London Weather

by Melanie Waldman  

Unlike its image, London isn’t always shrouded in fog or drowning in rain. There are whole weeks (well, days in a row, anyway) of gorgeous sunshine in the spring and summer months. If you’re wondering when the best time is to come – or what to expect during your trip – read on for a rundown of London’s weather throughout the year.

Warmest months: July and August
Coldest months: December, January and February
Driest months: March, April, May and June
Rainiest months: July, August and November

Spring

London starts to wake up in the Spring, with lots of sunshine peeking through the rain clouds. In March, it’s still fairly chilly, especially at night; be sure to keep your winter coat handy. April and May are especially good months to visit, with the potential for decent weather (still best to bring a waterproof jacket), cheaper accommodation, and smaller crowds.

British Summer Time (turn clocks forward one hour) starts on the last Sunday in March.

AVERAGES March April May
High Temperature 50°F (10°C) 57°F (14°C) 66°F (19°C)
Low Temperature 35°F (2°C) 42°F (6°C) 48°F (9°C)
Rainy Days 11 10 12
Daily Sunshine 3.5+ hours 5.5 hours 6+ hours

Summer

In the city’s busiest tourist season, average temperatures hover in the mid-20s C/70s F. However, it can be as much as ten degrees hotter, and by mid-August, the sun can fade intermittently to grey skies and cool breezes. London’s latitude of 51.5 degrees means longer daylight hours in summer, from around 4.40am to 9.30pm.

Layering is the key to summer packing. Cardigans and light jackets are necessary at night, and sometimes during the day, as well. Short-sleeve shirts and light pants will get lots of use, but keep shorts and anything sleeveless to a minimum.

AVERAGES June July August
High Temperature 68°F (20°C) 75°F (24°C) 75°F (24°C)
Low Temperature 55°F (13°C) 57°F (14°C) 57°F (14°C)
Rainy Days 11 12 11
Daily Sunshine 7 hours 7 hours 6 hours

Autumn

Summer fades slowly in London, gradually replaced by chilly winds and intermittent rain. Temperatures can stay pretty high in September, and crowds don’t start to diminish ’til mid-month. By late October, with the start of the (busy) Half Term school holiday, you’ll see a riot of colorful leaves all across town. By November, you’ll need a winter coat and all the trimmings.

Greenwich Mean Time (turn clocks back one hour) starts the last Sunday in October.

AVERAGES September October November
High Temperature 68°F (20°C) 57°F (14°C) 50°F (10°C)
Low Temperature 54°F (12°C) 46°F (8°C) 41°F (5°C)
Rainy Days 13 13 15
Daily Sunshine 4.5 hours 3.5 hours 1.5+ hours

Winter

In December, January and February, the average high is about 7C/45F and the nighttime low 0C/32F. The city is the warmest in the UK this time of year, but is occasionally blanketed under layers of snow and ice. Bring a warm coat, sweaters (called jumpers in the UK), waterproof boots, hat, scarf and gloves.

The Christmas/New Year’s season in London is full of twinkling lights and outdoor events, but by late December, it gets dark by the late afternoons…and not light again ’til around 8am in the mornings. In January and February, the light’s much the same, and days tend to be rainy and grey.

The good news? There are lots of great airfare and hotel deals to be found.

AVERAGES December January February
High Temperature 43°F (6°C) 43°F (6°C) 44°F (7°C)
Low Temperature 39°F (4°C) 33°F (1°C) 33°F (1°C)
Rainy Days 15 15 13
Daily Sunshine 1.5+ hours 1.5+ hours 2 hours


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