When is the best time to visit London?

London Eye with blue sky

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London is a fantastic year-round destination. With so much to see and do, you really can’t go wrong whenever you decide to visit.

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

In this article, I’ve outlined the pros and cons of visiting London during each season. I’ve also included a breakdown of the top events and celebrations taking place in the capital each month.

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 Regents Park‘s rose garden, Holland Park‘s tulips, and Greenwich’s candyfloss pink cherry blossom all coming alive with colour. The spring colours really bring a new lease of life to the city.

During the Spring in London, you have a good chance of pleasant 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 in London with blue skies and hot weather, the summer months are certainly your best option.

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

The moment the sun appears, both locals and tourists alike drop everything and flock to the city’s many beautiful green spaces, alfresco cafes, pub gardens, and rooftop bars.

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

The most important thing to know about visiting London during the summer is that the months of July and August can get EXTREMELY busy. If you visit the capital during the school summer holidays, you’ll more than likely encounter large crowds, high prices, and long queues for most major attractions.

If you’re not a fan of lines and crowds, 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 oranges, 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 Mayor’s 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.

However, if you prefer visiting a city without 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.

Check out the best things to do in London in the winter or the best things to do in London when it rains.

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 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 Year’s 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 celebration 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 university 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.
  • 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 King’s ‘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.
  • Wireless Festival – London’s popular rap and urban music festival that takes place in Finsbury Park each summer.

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

  • Back to Hogwarts Day – (1st September) a celebration of all things Harry Potter at Kings Cross Station.
  • London Fashion Week – the Fall/Winter clothing trade show.
  • London Design Festival (late September) – a city-wide celebration of creativity and design, with many free exhibitions, public installations, and workshops.

London in October

  • London Film Festival (mid-October) – screenings of films and documentaries from around the world, as well as celebrations, special events, classes, and Q&A sessions.
  • London Cocktail Week – a full week of exclusive cocktail deals, special mixology events, and cool drinks pop-ups.
  • 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 Mayor’s 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 Park’s 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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Emily is a born and raised London girl, starting life in the north of the capital then moving down to Fulham in the southwest. She has a master’s degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from University College London and now works full-time running this blog and as a freelance travel writer, splitting her life between London and travelling the world as a digital nomad.

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