A 30-year (1971-2000) temperature and salinity climatology is presented for surface and near-bed regions of the NW European shelf seas, with a resolution of 1/6 longitude by 1/10 latitude. The data have been extracted from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) data centre and supplemented by additional records from the World Ocean Data Centre (WODC). From the original data, which are irregularly distributed in space and time, the mean monthly temperature and salinity are calculated, as well as the climatic mean annual cycle. The climatology presented here is an improvement upon all existing climatologies presented in the literature for the NW European shelf; covering a wider area on a finer scale and including the surface and near-bed distribution of both temperature and salinity. Comparison of our data with existing climatologies shows good agreement, with differences occurring where our climatology is an improvement. This climatology, which will prove to be valuable to many users in the marine community will be regularly updated and made available to all users via the ICES data centre.