The following post will provide tips on the best time to go to London. Consequently, it also helps you avoid the worst time to visit London.
We’ll focus on the most affordable time of year, the best weather, and other factors to consider before making a decision.
- The Quick Answer
- Cheapest Times to Visit
- Best Weather
- Best Time of Year
- Each Month in Perspective
- Weather in London by Season
If you’re looking for a fast and easy answer, it’ll be important to consider first what you want to see and do while you’re in London.
Cheapest Time to Visit London
Air travel is usually much more inexpensive, and you might be able to save a little extra money on tourist passes or other services.
And unless there is some big event or convention, even the hotels in central London will offer rooms at a discount.
Best Time for Weather
Like most of northern Europe, weather can be tricky. If you’re hoping to enjoy some good weather, spring will probably be a better time to visit.
The summer will typically provide the best weather, and this is when most people visit London.
However, since everyone visits during the summer, it’s also the busiest and most expensive time of the year.
Best Time for Outside Attractions
If you want to see attractions like Buckingham Palace, the only time this location offers visiting hours is during the summer.
Thankfully, the Changing of the Guard takes place year-round, and there are plenty of things to see and do around Buckingham Palace which are open or available during other times of the year.
The summer is the busiest season for travel in London and all of England for that matter, but if you really want to see it all, it might also be the best time to visit the city.
Even so, it’s worth noting that you can see most major sites all year round.
Cheapest Times to Visit London
London is not a budget destination, but travelers looking for the best deal on airfare will likely find good prices during off-peak times.
What this means is that you’ll almost never get a good discount during the busiest time of the year.
This rules out a summer visit to London, but both the spring and the fall are excellent alternatives that won’t cost as much.
How Much Can You Save in the Winter?
Hotels in London are almost always busy, so there usually isn’t a season in which you can expect much better prices for your hotel room.
Visitors coming in January or February can expect lower airfare prices and potentially even discounts on tourist passes and fun activities.
How Much Can You Save in the Spring?
In the spring, you’ll usually enjoy at least a few nice days, although there can also be a lot of rain during that time of year as well.
Cheapest Months for Hotel Prices in London
There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to get the best prices on hotels in London.
The most important step is to book your room at least 90 days in advance.
Another key to consider is that prices tend to be lower from January - March than at any other time of the year.
Even so, the normal price is almost $200 per night at its lowest and close to $300 per night at its highest.
This is an expense you will have to be prepared to incur no matter when you choose to visit, though it's worth it to check out searches for discounted hotel deals.
The last thing to consider is coming on a weekend because hotels tend to offer lower prices from Thursday - Sunday.
Cheapest Time to Fly to London
Airfare to London is almost always around $500 for a round-trip ticket between the months of January - May.
Prices also dip to around this level from August - November.
If you want to get the lowest possible price, consider visiting during these months and plan on booking your flight at least 3 weeks in advance.
These are the best ways to save money on airfare.
What Are the Cheapest Times With Good Weather?
The only problem with visiting in the late winter, early spring, and early fall are that you can usually expect at least a little bad weather.
Although the weather isn't great, there are some fun activities to enjoy during the spring and fall, including events like Bonfire Night, music festivals, and more.
The football season typically runs from August-May, so chances are you'll also be able to catch a few matches during this time of year!
Since the weather will be bad, this might also be a good time to see some theatrical events.
There's almost always something at Royal Albert Hall, and typically plenty of great Off-Broadway musicals to attend at theatres in the West End.
You can also escape the rain in London museums such as these:
Things to Know About Visiting During Off-Peak Seasons
One of the nice things about visiting during the off-peak seasons is that there are usually fewer people at the popular attractions.
That said, some attractions are only open during the summer, so you won’t see everything if you come during the winter, spring or fall.
Even so, if you’re trying to avoid the crowds, it helps that the best time of year for this is also the most affordable time to visit London.
Best Months for London Weather
The summer offers the best chance at excellent weather, but it’s also the busiest time of year for tourism in London.
The spring and early fall will most likely be better for visitors trying to avoid the crowds.
In addition to all those fun activities, there are also big events such as Wimbledon, street parties like the Notting Hill Carnival, and plenty of great music festivals to attend.
Best Time of the Year
It’s impossible to know what time of year is best to visit London without understanding the type of experience you want to have while you’re there.
This question is subjective, so consider the following factors before making any decisions.
Do You Want to Avoid Crowds?
If you don’t like being surrounded by a bunch of other people when you visit an attraction, the best time to visit will be during the off-peak seasons.
Despite the bad weather, the late winter is usually an excellent time to avoid crowds and enjoy easy, affordable access to notable sites and activities.
You may also want to consider the early spring and early fall months.
Do You Want to See Sites Like Buckingham Palace?
Locations like Buckingham Palace are only open during the summer, which limits the time frame in which you can visit if you want to see these attractions.
If you want to experience everything, consider coming in the summer. Just keep in mind it won’t be cheap and it will be crowded!
Do You Want to Avoid Bad Weather?
If the weather is a big concern and you really don’t like rainy days, it’s hard to beat the summer.
That said, if you’re also trying to save money, you might want to consider either the spring or fall.
Although there is often some rain in the spring and fall, it’s not as bad or as cold outside as it is during the winter.
Are You Trying to Save Money?
As we explained in the section on cheapest times to visit London, if you’re looking for great deals on airfare and other things, the late winter months of January and February will be your best bet.
Of course, in addition to excellent prices, you can also expect cold weather, a lot of rain or snow, and some attractions will be closed.
Considering All Factors
If you’re trying to save money, you want to enjoy some good weather, and avoiding crowds is important, the best time of year to visit London is probably March or April.
You might not get to visit Buckingham Palace at this time, but most other attractions will be open.
During this time of year, you can also expect that the weather will likely be nice for at least part of your visit, airfare prices will usually be cheap, and there won’t be as many tourists crowding popular sites.
Early spring is definitely the compromise between London’s busy peak season for tourism and the colder, less desirable months to visit.
Each Month in Perspective
This section will provide an idea of what to expect when you visit London, with information about various activities and attractions you might want to experience during each month.
If you're trying to save money on airfare, January is one of the best months to visit London.
While some activities won't make much sense during this time of year, there are plenty of fun things to see and do both indoors and outdoors.
Many ice skating rinks will still be open at the beginning of this month, and you might even notice a few holiday lighting displays are still up as well.
If you're here on January 1st, you might want to consider attending the New Year's Day Parade.
There are also a lot of great museums to visit which allow you to escape the gloomy and cold weather, including locations such as the British Museum, the National Gallery, and the Tate Modern.
Another fun idea is to see an Off-Broadway musical in London's West End.
While there will typically be a bit of snow this month, and it's usually quite cold, there are still quite a few reasons to consider visiting during this time of year.
For more ideas, make sure to check our post covering things to do in London in January.
This is another great time to visit if you want to save money on airfare, but there's not as much to do in London during the month of February.
Most of the same activities you can enjoy in January will also be a good idea during this month, with the exception of some ice skating rinks, as many of the locations constructed for the holidays will be closing for the season.
You can still expect some snow and plenty of cold weather this month, so a lot of outdoor activities won't be a good idea during February.
If you do want to get out of the house, there are usually at least a few different football matches to attend in London this month.
This is also usually the month when Kew Gardens hosts their Orchid Festival, giving you a glimpse of the colors of spring that are just around the corner.
For additional ideas, read our full post covering things to do in London during February.
Spring is almost here, so the weather is more likely to be a bit warmer this month than during the winter.
If you manage to visit during one of the warmer days of the month, you might even want to consider an outdoor activity like one of our pay-what-you-wish London walking tours!
This is also the month of Mother's Day, so if you're visiting with a mother, you might want to consider planning out a nice dinner or perhaps even an afternoon tea.
With the weather getting warmer, this might also be a good time to visit one of the many beautiful parks of London, including locations such as Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
March is of course the month of St. Patrick's Day, so you can look forward to a parade that runs from Piccadilly Circus to Whitehall and plenty of green beer being served at pubs all over the city.
For even more ideas, consider reading our post on things to do in London in March.
This is the month when the weather finally gets warm enough for a variety of fun outdoor activities, including pay-what-you-wish walking tours or even a cruise down the river Thames.
This is also when you'll start to see a lot more concerts taking place in London, including major events such as the Underbelly Festival. Whatever you decide to do this month,
For more ideas, make sure to look at our post covering things to do in London during April.
While March and April are both usually great times to visit the public gardens of London, it's worth noting that May is the month of the Chelsea Flower Show.
If you're looking to enjoy the colors of spring, this is one of the best events to attend all year long!
Chances are there will be more warm days in May than during previous months, so this would also be a good time to visit some of the more noteworthy attractions such as the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, and more.
The only problem with visiting in May is that it's pretty close to the peak season for tourism in London, which means you can expect much higher prices for airfare.
This is usually one of the best months for concerts and musicals, so if you're looking for a show to attend, make sure to read our post covering things to do in London in May, where we provide details about the best live performances and theatrical shows.
This is the first month of summer, and you should expect airfare to be at its most expensive during the summer months.
You might be able to get some good deals earlier in the month, but chances are it won't be cheap to visit in June.
One of the best things about visiting London in the summer is that all the best attractions are usually open during this time of year, including attractions like the London Eye and View from the Shard, because there are typically a lot of clear, sunny days; there are also a lot more cruises down the river Thames during this time of year.
As with other warm months, you can usually expect several noteworthy musical artists to be performing in June.
This is also usually the month of West End Live, an annual event in Trafalgar Square where you can enjoy some of the most popular musicals for free!
For even more ideas, consider looking at our post covering things to do in London in June.
This is one of the warmest months of the year in London, so you should be prepared to wear lighter clothing and use sunscreen.
If you're interested in seeing Buckingham Palace, this is typically the month when the State Rooms are opened to the public for a relatively short time (usually until September or October).
During the summer months, you might want to consider getting out on the river Thames on one of the many cruises throughout London.
This is also the month of Wimbledon, so fans of tennis might want to consider attending this event.
Hampton Court Palace hosts their annual flower show this month, and it's one of the last major events of its type for the year.
As usual, this is as good a time as any during the summer to see historic attractions and/or visit one of the many observation decks in the city.
For even more ideas, take a look at our post covering things to do in London during July.
It's still going to be quite warm in London during August, so you'll more than likely still require comfortable clothing and sunscreen if you choose to visit in August.
This is also the month of the Notting Hill Carnival, an annual celebration of Caribbean culture in London.
August is also when you can visit St. Paul's Cathedral after hours, as they will remain open until 9:30 pm on Thursday nights.
With the weather being warm, you might want to consider going on a pub crawl throughout London to discover some of the most historic and beloved pubs in the city.
For additional activities, check our post covering things to do in London in August.
Although the weather does tend to get a bit cooler in September, it's not always exactly a sudden and steep decline in temperatures.
If you're interested in outdoor activities such as a pay-what-you-wish London walking tour, this would be as good of a time as any!
This is usually the month of the Great River Race, also known as London's River Marathon, a boat race with more than 300 crews from around the world competing.
Speaking of the river race, September is also the month of the Totally Thames Festival, during which families can expect several fun activities such as face painting and regattas.
September also brings London Fashion Week, so anyone who is interested in the fashion world might want to attend some of those events.
For more ideas, make sure to read our post about things to do in London in September.
This is around the time when you can expect airfare prices to drop significantly, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to do during the month of October.
On the contrary, there are still plenty of great concerts to attend, musicals to see, and even some football matches you might enjoy.
The weather will start to get cold in October, and you can expect a decent amount of rain, so make sure to carry an umbrella with you wherever you go.
Although Halloween isn't celebrated much in London (or really England as a whole), there are usually at least a few events you might want to attend this month, including the Festival of the Dead.
For additional ideas, take a look at our post covering things to do in London during October.
If you're interested in saving money on airfare, this is one of the better times to visit London.
Early in November, you can look forward to Bonfire Night, otherwise known as Guy Fawkes Night, and you can expect to see a lot of fireworks during this public holiday.
Despite the cold weather, there are usually a lot of great musicals to see and concerts to attend this month.
November is also typically the month of the Regent Street Motor Show, a free event with a lot of interesting cars on display and interactive exhibits to enjoy.
This is also when they hold the Lord Mayor's Show, a parade of sorts that celebrates the new Lord Mayor of London.
For even more ideas, check our post about things to do in London in November.
If you visit in December, chances are that airfare will be quite affordable.
One of the benefits of visiting during December is the opportunity to experience this beautiful city during Christmas time.
We actually have a full post covering all of the fun and festive Christmas activities you can enjoy in London.
We also have posts about the following holiday tours and attractions:
- London Christmas Tours
- 9 London Christmas Markets
- Best London Christmas Lights
- 30 Christmas Shows in London
- Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
- Somerset House Ice Skating Rink
As you can see, there are plenty of great holiday festivities and celebrations to enjoy in London during December, so if you're visiting with family, you might want to consider traveling during this month.
Just a week after Christmas Day is of course New Year's Eve with its fireworks, champagne, and parties.
Following that, the New Year's Day Parade is another excellent family activity.
Even if you're not interested in public holidays like Christmas, you can still enjoy other holiday events during this time of year.
Speaking of saving money, Boxing Day is an annual sales event that typically takes place on the day after Christmas.
If you choose to visit during the month of December, this is a great opportunity to do some shopping as well!