Planning a trip to London? This guide will help you find the best time to visit London that suits your holiday needs.
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Wondering when the best time to visit London is? This in-depth guide will help you to plan the best trip to London, no matter the time of year.
With a perfect blend of modern wonders and English charm, London is one of the most multicultural cities in the world and the largest in Western Europe.
London’s theatres, galleries, and museums experience none of the seasonal lulls all year round, and the restaurant scene and nightlife are a hub of activity from January to December.
Whether you’re here during the peak season or winter months, you’ll always find a host of things to do.
With so many fabulous activities and London landmarks, like the London Eye and Buckingham Palace, there isn’t really any ‘best time to visit London’.
However, it’s always a great idea to plan ahead and tailor your activities to fit the different seasons and know when’s the best time to visit is based on the experience you want.
To make this task easier, this guide has been put together to ensure you get the most out of each season.
With so much to do and see in London, you’ll find that there’s no bad time to visit the UK’s capital. In fact, there’s so much to do that you might find yourself wondering when is the best time of year to visit London, England?
The summer season corresponds with London’s peak tourist season – so you can expect long lines during this time of the year.
However, the winter months of January and February are considered to be the offseason. This is the best time to visit London if you’re on a tighter travel budget.
The shoulder season falls in autumn and spring and offers visitors the best of both worlds. During London’s shoulder season, you’ll find plenty of attractions and mild weather.
With so much to do and see in the UK’s capital, there’s no real ‘best time to visit London’. However, many factors may play into when you want to visit the UK’s capital, such as public holidays, the unpredictable British weather, and school holidays.
If you’re looking to read more about London, then read my London travel tips guide for some more suggestions and ideas.
Summer begins in June and ends in the second week of September. It comes with warm weather and plenty of hot events; you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice. These are the best months to visit London if you want to be out and about.
London’s parks are buzzing with food and music festivals, open-air cinemas usher in the crowds, and flower shows exhibit colourful displays.
Londoner’s know that the warmer summer months mean less bundling up, Alfresco dining, glasses of Pimm’s (aka Pimm’s O’clock), cocktails, and after-work drinks at some of the city’s best rooftops bars. This is also the best time to go on the London Eye.
Summer is possibly the best time to visit London — keep scrolling to see some of London town’s top summer activities.
The early summer month brings with it sunshine and fabulous weather – something every Brit knows how to take advantage of. It’s also a time for some famous royal and outdoor events.
June is the month of her royal highness’s birthday, which is celebrated with the Queen’s birthday parade. Officially known as the Trooping of the Colour, this impressive military parade takes place in central London and ends at Buckingham Palace.
The Masterpiece London is another amazing annual London event held in June, where visitors get to see the beautiful pieces of art, unique jewellery, and fine antiques at this unmissable art fair.
Not only can you witness these exquisite works, but you can also buy some of the items that you see.
It is hosted in the Royal Chelsea Hospital which exhibits items from all origins and periods. For all the budding collectors out there, this is the perfect place to go to in the hopes of getting yourself that piece that you are missing from your collection.
But some of my favourite events in London in June are Taste of London (a must if you’re a foodie) and Open Garden Squares Weekend, which sees some of the most hidden and private green park spaces in London open their gates to the public.
The month of July is another action-packed period in London. Tennis enthusiasts can watch the Wimbledon Championships, which run from the 2nd to the 15th of July.
If you aren’t able to get tickets, you can always watch the matches in one of the many pubs and bars in the city.
July is also when the annual Somerset House series starts, along with music festivals such as Wireless festival in Finsbury Park and Lovebox in Victoria Park. If you’re more into classical music, then don’t miss the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.
Buckingham Palace also opens up to the public during the month of July, which means you can take a tour of the Queen’s residence.
Explore the different staterooms and get a glimpse into what life is like behind the golden gates of the palace. You will be able to see the throne room, music room, and even the Palace Garden.
One can’t go to the palace without witnessing the changing of the guard ceremony so ensure that you are front and centre for one of the top attractions in the city.
Personally, my favourite July event is Pride in London. This weeklong event features a parade that takes place in the streets of central London and celebrates London’s LGBT community.
Apart from the parade, there are a bunch of events that happen in Trafalgar Square and the West End to celebrate and bring people together.
Once the parade is over, the jubilee continues into the night, with Soho being the place to be for all the events and parties.
August is one of the warmest months in the UK (but this is the UK, and even in summer, the weather can be unpredictable).
The main occasion everyone gears up for in August is the famous Notting Hill Carnival. It’s Europe’s biggest street festival and celebrates the Caribbean community of London.
While this festive celebration only lasts two days (over the August bank holiday weekend), preparations begin months before with ‘fetes’ (soca parties) held in the run-up to the carnival.
August is also the time of the London school holidays. So, if you find yourself in the city with your kids during this time, don’t worry – there are plenty of family-friendly activities.
The last of the pleasant weather comes with an exciting range of fashion, music and architecture festivals. These events possibly make September the best time to visit London.
September sees the start of the farewell to the London summer temperatures but the welcoming of some incredible festivals and celebrations.
The attractions start to quieten down a little as the peak season is winding down, giving you more freedom and a chance to see them.
The Totally Thames offers visitors and residents an opportunity to see artworks and enjoy concerts in unique places and explore the history of the River Thames through walks and free exhibitions.
This month-long celebration takes place along the 42-mile stretch of the river’s banks, with opportunities every year to experience something new.
For those who love art, music, and being outdoors, this is a great festival that will highlight one of the standout features of the city, the Thames.
Creatives will love the London Design Festival. This annual event allows you to explore large-scale installations. Its purpose is to hero London as the design capital of the world with its finger on the pulse of everything that is happening within the international design community.
This celebration of design brings together some of the most innovative and incredible thinkers and educators from around the country. Interact with ideas from some of the leading and most prominent artists and architects from around the world as well.
For all the fashionistas, this is the time when designers take to the catwalk with their latest collections at the London Fashion Week. Here is where you can sit back and witness the models take to the runway and flaunt the latest trends from famous and upcoming designers.
This used to be an invite-only event, but some events have been made open to the public, both in-person and accessible online. There are pop-up stores and digital showrooms for you to explore the latest and greatest in fashion — not a bad way to spend a few days.
The London Fashion Week Festival allows you to catch up on the latest fashion trends and quirky street style.
September is also the time of year when one can admire the architectural wonders of the UK’s capital with Open House London. Considered to be one of the world’s largest architecture festivals, the goal is to celebrate all the architectural wonders that the city of London has to offer.
What makes this so unique is that this is when for one weekend only for the entire year, buildings are opened to the public that they would normally never have access to.
With around 800 or so structures and buildings to see, you will be on a mission to see the interiors of anything from mediaeval cathedrals and castles to the most elite skyscrapers.
You’ll have to act quickly for this hot ticket event as there are usually limited amounts of tickets released, and throngs of people flock to central London in the hopes of attending this event.
September is typically when many of the London galleries and museums will launch their new exhibitions.
The Science Museum always has some exciting new exhibitions, with the Queen’s Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum also playing host to some incredible collections and showcases.
Originally taking part in April, with the month of September now comes the annual London Marathon. During this time, runners from across the world come to the city to run the gruelling 26.2 miles.
If you are planning your entire trip around running in the marathon to tick this item off of your bucket list, then you will need to ensure that you are here this month.
You could get a great view of the runners nearing the finish line if you took a ride on the London Eye. You could also sign up to volunteer in the marathon – something I’ve done and personally loved. This is a way to see London in a unique way while running around the city.
Last year I got to visit The Reform Club and Burlington House: The Royal Society of Chemistry.
Some other buildings that take part in the Open House London include Downing Street, Unilever House, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Burlington House, Home House, and Bloomberg European Headquarters.
Londoners don’t hibernate just because it’s fall. In fact, the city’s green parks are typically at their best when the air is crisp and the colours change. With hues of orange and yellow throughout the city, there is a lot to see as the temperature slowly starts to drop.
The autumn months are short, with this transition season being one of absolute beauty. Your experience will also depend on if you visit London in early or late autumn.
Early autumn tends to still have warmer weather, but you might not see as drastic of a change in the leaves changing colour.
The latter half of autumn is the best time to travel and go to see the hues of the season in full bloom. Although this period is closer to winter so expect the weather to be colder and somewhat more typically British with rainier days.
Autumn does vary a little depending on the weather, but you can expect the colder November month to be a stark contrast to the slightly warmer early months.
If you plan to visit London in October or November, just know that you’re in for a real treat, though, regardless of the weather.
In case you were wondering, “when does autumn start in London?”. October signals the start of cooler months and the need for warm clothes, and there are still plenty of fun autumn activities in London.
With the London Oktoberfest, Restaurant Festival and Cocktail week, October is certainly the month of food and drink in the UK’s capital. This also makes it a contender as the best month to visit London.
Diwali on the Square is another festival that celebrates the city’s diversity in Trafalgar Square.
Head out to explore some of London’s top museums and galleries during the Museum at Night series. Or enjoy some of the spooky ghost tours and Halloween parties towards the end of the month.
The parks around London turn into magical wonderlands when the seasons start to change. From the lush greenery to shades of red and orange scattered throughout the park floors, the city takes on an entirely different personality with autumn colours.
Kew Gardens is known as the best botanical garden in the city, where all of the fiery colours will be showing off in their splendour.
This place is set over quite the area, so you could quite easily spend an entire day wandering the gardens. Pack a picnic if the weather is playing ball and sit back, relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of autumn in the gardens.
There are a few other Royal Parks that you can visit. Hyde Park is a gorgeous one to explore, as well as St. James Park. If you want to venture into West London, Hampstead Heath will transport you to another world with some incredible views of the London skyline from atop one of its hills.
As the sun starts to set earlier and earlier, the twinkle of Christmas lights starts to brighten the streets of central London.
This last month of the shoulder season has plenty in store, especially as the holiday spirit takes over the city from mid-November. Here are a few things to do when visiting London in November.
In early November, you’ll be treated to the vibrant displays of fireworks on Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Night). A little ironic how there is a celebration of the day of a man who tried to destroy the houses of parliament, but the 5th of November is when the skies above London light up.
A little fun fact is that there is a custom that still runs today where, before the State Opening of Parliament, the cellars beneath the Houses of Parliament are searched by guards.
There are a few different locations to witness the sky burst into explosions of colour, with Battersea Park and Wimbledon Park being two of the best.
While Bonfire Night is a momentous occasion, there are many other amazing activities like The Lord’s Mayor Show and the EFG London Jazz Festival.
November is also the best time to visit London if you want to get a taste of what the Christmas season is like.
The Winter Wonderland is set up in Hyde Park (my personal favourite) and offers tourists the chance to try ice skating and have a fun time all around.
Taking place over a six-week period from November all the way to January, Winter Wonderland is packed full of festive activities to get you ready for Christmas.
The park is brilliant for families in the morning since it is normally a little quieter and you can take your time. At night, the park transforms into a whole different atmosphere with thousands of lights brightening up the London night sky.
As the saying goes, “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing”. It’s important that you have the right gear as the winter months arrive.
It’s a time to drink loads of mulled wine (or just wine) and maybe make the most of the late January sales if you visit during the London low season in February.
The winter months may not be the best season for outdoor activities, but they are the best time to visit London if you’re keen on shopping.
December is London’s most magical month with plenty of things to do, even in the December weather, London. Get into the festive mood by experiencing some of the city’s seasonal activities.
When it comes to December in London, go ice skating at one of the many ice rinks in London. Nothing quite says winter like ice skating, now does it? There are locations all over London with some incredible backdrops where you can lace up a pair of skates and glide majestically with your significant other.
The Natural History Museum, Somerset House, and Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park are just a few of the best spots to go to.
The Hampton Court Palace ice rink is also a spectacular rink where you can skate around to the backdrop of the palace itself.
During this time, the shops are full of people gift hunting as they round off their Christmas day to-do lists – be sure to check out the stores in Oxford and Regent Street.
This is a pretty magical and enchanting experience, with the different lights being a stark contrast to the dark winter sky.
Go shopping for delicious food and little Christmas gifts at one of the many charming holiday markets and enjoy the concerts and carols around London’s biggest Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square.
The Southbank Centre market transforms the bank of the River Thames into a festive wonderland with delicious stalls selling food from all over the world.
Why not grab a few stocking stuffers while you’re at it and treat your loved ones to a few surprises? These are amazing as long as the London weather in December plays ball.
January is the low season and the best time to visit the UK if you’re on a budget. With the cold weather of the winter months comes some amazing bargains on the capital’s tourist attractions.
Being the low season and the coldest month in London, you’ll get to avoid crowds and long queues at sights like the London Eye, Madame Tussauds London, Thames River Cruise, West End theatres, and much more.
The streets come alive every year on New Year’s Day on the West End. There are normally over 10 000 performers who come together and welcome the new year with cheerleaders, dancers, marching bands, and even acrobats livening up the celebrations.
It is a sight to behold watching all the performers brave the coldest month of the year in London.
Filled with romance, fashion, and pancakes, the month of February is a time for city-wide celebrations. It’s also the time of year when UK schools usually have their week-long half-term winter holidays, which means this is the best time to visit London as a family.
January and February are the low seasons, and the cheapest month to fly to London is February.
If you happen to visit London during the half term, you’ll find that most venues offer a host of family-friendly activities, and the popular tourist attractions will be busy.
The London Classic Car Show, London Fashion Week, and Chinese New Year’s Eve are some of the best events and activities to take part in during February.
And Valentine’s Day offers you an opportunity to enjoy some of the best restaurants and luxury hotel treats in London.
The weather in London in February is usually cold, so if you’re visiting London, be sure you wrap up in some warm clothes.
Every year, the West End is transformed into a giant celebration, where thousands upon thousands of people flock to participate. This party normally takes place between the end of January and early-to-mid February.
With Chinese food stalls everywhere, entertainment stages, and an incredible atmosphere, this is something not to be missed. Just remember to dress in red, it is the key colour to celebrate Chinese New Year and ensure that you will be brought good luck for the year ahead.
Spring is a welcome change after the gloomy winter seasons in London and as the days get lighter and the warm weather starts to arrive, so do the activities. The streets get busier, the skies shine brightly, and the fun moves from inside to outside.
Thanks to the spring London weather in March, this is when the outdoor cinemas, rooftop bars, pop-ups, street food events, beer gardens, and parks start opening up again.
This makes spring one of the best times to go to London for anyone who wants to explore without the threat of getting wet while out and about.
Spring arrives in London in March with lots of fun festivals, Mother’s Day celebrations and Irish cheer. Though the weather is still cold, it’s a lovely time to visit places like Kew Gardens, South Kensington Palace Gardens, Hyde Park, or any of the top gardens in the capital.
Some of the fantastic events held during March include St. Patrick’s Day, Pancake Day, Women of the World Festival, and Mother’s Day.
This is perhaps the best time to visit London if you enjoy festive celebrations.
In what is one of, if not the largest and most comprehensive celebration of women, the Women of the World Festival aims to open conversations that can be life changing.
This is a three-day event over a weekend with a range of different activities such as panel discussions, debates, performances, and more.
The festival is open to anyone and anyone who identifies as a woman or non-binary.
Just like you want to visit the parks for the shades of autumn in the colder months, you would need to visit the parks as soon as spring has sprung. These parks transform into another world entirely with the spring flowers blooming and all the colours of this season burst into life.
By April, the coldest months have ushered in a period of a few rain showers and more sunshine. It’s also marked by the blooming of cherry blossoms (or Sakura).
Some great places to catch them when in London are Greenwich Park, Kew Gardens, Kyoto Garden in Holland Park, Regent’s Park, and St Paul’s Cathedral. So, this is a great time to visit London if you love the spring flowers.
Greenwich Park is one of the city’s best spots to see the cherry blossoms, but for any photographers wanting something that will grab their attention, there are a few more locations.
Glasshouse Street in Soho is another stunning location with the contrast of the pink blossoms against the buildings.
For the top place, Cherry Tree Avenue in Battersea Park is where you need to go. The entire street is lined with cherry trees, making for an incredible experience and sight.
With Easter in April, most London attractions will make arrangements for special activities and exhibitions over the weekend and public holidays – from Good Friday through to Easter Monday.
Keep an eye out for egg hunts, Easter-themed afternoon teas, and chocolate-themed treats at any of the top chocolate shops in the capital.
May is for flower shows, cultural celebrations, and open-air theatres. With spring well underway, the month offers visitors an opportunity to meet the best designers, artists, and engineers during the London Craft Week.
May brings with it good weather and warmer daytime temperatures. This makes it a lovely time to visit alfresco parties and pop-up bars during London Wine Week. You’ll get to enjoy the special tasting sessions the city offers.
The world-famous flower show comes around in May when spring starts to paint gardens with its colourful paint brush. This prestigious show has been running for over 100 years and currently spans a six-day period where garden designers showcase their green thumbs.
The feature gardens are the ones that pull the most attention but also showcase gardens in a variety of settings.
The show calls the Chelsea Royal Hospital home and has for over a century. Just make sure to book your tickets in advance, as this incredibly popular event sells out fast.
Celebrate London’s heritage with events and exhibitions on London History Day, a unique day that focuses on what makes this city so unique. It takes place on the last day of the month, the 31st, which happens to be the day that Big Ben started ticking and keeping track of time.
This is no coincidence as it was chosen by the public to be that day due to its significance.
You can explore and celebrate history day or head to Somerset House’s Photo London to check out top-quality photography from across the globe. The gallery features over 100 exhibitions, showcasing everything from the future to the present, and even photographs from the past.
For any art lover looking to add some fine art photography to their collection, this is the palace to go.
Exhibitions from galleries all over the world will be on display, as well as various talks held by notable figures — though these will be an additional cost. Booking a ticket in advance for this fair is highly recommended.
Whether you find yourself visiting London in the summer months of the peak season or the chilly winter months of mid-December, you’ll find plenty of things to do in London.
Year-round, you’ll be able to visit many attractions, enjoy a food or wine festival or head to a concert at the Royal Albert Hall – just to name a few. Ultimately, the best time to visit will depend on what you want to do while you are in the city.
Now that you know when the best time to visit London Eye and other top attractions is, the only thing left is to book your tickets and plan your London itinerary