Definatly get North - Scotland and Northern England, are just so much more rugged and interesting than the South East. If you're worried about rain (and you should be!), then the East coast will be drier than the west: the NW didn't become the "Lake District" by accident!
I currently live on the South coast (west-ish), and I can guarentee I'll get rained on every day until next spring and I don't mean light showers - torrential downpours. When I lived in York I used to walk to work every day, and got rained on only a couple of times a year - simlarly for Newcastle. The North East can be cold, but it is relativly dry.
May is a good time. Spring is well in to its stride and heading briskly for summer. Fresh leaves are on the trees and the flowers are starting to waft their scent into the air. Best of all, the kids are still in school so you don't have to put up with hoards of the little creatures and their pushy parents crowding out every space, driving at 25 MPH along country lanes and generally getting in the way of whatever it is you want to photograph - avoid mid July to the 1st week in September like the plague!
As others have said - plan for rain, but you may well be lucky and get two weeks of glorious sunshine - or something in between. You just can't usually tell even one week ahead what it's going to do beyond "Sunny periods with scattered showers in the west, becoming windy in the south with occasional bright spells" - which is what most UK weather forecasts sound like outside of winter (that's why the UK Met. Office has some of the most powerful supercomputers outside the military - they do keep trying to forecast the weather beyond two or three days in advance, bless their little cotton socks).
Perhaps if you said what you were interested in seeing, places to go etc we could be more specific. Thing is, it's only a small island (well, group of islands) but with 60 million or so of us, there's quite a lot going on: from the city life of London, to the Outer Hebridean islands where there's just a Neolithic stone circle, a local crofter, you, your camera, and a large number of rather nervous sheep...
To paraphrase a well known Yorkshire gardener on TV: Whatever the weather, enjoy your visit...
P.S. Did I mention about avoiding the school holidays?....
If you go to Snowdonia, have found this site to be very good. They are generally accurate, if conservative (for obvious reasons). I have always checked it and rarely been let down. However, in such regions the weather changes on a second by second basis anyway it often pays to park butt and wait for things to 'happen'................hopefully...come on...yeah....a little more...just need the sun...... no...less wind...NNOOOOOO less wind, aggh winds down, wheres the damn sun.....yeah thats it, out you come..... you beauty......back out... what, rain ! but the clouds have gone! (sideways rain from cloud miles away). You get the picture.
Thank you all for your replies and suggestions. I've actually chosen the last week of September and the first week of October as a window. There were several reasons, not the least of which is that it will allow more time to get my money together!
I realize two weeks isn't much, but it's all I have to work with short of job abandonment. I'd gladly stay for several fortnights (fortsnight??) had I the opportunity. Weather comes with the territory, as they say, so why worry about it? Changing weather makes for beautiful light (and soggy bellows).
Anyway, plenty of time to research the whole thing. Thanks again for your suggestions!
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I'm a little late coming into this thread, but I had the opportunity to travel to the UK a lot in the early '90s and have some favorite places that I believe are worth investigating.
As mentioned in a few posts, northern Wales is gorgeous. I believe my best trip there happened in late September, as I happened upon perfect weather.
If you're going to be in the northeast of England, Whitby is worth a visit. The abbey is beautiful, but the whole village is worth a day or two. Depending on the weather you can find some amazing "mood" shots almost anywhere in town.
My favorite place to visit in the UK is the Peak National Park. In my opinion it's worth the time to find Arbor Low (a stone circle on top of a hill on a farm); depending on the light it can be one of the most "magical" places in the world. I suggest going early in the morning. Get a good map and be prepared to drive part way up the driveway of a farm. Then be prepared for a true surprise when you have to walk through the farm to get to the circle.
If you can get there early in the morning, I think a visit to Castleton is worth the trouble, as is the climb up to the castle.
My experience with the weather in the UK was generally of the "wait a few hours and it'll change" variety. I spent a day at Stonehenge in late November when it was sunny and in the mid-70's Farenheit, and a day in Castleton in early June when the temperature barely reached the 50's.
Overall, I have to say that there were few places in the UK where I didn't find beauty. It's easy to drive out of a town for five minutes and find yourself in the middle of gorgeous countryside. (London being the obvious exception to this rule.) I think you'll find beauty almost anywhere you go. Good luck!
Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.
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