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The best time to visit London

Unsure when to take a trip to London? Here’s our guide to the events and activities you can expect from each season

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A miniature telephone box surrounded by giant autumn leaves.
© Joyce Hernández Helleman

London is great for visitors all year round – our awesome museumsgalleries and theatres don’t have a seasonal lull and the capital’s nightlife and restaurant scene blazes brightly from January to December but you’ll need to tailor some activities to the season. Autumn is a good time to enjoy crisp walks, cosy pubs and fireworks. In November and December, you can hit up an ice rink and gawp at magical Christmas lights, while summer is peak time for outdoor festivals. But remember, London’s weather sure is unpredictable, so you’d be wise to pack an umbrella whatever time of year you hit town.

The best time to visit London

Daffodils and people sunbathing in St. James's Park
© Jacqueline Lau

Spring

Londoners jump for joy when blossom-filled March arrives (not really, but we definitely smile a bit more) and there are plenty of events to help visitors make the most of the longer daylight hours. Join the sea of green leprechaun floats, traditional musicians and squads of Irish dancers when the St Patrick’s Day parade rolls around. Get your flower fix at Kew Gardens’s spectacular Orchid Festival or celebrate International Women’s Day at the Southbank Centres WOW – Women of the World festival.

Backyard Cinema
© Backyard Cinema

Summer

Summer in London is a scorcher. Not due to the temperature but because there are so many hot events to pack in. The city’s parks are ripe for music festivals while the (usually) warmer weather allows for alfresco dining and hours spent unwinding at one of London’s best rooftop bars or snuggled up in front of an outdoor cinema screen. July sees the arrival of Wimbledonwhile the August bank holiday weekend is all about Europe’s biggest street party: Notting Hill Carnival.

 

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Autumn colours in Regents Park
© Mendhak, Flickr

Autumn

Londoners don’t hibernate just because the nights are drawing in. Autumn sees fancy dress fans gear up for Halloween, while film buffs make a beeline for October’s London Film Festival. In November, the city’s sky is lit up with fireworks as Bonfire Night celebrations burst into life, followed by the Lord Mayor’s Show. As London’s trees turn from luscious green to burnt orange, you’ll find many people content to cosy up with a glass of something boozy in one of the capital’s many characterful pubs with fires.

Regent Street Christmas Lights
© BBA Photography/Shutterstock.com

Winter

Winter is the season to be chilly and drink gallons of mulled wine. Christmas lights illuminate the capital, ice rinks appear and winter pop-ups pop up: think Thames-side igloos and cosy ski lodges. On the lookout for gifts? Wander around a fairy-lit Christmas market or brave the January sales. London also throws a damn good party on New Year’s Eve. And if you’re lucky, there might even be a smattering of snow.

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