Any time is a good time to visit London, although the seasons, the cost of airfares and accommodation, the availability of work, finishing your studies and the possibility of attending special events can all play a major role as to when you actually go.
I have read many times that UK weather is temperate. I have found there to be four quite distinct seasons with very cold winters and heatwaves in summer.
If you prefer the warmth you are better off arriving in late spring or summer as during mid-winter the temperature can hover around single Celsius figures. After British Summer Time (equivalent to daylight saving in Australia) finishes in October, the UK averages only a few hours of daylight each day. Some days don’t brighten up until mid- morning and become dark again mid-afternoon.
Don’t let cold weather deter you though; winter can be a magical time of year. The Christmas lights shine in Regent Street, chestnuts are roasted on street corners, shoppers scurry to the sales or you could enjoy a warm ale by a log fire on a cold and wet night in one of the many pubs.
Airfares and accommodation
If you can plan ahead you can usually get a better deal on an airfare. The further ahead you plan the better chance you have of getting a seat for the lowest price on your preferred airline and date.
There are high, low and shoulder season airfares. Airfares are most expensive during the high season of May to August when it is summer. The low season is February/March when the country is coming out of the grip of winter while April is the shoulder season.
Some travellers prefer to leave as close as possible to the end of the low season to take advantage of a cheaper airfare. The difference in price from low to high can be a few hundred dollars. In ‘traveller terms’ this can mean a couple of weeks hostel accommodation or the deposit on your next adventure.
With the influx of tourists during the warmer months accommodation prices can skyrocket with the main tourist spots being overcrowded. Paying high prices can eat in to your budget very quickly.
It is advisable to book accommodation in advance as you might not secure a bed during the busy times. We recommend Hostel World for your hostel bookings and Hotels Combined if you want a small hotel room or B&B.
Summer time is when many British take their holidays and flee to European hotspots. This is also the time when many working holiday makers who arrived the year before and settled in for winter take off on their European jaunts lasting months. It is also a time when many visitors come to London so workplaces are often seeking casuals for the summer months which is great news for those seeking work in hospitality, administration, medical, trades, etc.
Many arrive in time to enjoy the traditional British spring and summer social events. These include the Grand National horse race, Oxford vs Cambridge Universities Boat Race, Wimbledon Tennis Championship, the Royal Tournament, Henley Regatta and for the sailors, Cowes week. Royalists will love the pomp and pageantry of Ascot and the Trooping of the Colour.
The UK has many special events and sometimes the importance of seeing a particular place in the best weather conditions or attending a special event should take precedence over the cost of an airfare and accommodation. Is a saving of $200 worth it if you miss out on something you really want to experience?
Whenever you choose to go to London I’m sure you will have a great time. Our biggest tip is to ensure you take out travel insurance. We recommend World Nomads. They offer very competitive rates and we have used them many times for our travel insurance.