Summer has a way of sneaking up on you. Suddenly it’s the end of June. If you haven’t made your summer vacation plans yet, we can suggest a world-class trip that won’t require traveling too far or spending too much. August is an ideal time of year to visit one of our favorite cities: London. It’s a short flight (relatively speaking), it’s not too hot or crowded in August, you’ll find reduced prices for airfare and hotels (and many museums are free), and of course there’s so much to see and do, not only in the city itself but in the plethora of historic villages and sights in the countryside that you can make easy day trips to (which we recommend doing either independently by train or with a private driver-guide). London in August is such a smart move that that’s when Wendy took her own family there—and you can read what each of her young sons had to say about it in Do’s and Don’ts For Your Trip To London and How and Where to Spot Supercars in London (late summer is the optimal time for that). Here’s more from Jonathan Epstein, Trusted Travel Expert for Britain, as to why London in August makes so much sense:
Hotels are less expensive.
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. Jonathan negotiates exclusive August offers for his travelers at top four- and five-star hotels. Depending on the location, he might secure discounts on stays over three or four nights, upgrades, complimentary meals, or free cocktails. Ask him about his connections at prime hotels such as One Aldwych, Rosewood London, the Corinthia, the Marylebone, the Milestone and the Egerton. 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. Highs are between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit—and who doesn’t want weather like that for sightseeing?
Everything is open, but the crowds are much smaller.
“In many cities like Paris and Rome, attractions and restaurants close in August,” Jonathan says, “but in London everything is still open!” Because August is one of the slowest months of the year in London—with fewer tourists and fewer locals—you’re less likely to have to wait in lines or battle big crowds as you explore.
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.