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WHEN TO GO TO LONDON?

Hello all, ok, we are opening our minds for our 2013 London trip and have a question...consider all things...weather, events and from what I hear, a large influx of foreign temporary residents during the summer which I would imagine would drive up rental prices, when would you recommend going to London and why? Thanks so much!

Posted by
509 posts

Hi Normand I suspect you will hear from a lot of people telling you to go in the off season, when things are less touristy/crowded. I have the opposite advice. My most recent visit was my first during July/August, and I loved it. First of all, it was easy to travel with just carry on luggage, because I didn't need lots of warm sweaters, wool socks, etc. Second, on past trips it has been both wet and cold, and that can be miserable when you are out and about all day. Third, there are more hours of daylight in the summer, a lot of attractions are open longer, and you can do/see more every day. Yes, the crowds are bigger. But if you plan carefully and arrive at key attractions early in the morning or at othr less crowded times, you can beat the crowds. I suspect to be in the minority on this one, but after our last trip, it will be summer every time for me!

Posted by
27437 posts

a large influx of foreign temporary residents eh? come again? What large influx of foreign temporary residents? Most immigrant workers are on farms way out in the countryside. They don't affect London in the slightest.

Posted by
6245 posts

Spring. May is nice. BTW London is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world AND rental prices are always high. Expensive city but can be seen on a budget if you plan well. Suggest you buy a copy of Rick's London Guidebook and read it cover to cover. Very insightful.

Posted by
1986 posts

May was very nice and fresh, flowers in the parks, not quite as busy as Summer. We have had some hot humid Summers in London (and some wet, rainy ones, and some wonderful ones). September is good. December, days are short, but you can still enjoy. My favorite would be May

Posted by
31435 posts

Normand, Travelling in either the spring (May/June) or fall (September/October) shoulder seasons would be the time that I'd choose. The weather should be fairly decent (of course no guarantees) and the crowds should be less than in July and August. Cheers!

Posted by
964 posts

Here's another vote for May. But don't expect cheaper hotels- they charge like the Light Brigade all year round.

Posted by
1943 posts

Me too, much prefer spring or autumn, not sure how much fewer crowds are but assume less than summer. I just prefer not to travel July and August.

Posted by
11450 posts

I have been to London four times. Three times in either july or august, once in march. Weather in March sucked, cold, sleeting and rainy wind every day. Weather on all three summer trips. NOT great, mix bag, but never hot , and always a bit of rain on every visit. My choice would be late May thru September, I didn't find the crowds overwhelming in summer, ( some peope have an issue with that, but I just don't) but I did have an issue with cold rain wet sleet,, and at least in summer months its not freezing cold even if it rains . Prices, well I think they are pretty steady unless you go in maybe january or something, personally saving 100 GBPs for a weeks hotel stay is not worth going in winter. Restaurant prices don't change, attraction prices don't change. So really , why not go in better months is my attitude.

Posted by
1020 posts

Over 40 years I've been to London many times on business and pleasure. Every month of the year can see good and bad weather. The seasons generally hold true, but are only a rough guide. You may recall that the Jubilee celebration this past June was affected by some cool, rainy days. But the latter part of May was fair and delightful. The point has been made about the long days of summer which is a big factor for getting the most of a visit. In addition, trading the heat of our Summer for the usually cooler temps of Great Britain should be considered. Having said that, August in London is occasionally quite hot, so if that's when you visit a hotel room with AC would be good insurance for a good night's sleep. My English wife and I joke that the only difference in packing for a trip to England in Summer and in Winter is putting in shorts and sandals or heavy coats and boots. Otherwise we pack layers for varying temperatures and of course umbrellas. You never know what weather you'll encounter whenever you go. The advantages of off-peak season travel are well known and don't need to be repeated, but I'll mention one experience we had as an illustration. We visited family in England one Christmas. Our London hotel was a short walk from Westminster Abbey. We strolled over with our boys one morning and found it almost free of tourists. As a boys choir rehearsed Christmas carols, we wandered around and saw everything undisturbed by crowds. We had Poets Corner to ourselves for awhile. London is expensive whenever you go, but Summer has higher hotel prices.

Posted by
36 posts

We just got back from England and, although slightly chilly, we were lucky that it didn't rain much. It's likely to do that in Nov! As stated, prices really don't change, London is always, always expensive. Pro is that there aren't the crowds, con is the weather and the fact that it's dark by 4 or 5. Must say that the weather is always dicy and depends on your luck! To us, anytime is a good time in England.

Posted by
3580 posts

My favorite travel month for Northern Europe is September, with May my second choice. For Spain and Italy, May or late Sept to mid Oct would be my choices. The weather is fairly mild during these months and everything is still open. By November, some venues close down for the winter in Britain. Hotel rates sometimes depend on high season vs low season. This can be determined by going to the hotel's website. Use hotels.com or venere.com to find hotels. Check their rates. Sometimes the rate difference is so slight that it isn't enough to make you plan your vacation around the lower rate. If you go to London in Sept, Buckingham Palace is open to the public. It requires a ticket and reservation but is worth it. I've been three times; the tour varies every year.

Posted by
1284 posts

Hey Norm - Many years ago I went to London in summer, July, and swore I never would again due to the crowds. I remember more than once walking on a sidewalk and having to step down in the street to get past those people coming toward me who filled up the sidewalk. The Tube was packed too. Maybe I overreacted but there were lots of students, lots of tourists. I would follow those who recommend May or September/October.

Posted by
27437 posts

a large influx of middle eastern families that summer in London. That's news to me... but then there are so many millions of people in London, and even more in the surrounding area, that I wouldn't notice. We have all sorts here, and they're all welcome. We even have mosques.

Posted by
1425 posts

We have been to London many times at various times of the year. Last year we were there in September and this year in May. It rained a good share of the time both visits; however, we have been there in these months in other years, and it's been dry and sunny. We just prepare for whatever could come and enjoy it.

Posted by
18 posts

thanks all for the info, looks like may or september are favorites . Regarding the interest in "foreign temporary residents", we had heard (and I realize of course that much of what one "hears" these days is bunk, but not having visited London before we did now know) that there is a large influx of middle eastern families that summer in London. Our concern was only for rental apartments since we generally do not stay in hotels, and we thought that if that were the case it would drive up rentals, thereby making a spring or fall visit better, but from what many of you have said combined with our past experiences both in England and in Paris, I think we will go in may or September. thanks again!!

Posted by
9110 posts

We even have mosques. Dang those Brits that don't look just like me. It's about time for the Barking mosque tale again.

Posted by
270 posts

London is always busy and expensive. I think any time from May to September is a good time weather wise. I was last in London in early October and I payed top dollar for accomodation due a large influx of fashionistas. It was London Fashion Week.

Posted by
1010 posts

Hello. My husband and I have been in London four times, in four years. We usually go in May or early June. It gets more crowded in June though. We have also been there at the end of September in 2011. We prefer May though. It is so nice, as it stays light until 11:00 PM in May and June. That way you can get in a lot of touring. You can be out romaing the streets, or taking the Tube late at night, without any worries. Once we have stayed there for a minimum of seven nights and stayed there for two weeks the other three times. We absolutely love London, Bath, York, Cambridge, etc. We have stayed at the Crowne Plaza Kensington for three visits. This last time we stayed at the Doubletree in Westminister. We loved both hotels though. The Doubletree is a short walk away from Parliament, Westminister Abbey, the museum, Big Ben, etc. Our room was adjacent to the Thames. We could see the Thames from our 8th floor room. We used Hilton hotel points and the room included a nice breakast.

Posted by
18 posts

we even have mosques? what does THAT mean Nigel? My comment was vague purposefully until you specifically ASKED what I meant. I could care less WHO goes into London in the summer, my intent was simply to evaluate the rental market and whether or not it was inflated due to an influx of summer "foreign" (meaning anyone not a normal resident of London or England) temporary residents. So tiresome Nigel. Ed, please tell me the Barking Mosque tale!!

Posted by
6245 posts

Normand might have been best to use the term tourist instead of foreign temporary residents or middle eastern families. EASILY misinterpreted. Something like, Does the influx of tourists drive up the rental rates in the summer season? Is their a cheaper season to travel to London? Again, I suggest buying and reading the RS guidebook which has a wealth of insightful and practical information about one of the most diversely interesting cities on the planet. Enjoy your September sojourn.

Posted by
1010 posts

It is so lovley to be in London in May. Plus it doesn't get dark at night until 11:00 PM.

Posted by
964 posts

May is a good time to be here in the UK. Norm, I'm pretty sure Nigel was being 'tongue in cheek'.