Anytime is a good time to book a flight to London. July and August are the warmest months. However, you can never be guaranteed sun. January is the coolest month with temperatures in the low teens. Spring and autumn in London can be pleasant, as the temperatures are usually higher than the rest of the country. The rain is heaviest during November when the city averages 2.5 inches.
Getting around London
Options, the best being the Tube. London’s underground system is the fastest and easiest way to get around. Like subways in many large cities, the underground is packed during rush hour, so avoid it. London’s iconic double-decker red buses are slower, but they can be found everywhere and won’t be as crowded. Look into getting an Oyster card or Travel card for travelling on London’s public transportation systems – it will save you money. You can find them at tube stops or newsagents. Black cabs are everywhere and very comfortable, but very expensive. Minicabs are a cheaper taxi option, but you have to order them ahead of time. Watch out for illegal minicabs that troll the theatres and nightspots. They might seem like the only late-night option, but single women or those unfamiliar with the area should and find a different way to stay safe. London is a big city, but many of the tourist attractions are within walking distance or along the river Thames. Take advantage of a sunny day by walking or taking a riverboat. Driving is not recommended, as parking is near impossible to find and a Congestion Charge will cost you extra when driving into the city’s centre Monday to Friday between 7am and 6pm. Rent a car only if you’d like to head out into the country. You will need to be over 25 and have a license and a credit card. For more information you can visit www.tfl.gov.uk
London insider information
Tipping: While tips in most areas of London are discretionary, a good rule of thumb is to tip 10-15 percent of the bill in cafes and restaurants; minimally in bars and pubs; 10-15 percent at hotel restaurants, and a discretionary amount for staff, and 10-15 percent for taxi drivers.
Relive history every day in London while watching the Changing of the Guard. The British pomp and ceremony is free and takes place outside Buckingham Palace. The guards are dressed in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats, and the ceremony is set to music. Other free London attractions include the British Museum, Sir John Soane's Museum, and the Garden Museum. The main art galleries - the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate: British and International Modern and Contemporary Art, Wallace Collection are all free.
For discounts on London transportation and attractions, get a Travel card and London Pass Card. A Travel card allows unlimited travel on the Tube, buses, and trains in the London urban area as well as a discount on many of London's scheduled river services. The London Pass Card gives you free entry to more than 50 attractions including museums, historic ships, zoos, and gardens. You can purchase both cards before you leave home or in London.
The two Tate museums in London are world famous for many reasons. Tate Britain houses a collection of 65,000 works, including the Turner collection of 19,000 watercolours and some 300 paintings as well as a gallery of British art from 1500 to the present. Tate Modern, on the South Bank riverfront, has galleries of modern and contemporary art; travelling shows; and ongoing activities and events.
Go to the theatre. London has the best English-language theatre in the world, with offerings even greater than New York. And, you can book your tickets online from home.
Londoners enjoy their sports: cricket, football, horse racing, tennis, and golf, as well as more unusual sports, such as “going to the dogs”—watching dog racing—which is very popular, especially in the East End. Check the schedules and spend the afternoon as a spectator.
Before Peter Pan found Neverland he found Kensington Gardens. In the first Peter Pan storybook, author J M Barrie sends Peter Pan out of his nursery to Long Water in Kensington Gardens -- the very spot where the statue stands today.
Have a “cuppa”—afternoon tea—with all the grace and ritual of the British Empire at one of several hotels that serve afternoon tea, the most famous of which is the Ritz. Remember to dress smartly as there is a dress code.
Camden Market is one of the most exciting shopping experiences London has to offer. The market is definitely worth a visit with its huge variety of food, antiques, bric-a-brac, clothing, bars, nightspots, and crowds of people.
Finding an address in London is no small task. There’s no pattern to the street names; house numbers, when they exist, run in odds and evens, clockwise and counterclockwise. You may also want to get a detailed street map with an index. Londoners carry London A to Z, the ultimate street-by-street reference guide, available at bookstores and newsstands.
If you are planning on visiting the England’s capital check out some more ideas about sites to see and things to do on a London city break. If you are over in England you may want to consider making an additional trip north to what is referred to as the capital of the North on a Manchester city break.