If you like your UK staycation to be as action-packed as possible, then a city break in London may be exactly what you're looking for. No matter your interests nor the type of trip you're after, you're guaranteed to have a good time in the UK capital.
The story of London is written in the archives of the British Museum, spray-painted on the walls of Brick Lane and shouted across the teeming bars of Chelsea. Steeped in history yet buzzing with modernity, sprawling London is as large and complex a city as they come.
And, unlike other destinations, London is enjoyable no matter which season you decide to visit. During spring and summer, you can soak up outdoor live events and see the city's fantastic parks; in autumn and winter, you can retreat into one of the city's wide range of museums. Always open, always exciting - London is a city for everyone.
Although each season brings along its own set of pros and cons, the good news is that you can make the most of a London city break - regardless of the season! That's because this city is packed to the brim when it comes to things to do.
Want some seasonal inspiration? Check out the top activities to get up to during each season. Keep this in mind, though: London can be a rainy place - even in spring and summer - so keep an eye on the weather forecast and keep an umbrella handy!
🌸 Spring: Perfect for skipping the summer crowds, springtime London is known for events as diverse as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and St Patrick's Day celebrations. While you can still expect some rain, spring is the best time to witness the city's green spaces in bloom; our favourites are Kew Gardens, Holland Park and Hampstead Heath.
☀️ Summer: For many, summertime in London is the best time to be in the city. There are music festivals, outdoor comedy events and the city's beer gardens will be heaving. There's no shortage of things to do in London at this time, but book in advance if you don't want to miss out!
🍁 Autumn: Since it's not too cold yet, this season is great for exploring London's many sights and taking some long strolls. In addition, Halloween means that plenty of events will be on the go, from pumpkin carving to some epic nightlife. See the best autumnal colours at Richmond Park or Kyoto Garden.
❄️ Winter: It may be cold, but that means you can retreat into the city's many (free) museums and art galleries. Or why not check out London's bars and restaurants? When you're ready to brave the cold, head to the famous Christmas markets.
Not so sure where you'd like to base yourself during your London city break? We're here to help! As with most city breaks, where you'd like to base yourself usually has plenty to do with what you're planning to do with your time in the city - and who you're travelling with! So, whether you're travelling on your own, as a couple or as a family, we've got you covered.
Here are some of the best London areas you can stay in.
If you're visiting London for the very first time, are a solo traveller wanting to make friends or you want to make the most of the city's excellent nightlife venues, then staying central is where you need to be.
You can find a range of accommodation in areas like Soho, Mayfair, Covent Garden and Westminster. Shoreditch is another popular choice for nightlife and for solo travellers. You can also choose to base yourself across the river near London Bridge or London Waterloo. While accommodation can be extremely pricey in central London, this is also where you'll find some of the best and most centrally located hostels.
By staying central, you'll be ideally located to explore the city's major sights - many of which are surprisingly walkable - and be close to all the top restaurants, bars, theatre shows, food markets and nightlife venues at the same time. Staying central is also a top choice for visitors who are staying in London for a specific or centrally located event.
If you're visiting London with your family, it makes sense to stay close to areas where you can find lots of kid-friendly attractions - along with a fair amount of cafes and restaurants too. Some of the most popular London areas for family holidays include London Bridge and Southwark, as well as Kensington (for quick access to the Royal Parks and museums) and Richmond (for a laidback stay in proximity to the deer of Richmond Park).
As with most cities, the further you get away from the city centre, the more affordable your accommodation becomes. If you're happy to do some commuting, then places like Hammersmith, Clapham and Croydon will be a lot friendlier to your bank account compared to central London. Just remember to factor in travel times and costs when figuring out your total trip budget. If you're keen to stay central but on the cheap, look into staying at a hostel instead.
When it comes to the amazing things you can get up to in London, this could take up an entire page on its own. The city is filled with all sorts of activities, attractions and live events - these could keep you busy all year!
However, if you only have a shorter weekend trip to work with, we've highlighted some top things to do on any trip to London. All of these are so good that we've personally gone back to them again and again.
Watch the tennis championships at Wimbledon
Watch a show at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Visit Westminster Abbey
Discover royal history at Hampton Court Palace
Enjoy free entry at the National Gallery and Natural History Museum
Have a feast at Borough Market
Stroll through London's famous parks
Wander through Kew Gardens
Spend a day exploring the Tower of London
Embrace your inner Hogwarts student at the Harry Potter Studio Tour
While a trip to London is always bound to be packed with activities, it can also be worthwhile planning your break around one of the city's biggest events. After all, when London throws an event, this city is famous for going all out!
Some annual events will be held at a different date every year, while others are a lot more predictable. No matter which event you gravitate towards - whether it's live music or cultural, always make sure that you book your accommodation well in advance to ensure you don't miss out!
Here are some of London's top events to look forward to.
New Year's Eve: An unmissable fireworks display at midnight and a special New Year's Parade to kick off the year on January 1st.
London Marathon: Taking over the streets of the city in April, this event is as much about the spectators as it is about the runners!
BST Hyde Park: This series of music concerts is held in Hyde Park every June/July, with some seriously impressive headliners!
Notting Hill Carnival: Colourful, loud and endlessly fun, the carnival descends upon Notting Hill every August.
The Proms: Also taking place in August, the Royal Albert Hall is the venue for this celebration of classical music.
Christmas: Think massive Christmas markets, light displays and some of the best shopping in Europe.
Whether it's your first time in London or your tenth trip there, there are always new things to discover - and tips that can help improve and make the most of your experience in the city.
Here are our top tips for visiting London:
Consider getting an Oyster Card. These travel cards are subject to a daily cap, so you could potentially save some money if you're planning to use the public transport system multiple times a day.
Get ready to do a lot of walking. While London is a massive city, a lot of the main sights are actually located quite close together. So, instead of hopping on the Underground, wear some comfortable walking shoes and explore the city above ground.
Make use of the free attractions. While some of London's top sights carry a pretty hefty pricetag, there are so many free attractions too. From food markets to art galleries and museums, you can visit these for free, keeping money aside for food or some retail therapy instead.
Avoid travelling at peak times. We'd recommend avoiding rush-hour periods in the morning and late afternoon during the week, as this is when locals clock off work and public transport will be extremely busy.
Lastly, no matter the season, always bring along an umbrella!