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.
The seasons can play a part when deciding to move to the UK. 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. Yes, that’s right there can be snow over winter and heatwaves during 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.
Cost of airfares and accommodation
The cost of airfares and accommodation can influence when you move to the UK. If you can plan ahead as to when you move to London 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. I recommend you shop around to see what airline, date and price suits you. Not only visit travel agents but look at on-line booking sites such as Skyscanner that allow you to compare airlines and pricing.
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 when they move to London. 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 such as a tour of Europe.
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. I recommend Hostel World for your hostel bookings and Booking.com and Hotels Combined if you want a small hotel room or B&B. Check out their websites where you can search and compare them. Then book your accommodation at the best rate and what suits you and your budget..
Availability of work
The availability of work can also influence when you move to London. 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 on an organised tour or a rail pass lasting months. It is also a time when many visitors come to London to sightsee so workplaces are often seeking casuals for the summer months. This is great news for those seeking work in hospitality, administration, medical, trades, etc. However, if you want teaching work, the school year finishes at the beginning of summer and there is a long 6-8 week break so teachers may want to avoid moving to London at this time.
But work is available year-round. Just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean work stops happening. In fact you might want to find a position in one of the Scottish Ski Resorts. Read our blog about getting a job in a Scottish Ski Resort.
Tourist spots and special events
Seeing tourist spots and attending special events can also play a part when you move to London, particularly if there is something you really want to do and attend.
Many move to London 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. Or simply visiting all the tourist spots like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Horse Guards, Harrods, etc. London is an easy town to get around or you can get on and off a BigBus. The LondonBigBus will help you become oriented with London and what there is to see and do. Then you can go back and visit them. You can book your ticket on the London’s BigBus here.
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. So when considering to move to London is a saving of $200 worth it if you miss out on something you really want to experience?
Whenever you choose to move to London I’m sure you will have a great time. My biggest tip is to ensure you take out travel insurance. I recommend World Nomads. They offer very competitive rates and I have used them a number of times to cover me for my travels including when I moved to London.