You might imagine that when it comes to an immensely stimulating, heaving metropolis like London, there’s no such thing as a bad time of year to visit – and you’d be right!
However, that’s a different question to what constitutes the best time of year to make a trip to the British capital, not least given that people don’t all visit London for the same reasons.
So, we thought we’d take a look through the four seasons, and consider which of these might be the optimal time of year to experience London’s endlessly fascinating sights and sounds.
A visit to London during the spring brings milder weather and longer daylight hours than the winter, including some days that might remind you of the height of summer. According to the Visit London website, temperatures tend to hover between 11 and 15 degrees C, or 52 and 59 degrees F, during this time – but spring rainfall can also occur, which might make an umbrella a wise purchase.
The peak tourist season in London doesn’t start until May, so the art galleries, museums and restaurants shouldn’t be too crowded. The Easter weekend and the two-week Easter holiday can be very busy in central London, however.
With the weather being at its warmest – potentially as high as 30 degrees C (86 degrees F) or more – the summer’s a great time to be in London for music festivals, or to experience the city’s rooftop bars and beer gardens.
Bear in mind that as kids will be off school, London will be thronging with tourist activity from domestic and international visitors at this time, including families.
It is precisely because of this that you are advised to book tickets for shows or other experiences well in advance, as well as flights and hotels that are well-situated for what you want to see and do. Dorsett Hotel, Shepherds Bush, for instance, is close to Westfield London shopping centre and also enables you to easily appreciate such key areas as the West End, Kensington and Notting Hill.
London’s hardly desolate during the autumn, not least as plenty of tourists decide to take advantage of the milder fall conditions and the slightly lower demand for flights, hotel and theatre reservations. Still, the city is less likely to feel overrun if you time your trip for this time of year.
Britain being Britain, you can’t predict the weather easily during this season – in September in particular, some days might feel like summer, while grey skies and drizzle can predominate at other times. So, an umbrella and layering clothing ought to be in your luggage for an autumn London visit.
From November, the weather in London tends to further cool, with the crowds consequently thinning out even more. If fewer tourists being around appeals to you about this time of year in the capital, we’d suggest avoiding Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Day on 5th November, as well as the Lord Mayor’s Show.
The Christmas season is naturally a very different proposition, with visitors rushing into the hotels, bars, restaurants and indeed, Christmas markets. There are also the big celebrations surrounding New Year’s Day, before visitor numbers largely drop again for the rest of January. According to Tripsavvy, this is the city’s coldest month, so a winter coat will be essential.
The best time of year to visit London, then, will definitely vary according to your own tastes and requirements. All in all, the UK capital really is a part of the world that has something for everyone – including the best in art, fashion, cuisine, music and so much more.