London is a really unique city in the sense that no matter what time of year you go, there is always something fun to see and do. Depending on what you want to get out of your trip, there’s sure to be a ‘best’ time of year for you.
With that in mind, here is a guide to the different times of the year and what to expect from the city during those months. That way, you can find the best period to visit.
Most decisions for when to book a holiday start with wondering ‘what will the weather be like then?’
The warmest month of the year – on average – is July, where temperatures average at 22°C, though over recent years we’ve seen highs of over 30°C – often beating even Mediterranean countries!
Unsurprisingly, the coldest month on average is December, with temperatures of around 3-8°C being the norm. In terms of rain, many US cities (including New York) are actually wetter than London. Though London does tend to be cloudy, London is actually the country’s driest city and experiences four seasons — sometimes all in one day.
October, November and December are the wettest months, with January not very far behind in terms of rainfall per month. Though it’s worth noting, even in spring and on the odd summer day it can rain in London as the weather can be somewhat unpredictable.
Therefore, it’s best to pack an umbrella and waterproof clothing as a backup, regardless of when you travel.
Peak Travel Seasons in London
March to May
As mentioned, there’s no real ‘peak’ season to travel to London, but there are dips in the year that are busier than others, including the period of March to May.
This is late spring in London, where the weather is really pleasant generally, and a lot of the outdoor attractions open their doors again for the season ahead. This is also the ideal time to witness the royal parks and gardens blossoming before the hordes of tourists (and locals) flock to soak up the summer sun. March to May is an especially great time to nab good accommodation deals, with 5 star hotels in London more than affordable at this time.
There are lots of great outdoor events to enjoy from March to May, from the fun and festive St. Patrick’s Day parade, to the seriously sporty London Marathon, and the blooming lovely Chelsea Flower Show. Easter public holidays (Good Friday and Easter Monday) sometimes fall as early as March or as late as May. Expect the long weekend to bring crowds, closures, and celebrations. Schools are usually closed for two weeks around Easter.
June to August
With summer in full swing, June, July and August area all perfect times to visit for those who like warm weather, as these are the hottest months of the year. It’s the season of fun, colourful outdoor events from Notting Hill Carnival to London Pride, Trooping the Colour and countless music festivals, so don’t forget to bring your sunglasses.
During the summer, London’s rooftop bars fill up. The world-class, open-air theatres are in full swing. People lounge at sidewalk cafés and lie out in the parks. When there’s sunshine, what more do you need?
Though it’s not all just pleasure, if you’re after business hotels in London, you’re sure to bag a good deal during this period, too. Likewise, summer is your best bet for a chance to see all things royal in London, as many residences only open to the public while the occupants are away on holiday. As this is the school holidays, be sure to book tickets in advance when you can, and arrive at places earlier in the day.
But, when all things are said and done, despite the increase in tourism during the summer months, if you’re looking for the best time to visit London, then it doesn’t get better than this. Though the un-air-conditioned Underground can be particularly sticky around this time – it’s a good idea to dress in light layers and carry a bottle of water.
September to November
Don’t be put off by the thought of autumn and winter approaching. In fact, early September is one of the hottest periods of the year, and the school kids go back after the holidays, so the streets and attractions tend to be a bit quieter, too!
If you’re looking for a relaxing break away from the crowds, look no further than a stay at the Montcalm Brewery Hotel – perfect for rejuvenation and grown-up fun.
Londoners don’t hibernate just because the nights are drawing in. Autumn sees fancy dress fans gear up for Halloween, while film buffs make a beeline for October’s London Film Festival. This is also a great time of year to visit if you’re interested in the city’s history, as November 5th sees the country celebrate Bonfire Night (otherwise known as Guy Fawkes Night), with the London firework display said to be the best in the UK. Likewise, bursting with a creative and diverse range of events, The Thames Festival takes place the first two weeks of the month.
December to February
Travelling at the start of the New Year and into February can definitely help you save some cash, as these are two of the coldest, wettest months, both without the fun of Christmas and other festive winter events.
However, this makes it a great time to travel to avoid the crowds, which can be a little overwhelming in the top tourist spots during the holidays. London’s museums and galleries are quietest during the January and February dip in tourism – they won’t be empty, but you’re likely to avoid lines and large crowds.
Shops are busiest and generate most of their revenue during December – so expect much in the way of a festive atmosphere during this month, but not many bargains. Please be advised that public transportation is unavailable on Christmas Day and is limited on Boxing Day (December 26). Most of London’s most famous attractions and businesses are closed on these days, too.
That being said, London during December truly is magical, with each borough being taken over by a mass of twinkly lights to celebrate the festive season.