July and August are usually the warmest months, however, the British summer has a reputation for being a washout. January is the coolest month with temperatures in the low single digits. Spring and autumn can be very pleasant, as the temperatures are usually higher than the rest of the UK. The rain is heaviest during November when the city averages 6cm (2.5 inches).
Getting around London
There are tons of options, the best being the Tube. London’s underground system is the fastest and easiest way to get around. Avoid rush hour though unless you like the sardine-in-a-can crush.
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 Travelcard for travelling on London’s public transport – it will save you money. You can find them at tube stops or newsagents.
Black cabs are everywhere and very comfortable, but can be quite expensive. Minicabs are a cheaper taxi option, but you have to order them ahead of time. Watch out for illegal minicabs that trawl the theatres and nightspots.
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 licence and a credit card. For more information visit www.tfl.gov.uk.
Getting from the Airport to the City
There are several airports serving flights to London and plenty of places to fly into, but most visitors will arrive at one of these three:
Heathrow Airport (LHR) Heathrow Airport is located some 15 miles west of London in Hounslow You can reach downtown by the underground (tube), which takes just over an hour, or by the designated Heathrow Express trains (15mins). There are hotel shuttles which run from the airport to some London hotels. There are also taxis and coach services.
Gatwick Airport (LGW) Gatwick is only a 30-minute train ride to the centre of London. From Gatwick, the fastest way to get to London is by the Gatwick Express trains. There are also bus services from Gatwick to Victoria Coach Station. Taxis are available, but you should negotiate a fare with the driver before you enter the cab.
Stansted Airport (STN) Stansted is the hub for low-cost airlines located some 30 miles northeast of London. It is a 45-minute train ride to London on the Stansted Express. There are also shuttle buses, which are much cheaper but take around two hours connecting Stansted to the city. Taxis are available, but be aware that they will be very expensive.