Travel experts say this is the best time of year to visit London

Although you may have just rewatched Vacation - the romantic comedy in which Cameron Diaz's character switches places with Kate Winslet's character and ends up It’s UK – but before you book your flight to London, take a moment. Yes, you might be thinking "there's no time like now," but first figure out what your travel goals are: do you want to save money and go during the off-season, or do you want to go as soon as possible, even though airfares may be expensive Will it be higher and there may be more tourists? Regardless, if you take the advice of travel experts, you can figure out the best time to visit London.

With a population of 8.95 million as of July 2019, according to the UK Census Bureau, as the UK's largest city, it's no surprise that London attracts a large number of tourists. Overall, millions of people travel to the UK each year; in February 2019, VisitBritain predicted that 38.8 million people would travel to the UK this year. Americans also like to travel to London. In 2019, it ranked ninth on KAYAK's "Most Popular Destinations" list, which consists of the most searched cities in North America.

But when should you visit the nation’s capital? "There's never a bad time to go to London, but every season definitely has its pros and cons," Steve Sintra, regional director for KAYAK North America, tells Bustle. “From history to culture to nightlife, the city offers something for everyone – it depends on what you’re looking for.” Below, he and other travel experts discuss the best times to visit London.

If you want warmer weather, go in late spring or summer (but expect to pay more)


Sintra says summer is peak tourist season in London – and for good reason. “Not only is the weather the best, but the social calendar is packed,” he said. "If you're a fan of the British royal family, this is a great time to visit: some residences are open to the public and the famous Trooping the Color parade - the Queen's Birthday Parade - takes place in June." He adds that other famous summer events Events include Pride events, Notting Hill Carnival (one of Europe's largest street festivals) and some of the capital's biggest music festivals.

However, going to London in the summer may cost you some money. “The popularity of this period does come at a price: June and July are among the most expensive months to fly there—median airfares are $779 and $791, respectively—as are hotel prices per night. The most expensive of the month,” Sintra said. "You'll also see larger crowds and longer lines during this time."

Carey Malloy, director of brand and marketing at Orbitz, agrees. "Peak tourist season — late spring through summer and the peak holiday market season in December — definitely means crowds, higher hotel prices and lines," she tells Bustle. However, you can always consider flying with a budget airline or exploring nearby secondary airports. “Stansted Airport, for example, is well-known for its budget airlines and you can save some money if you’re willing to make some trade-offs in terms of comfort, snacks and in-flight entertainment,” she said.

Malloy also points out that summer in London means you'll be competing for tickets to Broadway shows, museums and tours. But if summer is the only time you can or want to go, she recommends booking tickets and events in advance, especially those you really want to visit. “On Orbitz, you can book meals, tours, guided tours and more, and you don’t have to wait in line or worry about things being sold out,” she said.

Also keep in mind the weather. "Wear layers of clothing and always bring an umbrella," Malloy adds. "Summers tend to be quite pleasant, but milder temperatures are expected."

If you want to go to the holiday festivities, go around Christmas


Mariel Clark, vice president of digital for home and travel at Discovery Inc., tells Bustle that London will be beautiful during Christmas. "If you're on a budget and want to experience London's world-famous festive festivities, you'll want to plan your trip around Christmas," she says. “While you’ll have to brave the tourist crowds and rising air and hotel prices, you’ll be able to make the most of the iconic Christmas markets and stunning architecture that London is famous for.”

Cintra agrees it’s a festive time to visit London – if you’ve got the money. “ December is a great time to visit if you like the holiday spirit – the city is covered in Christmas lights and there are several fun holiday markets to visit,” he said. "But the median airfare in December is the most expensive at $796."

If you want to spend less, go during the "shoulder season"


If you want to visit London when there are fewer people and less money to spend, shoulder season is a good option, Malloy says. "The weather can be a little unpredictable, but overall there are good deals from September to November and March to April ," she said. “A quick search on Orbitz actually shows some very affordable flights to the UK at the end of August, so there must be plenty of deals left.”

Sintra also thinks April is a great time to visit London. “It offers affordable prices, mild temperatures (and fewer showers) and plenty of fun activities,” he said. "The average flight price is under $600, and hotel prices are only around $222 per night (prices in July were around $260 per night)." He also noted that starting in April, the palace will host the famous Changing of the Guard every day Ceremony, the Royal Parks and Gardens are in bloom, and you can celebrate Britain's National Day and St. George's Day in Trafalgar Square at the end of April.

However, Sintra also recommends going to London in the autumn. “Crowds are smaller, median airfares and hotel prices are cheaper, and with the festival season in full swing, there’s plenty to do,” he said. “London Fashion Week takes place in September , the prestigious BFI London Film Festival takes place in October , and one of the UK’s biggest annual celebrations – Guy Fawkes Night with deep roots in British history – takes place in November Held on the 5th .”

If you want to go to London on a budget (and spend less), go during the off-season


Sintra says if you want to visit London on a budget and don't mind cold temperatures and rain, you can score great travel deals in January and February. "The median airfare is hovering just under $600, and hotel rates are around $200 a night," he said. "Also, you can get heavily discounted tickets to London theaters during this time, and there are promotions running at major retailers throughout January." He adds that not only can you find plenty of free attractions in the city, but if you don't Love the crowds and the lines around town will be shorter.

Clark also says to think about your travel budget and priorities before planning a transatlantic trip. “If you’re one of the majority of Americans who find traveling on a budget to be more enjoyable than splurging (according to a Travel Channel survey of 2,196 nationally representative respondents), then you would If you want to plan a travel vacation during this time, November is best, Or January through March ," she said. "That's when prices drop, the weather gets colder, and the crowds start to disperse. "

Malloy also recommends traveling to London in January and early February . “Flights to London were really affordable at the start of the year, which is usually the UK’s slow season,” she said. "Demand for air tickets is down slightly after the busy holiday season, while demand for hotel rates has yet to increase during the spring and summer."

A Skyscanner spokesperson told Bustle that January, February, October and November are the cheapest times to fly to London, with sales often happening in January and February, according to data provided by Skyscanner for Bustle. "Not surprisingly, the further you book your trip, the more likely you are to get better travel deals," they said. "Flights booked at least five weeks in advance tend to be below the annual average, while those booked 90 days in advance Flights are almost half the price if booked less than three days in advance.” As for the most popular months to book travel (also known as the best time to book, BTTB), Skyscanner shows that based on data from 2017 to 2019, it’s January and January. September.

From the above, the best time to go to London depends on what you want to do there – whether it’s enjoying the summer weather or winter festivities – and your budget. As Sintra says above, "There's always a better time to be in London" and the only way to find out is to see it for yourself.