London attracts millions of tourists all year around; however there are ways to see London before it hits peak tourist season. Understandably, the UK capital is most popular in the late spring and summer months when the sun is in the sky and the schools are off. It can also get pretty busy, or at least more so than usual during December and the festive period. Here are some tips on how to see London before peak tourist season…
The mild spring of London is relatively quiet in comparison to its busy summer, hotel and theatre reservations are easier to come by, and it’s much easier to get around. Though the temperatures may plunge, the low season of January, February and March is a great time to see London as crowds and queues dwindle.
As well as making the most of the January sales, whether on Oxford Street or in Bicester Village, you can also celebrate Pancake Day, Valentine’s Day, St. David’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day and London Beer Week.
During the low season in London, there’s still plenty happening. London’s Chinese New Year celebration is the largest outside of Asia, with lion dances, a parade and no shortage of cultural entertainment. London Fashion showcases some of the best designers in the world as they advertise their fall collections.
In March, you can head to the London LGBT Film Festival and the University Boat Race between the prestigious Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Also, in April, there’s the famous London Marathon, where some 36,000 people take to the streets to run those 26.2 miles. Get down and cheer them on!
Low season or not, there’s still plenty to see and do. There’s a wealth of activities for both singletons and those of you who are loved up for Valentine’s Day, from Romeo and Juliet screenings at the Shard to scare-fests at pizza shops. For Pancake Day, there’s a mass of foodie spots throughout the capital, with the fluffiest and most chocolaty crepes you can imagine.
Museums and galleries
January to March is generally the quietest period for museums and galleries due to the dip in tourism. These will be by no means empty, but you will avoid the lines and large crowds. Avoid the rush and head to the capital before peak season so that you can visit the world-renowned Natural History Museum, Science Museum and London Transport Museum in a tranquil environment.
If you’re looking to watch a West End show, they are easiest to come by during the tourism lull between January and March. You can even find discounts during this period with the annual Get Into London Theatre initiative. The types of shows you can expect to see include Les Miserables, Wicked, Matilda the Musical, The Lion King, Mamma Mia and much more.
Accommodation in London is easier to come by, not least because it’s much cheaper due to the lack of competition for rooms. During the summer holidays and festive period, it’s likely that you’re going to be paying big money for a room anywhere close to luxurious.
However, in the less busy months, rooms will be far cheaper. The Dorsett Hotel, Shepherds Bush is one of many luxury stays in the capital; this hotel offers its guests a gym and business lounge, not to mention it’s a stone’s throw away from the Westfield Shopping Centre.