London by season: what to do come rain or shine

If you’ve ever been to London, or you know someone who lives there, you probably know that the weather can be a bit of a sore subject. We’ve just had our first few warm sunny days of the year (long overdue!) and London has well and truly come to life!

I always hear people saying how “London is a different city when the sun comes out.” And they’re right! But no matter the weather nor the season, there’s always something fun to do in London…

Spring

Spring has (finally) sprung in London. Here at busuu, that usually means lunch in the park, or sometimes on a sun-soaked roof terrace. Speaking of parks… they are pretty impressive around this time of year. There are lots of beautiful gardens to wander around in the spring sunshine (watch out for those April showers though!). Kew gardens is an especially impressive spot to check out the spring blooms! Or why not stop by Colombia Road flower market in Shoreditch to soak up some of the hustle and bustle of an east-end market?

This time of year is also great for watching some major sporting events! In early spring, Oxford and Cambridge rowing teams go head-to-head in their annual boat race along the Thames. The race goes on for 4.2 miles, so there are plenty of spots along the way for you to catch a glimpse of the athletes as they pass.

And how could we talk about sporting events in London without mentioning, of course… the London marathon!? Thousands of runners take to the streets all around London. No matter whereabouts in central London you are, you’ll never be too far away from the marathon route, and if you get up early enough, you can go and watch the elite athletes!

Spring daffodils by Buckingham Palace

 

Summer

Summer is my favourite season in London. It’s like a different city, and even though the weather is never the most reliable in the world, when it is warm, there is nothing better than grabbing a barbecue or assembling a picnic and hitting one of the many parks. Or, if you prefer getting a bit more active, why not visit a public outdoor lido and have a refreshing dip in the pool?

Most Londoners know that summer is festival season. There are hundreds of awesome festivals of all different types in and around the city: everything from music and food to film and dance! There’s something going on almost every weekend, so keep an eye out for advertisement posters and stay informed by searching online!

Food markets are never a bad idea! You’re never too far away from one, and you can try delicious food from around the world – the choice is huge! Borough market and Broadway market are two of my favourites, both open on Saturdays.

Another popular thing to do on a sunny day is to hire a boat on Regents canal and float along sipping on your drink of choice. Some of the boats even have built-in hot tubs! Devine!

And what would summer in London be without Wimbledon? Go and watch the internationally renowned tennis tournament live! You’ll have to get up early if you want to get in, but if you can’t watch courtside, you can always join the crowds on Henman Hill (or Murray Mound, as it’s popularly known now). Alternatively, if early mornings and long queues aren’t your thing, grab yourself some strawberries and cream and find a public open-air screen in the city.

Summer festival in the park

 

Autumn

You might know this season as “fall”, which is what it’s called in American English! Pardon the pun (or don’t) but you will “fall” in love with London in the autumn…

If you’re all about the simple things in life, it’s yet another great season to go for an enchanting walk. Take to London’s capital ring walk, a circular route divided into 15 sections, leading you through all the ‘green’ areas that surround the city. So why not get your boots on and go for a crunch through the leaves? And if you venture out of the centre to Richmond park, you can even go deer spotting!

Probably one of the best dates for your autumn diary is Bonfire night (5th November). This is a historical festival in the UK, when people love to go and watch firework displays. London’s parks put on impressive displays on one of the weekends close to bonfire night, and they’re usually free! Victoria park, Hyde park and Blackheath are all great options.

 

Richmond park in autumn

 

Winter

OK, I know. Winter isn’t everyone’s favourite time of year. It’s cold, grey, rainy, windy, and sometimes snowy (though rarely in London, and when it does snow, the city goes into a state of panic). Many would argue that the best thing to do in these conditions is to batten down the hatches, curl up in a duvet on the sofa and watch 6 TV series back-to-back.

But there are so many lovely things to do around the city! Winter is the perfect time of year to go and see one of London’s hundreds of West End theatre productions. You can usually buy last-minute tickets fairly cheap, and there’s something for everyone!

If you really want to embrace a true British holiday tradition, you could go and watch a Christmas pantomime! They are a childhood favourite for a lot of Brits, but funny for the adults too…

You could also go to one of London’s pop-up ice rinks. They are dotted around during the winter months and you can easily find out where they are by doing a quick online search.

So you see? The weather outside may be frightful… but London can still be delightful!

Outdoor ice rink at Somerset House, London

 

So, if you’ve been meaning to visit London, but you’re unsure as to which time of year to go, perhaps this has made your choice a bit easier (or maybe it’s made it harder). All I’ll say is, no matter the season, you’re still probably going to need to pack that umbrella AND those sunglasses (yes, both)… such is the Great British weather.

Harriet is the Senior English Language Expert at busuu. She is originally from a little village near Stratford-upon-Avon, England, and studied French and Spanish at university in Southampton. Then she went to live in France where she started teaching English. She loves cooking and eating food from different cuisines and singing with her choir!

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