The Best Time to Visit London 2023: the Ultimate Guide
Planning to visit London? If you have never been, it is best to know about the climate and weather conditions to find out the best time to visit London depending on what you plan on doing during your visit. Whether you plan to see London from 400 feet up in the London Eye or Christmas shopping on Oxford Street and January sales in winter, there is always a great time to go.
With just over nine million residents, London is located in southeastern England where it has been a populated city center for more than 1,975 years. It was founded by the Romans in 47 AD along the River Thames and was named Londonium for about 500 years.
The city has a temperate oceanic climate with an average temperature of around 53 degrees F (11.7 degrees C), an average rainfall of 51 inches per month, and 139.6 hours of sunshine per month. If you are considering a trip, you should consider the seasons before you plan to visit London.
Visiting London during the summer months can offer you tourist attractions that include outdoor activities and even water sports to enjoy while if you visit London in winter, you will likely want to find some indoor activities to explore. Peak season is from June through August due to the long daylight hours and abundance of entertainment.
Central London is often busy as one of the most popular tourist cities in the world. But holidays are the most popular as some visit London during December to see the Christmas lights, and Easter Monday at the beginning of the spring season.
However, the best time to visit London for you depends on what kind of activities you enjoy, what you plan to do in London, and whether or not you enjoy crowds. No matter when you visit this fabulous city, be sure to find Bounce luggage storage in London where you can stow your bags safely. Don't let extra weight slow you down!
Summer in London: June - August
For many, summer is the best time to visit London. In fact, July and August are the peak tourist season in London due to the warm weather and the number of events going on in the city at that time. It is also popular because the winter months can be too chilly for outdoor fun.
In London, summers do not mean scorching hot weather that chases you indoors. Instead, the average high in June is 71 degrees F (21.6 degrees C), July is 75 degrees F (23.9 degrees C), and August has a high of 74 degrees F (23.4 degrees C). The average monthly rainfall during the summer is about 1.9 inches of rain and an average of 209 hours of sunshine per month.
You will want to pack some short-sleeved shirts and shorts for summer, but you will also need long pants and jackets because it can drop into the 50s at night. An umbrella is a good idea all year long and summer is no different.
Summer in London is a fantastic time if you plan to do some outdoor activities like visiting music festivals, trying out the London Eye, or swimming and boating in Serpentine Lake at Hyde Park. In June, don't miss the Queen's birthday parade where you can actually see her majesty. In 2022, it is the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, so expect phenomenal crowds!
According to many, London weather is best in early summer when there are over 200 hours of sunshine per month and average temperatures in the 70s. This is certainly the best time with the least bank holidays to affect your vacation. Every bank holiday can affect your visit as many places are closed and public transportation is limited.
Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington hosts many musicals during the summer but The Proms in July is the most popular. Sunny weather is a big draw to any tourist attractions from the summer music festivals at the Royal Hall to the Notting Hill Carnival and visiting the state rooms at Buckingham Palace. Another special festival is All Points East at Victoria Park in August.
Those who want to avoid crowds will not want to visit London in the summer months. The city is packed with tourists from early June until the end of August. Expect long lines, higher hotel prices, and a lot of traffic during this prime time.
Fall in London: September - November
The summer crowds start going back home in September and the temperatures start to cool off. Fall brings what Londoners call shoulder season or off season, which is when the streets and attractions are less crowded, the trees start changing colors, and prices tend to drop due to fewer tourists in early fall.
The average high temperature in September is 68 degrees F (20.2 degrees C), October sees highs around 60 degrees F (15.8 degrees C), and November starts to get chilly temperatures of just 53 degrees F (11.5 degrees C). Expect about 2.4 inches of rain per month with 114 hours of sunshine per month.
It is a good idea to pack warm clothes and a coat as well as an umbrella during the fall but the bonus is that you will not see as many crowds at outdoor attractions like the Buckingham palace, the local parks, and the London Zoo. There are plenty of things to do in London on a rainy day; you'll be entertained nonetheless!
Fall is a better season for places like the British Museum, the Sky Garden, and the London Transport Museum as well as many dining options and indoor theaters. Shopping malls are popular in the fall where you can find hundreds of retail shops, eateries, and entertainment under one roof.
Fall is the perfect time for visiting the London Design Festival, Frieze Fair, the Thames Festival, and the food and wine festival in Regents Park at Tobacco Dock. Another popular event in the fall is the Bonfire Night on November 5th with fireworks and bonfires all over the city.
For those who do not like the occasional bad weather and wish to enjoy all the attractions outside, fall is not the time to visit London. If you are looking for the best shopping time and public holidays, you may want to visit in the winter holidays instead.
Winter in London: December - February
Hyde Park is also popular in the winter when the Winter Wonderland fills the space with Christmas lights, funfair rides, and food stalls. The winter season is almost as popular as the summer with many of the holiday markets, Christmas day, boxing day, and school holidays.
You will find the coldest temperatures in London during this time, of course. The average high in December is only 48 degrees F (8.8 degrees C), about 47 degrees F (8.4 degrees C) in January, and 48 degrees F (9 degrees C) in February. You can expect about 2.1 inches of precipitation per month in the winter with most of it being snow and sleet. The sun is not a frequent visitor in the winter with only 65 hours of sunshine per month.
Pack your long johns, snow boots, and winter coats if you are visiting London in the winter. Although there is plenty of mild weather as well, it is mostly cold and wet so you will want to wear layers and bring your hat and gloves.
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park is one of the most popular festivals of the entire year where you can watch cooking demonstrations, shop for souvenirs and fresh baked goods, or just enjoy the entertainment. Burns night in January is also popular as well as other public holidays like Boxing Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve.
In fact, Christmas Day in London is special. The streets are not busy, and you can enjoy the way the city sparkles with colorful lights and decorations. From mid-December to late January, you can save money on hotel prices since this is the cheapest time to visit London.
January and February are your best bet for great deals. Shop until you drop for the first two weeks of January when Regent Street has the best sales to take advantage of. However, if you are not a fan of snow and cold weather or you want to enjoy outdoor activities, winter is not the time to visit.
Spring in London: March-May
Spring is the favorite time of year for most of the locals in London and it may be yours as well. With the weather getting warmer and flowers beginning to bloom, everything is beautiful and vibrant. Mid-March is splendid as the sun starts to come back out.
The average high in March is 53 degrees F (11.7 degrees C), it is 59 degrees F (15 degrees C) in April, and May has an average high of 65 degrees F (18.4 degrees C). Another benefit of spring in London is the lack of rain. The average amount of rainfall is 1.7 inches per month and 170 hours of sunshine per month. You won't be needing your snowshoes or winter coat, but you will need to pack some warm clothes like long-sleeved shirts, jackets, and long pants.
Although Easter Monday is a bank holiday and most of the shops are closed, early spring is beautiful in London with a lot to see and do. From Good Friday until Easter Monday, you will notice that the streets seem empty even with the good weather. The visiting hours start getting later as the sun is up longer.
Royal sites are still open, and you can get some nice pics of the Royal Palace without all the tourists in the way of your shots. The Chelsea flower show in May is spectacular and is one of the key events from spring through summer. And if you cannot get close to the Royal Family, you can get some great selfies with them at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.
If you are heading to London for swimming, boating, and other water sports, you will want to wait until summer. Spring is just not warm enough for braving the cold waters of the River Thames and other popular bodies of water.
When is the best time to visit London for you?
Although you can visit most of the London attractions year-round, there are certain times of the year that are better than others depending on your interests. If you love to shop and enjoy the holidays, December and January are the best months for you.
July and August are perfect for outdoor fun including many of the festivals celebrating everything from food to music. Fall is a lovely time to see London with all of its autumn colors and pleasant weather. London Cocktail Week is a month-long festival during October that is popular with the adults. And spring is best for mild weather and fewer crowds.