July is named after Julius Caesar, the famous Roman emperor, as it’s the month of his birth. Caesar created the Julian calendar, which was the world’s first solar calendar. Before that, people used a complicated lunar calendar. The Julian calendar was used by most of the Western world for more than 1,600 years until it was replaced by the Gregorian calendar, which most of the world uses today.
On average, July is the hottest month of the year. Temperatures are above 20°C most days but they sometimes rise to over 30°C, especially nowadays thanks to climate change. On July 25th, 2019, I was living in Cambridge and the temperature was 38.7°C, the highest temperature ever recorded at the time. On July 19th, 2022, it was even hotter. The temperature went above 40°C in Lincolnshire for the first time since records began!
July is also humid and so it can feel very sticky and uncomfortable. We only have high temperatures for a few days in the year so most people don’t have air conditioning at home. Only a few modern buildings and shops have it. Nevertheless, most English people are happy to see the sun and enjoy hanging out with their friends outside. People often have picnics or barbecues, and there are a number of outdoor concerts, festivals and sporting events at this time of year.
Schools come to the end of their academic year. The exams are over and lessons are more relaxed. A lot of schools organise fun activities such as sports day. This is an event with races and games for the children, and parents are invited to watch and cheer their children on. There might even be a race for mums and dads! State schools break up for the summer around the third week of July and then the children have six weeks’ summer holiday. Private schools and universities have even longer summer breaks.
One of the best-known sporting events of the year is the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. It’s also the oldest tennis competition in the world and is thought to be the most prestigious. It starts at the end of June or the beginning of July. Tennis is played on outdoor grass courts and players wear all white. Many famous people and members of the royal family go to watch. The most popular food served at Wimbledon is strawberries and cream!
If you would like to learn more about English life, try my e-book, "A Year in England". It contains a text like this for each month, plus a vocabulary list and reading comprehension questions. There are also bonus sections about Christmas and Easter. Click the image below or visit my shop.
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