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The Best Time to Visit London: a Local’s Guide

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If you’ve already booked your ticket, fear not – the best time of year to come to London is when you’re coming!

Seriously, this is an awesome city year round, and while you should be prepped for certain types of weather in London depending on the month you come and read up on attraction openings (no use coming in the winter if your only wish list is to see the Buckingham Palace State Rooms which are only open in the summer), you’ll still have a fantastic time whenever you visit.

To help you navigate your plans or figure out the best time to go to London, I’ll talk about the experience of visiting in each season.

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Hey! Sidenote! Planning on visiting the UK or moving to the UK?

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Spring

The months of March, April, and May are some of the most variable in the UK.

Purple flowers with green trees behind
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The earlier months are still very much winter temperatures, whereas May can be either pretty chilly or pretty warm depending on what Mother Nature decides to do.

In any case, you’ll get amazing daylight hours as you head towards late Spring, and I love Spring in the UK as it’s when the UK starts to come to life again, both literally in the sense of the flowers and trees, but also in the sense that people seem to start coming out of their own hibernation a bit and start planning events and activities at a faster pace.

Spring can be a cheap time to visit the UK if you come outside of the “Easter holidays,” which is two weeks surrounding whenever Easter falls that year that kids are out of school.

It isn’t peak tourist season, which means you can enjoy (hopeful) sunshine and Spring excitement without the hoards of visitors that come in the summer months.

Definitely one of the best times of year to visit London.

Summer

The months of June, July, and August in London are mostly going to be temperate to warm in the UK – it can get a bit cool in June, but by July and August you’re looking at mostly temperatures in the 70s to 90s (gasp!).

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If you are prone to getting overheated, make sure to book somewhere with air conditioning as heatwaves can hit the UK at this time and the infrastructure just isn’t meant for it.

The tourist season starts up really in full force in June, but is really in its peak in July and August.

A row of purple flowers with a black iron fence behind and a plane in the sky
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British students get their summer starting in July for six weeks, which leads to an increased number of people traveling, even within the country.

This can mean long lines for some attractions, an incredible amount of people trying to take the tube and wander through the touristy areas like Westminster, and the need to book further ahead for tours and activities.

However, that being said, summer in the UK is hands down the best time to be able to take advantage of the most opportunities and attractions, and June is the best month to visit London.

When you live in a country that doesn’t see sunshine for much of the rest of the year (okay, it does, but not as much as you’d like), people really embrace the summer.

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You’ll find festivals, events, special attractions like the Buckingham Palace State Rooms open, and of course the chance to really take advantage of green space, whether that be sitting in the park with a picnic or exploring the Lake District.

Daylight hours in the summer are also great, with the longest day of the year being in June.

In the summer, it’s common for the sun to rise at 4-5am and not set until 9-10pm depending on the month.

A real bonus when it comes to maximizing your time!

Fall

In September, October, and November, the UK has its transition from the summer days (September can still be pretty summery) to the cold and dark days of November.

A street in London with tall buildings with autumn leaves
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How fast it will happen is anyone’s guess, but we usually consider October 14th, my husband’s birthday, as the point at which you “feel” like it’s the Fall and put your shorts and short sleeves away.

Like Spring, the weather is particularly variable in this time period so make sure to look at the weather right before you go.

As the daylight hours start to fade, the kids go back to school, and the UK starts to sink into a sort of hibernation again, but with it also go the same hoards of tourists that visited in the summer.

Leaves covering a pavement in London in the Fall with sun coming through
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Fall can be a lovely time to walk around and enjoy the UK with a bit of elbow room, particularly in the later Fall months.

If you visit late enough in November, many of the Christmas activities will have started up as well, so you can turn it into a festive trip.

Winter

From December to February, the UK sees the least sunlight of the year and its coldest temperatures.

Snow is not a frequent occurrence, but when it does happen, it will be a big weather event and cities like London will grind to a halt if it’s more than a dusting.

People walking along the river in London with snow everywhere and St Paul's Cathedral in the background
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Image: London Snow. Mike Fleming. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

You can get some of the cheapest flights to London in January and February.

December is still a popular month as people are traveling specifically to spend Christmas and the holidays in the UK, but you still won’t see the same amount of crowds as you do in the summer.

And, I won’t lie, January and February can also be a bit bleak weather wise, but if you’re ready to cozy up by a log fire or put on your warmest mittens and embrace whatever weather the UK has to throw at you, you can absolutely have an amazing time (and, bonus, spend less on hotel rooms and flights so you can splurge in other areas!)

And there you have it – a run down of visiting in each season.

A snowman with a smile in front of Parliament, with its arms raised, with people playing in the snow behind
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Image: 20090202_LondonSnow_105. ssopach. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

If you’re really desperate to know the absolute BEST TIME to come, I can’t give you a definitive answer because it depends on what you prioritize, but hopefully this has helped give you an idea of when would be the best for you to come based on your budget, crowd tolerance, and weather tolerance!

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