What is the Best Time of Year to Go to London?

Best time to go and visit London

The right time for traveling into London depends on the travelers and what they’re going to do there.  But in general, the best time of year to go to London is between March and May when:

  1. The weather is sunny and benign
  2. The city streets are less crowded
  3. Flights are relatively cheaper
  4. Accommodation is cheap  
  5. Air quality is better
  6. Streets are less congested
  7. Underground stations and trains are cooler
  8. Greenery and flowers are blooming 
  9. Major London events take place 

When is the Best Time of Year to Visit London

The truth is, there is no perfect or best time to visit London.  It is all give and take based on what you want out of your journey.  London attracts nearly 30 million visitors from other countries each year. People go there all year-round from every corner of the world.

The weather in London impacts one way or the other on nearly everything that happens on the streets, attractions, crowds, shopping, and even the air quality.  It is by no means London becomes less busy or unsafe because of this unpredictable weather. 

Many exciting things happen in London each day.  So, regardless of what time of year you go, there’s always something to do or discover.

Read also: The Greatest City in the World: What is London famous for?

Cheapest time to visit London

In January and February are the cheapest months to visit London.  You can pick up a lot of bargains during the post-Christmas January sales.  

There are huge discounts on new cars, electronic goods, food, hotel rooms, almost on everything except houses.  

It’s almost impossible to find a supermarket, shop or website that is not offering discounts in the January sales – and there isn’t a set length of time the January sales end.

Cheapest Time to Fly to London

January and February are the cheapest months to travel to the UK.  Just book your flight nine weeks in advance to ensure the cheapest airline ticket to London.

The only downside is, London weather in January and February is bitterly cold and day time is short.  But the issue is not so much the cold in these two months as the scarcity of daylight.

Light comes out after 7 am and starts getting dark after 4 pm.  No matter what you want to do, longer days in London are more beautiful regardless of the weather. 

However, you can still get discounted hotel rooms and cheap flight tickets to travel to London between March and May.  Just have to make sure that you book your flight between eight to ten weeks in advance, to get the cheapest possible ticket.

London Weather in March 

The spring season starts from March until the end of May.  It is an enjoyable time to travel to London, as the sun begins to come out more and the flowers blooms.

The weather gradually shifts from bitter cold to coldish in the whole of the United Kingdom (UK).  In London, temperatures start to increase steadily up to 13°C before the end of the month. 

Throughout March, London gets only five hours of sunshine each day, and between 10 hours to 12 hours of daylight.

Clocks in the UK go forward one hour at 1 am on the last Sunday in March, and back one hour at 2 am on the last Sunday in October. That’s why there’s more daylight in the evenings and less in the mornings.

Read: Driving in London: Is Driving in London Hard?

March is a bit chilly, but you get the first taste of the spring season.  It is the perfect time for people who love the greenery and flowers to visit London top gardens like the Kew Gardens and many others across the capital. 

March is also an excellent time to be in London after the cold two months of January and February, and when the crowd on the streets is not many. 

It is an advantageous compromise between the chilly weather and warm weather that draws out huge crowds onto London streets.

London Weather in April

Daily temperatures continue to rise in London from 13°C at the beginning of the month to 16°C by the end of April. April is sparsely cloudy, and there is always a probability of moderate rainfall in the middle of the month.

As spring develops, the sunshine and daylight hours rapidly increase. During April, London enjoys an average of eight hours of sunshine every day and 14 hours of daylight.

April is a real spring month.  It is more sunshine and some light rainfalls, but no more chilly wind. A lot of outdoor events take place in April in London, including a lot of sporting activities on the Thames River, the London Marathon, and many more. 

The annual Boat Race on River Thames between two of Britain most prestigious universities, Oxford and Cambridge, take place in April.  The London Marathon event draws in thousands of people, participants, and marathon enthusiasts from all over the world. 

London Weather in May

The average temperature for May is 13°C, which is much warmer than in March and April.  Temperatures start to rise from 16°C at the beginning of the month and then reach 19°C by the of May. It’s more likely to get two light rainfalls during the month. 

Throughout May, London gets eight hours of sunshine each day and between 14 and 16 hours of daylight.

The month of May has some decent sunshine, and it is mildly warm. It is this month the Queen travels in the processional royal carriage through the streets of Westminster or London to the annual opening of the British Parliament. 

It is also when more major outdoor events of the year in London gets going — including the Tennis tournament at Wimbledon, cricket, and others.  

The Chelsea Flower event is a major innovative show that displays the most beautiful gardens that also take place during May.

Spring Pollen Allergies

It is essential to be aware that, spring is the season when a tree, grass, and weed pollen pop up and last until the end of autumn. 

The hay fever season starts at different times depending on what type of pollen someone is allergic to.  Tree pollen comes up from late March to the middle of May.

Grass pollen starts in the middle of May through May to July.  And weed pollen from June to September, but it can be released at any time. 

Worst Time to Visit London

If you don’t like super-crowded places, think hard before you visit London from June to October, or in the three weeks leading to Christmas day.  

That is the worst time to visit London for people with breathing problems and those who don’t like overcrowded places.   

If you’re someone who doesn’t care much, just be prepared to brave crowds because London is a crowded city.  However, the crowd number remains stable and bearable in the spring season. 

But the vast number of visitors, plus summer school holidays during the summer period create overcrowding challenges in the city. 

Sometimes it becomes difficult to be on a walkway without nudging and pushing other pedestrians. 

Christmas Shopping in London 

December brings Christmas fever and excitement to Londoners and others beyond.  It’s like people from the whole world must rush to London to do their Christmas shopping.  You find lengthy queues at airports, streets, banks, bus and train stations.

The supermarkets, markets, shops, shopping malls, restaurants, all become jam-packed with people of different ages from everywhere.

Even some people who don’t have social anxiety can struggle to cope with the kind of panic and Christmas shopping frenzies in London.

Related: Biggest Airport in London: How to Quickly Get Out of Heathrow Airport

London Heatwave 

The temperatures rise sharply from July up to September.  It can get super hot, sticky, tricky, and some roads start to melt.   

The London Underground Tube network is 156 years, and it is the oldest in the world. Some of the stations and lines were built so deep in the ground, and the ventilation is so poor.

The Tube handles 5 million passenger trips every day — it is bustling all year round. During summer, passengers on the Tube can endure temperatures as high as 35.4C, that is five degrees hotter than the legal maximum for transporting cattle in the UK.

It is the summer period when the Tube becomes inundated with passengers, all struggling in sweltering hot carriages for space and fresh air.

The same problem happens to all other London public transport systems like the bus, trams, Overground trains and Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

Air Pollution in London

London’s streets and Underground stations have poor air quality.  It gets worse from July to September when the extreme summer heatwave hit London. 

But air pollution also increases during the busy time in December leading to Christmas.  That is when a considerable number of people come to London to do Christmas shopping and other things.

People cross the roads from one side to another every few seconds, keeping zebra crossings are extremely busy. 

That causes massive traffic jams, as streets get clogged up by diesel taxis, cars, delivery vans, trucks, buses — they start releasing toxic fuel fumes in the air. 

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