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Best time for London

Marcia3641

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When would be the best time to travel to London? Looking for a time when it's not raining and not to hot. I can deal with the cold but don't want to be trapped in doors during my vacation so I don't really want it to be raining. Thanks in advance.

Marcia3641
 

Keitht

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'Not too hot' is the easy bit. You may experience humid and hot conditions for a few days at a time in mid-summer, but that's comparatively rare. 'Not raining' is much harder to fulfil. England isn't described as "A green and pleasant land" without good cause.:) Rain is possible at any time of year although there is less of it between about June & September. An indication of just how unpredictable our weather is, was the major floods experienced in June and July 2007. They were caused by the heaviest rainfall recorded in about 100 years. We may go weeks without rain, but equally we can have summers where we seem to get rain most days. The UK quite simply doesn't have the settled weather patterns of large continental areas such as the US or mainland Europe.
This may all sound like doom and gloom, but the fact that the weather is unpredictable means you are just as likely to get dry weather - just don't bank on it.
The best advice is to put together a list of things you can do inside and outside, but remain flexible about your itinerary. The risk of rain is no reason not to visit London, or the rest of the UK. There is so much to see and do it really doesn't need to be a problem.
With the strength of the $ against the £ again it's certainly great value for money.
 

lscott

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We have been to London 3 times the last week of April/first of May and had ideal weather each time. May have just been lucky; it is probably not a rule.
 

x3 skier

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The best advice is to put together a list of things you can do inside and outside, but remain flexible about your itinerary. The risk of rain is no reason not to visit London, or the rest of the UK. There is so much to see and do it really doesn't need to be a problem.
With the strength of the $ against the £ again it's certainly great value for money.
I have been to London at every time of the year and can say without reservation, anytime is a good time. So much to do and see that you can have an enjoyable experience regardless of the weather.

Cheers
 

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I've been there twice. Once in September and once in October. I was really cold on the trip in October, so the next time it was a September trip.

September was still sunny, not too cold (maybe warm to you if you didn't live in S. California), and the crowds were gone.

Part of the joy of London is walking around the town (the first trip we took the subway everywhere until we learned that you could walk to most of the "attractions" and by walking you discovered some wonderful things). If it rained, you would miss the opportunity to walk around and enjoy the sights. No rain or snow for me - not in London.
 

Timeshare Von

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I've been twice, May and November, and both times it was variable and included rain. As someone else said, just get out and enjoy it, whatever the weather brings.
 

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Agree with X3 that London is decent almost any time of the year.

I've been there in January & February when one needs layering more than a heavy coat to be outside ( and a hat since my pate is thinning these days ;) ). Though any time of the year is good for a London visit, temperatures may occassionaly be more dodgy November thru March. And one never quite knows when spring ( or even summer ) is really going to arrive. But in general, London is surprisingly temperate given it's northern latitude and you can visit most any time of the year and enjoy yourself. As to the rain and London. It's mostly overstated. Unless an Atlantic storm drops over on you, London's "rain" is more typically a day of clouds, some spritzes or even a spell of rain, bursts of sun, and back to bright clouds. More often than not, even the official weather forecast is wrong ( so watching forecasts beforehand is of limited utility). London is more about how you dress & carrying a small umbrella just in case.

My only suggestion is to arrive with a flexible itinerary, not one which is planned out by the day, hour, & minute. This is the formula for disappointment if the weather gods are temporarily against you. If it's wet, you've got a museum/shopping day ahead of you. If it's bright and clear, then you walk the streets & do things like the London Eye, Tower of London, Greenwhich, or even excursions out of the city to places such as Hampton Court. And do keep in mind that London is a fantastic walking city. The Underground is there to jump between points ( or to dodge the rain ).

The only thing my wife and I ever lock up in advance is our theater tickets. Since we get to London infrequently, we try to get the better seats. We've found that buying on-line direct from the theater box office often nets the better seats. Also try looking at Theater Monkey which has seat maps & reviews along with other tid bits. We also plan a few nights at our favorite restaurants, though the order we do so is decided once we arrive. Otherwise, our trips are always ad hoc. We have yet to have a bad London visit.

Have fun planning your London journey. I already know that you will have a good time.

Barry
 

Keitht

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But in general, London is surprisingly temperate given it's northern latitude and you can visit most any time of the year and enjoy yourself.
That's a very good point. The UK is warmed by the Gulf Stream and so our temperatures are generally higher than might be expected by somebody used to travelling to similar latitudes in North America.
 

lprstn

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I am happy to hear that...I have a trade for Apr. 24th, 2010 and was wondering if that was a good time to go. Now I am happy to have gotten that trade. Thanks for the information...
 

nerodog

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Hi, APril is a good time as the flowers may be blooming already.. depending on the gulf stream and weather in general... we were there this past April into the beginning of May and found the weather to be just fine... London is such an interesting place in any kind of weather but of course the outdoors stuff should be done without the rain !! Pray tell, where is your fabulous exchange in London in 2010 ?!?!?( I have an ongoing search for England so just wondering !!!) Recommend the London Eye during your stay and Richoux tea rooms... one across the street from Harrods and one in Piccadily.... others too, they have a nice web site.:)
 

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Two additional considerations....

Agree with others, don't worry so much about the weather as it changes hour to hour. I've been in all seasons and you can get 65 degrees and bright sunshine in early February, or 55 degrees and cold rain in July.

I think there are two more important considerations. If you go in the summer, the tourist sites are unbelievably busy and you'll spend a lot of time waiting in lines. Also, air conditioning is rare and if you do get a hot spell, the combination of the crowds, heat, and lack of air can be unpleasant.

If you go in late November, December or January, prepare for short days. The UK is farther north than any part of North American (except Alaska) and in the winter months, you won't have a lot of true daylight. That being said, December is our favorite time to go because of all the Christmas activities.
 

Larry

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Agree with others, don't worry so much about the weather as it changes hour to hour. I've been in all seasons and you can get 65 degrees and bright sunshine in early February, or 55 degrees and cold rain in July.

I think there are two more important considerations. If you go in the summer, the tourist sites are unbelievably busy and you'll spend a lot of time waiting in lines. Also, air conditioning is rare and if you do get a hot spell, the combination of the crowds, heat, and lack of air can be unpleasant.

If you go in late November, December or January, prepare for short days. The UK is farther north than any part of North American (except Alaska) and in the winter months, you won't have a lot of true daylight. That being said, December is our favorite time to go because of all the Christmas activities.
We are confirmed for end of November/beginning of December, 2009 and leaving a couple of days early to include Thanksgiving since both my wife and I get two days off work so will be in London for 9 days and only need to take 5 days off from work. Staying at Allen House and hope to see as much as possible. We will start researching all of the indoor sights such as museums to be done on any rainy days and spend days outdoors as much as possible during the day when there is some hopefully nice weather. Any and all recommendations for our first trip to London would be appreciated.

It shouldn't be as cold as NY so will just bring enough clothes to be prepared for any type of weather. Will also do some theater at night.:cheer: :banana:
 

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December suggestions for Larry...

Larry, here are a couple of our favorite things to do in London in December. These are both off the beaten track for tourists but will definitely give you the flavor of a British Christmas.

See a panto--there are dozens playing in London starting in early December from the West End stages to community playhouses. Our favorite venue is the Hackney Empire, which is in the East End.

http://www.hackneyempire.co.uk/817/shows/mother-goose-hackney-empires-10th-anniversary-panto.html

What is a panto? I can't think of an American equivalent. But they are delightful fun. You'll miss a lot of the inside jokes, but it won't matter.

http://gouk.about.com/od/entertainmentandnightlife/f/what_is_panto.htm

Visit the Geffrye Museum's Christmas exhibit--The Geffrye Museum is also in the East End--it's a converted almshouse which specializes in the history of British interiors. They do a Christmas exhibit every year where they decorate their period rooms in the style of Christmas from the 1600s on up to the present. It's really interesting to see the evolution of Christmas customs and decor. They also have a wonderful restaurant where you can get one of the best (and most reasonably priced) afternoon teas in London. (The museum itself is also free--so an afternoon spent here is one of London's better bargains).

http://www.geffrye-museum.org.uk/
 

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Any and all recommendations for our first trip to London would be appreciated.
I always buy a 7 day London Travelcard for zones 1 and 2 when staying in London. It allows me to use busses and the underground/tube in these zones. Then, whenever it makes sense (for example, not raining), I use the bus rather than the underground, which allows me to learn and see much more of London than using the tube. Busses are frequently less crowded and quicker than the tube. See http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/faresandtickets/1059.aspx
 

3kids4me

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'Not too hot' is the easy bit. You may experience humid and hot conditions for a few days at a time in mid-summer, but that's comparatively rare.
Hahahahahahaha...oh sorry, bad flashback.... :)
 

Larry

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Thanks Janie and David I have saved your recommendations to my favorite places and will have them available before our trip.

Anyone else have some more recommendations please keep them coming.:whoopie: :hi: :cheer:
 

nerodog

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good site to help with LOndon anytime of the year

Check out golondon.guide@about.com Laura Porter.. lots of good info for any time of the year... very current....
 

clsmit

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We just got back yesterday from a week in London. What a blast! It was chilly (low 30's every day) and dark early (sundown at 4pm) but we had fun regardless. Lots of layers and brisk walking made it more bearable. What to do:

London Eye -- see the city from a great vantage point. Do it early on whatever sunny day you have. We bought our tickets when we found a good day to go, not in advance.

Big Bus or Original Bus tour -- to give you an idea of where everything is. Both have websites and similar routes so just pick one. We did Big Bus but I don't think it really matters.

Tower of London/Crown Jewels -- see the Queen's bling. Pretty big rocks. Lots of British history.

Westminster Abbey -- beautiful church, lots of dead people, Coronation chair.

High Tea -- lots of places to get it. We did Harrod's because we were there when it was tea time.

If you play tennis, go to Wimbledon (the All England Tennis Club) and take the tour or just do the museum.

Consider a day trip to Stonehenge (some people think it's neat, others think it's a bunch of rocks on a plain) and/or Bath and/or Windsor Castle and/or Stratford Upon Avon and/or Oxford and/or Cambridge. Lots of tours available online to go to a few of those in one day. Pick what works for your interests and price range.

If you like museums, the British Museum, the British Library, the V&A, the Tate/Tate Modern, and many others have great permanent and temporary exhibits. We also really liked the Cabinet War Rooms/Churchill Museum, which had where the British Government kept themselves during WWII.

I bought the Rick Steeve's book and the Michelin Green Guide and they were both very helpful describing where everything was and what to look at. We also bought the London Mapguide book by Michael Middleditch, which I carried around to see how to get where we wanted to go. It has bus routes and a detailed map of central London.

Have a great time!
 

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Having lived in UK for 2 years a while back and going back semi-regularly since then, anytime is fine although London does not cope well with the very occasional snow.

Spent New Years week in London last week and was a little harder to get good theatre tickets or deals for theatre. Ended up doing the box office thing and the half price ticket booth once: Usually tend to use lastminute.com to prebook if I can.
 

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best time is June, for one reason

best time for London is June, and for one reason alone......

it's called "Trooping the Colour", and it's a spectacle of a parade which happens on three consecutive Saturdays....it's a celebration of the Queen's birthday, so they have a parade , with the first two Saturdays a "trial run" in full dress (for practice, but in full dress and everything), only the Queen's carriage is empty....the third and final Saturday has the Queen riding in her royal carriage.

See : http://www.trooping-the-colour.co.uk/.


the whole thing is replete with all the royal horses, the royal cannons, guns, musicians, several branches of the guards and soldiers, all dressed in full RED and Black uniforms with various hats, including the tall, fuzzy ones. I've never seen such a spectacle anywhere, and we happened upon it by accident......it proceeds out of Buckingham Palace, travels down the "Mall" (the long road which approaches the palace), and into the courtyard where the actual celebration and presentation takes place in front of the Queen. Dignitaries watch there from the bleachers alongside the Queen, which are set up according to each family's military and social standing, etc.

The part to see, tho, is the parade down the Mall, and you will be able to get within feet of the whole thing......you can almost "reach out and touch" each horse and soldier, and it puts the "changing of the guard" to SHAME. The changing of the Guard involves only a few soldiers, whereas the Trooping the Colour involves HUNDREDS...absolutely amazing, and it's all totally FREE. just get there and get a good spot anywhere along the route about an hour prior, but it's not at all hard to get a great spot.......it's a mile of both sides of the road, so there's lots of room, and the kids have a ball watching the gorgeous horses!!! Those animals are amazing!!! White stallions, gray stallions, black stallions.....all perfect!

Google it and take a look. you'll never regret it, and it's seldom mentioned....we've done it twice, and it made our trips! Also, June is quite pleasant, with wonderful temps, and the flowers are also blooming all over the city........couldn't be a better time. And it's not COLD or HOT. good luck, marty (jme)
 
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