The Ultimate Guide to the Best Time to Travel to London
Are you dreaming of exploring the enchanting streets of London? Don't miss out on the opportunity to experience this iconic city at its best! Discover the most popular tour packages, find the perfect place to stay, and uncover the top attractions in this captivating destination. Wondering how many days you need to fully immerse yourself in the London experience? We've got you covered! From the best time to travel to London to a month-by-month guide, this article will be your ultimate resource for planning an unforgettable trip. So, let's dive in and embark on a journey through the charm and excitement that London has to offer!
Most Popular London Tour Packages
The Most Popular Tour Packages for London
London is a city that attracts large crowds, both locals and tourists, especially during summer vacation and winter holidays when schools are closed. However, if you're looking to avoid the crowds, it's recommended to plan your trip during the off-season, which is from January to April and then again from September to November.
London's weather is generally cloudy, but it is known to be the driest city in Britain. The summer season, from June to August, offers comfortable temperatures, rarely exceeding 20 degrees Celsius. It's an ideal time to explore the city on foot and enjoy its beauty.
Spring arrives in London as early as February and lasts until May, bringing warmer temperatures. However, it is also the season with the highest amount of rainfall. Autumn, from October to early November, is another rainy period in London.
Winter arrives in November, with temperatures dropping to around 4 degrees Celsius. It occasionally snows, leading to disruptions in the city and at the airport.
London offers a perfect blend of historical and modern attractions, suitable for visitors of all ages. It is a family-friendly destination, ideal for planning a vacation with your loved ones.
Peak Season (June-August)
Summer is the warmest season in London, offering the best climate for tourists. This is also when the city hosts numerous events, creating a vibrant and lively atmosphere.
Shoulder Season (September-October, March-April)
September to October is an underrated time to visit London. The weather starts to cool down, but with proper clothing, you can still enjoy the city. The crowds are reduced, allowing you to have a more exclusive experience. March to April is also a great time to visit, as the days are becoming warmer, and the tourist crowds haven't arrived yet.
Low Season (November-February)
Winters in London are cold and wet, with frequent rain. However, if you don't mind the rain and cold weather, you can plan a trip to London during this period. Timing your visit around Christmas and New Year's can keep your spirits high.
|Travel Seasons||Min/Max Temperature||Season|
|June - August||21-23 degrees||Warm and pleasant|
|November - February||9-12 degrees||Cold and heavy rains|
|March - May / September - October||12-16 degrees||Moderate to heavy rain|
Places to stay in London
Finding the Perfect Place to Stay in London
Many first-time visitors to London underestimate the city's size and end up spending a significant amount of time commuting between their hotel and the main attractions. To make the most of your time, it's essential to choose your accommodation wisely. Considering transportation within the city when budgeting is recommended for a cost-effective trip.
If you've never been to London, Westminster is an excellent neighborhood to stay in. It is home to major landmarks such as Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace. Options like The Guardsman, The Resident Victoria, The Westminster London, and Conrad London St. James are highly recommended.
For those interested in museums, parks, and gardens, Kensington/South Kensington is an ideal area to stay. Here, you can visit the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and Victoria & Albert Museum. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are also nearby. The Kensington, The Resident Kensington, Park Grand London Kensington, and London Lodge Hotel offer prime locations.
Soho is known as London's entertainment hub, with an abundance of restaurants, clubs, bars, and a vibrant art and LGBTQ scene. Stay in Soho if you want to explore the West End theaters, enjoy London's nightlife, and have easy access to popular attractions. The Resident Soho, The Soho Hotel, and Mimi's Hotel Soho are highly rated options.
For a trendy and slightly edgy experience, consider staying in Shoreditch, located in East London. This neighborhood is popular among hipsters and offers street art, outdoor markets, vintage shopping, nightlife, and vegan food. The Hoxton, citizenM London Shoreditch, and The Z Hotel Shoreditch capture the unique vibe of this area.
What to do in London
An Ultimate Guide to Exploring London
"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life," said British writer Samuel Johnson in 1777, and this sentiment still holds true for most locals today. So, what should you do in London if you're visiting for the first time?
Naturally, you can't miss the classic landmarks. Here's a checklist to help you plan your itinerary:
- Big Ben (currently closed to visitors, but you can still admire it and capture a selfie outside)
- Westminster Abbey (visit after lunch or book a time slot to avoid the morning rush)
- Buckingham Palace (watch the Changing the Guard ceremony at 11 a.m. on specific days or daily during summer)
- The London Eye (save time and money by purchasing timed tickets online)
- The Tower of London (home to the crown jewels and an upcoming historic exhibit)
- The Tower Bridge
- St. Paul's Cathedral
Atlantide Phototravel/Getty Images
If you love museums, London offers some of the world's best. The Natural History Museum, the British Museum, and the Tate Modern are free attractions you shouldn't miss. The Saatchi Gallery is a personal favorite, showcasing various exhibitions on street art, rave culture, Bob Marley, and video installations.
Theater and Music
For theater enthusiasts, a visit to the Globe Theatre, the home of Shakespeare, is a must. You can also catch a play in one of the many theaters in London's West End. If you're a fan of musicals, check out the TodayTix app or visit ticket booths in Leicester Square for discounted same-day tickets. Camden Town is the go-to destination for live music. And for a unique experience, don't miss ABBA Voyage, a concert featuring holograms of the beloved Swedish quartet.
London is a foodie's paradise, offering an array of culinary delights from around the world. Some hotspots worth exploring include Sachi, a new sushi restaurant; Edit, which focuses on zero-waste cooking; Kapara, an Israeli-inspired restaurant in Soho; and Cahoots, a fun and immersive 1940s-themed bar experience. For stunning views of the city, head to Gong on the 52nd floor of The Shard. And during the holiday season, witness the sparkling Christmas lights in Piccadilly Circus.
How many days in London is enough?
Determining the Ideal Duration for Your London Trip
Once you've decided on the best time to visit London, it's important to plan the duration of your stay. While the average tourist stays for approximately 4.84 nights, the ideal length of your trip depends on various factors, such as the number of vacation days you have, your budget, and your location in the United States.
The flight time from New York to London is seven hours, while Los Angeles is a 10-hour and 30-minute flight away. Additionally, the time difference of five to eight hours should be considered to avoid jet lag.
The perfect length of a London visit also depends on your travel style. If you prefer quick trips and want to visit the major attractions, three nights should suffice. However, if you wish to explore different neighborhoods and discover hidden gems, it's recommended to extend your stay by an additional three to four nights.
London Travel SeasonsExperiencing the Best of London in Each Season
London offers distinct experiences in each season. Here's a look at what to expect:
Spring in London lasts from March to May. During this time, the city is a sensory delight, with parks and gardens in full bloom. It's the perfect season for leisurely walks and enjoying the city's beauty. Spring also sees fewer tourists, allowing you to make the most of your visit.
Summer in London spans from June to August. While the weather has become increasingly warm, the city maintains a festive spirit. There is an abundance of activities and events to enjoy during this season, ensuring you'll never run out of things to do.
Autumn in London begins in September and extends until mid-November. The season decorates the city with warm tones and offers a pleasant climate. As the crowds begin to diminish, it's another festive time in London, with school holidays and Halloween celebrations adding to the excitement.
Winter in London lasts from mid-November to February. The weather can be harsh, but with proper layering, you can still enjoy your trip. The city takes on a magical ambiance with Christmas lights, and there are off-season sales to take advantage of. Winter offers an opportunity to experience London's beauty without large tourist crowds.
What time of year is cheapest to visit London?
The Best Time for Affordable Travel to London
Visiting London between January and March is the cheapest option, as less than a fifth of all visitors arrive during this period. It is considered the off-season in the United Kingdom, allowing you to avoid long lines and save money. It's also a favorable time to book flights, especially by using budget airlines, and find special deals for accommodations. Be sure to check for school holidays in mid-February to avoid any potential surge in prices.
London also offers massive sales during the New Year period, making it an excellent time for shopping. If you prefer fall travel, October and November are good months to visit for potential discounts.
A Comprehensive Guide to Exploring London Month by Month
Discover the perfect time to visit London with our detailed month-by-month guide.
Visiting London in May
Average Temperature: 18°C to 10°C
May is the perfect time to visit London if you want to enjoy pleasant weather and avoid large crowds. With spring in full swing, you can leave your scarves behind in your hotel room and experience London at its most vibrant. Don't miss the opportunity to take a cruise on the Thames and see the city from a new perspective. May is also the month when the RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes place, showcasing the city's love for gardens and nature. Art enthusiasts should check out the Photo London and London Craft Week events. It's worth mentioning that May marks the end of the popular English Premier League season, so make sure to book your tickets in advance.
Recommended Experiences in London during Spring
Year-Round Weather in London
Check out the graph below to see the year-round highs and lows of London's weather. The highs are displayed in blue, while the lows are shown in orange.
Which Months Are Rainy in London?
London is infamous for its gray skies and regular rainfall. When planning your trip, it's important to consider the possibility of rain. On average, London experiences 11 to 15 rainy days per month throughout the year. The winter months tend to be the wettest, with December seeing the most rainfall at 3.3 inches. However, it's rare for rain to last the entire day. Showers are usually brief and more like drizzles, which is why many locals don't bother carrying umbrellas. These short sprinkles provide a great opportunity to visit a pub, explore museums and galleries, catch a musical in the West End, or indulge in afternoon tea at Harrods.
London Throughout the Year
Tourist Seasons in London
- High season in London: The summer months are considered high season in London. Despite the rain and humidity, this is when the locals make the most of the weather. The city is bustling with events, and the warmer temperatures attract numerous visitors.
- Shoulder season in London: Taking place in March to April and mid-September to October, the shoulder season offers slightly colder weather and fewer crowds. Rainfall also tends to be less during this time. If you prefer a more relaxed exploration of London, the shoulder season is perfect.
- Low season in London: The winter months, from November to February, are considered the low season in London due to the notorious British weather. However, if you can brave the cold, you'll encounter fewer tourists and potentially enjoy discounted rates on hotels and flights.
Visiting London in Autumn (September to October)
Temperature: Average high of 16 degrees, low of 12 degrees
Weather: Autumn in London is slightly chilly, but with the right coat and enthusiasm, you can handle it. Rainfall increases during this season, adding to the coolness. The city is adorned with beautiful autumn leaves, creating a picturesque atmosphere.
Significant events: Art and design enthusiasts can attend the London Design Festival and Frieze Fair, which showcase the city's vibrant art scene. The Thames Festival, a month-long celebration, offers food, music, exhibitions, and river competitions. Museums also host late-night events, allowing visitors to explore their collections after hours.
Why you should visit now: The weather is pleasant, and the longer days provide ample time to enjoy London's attractions. Additionally, the crowds are beginning to thin out, resulting in lower prices and more space to wander.
Know before you visit: Daylight hours decrease rapidly during autumn, so plan your itinerary accordingly to make the most of your time.
Tips: Carry an umbrella with you whenever you go out since rainfall is more common during this season.
Visiting London in Winter (November to February)
Temperature: Average high of 12 degrees, low of 9 degrees
Weather: Winter in London is chilly and wet, but it has its own charm. Bundle up in warm clothes to stay cozy, and don't let the shorter days deter you from exploring. With fewer tourists around, you can enjoy the city at a leisurely pace.
Significant events: London lights up with festive decorations during Christmas. Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park offers a delightful festival of food and rides. Bonfire Night celebrates the failed plot to blow up the Parliament, featuring fireworks and festivities. Food enthusiasts can indulge in the Taste of London Winter food festival, while music lovers can attend the EFG London Jazz Festival for 10 days of incredible performances. Additionally, January is a great time for shopping as London holds its annual sale period.
Why you should visit now: Winter is not a popular time for tourists, so you'll have the city mostly to yourself as you explore.
Know before you visit: Daylight hours are limited during winter, so plan your activities accordingly.
Tips: Pack warm clothes and always carry an umbrella, as winter in London tends to be cold, wet, and gloomy.
A trip to London should be on every traveler's list. If you're planning a visit, our experts at Thomas Cook are here to assist you with preparations and planning. We offer curated London Tour Packages tailored to your preferences, along with assistance for booking tickets and accommodations. Feel free to reach out to us for all your visa and currency needs.
In conclusion, London offers a multitude of attractions and experiences throughout the year, making it a destination worth exploring no matter the season. Whether you're drawn to the vibrant energy of the city's summer festivals or the cozy charm of its winter markets, there is always something to discover. While the best time to visit London may vary depending on your preferences, it's important to consider both the weather and the cost of travel. Ultimately, with careful planning, you can make the most of your time in this bustling metropolis, creating memories that will last a lifetime. So, pack your bags and get ready to immerse yourself in the rich history, diverse culture, and undeniable charm of London.
The Best Destinations for Halloween: From Colonial Williamsburg to Venice, Unforgettable Halloween Experiences Await 2023-11-23 03:00:20
Discover the top Halloween destinations that will send shivers down your spine! From the historical charm of Colonial Williamsburg to the haunting beauty of Venice, prepare for an unforgettable Halloween experience.
Top Travel Destinations During COVID: Budget-friendly Airfare to Explore Spectacular International Hotspots 2023-11-23 03:00:05
Discover incredible budget-friendly international travel destinations during COVID. Explore the wonders of spectacular hotspots with affordable airfare. Plan your dream trip today!
Exploring the Ultimate August Travel Destinations: Unveiling the Best Places to Visit in Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Beyond! 2023-11-23 03:00:02
Discover the must-visit August travel destinations across Europe, Asia, Oceania, and more! Uncover the hidden gems and top places to explore, ensuring an unforgettable and adventurous journey abroad. Start planning your ultimate summer escape now!
Exploring Enchanting Autumn Escapes: Unveiling the Best Travel Destinations in October 2023-11-23 02:57:21
Unveiling the best travel destinations in October, embark on an enchanting autumn escape as we delve into the most captivating spots. From vibrant fall foliage to charming cultural experiences, discover the top destinations to embrace the beauty of this season. Plan your perfect October getaway now!