One of the most captivating things about London is how the city changes throughout the year. The UK is blessed with 4 distinct seasons; spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The landscape changes noticeably, with different colours and scents shaping the seasons and affecting the ambience of the city.
But when is the best season to visit London? Are the best rewards programs at hotels affected by the changing weather? Let’s go through the seasons so you can decide for yourself when is the best time to visit.
Spring (March – May)
Spring is considered by many one of the best times of year to visit London. Londoners are eager to shrug off the tail end of the winter season and make the most of the chance to be outdoors and this joy radiates through the city.
Spring kicks off the beginning of the summer events season which includes the likes of music and food festivals, rooftop pop-up bars, outdoor cinema screenings and sporting events such as the London Marathon. London’s museums and galleries usually launch new special exhibitions during spring. Therefore, culturally, spring is one of the best seasons to visit London.
There are two school holidays during spring as well as Easter which sees many of the city’s key attractions offering family-friendly events and activities such as nature trails, Easter Egg hunts and workshops. This is ideal for those travelling as a family in London.
- The weather is pleasant during the day (pack a light jacket and jumper for the evenings!) and days gradually become longer throughout the season
- The city erupts with the scents and colours of new flowers – you’ll be able to capture a slice of nature around every corner
- There are plenty of events to choose from both indoors and outdoors
- Budget-wise, if you don’t want to splash out during your stay – you can explore London on a shoestring and fill your time with walks
- Watch out for the two weeks of the Easter school holiday and the May half term when the city becomes very busy. Accommodation prices might spike around this time unless you have access to the best rewards programs
- Rain showers are frequent during spring – pack an umbrella!
- The weather can be unpredictable, seeing highs of 18°C but lows of under 10°C
Summer (June – August)
Summer in London means long afternoons spent picnicking in the park, gliding over the urban lakes on a rowing boat and making the most of a thriving summer events schedule. By now, the spring events are in full swing and more and more pop-ups and outdoor activities are taking place.
The BBC Proms entice visitors from around the globe from June, whilst music aficionados flock to Lovebox Festival, and the Championships Wimbledon grip the nation in July.
Temperatures typically linger in the early-mid 20s (°C) and it’s not uncommon for the occasional heatwave which can see the city soar well above 30°C. Although, of course, this is the fickle British Isles, and we can’t guarantee 20+ every day!
- The perfect season to take a dip in a lido or swim at the Hampstead Heath ponds
- Plenty of events and festivals as well as kid-friendly activities to coincide with the UK school holiday
- Warmer weather on the whole means a lighter packing list – ideal for those flying into the city using their Heathrow rewards
- The London Underground can become unbearably hot and sticky. Always travel with a bottle of water and avoid travel at rush hour where possible
- Accommodation prices soar. Plan ahead and search out the best rewards programs to find yourself a deal and added benefits to preserve your budget
- Landmarks and attractions are at their busiest, plan ahead and book any tickets in advance
Autumn (September – November)
The mirror image yet the polar opposite of spring in many ways, autumn is the season where London turns golden and red as trees prepare for winter. London feels calmer after summer, as the peak season crowds begin to diminish and school and work returns to normal.
Although quieter on the whole, there are still a number of events taking place in autumn, such as the Underbelly Festival, Open House, touring musicians and Diwali. The city adopts the ‘hygge’ vibes of our Danish neighbours, with cosy winter coffees keeping your hands warm enough to snap photos. The lead up to one of the UK’s greatest celebrations, Bonfire Night (or Guy Fawkes Night) sparks excitement across the city, because who doesn’t love fireworks?
- Prices drop after the summer spike
- London autumn weather is still amiable, albeit nights draw shorter and temperatures drop to an average of 12°C
- The cityscape is beautiful as the trees turn otherworldly hues, and you can experience sensational sunsets
- Compared to other times of year, the events schedule is thinner on the ground
- Time your stay carefully so you either catch the rear end of summer or the beginnings of the festive season
Winter (December – February)
Winter is a magical time to explore London, as long as you wrap up warm and can handle the flurry of activity that hits the high street. It is cold, we can’t hide that fact, but the city knows how to make the most of the chilly nights.
After taking a slight lull in autumn, the events schedule ramps up in the lead-up to Christmas with festive happenings. Expect winter food festivals, ice skating rinks, Christmas film screenings, beautiful ballets and pantomimes for the kids (and big kids).
- Great time for getting a shopping bargain as retailers prepare for Christmas
- A twinkling events schedule keeps tourists entertained
- New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year are two of the best celebrations in London
- Coldest time of year to visit London. January sees the lowest temperatures which can average 1°C
- The shopping districts get very crowded the closer to Christmas
- Museums are busy at the weekends as people opt to stay indoors