Last Updated on 22 June, 2023
I have shared tips on how to plan a trip to London and the things to take into consideration. This time I wanted to get into a little more detail with a comprehensive guide on the best time to visit London.
As an experienced traveller both locally within the UK and internationally I understand the importance of providing you with valuable information to help you plan your trip to this vibrant and popular city.
Below, I will delve into the various seasons, events, and factors that can influence your decision on when to visit London. So let’s dive right in!
Best Time to Explore London
For additional tips on each season in London we have linked to our guides on things to do and specifics on weather, events and tours. You can also book tours in advance for many attractions in London as well as day trip tours from London on Viator or GetYourGuide.
Spring: Embrace Blooming Beauty
From the iconic Hyde Park to the tranquil Kew Gardens, you’ll be enchanted by the blooming cherry blossoms, daffodils, and tulips that paint the city in a tapestry of natural beauty. Be sure to also read our guide on things to do in March, April and May.
Summer: Bask in Sunshine and Festivities
Summer in London is synonymous with a lively atmosphere and a calendar brimming with events and festivals.
The city comes alive with outdoor concerts, bustling street markets, and vibrant celebrations.
You can soak up the sun while picnicking in one of the numerous parks, or explore the city’s rich history through guided walking tours.
Don’t miss the iconic Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace or the colorful spectacle of the Notting Hill Carnival.
Autumn: Revel in Autumnal Splendor
Autumn paints London in hues of gold, red, and orange, creating a picturesque backdrop for your visit.
The city’s parks, such as Richmond Park and Greenwich Park, offer captivating views as the leaves change color and fall.
Take a leisurely stroll along the Thames River or visit the historic landmarks, such as the Tower of London or the British Museum, and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the city.
Winter: Experience Festive Charm
Winter in London casts a magical spell, with the city adorned in sparkling lights and festive decorations.
From ice skating at Somerset House to witnessing the breathtaking Christmas lights on Oxford Street, there’s no shortage of enchanting experiences.
Indulge in traditional afternoon tea, explore the Christmas markets, and catch a show in the West End.
London’s weather is known for its unpredictability, so it’s essential to be prepared for all conditions regardless of the season.
Carry an umbrella and dress in layers to adapt to sudden changes in temperature. In spring and autumn, temperatures range from 8°C (46°F) to 15°C (59°F), while summer temperatures hover between 15°C (59°F) and 25°C (77°F).
Winter temperatures range from 2°C (36°F) to 8°C (46°F), with occasional snowfall. For additional tips on what to pack when in London see tips on packing lists for spring/summer and autumn/winter packing list.
Key Events and Festivals
London hosts a myriad of events and festivals throughout the year, adding to its allure. Here are some notable ones:
- New Year’s Day Parade: Welcome the new year with a spectacular parade that showcases vibrant performances and floats from around the world.
- Chelsea Flower Show: Immerse yourself in a floral wonderland at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show, where you can witness breathtaking displays of botanical beauty.
- Trooping the Colour: Join in the festivities of the official celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday, which features a grand military parade and the iconic balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace.
- Notting Hill Carnival: Experience the largest street festival in Europe, celebrating the Caribbean culture through vibrant parades, music, and mouth-watering cuisine.
- Wimbledon: Tennis enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the world-renowned Wimbledon Championships, where you can witness thrilling matches and soak in the electric atmosphere.
- Guy Fawkes Night: Celebrate the historical moment with fireworks and bonfires on November 5th, commemorating the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
- Winter Wonderland: Hyde Park transforms into a winter wonderland during the festive season, offering ice skating, fairground rides, markets, and a magical atmosphere.
Local Insights and Tips
To enhance your experience while visiting London, we’ve compiled some local insights and tips:
London boasts an efficient public transportation system, including the iconic red double-decker buses, underground trains (known as the Tube), and black taxis.
Consider getting an Oyster card or using contactless payment for seamless travel. We have also shared tips on how to get from London’s airports into central London on the blog and a few other specific guards on how to get from the airport to Kensington, Chelsea, Knightsbridge and more.
To avoid large crowds and potentially enjoy lower prices, consider visiting London during the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn).
You’ll still experience the city’s charm while encountering fewer tourists. When you visit will also determine how much you pay for your accommodation. We have shared a guide on the best areas to stay in London as well as a separate guide on the best London neighbourhoods for families visiting London.
Exploring Beyond Central London
While iconic landmarks like the Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace are must-see attractions, don’t limit yourself to the city center.
Indulging in Culinary Delights
London offers a diverse culinary landscape with options to satisfy every palate. From traditional fish and chips to international cuisines and Michelin-starred restaurants, you’ll find a culinary experience to suit your taste. From amazing food markets to amazing restaurants in almost every cuisine from around the world.
London is a city that can be visited throughout the year, each season offering its own unique charm and attractions.
Spring showcases the blossoming beauty, summer brims with festivals, autumn paints the city in warm hues, and winter enchants with festive cheer.
Consider the weather, key events, and personal preferences when planning your visit to make the most of your time in this captivating city.
Remember to immerse yourself in the local culture, explore beyond the popular tourist spots, and savor the culinary delights. London awaits you with open arms, ready to leave you with unforgettable memories. Safe travels!