When is the best time to visit London?

Being the huge and exciting city it is, London is a great all-year-round destination so you can’t really go wrong whenever you decide to go.

However, depending on your personal travel preferences, what you’d like to do during your trip and your budget, the best time of year to visit London might vary.

In this article, I’ve outlined the pros and cons of each season, followed by a month by month breakdown of the best things to do in the capital during that time to help you make your decision.

When is the best time to visit London England?

Before we break it down in more detail by season and month below, here’s a quick run-through of the key things you should know when deciding when is the best time to travel to London…

Warmest weather: July & August.

Coldest weather: January & February.

Highest chance of rain: October to January.

Most expensive: July & August.

Cheapest: November, January & February.

Busiest: July, August & December.

Quietest: January & February.

When is the best season to visit London?

London in Spring

– March to May

Much like the rest of the UK, London in the Springtime is a magical time to visit.

The flowers are starting to bloom, the sun is beginning to appear and everyone’s finally coming out of those January blues.

Spring is the perfect time for exploring London’s parks, with the likes of Regents Park’s rose garden, Holland Park’s tulips and Greenwich’s candyfloss pink cherry blossom all coming alive with colour and bringing a new lease of life to the city.

During the Spring in London you do have a good chance of warm weather, but it’s still wise to bring a coat and umbrella just in case – it is England after all!

London cherry blossom

London in Summer

– June to September

If you’re hoping to enjoy your holiday to London with blue skies and warm weather, the summer months are certainly your best bet.

London on a beautiful sunny day is unquestionably unlike anywhere else in the world.

The moment the sun appears both locals and tourists alike drop everything and flock to the cities numerous green spaces, alfresco cafes, pub gardens and rooftop bars.

There are also plenty of special events which take place throughout the summer, from music festivals to outdoor cinemas and more.

The most important thing to know about summer in London is that during the school holidays from mid-July to August, the city does get significantly busier and you’ll more than likely encounter large crowds, higher prices and long queues for most attractions.

Therefore, the best time to visit London in summer is the ‘shoulder’ months of June and September.

Where to Stay in London, St Pauls and Millennium Bridge

London in Autumn

– October to November

October and November are quieter months to visit London, with the peak summer tourist rush tailing off. The weather is starting to get chillier and the chance of rain increases – so don’t forget your brolly.

However, Autumn is still a lovely time to visit London.

The trees are starting to change colour and the parks are becoming a charming patchwork of orange, greens and browns.

Grab a large woolly sweater and take an autumnal stroll through the city, followed by an evening sipping wine by the fire in one of London’s cosy traditional pubs.

Some of the highlights of Autumn in London include the Lord Mayors Show, numerous spooky Halloween events and amazing firework displays all across the city on Bonfire Night (aka Guy Fawkes Night).

Living Sustainably in London

London in Winter

– December to February

December in London is one of my absolute favourite months and certainly a great time to visit as a tourist.

The entire city is lit up with amazing festive light displays, there is a Christmas market or wintery pop-up on every corner, the mulled wine is flowing and everyone is in a good mood! December is an extremely popular time to visit London.

January and February, on the other hand, is the quietest time to visit London. The weather can be cold and there’s not as much going on around the city.

Although, if you prefer visiting a city without the crowds and aren’t bothered about the rain, winter might be the right time for you to visit after all. Hotels are at their cheapest and attractions will have their off-peak rates. Plus, if it’s a bargain you’re after, the London January sales have you covered.

London Christmas Lights

 

Which is the best month to visit London?

So now you’ve established which time of year to visit London, it’s now time to narrow things down a little further to the best month to go to London.

To help with this decision, below I’ve put together a list of all of the best events and festivals happening each month around the capital…

London in January

  • New Years Day Parade (1st January) – London’s annual new year’s parade through the streets of the West End.
  • January Sales – shop til you drop with some of the biggest sales of the year!

London in February

  • Chinese New Year – celebrations and events throughout Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Chinatown with London’s Chinese community (it’s the largest outside of Asia).
  • London Fashion Week – the Spring/Summer clothing trade show.
Dragon at Chinese New Year in London

Chinese New Year in London. Photo credit: Flickr.

London in March

  • St Patricks Day (17th March) – a parade and family-friendly celebrations in Trafalgar Square, followed by parties in bars and pubs all across the city to celebrate with our Irish neighbours.
  • The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race (Shrove Tuesday)London’s most elaborate pancake race which takes place on Brick Lane.

London in April

  • Oxford vs. Cambridge Boat Race – spectators line the banks of the River Thames as the UK’s two oldest universities rowing teams go head to head racing from Putney to Mortlake in this annual tradition dating back to 1829.
  • London Marathon – London’s largest long-distance running event which sees more than 40,000 people run 26.2 miles (42.2km) through the streets of London.
  • Queen’s Birthday Gun Salute (21st April) –  a 41-gun salute fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Hyde Park to mark The Queens birthday.
  • St Georges Day (23rd April) – many free events across London including the relocation of Borough Market to Trafalgar Square for a celebration of English Food.
Regent street with lots of people and rainbow flags during pride celebrations in London

Pride festivities on Regent Street

London in May

  • RHS Chelsea Flower Show – a beautiful garden show held by the Royal Horticultural Society.

London in June

  • Polo in the Park – a three-day polo tournament and festival at Hurlingham Park in Fulham.
  • Trooping the Colour – a ceremony and parade performed by regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies in order to celebrate the Queens ‘official’ birthday.
  • Pride London –  London’s annual LGBT pride festival with a parade and street parties all across Soho and the West End.
  • West End LIVE – a free weekend of live theatre from London’s best West End shows in Trafalgar Square.
Chesterton's Polo in the Park

Polo in the Park

London in July

  • Wimbledon Tennis Championships (late June and early July) – one of the most famous tennis tournaments in the world.

London in August

  • Carnaval Del Pueblo (first week of August) – celebrations in Burgess Park and the largest event in Europe that celebrates Latin American culture and tradition.
  • The Proms at Royal Albert Hall – daily orchestral classical music concerts at one of London’s most stunning music venues.
  • Notting Hill Carnival (August bank holiday weekend) – London’s world-famous celebration of Caribbean history, culture and tradition, with a parade, brightly coloured costumes and street parties.
Man in colourful costume at Notting Hill Carnival London

Notting Hill Carnival. Photo credit: Flickr

London in September

  • London Fashion Week – the Fall/Winter clothing trade show.

London in October

  • London Film Festival (second half of October) – screenings of films and documentaries from around the world, as well as celebrations, special events, classes and Q&A sessions.
  • Halloween Celebrations (31st October) – get dressed up in your best fancy dress and hit London’s clubs and bars.
Lord Mayors Show London

Lord Mayors Show. Photo credit: Wikimedia.

London in November

  • Bonfire Night (5th November) – Bonfires, festivities and elaborate firework displays in parks all across the capital.
  • Diwali in London (can fall in Oct or Nov depending on the year) – the celebration of the Hindu festival of light in Trafalgar Square.
  • Lord Mayors Show (second Saturday in November) – dating back to the 16th century, the Lord Mayor’s Show is an important and elaborate procession through the City of London with decorated floats, music and dancing followed by a large fireworks display to inaugurate the new Lord Mayor of the City of London.

London in December

  • Christmas Lights – amazing Christmas light displays all across the capital.
  • Winter Wonderland – Hyde Parks enormous Christmas festival with the UK’s biggest outdoor ice-rink, a circus, fairground rides and a large Christmas market, plus a traditional Bavarian Village with live music, street food and flowing German beers.
  • Christmas Markets – as well as Winter Wonderland, there are numerous other Christmas markets and pop-ups all across London during the festive period, from Leicester Square to Southbank.
  • NYE Fireworks – London’s huge New Year’s Eve firework display, celebrated along the Victoria Embankment and South Bank.
Christmas Lights on Regent Street

Christmas lights on Regent Street.

 

I hope this post has helped you decide on the best time to go to London! Let me know in the comments below if you have any further questions…

 


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