London is known the world over as a chic, modern city set literally and metaphorically atop centuries of rich history, so it should come as no surprise that London is the world's most visited city. Interestingly enough, this popular tourist destination also has the reputation of having grey, rainy, and overall unpleasant weather, which causes many travelers to wonder when it's the best time to visit London. With just a bit of planning, you'll find the perfect time to get to know the city with your London rental car.
It's a good idea to get this out of the way: What you've heard is true. It does, indeed, rain quite a bit in London. However, many people don't think about the fact that, aside from the unpredictable rain, London actually has pleasant weather. There are few temperature extremes, and summer is unlikely to be too hot while winter is unlikely to be too cold. The bottom line is that no one travels to London for the weather; they go there to take in all the great sites, pubs, activities, and the amazing atmosphere London has to offer.
June through September, and particularly July and August, are London's peak tourist season. The drawback, of course, is that the city is bound to be bursting at the seams, so you should expect long lines at popular tourist attractions like the London Eye and the Tower of London. There are also a number of benefits to visiting London in the summer. The weather is at its warmest, the sun sets after 10:00 pm, and it's a great time for outdoor festivals, picnics, and lazy days in London's verdant parks. In addition, some attractions, like the state rooms at Buckingham Palace, are only open in summer, and June, a typically busy month in London, brings the Queen's birthday parade and Wimbledon.
If you can find the time in your schedule, you shouldn't rule out winter as a great time to go to London. It's cold but rarely freezing or snowy, and although November is usually the wettest month of the year, winter in London is the best time for indoor activities; London's theaters, ballets, operas, and music halls are in full swing. You're also likely to find cheaper airfare and hotels during the off season. If you have the chance to spend Christmastime and New Year's in London, you're guaranteed to have a lively, fun time. Londoners love to celebrate, drink, and be merry for these holidays, and a joyful air permeates the whole city at the end of December and the beginning of January.
If you're basing the best time to travel to London on the weather, you're looking at the picture all wrong. Don't let any of the seasons in London draw you there or deter you; chances are, the weather is going to be unpredictable. It can rain for a whole week, and the very next week can bring clear skies and glorious sunshine. So just go prepared for all types of weather, and get ready to enjoy an amazing vacation in one of the one of the world's cultural capitals! If you visit in April, take a weekend trip to Oxford, one of the best places in Europe to visit in April.
With all there is to see and do in this bustling city, it's not difficult to find the best time to visit London. Pack an umbrella and a raincoat, and get excited about the unforgettable experience you're sure to have in London. If you've never driven on the "other" side of the road, check out our comprehensive tips about driving in the UK before you leave to calm your worries, or consider a GPS rental to make driving in unfamiliar territory that much easier.