Summer has a way of sneaking up on you. Just a few seconds ago we were in the thick of winter—then you blink and suddenly it’s the end of June. The good news is that you still have time to plan a memorable summer vacation—without traveling too far or spending too much. August is one of the best times of the year to visit one of our favorite cities: London. It’s a short flight (relatively speaking), it’s great for those with kids and those without, and there’s just so much to do once you get there. We talked to Jonathan Epstein, one of our Trusted Travel Experts for England, Ireland, and Scotland, to get the inside scoop on why London is not only ideal in August but is also a good deal. For starters, the U.S. dollar is still strong against the British Pound (currently at about £1 to $1.27), and you’ll save on airfare too, as prices are lower than in the past few years. It’s such a good deal that Wendy took her own family there last August. Here are five more reasons to consider your own London vacation.
Hotels are cheaper.
That’s because business travel to London dries up in August. “Corporate travel is the bedrock of higher rates in major cities,” says Jonathan. “In late summer, these bookings vanish in London.” What does this mean for you? Deals. In August, Jonathan can get his clients exclusive specials at top four- and five-star hotels, including: four nights for the price of three at The Goring; 50 percent off a second room at both The Marylebone and The Athenaeum; free breakfast at One Aldwych and a 60GBP lunch or dinner credit at the hotel restaurant Indigo; and guaranteed upgrades at The Milestone. Those values come with extras too, ranging from free cocktails (at The Milestone) to a complimentary guided walking tour of Marylebone Village (at The Marylebone). An apartment rental is another way to maximize value, especially if you’re a family or large group; learn more about that option in our London Vacation Rentals: Insider’s Guide.
The weather is better.
“Unlike in many cities in Europe, August temperatures are mild in London,” Jonathan says. A quick look online confirms a forecast of highs between 68 and 75—who wouldn’t want to see the sights in weather like that? Not that you’ll have to spend a ton of time standing outdoors in queues. Lines are likely to be shorter in August. That’s because…
Everything is open, but the crowds are gone.
“In many cities like Paris and Rome, attractions and restaurants close in August,” Jonathan says, “but in London everything is still open!” In fact, August is one of the slowest months of the year in this city—with fewer tourists and fewer locals. As a result, you’re less likely to have to wait in lines or battle big crowds as you explore around town.
Late summer brings special events.
Buckingham Palace is only open to visitors for a short time each year. Guess when? During the late summer. This year, admission includes entry to “Royal Gifts,” an exhibition of official gifts presented to the Queen over the past 65 years.
It is easier to get great seats to London’s plays and musicals.
When tourists numbers go down—as they do in late summer—opportunities to see some of the West End’s famous theater productions open up. (You can see what’s playing at LondonTheatre.co.uk and find last-minute deals at TKTS.co.uk.)
This article has been updated; it was originally published in 2016.