Springtime is one of the best times to be in London. The harshness of winter is over and it’s time to enjoy a season of more daylight, warmer temperatures, bank holidays and the city in full bloom.
It’s time to ditch the heavy layers and explore some of what’s best about spending Spring in London.
Our cherry blossom might not be quite as impressive as our friends in Tokyo, but there are plenty of pretty pink-linked avenues and parks for you to sit and gaze up.
London isn’t just pretty in pink though, the whole city is at its most colourful this time of year. If yellow is your thing, head to St James’s Park for daffodils, or travel southwest for the purple hues of the crocuses on Wimbledon Common or the bluebells in Richmond Park. The downside is it’s the start of hayfever season; stock up on antihistamines so you can “stop and smell the roses”—without sneezing all over them.
Ok, so bank holidays are for everyone in the UK, not just London but with plenty of events on across the extended Easter weekend, and two May bank holidays. Londoners know how to make the most of their time off, and there always plenty of free and cheap events on.
Food markets are a London staple all year round, but some are more seasonal through Spring and Summer, plus the chance of sunshine and warmth makes eating outdoors much more appealing.
It’s also the start of picnic season, time to grab treats from home (or supermarkets where snacks don’t come with fancy artisanal price tags), roll out blankets and head for the parks.
River and canalside events
Strolling along the Thames or Regent’s Canal is a fine way to spend a sunny Spring day, but the waterways are at their liveliest at this time of year.
Crowds of rowdy rowing fans gather along the Thames to cheer on competing teams from Oxford and Cambridge universities in the annual Boat Race.
For calmer waters, visit west London’s pretty Little Venice neighbourhood for the Canalway Cavalcade for a free celebration of the area’s boat-dwelling communities, with pageants, morris dancing, live music and lots of refreshments.
Outdoor festivals and entertainment
Spring also signals the start of free festivals and outdoor cultural celebrations. Late April through to early May is the annual New Cross and Deptford Free Film Festival with a mix of indoor and outdoor screenings, though some outdoor events are bike powered so you can combine exercise with entertainment.
In central London, Trafalgar plays host to Sikh culture and heritage for Vaisakhi Festival which marks the birth of the Khalsa.
Over on the South Bank, it’s the start of Underbelly Festival where music, cabaret and comedy find a home inside a big purple cow, nestling in a later covered garden, worth a look even if you’re not going to a show.