London Best time to visit and what to pack

Table of Contents

When is the best time to visit London? 

London is a fantastic destination at any time of the year. Its numerous attractions are designed for both indoor and outdoor fun. The city’s mild climate means there are hardly any weather restrictions for your family holiday. 

When is London most crowded? 

Summer in London is a popular tourist season, with holidaymakers from all over the world storming the capital. June, July, and August usually see the school break around the globe. Expect London to be crowded with families exploring the museums, queuing outside the landmarks such as London Eye and filling the outdoor verandas for al fresco dining.

December is another busy month due to the Christmas shopping season in London.  

Holidays and festivals in London 

London is a diverse, multicultural hub with large ethnic communities from every corner of the Earth. Most religious and cultural holidays are celebrated in town. 

The year ends and starts with a fabulous New Year’s Eve party on Trafalgar Square on the night from the 31st December to the 1st January. The fireworks light up the sky while people hug, kiss and wish each other a wonderful year. 

It is followed by Chinese New Year. Chinatown is decorated with thousands of red lanterns and other festive symbols. The crowds of Londoners head to the district to take pictures and enjoy the wonders of traditional and modern Chinese cuisine.

Easter, usually in April, is a religious holiday and a beautiful tradition that marks the start of the spring after the long winter months. Yellow daffodils, colourful flowery bonnets, Easter egg decoration, hot cross buns and Easter egg hunts are a few things that make this time so special for the families. 

Eid celebration gathers together the members of a large London Muslim community. Diwali, the festival of lights, is also celebrated on Trafalgar Square and attracts thousands of local Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. Hanukkah is another beautiful tradition high up on London’s events calendar. 

There are multiple smaller religious and cultural celebrations, international exhibitions and themed festivals throughout the year in London. Notting Hill Carnival takes place every August. The Queen’s Birthday is marked in June. The Guy Fawkes night, aka the Bonfire Night, lights up the sky with a myriad of fireworks in November. Mega popular Pride takes place in June or July. 

Halloween is a big success amongst Londoners. And this is not only for its pumpkin-spiced lattes and fancy decor. Children and adults alike dress in their scariest outfits, head out to trick-or-treat for candy, and have all sorts of spooky fun.

The year in London is wrapped up by Christmas activities across London. The preparation for the highly anticipated Yuletide starts as soon as the Halloween decorations are off on the first days of November. The Christmas shopping season sees thousands of people heading to Oxford Street and Regent Street with its department stores and designer boutiques, or Covent Garden and Shoreditch for a bit of an indie feel. There are office Christmas parties and family outings all over London too. Christmas is a very special time to experience London!  

What is the best season to visit London? 

Every season in London brings one or another perk to your holiday. You’re spoilt for choices! Dreamy colourful blooms of the spring, green heaven and busy buzz of summer, magnificent golden autumn, and festive winter cheer in anticipation of Christmas and snow will each make your family holiday unforgettable. 

If you don’t mind the crowds of holidaymakers, summer is the safest option to visit London. It is an exciting time for the families as it brings special exhibitions, children-focused workshops, music festivals, outdoor cinemas and other entertainment that doesn’t run during other seasons. 

Christmas in December is an equally magical and children-friendly time to visit London. Magnificent Christmas lights are lit, every shop window looks like a work of art, and the shopping is an out-of-this-world experience. It’s worth mentioning mouth-watering traditional British Christmas treats such as roast turkey, Beef Wellington, sweet mince pies, gingerbread, candy canes and festive puddings.  

If you'd rather avoid the crowds, a trip during the off-season from January to April and from September to November is a better option. The last week of February, the last week of October and the Easter holidays in April can still be busy though. This is when English children have their time off from school. 

When to avoid visiting London?

London on and around the special events such as summits, championships, and international music competitions can be another level of "crowded". It is challenging and exhausting for a family. Unless you aim to attend the event, check the London calendar in advance to avoid surprises. 

What to wear in London? 

London is one of the world’s capitals of fashion. Alexander McQueen, Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Burberry, and Paul Smith are just a few big names from the long list of talented designers. 

Naturally, Londoners have a great sense of style. The way they dress looks effortless, but don't be fooled. There is always a thought behind it.

How to dress like a Londoner?

Locals prefer casual, comfortable clothes to impractical outfits. They don’t dress to impress. Nothing is flashy without meaning. 

The need to layer up is dictated by unpredictable British weather. The principle is: wear a t-shirt underneath and a jumper or a jacket on top. You never know! 

More and more women in London prefer flats to high heels unless they head for a night out. Casual or sport-casual footwear is accepted almost everywhere. 

A lot of locals carry their belongings in backpacks nowadays. London is a big city, and the commute takes a while. The practical bag is easier on your back and can fit all your devices and chargers, books, training gear and even a homemade lunch. 

People in London know how to stay dry and warm during colder months. A classic black or camel trench coat is popular in the spring and autumn. A wind- and waterproof parka or a puffer jacket is a must-have in the winter. Natural fur is worn less and less in the city.    

A London shopping spree will help you dress like a local. From democratic Oxford street to high-end Bond street, or even hippy Camden Market, you will definitely find something to your liking. 

What to wear when it is cold in London?

There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing. These are the words of wisdom from the British people. The late autumn, winter and early spring can be chilly and feel unwelcoming in London. Cosy knits, water- and windproof outerwear and footwear with fleece or fur lining, hats, gloves and scarves are your best friends during colder seasons. And a good old cup of tea for you and hot chocolate with whipped cream for the little ones, of course.   

What to wear when it is hot in London? 

A heatwave in London can literally melt your brain and is better spent in a shady green heaven of some centrally-located park, on the lush grassy blanket. Opt for light, breathable clothing and avoid dark colours. Befriend the flip-flops, tees and shorts. A sun hat or a parasol is a good idea. A water bottle is compulsory. Protect your skin with sunscreen. 

What to wear during the in-between months in London?

The “in-between” spring and autumn weather reigns most of the year in London. It is very unpredictable. Be armed with umbrellas and waterproof outerwear & footwear, long sleeves and comfy trousers, waterproof backpacks and hats. This way, you’ll be prepared for any surprise London weather has in store for you.

What to wear when you go sightseeing?

Exploring London is a demanding activity. Avoid anything that looks like a great idea in the morning but can cause trouble by lunchtime. Your comfiest shoes for a lot of walking. Your favourite jeans to share memories with. Stretchy tops, hoodies, knits and rain gear are all your go-to items. People in London dress in the most practical manner, with flats preferred to heels, black dominating other colours, casual rather than uptight. Don’t overdo it. Londoners are not easy to impress. Join the locals’ fashion style and blend in perfectly. 

What to wear when you have dinner out in London? 

Eating out? This is when you can make a bit of an effort. When you go out for a nice meal in a non-fast food restaurant, you aren’t expected to wear your sweats and trainers. Though you still can do it if you absolutely want to. Some restaurants have a dress code, strict or not quite. It can be good to check that out beforehand. Jeans are normally accepted everywhere. Combine them with a shirt, a jumper, and a blazer for a smart casual look. A dress or a suit will make you stand out unless you’re eating out in white-collar financial districts like Mayfair or London City during a workday. 

What to wear when you go to the opera/theatre/musical? 

Though there are no defined rules for what to wear to see a show in the West End, locals prefer to dress up for the occasion. Why not? It is common to see evening dresses, tuxedos and ambitious hair-dos in the theatres. If you crave an upscale occasion style, feel free to look as dressed up as you like. 

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