and we've hardly had any good weather, it is really frustrating.'

Some hotels have slashed their prices to get customers in at the last minute. A room at the Langtry Manor Hotel with breakfast is now just £70, down from £140.

About 75 miles away in Weston-super-Mare yesterday, beachfront businesses spoke of struggling to stay afloat in what they have described as the 'worst year ever' for early season trade.

Shops, restaurants and entertainment providers along the Somerset seafront have been battered by strong winds and heavy rain since March, discouraging day trippers and dampening profits.

Somerset has seen 150 per cent of the rainfall it would usually expect in Spring, making this year its 8th wettest spring since 1836 and its wettest since 2000, according to figures from the Met Office.

Don Trapnell, 60, owner of Trapnells Beach Shop, said he is rarely able to open his store on the seafront because of the weather-induced tourism drought.

'It's the worst year we've ever had', he said, adding: 'Every year we see a little bit less but this year, with the poor weather, most days we're not even open.

'The only reason we're open today is because we have a little school group but as soon as we've done them, we'll pack the doors and go home.'

Businesses like Mr Trapnell's survive through school trips, which book months in advance and are therefore not swayed by weather forecasts.

'Without them we wouldn't open today, there's nobody here', Don said, adding: 'Why would you come to the seaside on a day like this?'

While Devon and Cornwall attract committed punters who plan longer trips in advance, Weston-super-Mare is propped up by skittish day trippers.

A trickle of customers, Mr Trapnell explained, does not cover the electricity and staffing costs involved with running his store.

For Richard Warbuton, 51, of T&L Vincent donkey rides, the weather has blighted footfall with the few riders returning less than the cost of fuel for the lorry.

He said: 'The season hasn't started yet, we haven't had nice enough weather yet to bring any people out - even on the drier days it's still cold, it's not beach weather. Time is getting on now.'

Donkey rides were rained off at 1pm on two days this week, with just one customer paying for a ride on Tuesday.

Mr Warbuton said the early season had been far worse for business than previous years and the only customers were organised school trips.

'If you don't get the weather you don't get the people', he said, adding: 'Nowadays, everyone's got the phone apps, they see how the weather is doing and don't come to the beach.'

While T&L Vincent's revenues may be facing headwinds, the employees are steadfast in their commitment to keeping the rides going.

Mr Warbuton, who also works as a lorry driver, said: 'I'm a newcomer, I run this for Terry Vincent who has been out here for 72 years - I've only done 42 years. This is our way of life, this is what we do.'

A Met Office graphic shows the trends for central UK based on a European model from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. The bottom line shows that temperatures will be slightly below average for most of the over the next ten days

Alfie Hardy, 26, a cashier at Cove Kiosk, has blamed a decline in sales on patchy weather.

'It's definitely slow at the moment, it's only really the school trips which keep us busy in the week' he said. 'The weather doesn't really match up to previous years and no one's really going on the beach in weather like this.'

The kiosk, which featured on the ITV series called Outlaws, turns to its warm doughnuts to drive sales on overcast days.

George Kyriacou, 51, co-owner of No. 1 Fish & Chips, said his sales directly followed the weather.

'When the weather is nice it's really busy, but when the weather is not so good there are not as many people around at all', he said, adding: 'We've noticed it a lot more than previous years because the weather has been so inconsistent.'

The most likely weather pattern for next Tuesday is shown in this map. Higher pressure is edging in from the west, but there are still showers and possible heavier rain in the South East

Gavin Alston, 46, who runs the mini golf at Pirate Adventureland on the seafront, said he had noticed a concerning slow down in the number of visitors.

'It has been quiet recently during the week,' he said, adding: 'The only people who get down here are day trippers, and they seem to be getting less and less.'

Mr Alston said the course was 'lucky' to get between 10 and 20 people in any day, and only three mini golfers had gone for a round by midday yesterday.

Elsewhere in Somerset, the village of Porlock got off to a slow start at the beginning of the 2024 holiday season, with a local tourism spokesman saying an early Easter and a very wet spring keeping the usual holiday makers and day-trippers at home.

Deborah Stanyon, manager of the Porlock Information Centre, told MailOnline: ‘Tourism is one of the main economic drivers in the area and after a long winter the local tourism businesses look forward to the return of visitors to start the holiday season on a positive financial footing.

Flooding on a footpath between the village of Eton Wick and Slough in Berkshire on June 9

‘Many are still struggling to recoup their losses following the pandemic.

‘The weather has a direct impact on the number of visitors to our village and footfall was very slow to pick up until mid-May, despite unique new business opening on Porlock High Street and lots of events being organised for people to enjoy.

‘Warm, sunny days undoubtedly bring new and returning visitors to Porlock and Exmoor.’

She said interest in the area and footfall had recently boosted by national TV coverage on Channel 5’s Wonders of the West Country and they had seen a ‘significant increase’ in enquiries and bookings for accommodation and things to see and do.

But she continued: ‘Our accommodation providers report that there has been a shift in people leaving it until the last minute to book accommodation, depending on the weather and they are also looking for a shorter stay, with three, four and five-day stays becoming the norm, rather than a full week.

Racegoers arriving at the Derby Festival at Epsom Racecourse in Surrey in the rain on May 31

‘Tough financial times, political uncertainty and the weather all impact the success of tourism hotspots. Porlock is stunningly beautiful and the businesses are working harder and being creative to ensure that we continue to attract visitors, regardless of the weather.’

Research by pub industry magazine The Morning Advertiser last year found wet weather in July 2023 – the wettest July on record for parts of the UK - had ruined summer trade for 82 per cent of operators across the country.

And there are fears of a repeat this summer – which would be especially damaging for an industry hoping for a boost from sports fans heading to pubs to watch Euro 2024 as well as Wimbledon and the Paris Olympics.

This comes at a time when many hospitality firms are still getting back on their feet after the pandemic and have been further hit by rising wages plus increased costs for food, drink and energy.

A sea of umbrellas on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh on May 28 as it is affected by heavy rain

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the UKHospitality industry group, told MailOnline that the weather 'often plays an important role in people's decision making'.

She cited recent economic figures from the Office for National Statistics showing a dampening in consumer demand due to wet weather in April.

Ms Nicholls continued: 'Hospitality is a key driver of growth for the UK economy, and in any weather, the sector has something to offer.

'When we have seen dry and sunny weekends, people are keen to make the most of the weather and head out in their droves to enjoy the best of what hospitality has to offer.

'Businesses across the sector will be hoping for a strong summer to offset the impact of the ever-rising cost burden that they are facing. Come rain or shine, I'd encourage everyone to support their local hospitality businesses.'

Prince William uses an umbrella in the rain at a Buckingham Palace garden party on May 21

Some 13,800 UK night-time businesses including clubs, bars and restaurants shut in the between the start of Covid in March 2020 and December 2023, according to the Night Time Industries Association. About 3,000 of these were in the Greater London region.

And data from accountancy firm Price Bailey found pub closures reached a decade-high last year. Some 769 pub businesses entered insolvency in 2023, up from 518 in 2022.

Among the areas of Britain hugely-reliant on visitors is Cornwall - and in April, the tourism boss there urged people to 'have faith' in the county after a washout Easter.

Visit Cornwall estimated the Easter bank holiday weekend brought 225,000 visitors to the county and generated £80million – down from £95million in 2022.

Cornish business owners said trade was down due to the wet weather as people stayed indoors, but Visit Cornwall chairman Malcolm Bell urged businesses to remain positive ahead of the summer.

Guests under umbrellas during heavy rain at the Chelsea Flower Show in London on May 20

MailOnline has contacted Visit Cornwall for an update.

As for the weather yesterday, conditions turned wet and blustery throughout the day as outbreaks of rain pushed north-eastwards across the UK, accompanied by coastal gales in the South West.

Western areas endured heavy showers yesterday morning – and while it remained dry in the East for much of yesterday, rain arrived in the late afternoon.

Forecasters warned of particularly strong winds in Wales, Irish Sea coasts and on the south coasts of Devon and Cornwall, with rain across most of the UK overnight.

Blustery showers will follow today with possible thundery weather in the South, and slow-moving rain across northern parts of Scotland where it will be windy. The weekend is then again likely to be unsettled over the weekend.

And the weather will not improve soon, with the Met Office warning of a wait until July for warmer weather because of cold winds blowing in from the Arctic.

A wet day at Weymouth beach in Dorset during the early May bank holiday weekend on May 5

The UK has been experiencing temperatures three to five degrees below the season average over the past week, forecasters said.

This is because a mid-Atlantic jet stream - a fast-moving wind in the atmosphere - is guiding wind from the north to the south over the UK resulting in lower temperatures.

However, according to meteorologists, there is no sign of better weather until the end of June.

Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said: 'It looks as if temperatures will stay near or slightly below average for the majority of the rest of June.

'Over the next couple of nights we're actually expecting to see a little bit of frost in a few places.

Visitors to Roker beach in Sunderland wrap up against the elements on April 28

'This will mainly be across Scotland and possibly into northern England and Northern Ireland where temperatures could get down to around freezing.'

But Mr Partridge clarified that such patterns are 'not unusual'.

He said: 'On average we get an air frost - which is when the temperatures reach zero - every two to three Junes. So it's not that unusual. It's just not the norm for June to be this cool.'

Towards the weekend, low pressure will lead to even worse weather in parts of northern England.

Mr Partridge said: 'There will be an area of low pressure sat over the northern part of the UK, which will unfortunately bring more unsettled weather to the UK.

Beachgoers wrap up against the elements at Tynemouth Longsands beach on Easter Monday

'From Thursday onwards and through the weekend, we'll see showers circulating around the UK.

'However, temperatures will improve because that low pressure will cut off the supply of cold air across the UK, and as a result, we'll see the source of air coming from the west causing night-time temperatures to pick up a little.

'In the daytime we'll still be staying a degree or so below average, but the big difference is it will mean that overnight temperatures will pick up so our nights won't be as cold.'

Looking ahead to July, Mr Partridge said that there was 'no strong signal' of any particular weather pattern.

He said: 'The models are following the climatological norm, which indicates that temperatures are where they should be or slightly above average.

'So there is a hint of things turning slightly warmer as we move into the beginning of July, and it does look as if some spells of drier weather will become a bit more likely.'

The Met Office's UK long range weather forecast for next week warns of 'longer spells of rain' and possible thunderstorms.

It states: 'At first, the weather across the UK is likely to continue to be a mixture of sunny spells and scattered showers, with some longer spells of rain also possible. 'Some showers are expected to be heavy and could be thundery at times. Temperatures will generally be around or a little below normal for mid-June, and it may well be breezy in places too.'

Through the weekend and into the following week, forecasters said they had low confidence in 'any particular weather pattern dominating'.

The Met Office added: 'As such, the best forecast is for fairly typical June weather, with a mixture of weather types.

CYPRUS: A burnt-out building is seen near the village of Psathi yesterday, after a wildfire swept through. Amid a heatwave, Cyprus is already experiencing a significant lack of rainfall

FRANCE: Hundreds of firefighters are battling a powerful blaze to the north of Saint-Tropez which has caught crews off-guard, with the blaze coming earlier than expected

GREECE:Greece has been forced to close the Athens Acropolis, its most visited tourist site, during the hottest hours of the day amid safety fears

'This means some spells of drier, sunny weather but also some showers or longer spells of rain at times. Temperatures will most likely be close to or slightly below average.'

And for the period between June 27 and July 11, the Met Office said there was 'little sign for any one type of weather pattern to dominate during this period'.

It added: 'Typical conditions for the UK are most probable with a mixture of weather types. All areas can expect to see some spells of drier, sunnier weather, but there will also be showers or longer spells of rain at times.

'Currently the only signals, weak as they are, hint that rain and showers will tend to be more biased towards the north and west, with any more prolonged drier interludes favouring the south. Temperatures are most likely to be close to or slightly above climatological average.'

In Europe meanwhile, there has been a heatwave around the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean seas the hardest, with the mercury clocking 43C in Cyprus last week, prompting wildfires.

SPAIN: In a stark contrast to the weather in the east, Spain has been battered by rainstorms, with Costa Blanca on the mainland and Majorca (pictured) both being hit by severe flooding

Turkey is seeing air temperatures soar 8C to 12C above seasonal norms, while Greece was forced to close the Athens Acropolis, its most visited tourist site, during the hottest hours of the day.

To the west, meanwhile, hundreds of firefighters in France were battling a powerful blaze to the north of Saint-Tropez.

But in a stark contrast, Spain has been battered by rainstorms, with Costa Blanca on the mainland and Majorca both being hit by severe flooding.

Palma's airport was paralysed by floodwater , forcing the cancellation of more than 100 flights, while towns and cities in eastern Spain, including Murcia, were brought to a standstill as roads turned into rivers.

The weather extremes come as many Brits are planning to jet off to Europe for sunnier climes, and to escape what has been a deeply disappointing spring .

How miserable June washout has left Britain's beaches deserted (2024)
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