London is a beautiful city rich in history, culture, and plenty of sites to see for those with different tastes. Personally, I prefer visiting in March or April, when the temperature is still breezy and spring has just bloomed. But for others, this might not be what they’re looking for when they visit this historical city.
The best time to visit London ultimately depends on your preference. If you want less crowds in hot tourist spots, you could visit London in the fall and winter, but you’re unlikely to explore the city of a warm and windy day. Or, if you’re interested in visiting the outdoor sites in the summer, expect beautiful scenery but plenty of tourists.
So, here are the best times of the year to visit London depending on what you want to see or do.
Best Time to Visit London for Less Crowds: Fall and Winter Seasons
From mid-September to late-March (excluding the Christmas holiday season from mid-December to late-January), expect the crowds in the city to thin out – or at least have less tourists in the best attractions in the area. However, during these times the temperatures can get very cold and the chance for rain is much higher, so dress appropriately and carry an umbrella.
Peak Tourist Season
London’s peak tourist season is from March to May, especially towards the end of spring and the beginning of summer. For those who want to see London parks, gardens, and other historical sites in bloom but don’t like the thought of large crowds, visit in early spring, or around the first half of March. You’re also likely to come across better weather.
March to May is also London’s sweet spot in terms of weather. Take note that the climate means a chance for rain showers year-round, though, so it’s best to carry a small umbrella in your bag just in case.
Best Time to Visit for the British Royal Family
London is home to most of the sites related to the British Royal Family and the history of England’s monarchy. It’s such a hotspot for history fans that the monarchy is said to bring in about £550 million in revenue every year. If you’re an avid fan of the royal family, consider visiting from June to August.
Aside from the fact that it’s the summertime which means warmer temperatures great for exploring the city, it also means a chance to witness the annual Trooping the Color celebration in June. Thousands flock to the streets of London to witness the spectacle, so if you want to get the best viewing spot, you may need to plan in advanced. If you get it right, you can get a chance to see members of the Royal Family waving from Buckingham Palace.
Best Time to Go Shopping
Visit London from late-June to early-July to catch its popular Harrod’s summer sale featuring designer and luxury goods. To match with the demand, it’s highly likely you’ll find sales within that same time in certain streets: go to Oxford Street for designer fashion, Knightsbridge for trendy fashion, and The King’s Road for elegant and chic timeless dresses.
Avoid scheduling shopping trips in London in December. The malls and shops are more festive, but aside from the fact that there aren’t much sales going on during this time, shops are busy and crowded, making it difficult for you to shop in peace.
Best Time to Visit London for Museums and Galleries
Is your definition of a vacation going to see museums and galleries and appreciating art, history, and culture in peace? Then I recommend that the best time to visit London is around late-January to the end of February. These sites won’t be totally deserted, but as it is off-season, you’re less likely to come across large tour groups and long lines.
Avoid going to these areas during the summer and major holidays. Many of these family-friendly sites get crowded when kids are out for school. If all else fails, see if the museums and galleries you want offer late-night viewings for those who want even smaller crowds during the holidays.
There really is no best time to visit London that suits everyone. With so much to see in this city, it ultimately depends on what you want to see that should determine when it the best time to visit. Just remember that London’s busiest towards the end of spring and the beginning of summer, as well as the holiday season. Also remember that London’s climate can have a chance of rain any time of the year, so be smart and always have an umbrella in your bag when you visit this beautiful city.