London is one the few cities in the world which is stunning every time of the year. There is a great deal of things to do from greenery bursts back into life to the very first snowfall. As a result, it will be difficult to pick a time to visit London. So when is the best time to visit London? In this blog post, I will show you some characters of each season and recommend good things to experience.
1. London’s weather overview
Lies within a temperate oceanic climate zone, London is typically mild and extreme weather conditions and storms are very rare. The capital of Great Britain experiences four separate seasons with cool winters, warm summers and frequent rainfall all year round.
However, weather conditions can fluctuate a bit over the course of a day. It means that you can experience 4 seasons in just one day and don’t be too surprised.
And keep in mind that there is no best time of year to visit London as each season boasts its own unique characteristics. In the remaining parts, I will highlight some information about 4 seasons in London UK.
2. London in spring
2.1. London spring weather
March marks the transitions from winter to spring, so the weather can vary unpredictably, from warm and sunny to cold and rainy in just a moment. However, spring experiences mild weather (temperature ranging from 12 to 18°C) and longer daylight hours.
Spring is sprung, which means flowers are in full blossom. Visiting London spring, you are able to see some of the best colors including magnolia (mid March to mid April), cherry blossom (late March to mid April), wisteria – May) – time may vary.
2.2. Things to do in spring
a. Curate your Instagram feed with various shades of flowers: Londoners are spoiled for choices when it comes to flowers. You’ll come across blossoming trees pretty much anywhere, from iconic landmarks to tourist-free residential areas.
However, magnolia, cherry blossoms and wisteria are vulnerable so don’t miss the chance to take Instagrammable photos in front of those vibrant flowers before they are gone.
b. Explore every “secret garden” in Notting Hill: Spring has turned every house in Notting Hill into “secret gardens, with greeneries and blossoms bursting out in every available space. And no garden looks the same.
3. London in summer
3.1. London summer weather
Summers (June – August) in London are generally mild and pleasant, with temperature ranging from 17 to 25°C.
Despite the hottest period of the year, it can be cold for people who come from tropical areas. Believe me, summer in London has the same temperature as winter in Hanoi. I never wear a sleeveless shirt or t-shirt during summer, always bring a light cardigan or jacket along.
3.2. Things to do in Summer
a. Boozy night out at a rooftop bar: Summer wouldn’t be completed unless you chill out at any rooftop bar. London’s incredible skyline, chartbreaker songs and of course some hard stuff will make your night.
b. Catch a flick at an outdoor cinema: Summer is in the air and here comes blockbusters. Outdoor cinemas, whether drive-in or rooftop, would be perfect choices for a summer night out.
c. Summer festivals are on the way: Summer is the best time for outdoor activities or music festivals, and here comes the biggest pride parade in the world – London’s Pride and London’s biggest street party Notting Hill Carnival. Keep in mind that it will be crowded during these festivals and you need to book your accommodations in advanced.
4. London in Autumn
4.1. London autumn weather
No longer hot summer days, the weather gradually shifts to winter. September can still be summery with long daylight hours, however things are gonna change from the first week of October.
As the summer sun gives way to autumn, this season sees the biggest range in weather (10°C between daytime and nighttime). Moreover, autumn experiences some of the wettest months throughout the year with the average of 10 – 15 precipitation days per month.
4.2. Things to do in autumn
a. Admire the autumn color: The arrival of autumn means nature is preparing to change its palette from green to various shades of gold, brown and crimson.
The fall foliage showcases the hidden picturesque and romantic side of London which offers great photo opportunities. Autumn colors start dominating the city from the end of October (significant changes appear from mid November).
b. Museum crawl: Summer is over and bars are getting fed up. What’s about museum crawl? Visiting museums in autumn is less crowded and cheaper than during the high summer travel season.
So it will be the best time to do some “museum crawl”. London has a great number of museums to be explored, and some of them offer free admission.
5. London in winter
5.1. London winter weather
London’s winter is not so cold as temperatures don’t often drop below freezing (average temperature ranging from 2 to 8°C) and snow isn’t common. However, you will rarely see the sun bursting out as it is hiding under the thick cloud or fog.
Gloomy and cloudy what to describe London in this period which becomes the signature image of London. Moreover, it gets dark earlier (sunset at 3 pm) which covers the city with some melancholy.
Like anyone else, London needs a “makeover”. When the sun goes down, the whole city turns into a magical world as iconic landmarks, streets and stores are beautifully lit up. This festive light displays lasts from the mid of November to early January, so don’t miss the chance to capture some moments before
5.2. Things to do in winter
a. See London’s signature festive light displays: Iconic landmarks, streets and stores are beautifully lit up from the mid of November to early January which turn the city into a magical world. And those of Oxford and Regent are the most gorgeous ones which has gained Instagram famed every time they light up.
b. Shop-til-you-drop: Watch your wallet as the biggest annual sale season is on the way. The sale starts immediately after Christmas – either on Boxing Day (26 December) or the day after – and sales last until the middle of January.
c. Watch the New Year’s Eve signature fireworks: London steps into the new year with the dazzling lights and firework show on the Thames. These annual firework displays are such one of the most expected events that my friend had to book the tickets in early October (though it is not the best ticket zone).
6. Summary: Best time to visit London
6.1. My recommendation for best time of year to visit London
In my opinion, Spring and Autumn would definitely be the best time of year to visit London since comfortable weather and less crowded compared to summer.
However, spring boasts longer daylight hour than autumn which make it more enjoyable to see the city. Autumn is a good option for those who wish to admire the beauty of fall colors. However, shorter sunlight hours (sunset at 3:30 pm) will prevent you from exploring the city.
Summer vacation and winter holiday will not be the best time to travel as London will see maximum crowds and limited accommodation availability during these periods.
6.2. London travel tips
– It is recommended to bring along an umbrella or wear lightweight waterproof jackets and shoes as London’s weather can be unpredictable.
– Avoid national holiday and bank holidays (sky-rocket hotel price, limited available of service and big crowds)
– Avoid 20/4 (you can google to know what this day is about). My sister traveled to London on this day and the whole city was full of smoke. After strolling around the city for just 2 hours, she got a headache and had to find a place to rest.
– Weather is the most common topic to start a conversation with the British.
– The annual clock change was a common thing in the United Kingdom. The clocks will be set back by one hour for wintertime (and vice versa for summertime). Time may vary each year. Don’t worry, you won’t need to change it by yourself as the Iphone does.
6.3. Summary: Best time to visit London
The weather in the United Kingdom generally, and London specifically can be incredibly varied and unpredictable. We can do nothing, but adapt to every change from the weather and have a full preparation to make the most of London’s trip.
This is my recommendation for Best time to visit London UK, if you need any further information, feel free to contact me or see other post in my United Kingdom archives:
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