It is always a good time to visit London, but as in everything, there are better times than others. In the month of March there are some particularities that make it a unique time to make this trip and enjoy everything there is to see and do in the London capital.
Being a month of transition between winter and spring, the weather shows us its two faces, the typical cloudy days colder and the days when the sun appears. Although the weather is not the element that most conditions us when choosing these dates to visit London. It is the unique events, such as St. Patrick's Day or The Head of the River Race on the River Thames.
To find out what are the best activities and places to visit in London in March just keep reading.
Enjoy St. Patrick's Day in London
When March 17th arrives, London turns green. St. Patrick's Day is one of the most celebrated festivities in the city. To celebrate St Patricks's Day the city hosts a great festival with live music, food, activities, a big parade and, as a good Irish party, lots of beer.
The central activity of this festival is the great parade that runs through some of the most symbolic places of the capital. It starts around midday in Piccadilly Street and passes through points such as the Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly Circus and ends at Trafalgar Square. Thousands of Londoners and tourists flock to the massive parade to watch the flashy floats guarded by dancers of classical Irish dances and marching bands that accompany them.
The march ends in Trafalgar Square where most of the activities are concentrated. Many of them focused on spreading the Irish culture, with plenty of beer in between as a good Irish party. This festival is free and usually starts at 12:00 noon and ends at 18:00 pm.
The festival is not only concentrated in Trafalgar Square, but extends to all London pubs where you can taste traditional Irish food and drinks.
2. Come and see the Head of the River Race
With the arrival of spring and the improvement of the weather in London, the historic Headof the River Race also arrives to the waters of the Thames. On the third or fourth Saturday of March, depending on the tides, this race is held as a prelude to the Oxford-Cambridge in early April.
The race has been held on the waters of the Thames since 1926 and today some 420 boats participate, mostly English teams and about 50 foreign ones. It covers the same 6.8 kilometers as the Oxford v. Cambridge race but changes direction from Mortlake to Putney. Many people come to watch the event, as it is free and offers a good sporting spectacle.
If the weather is good, going to the banks of the River Thames and watching the sailors compete is one of the best things to do in March in London.
3. Try a Mother's Day sweet
Unlike in Spain, which is celebrated in May, in London Mother's Day is in March. This day is known as Mothering Sunday and is celebrated on the last Sunday of the month. If you travel with your mother or you are a mother, this day has some traditions linked to it and there are many options to celebrate it in the English capital.
A good option to celebrate it with your mothers is tasting the typical cake of that day, the Simnel Cake, in the many cafes that prepare it for that particular day. There are countless cafes that serve this typical Mother's Day cake but here are some of the best known:
- Drury 188-189 in the Covent Garden area.
- Monmouth Coffee Company next to Southwark Cathedral.
- Coffee, Cake & Kisses next to Warren Street tube stop.
- Cakes & Bubbles on Regent's Street near Piccadilly Circus tube stop
The London tradition of Mother's Day dates back to the 17th century. At that time children from the age of 10 years old started working as apprentices and on those dates in March they were allowed to visit their mothers to whom they brought gifts such as flowers and sweets. This is the origin of the Simnel Cake, a typical Mother's Day fruit cake decorated with flowers.
It is also a good date to experience the custom of English tea time in one of the typical hotels or cafes in London. Another option is to visit the legendary Harrods department store in the center of the city and look for a good gift for your mothers.
4. Earth Hour in London
On the last Saturday of every March, Earth Hour is celebrated. An event promoted by the World Wildlife Fund that proposes to all the cities of the world to turn off the lights of their most emblematic buildings and monuments as a symbol to combat climate change.
London takes this initiative very seriously and turns off the lights of its most recognized symbols. From 20:30 to 21:30 on the last Saturday of March, monuments such as the Palace and Westminster Abbey, Big Ben or Trafalgar Square turn off their lights and offer a very curious postcard. It is always interesting and curious to see these symbols in the dark.
5. London from above
Taking advantage that in March the skies are clearing is a good time to enjoy the best views of London from the heights. The sunsets at this time are spectacular and what better way to enjoy them than with the skyline of the London capital in the background. There are many options, but two stand out for their views and for being the most emblematic places of the English capital.
The most famous Ferris wheel in the world, and with its 135 meters high also the highest in Europe. It is the most visited tourist attraction in London with almost 4 million visitors a year and it is thanks to the views from the London Eye. On a clear day the view reaches up to 40 km around the city and its privileged location on the banks of the Thames offers a privileged postcard view of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral or Westminster Abbey. A must-see when traveling to London
It is the tallest building in the United Kingdom and Western Europe with 310 meters high. At its highest point is the highest viewpoint in London from which you can see very clearly, if the day is clear, virtually the entire city. Its pointed shape has made it a symbol of the capital since its inauguration in 2012.
6. Women's Day in London
International Women's Day is celebrated around the world on March 8. Any place and any time is a good time to celebrate this holiday for equality, but in London there is a special atmosphere on that day. In addition to the usual marches that take place in the cities, London organizes talks, activities, workshops and all kinds of events related to this day.
It is also a day to remember the great British female figures such as Margaret Thatcher, Virginia Woolf or Diana of Wales. Enjoying London from a feminist perspective is always interesting.
7. Stroll around its central parks on clear days
Since the weather in London in March is so changeable, it is a good idea to have prepared alternatives depending on the weather. If you are lucky, and in March you are more likely to get a clear day, you can take the opportunity to walk through some of the best parks in London.
It is practically a forest in the middle of the city. It has an area of 142 hectares with more than 4000 trees, beautiful meadows and flower gardens that begin to sprout in March. You can walk, take a boat ride on its lakes, rent a bike, eat in its lakeside restaurants and so on.
Hyde Park also has several monuments to visit such as Kensington Palace and the famous fountain dedicated to Princess Diana.
In the north of London is another of the great parks of the city, Regent's Park. There are two square kilometers of green areas, a lake for boating, manicured gardens and a variety of cafes and restaurants. It is highly recommended if you are traveling with children as Regent's Park is home to the London Zoo, the oldest zoo in the world.
St James's Park
The oldest and most famous royal park is surrounded by three palaces, including Buckingham Palace. In the street The Mall that borders the park you can see the parade of the guard on horse back and in its interior highlights its lake inhabited by pelicans.
8. Visit a park full of deer and with one of the best views in London
If the weather is nice, which is more likely in March, you can choose to take an excursion away from the hustle and bustle of the city. My favorite option is Richmond Park. One of the largest urban parks in the world and a perfect place to enjoy nature. It is considered a national nature reserve thanks to its wildlife, and this park is known for its herds of deer that are easy for visitors to see.
Although it is on the outskirts of London to be on high ground offers good views of the city and there are powerful binoculars to enhance the already beautiful views. The best thing is that you can get there very easily by taking a direct train from waterloo station and it takes only 15 minutes.
9. Celebrate the anniversary of 'Let it Be' at Abbey Road
Did you know that the Beatles' song "Let It Be" was released in March 1970? If you are in love with the legendary band in London you can celebrate the anniversary of one of their emblematic songs by taking the mythical photo at the Abbey Road crossing.
One of the most repeated photographs in the world and that the members of The Beatles were made for the cover of his album with the same name of this famous London street. The famous crosswalk is located a few steps from St. John's Wood subway station.
10. Take a stroll around the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
In mid-March, when spring is approaching, the flowers and gardens of London's parks look especially beautiful. This is the case of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and it is a wonder to walk among its flowers and trees. At the end of March is a good time to visit as they begin to bloom their gardens.
Kew Botanic Gardens is located southwest of London between Richmond and Kew, along the Thames.
11. If it's raining take shelter in a museum or theater
You have to be very lucky not to have at least one rainy day on your trips to London. In March rainfall is lower than in previous months but still frequent. But rain is not an impediment to enjoy the city. London has endless indoor activities to do.
Whether you like art, history, science or even wax figures in London you will find a museum for you. Many of them are some of the most important in the world such as the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, The National Gallery or Madame Tussauds wax museum.
All of them, except the wax museum, have the added bonus of free admission for everyone. Is there a better plan for a rainy day?
London is also famous for its West End musicals. An area that concentrates the best musicals in English that you can see as the Phantom of the Opera, the Lion King, Les Miserables or Moulin Rouge among many others. A great plan for cloudy days also if you go with kids.
Weather in London in March
London has a well-earned reputation as a cold city. But it is in March when temperatures begin to rise and the sun appears more often. It is a month with two sides. On average, the maximum temperatures in March are around 20 degrees Celsius, although they do not usually exceed this maximum. Minimums are up compared to winter although they are still cold and hover around 5 degrees. The passage of the Thames through the city softens the temperatures quite a bit. As the month progresses the days become warmer and by the end of the month they start to be spring-like.
Where the change is most noticeable is in the cloudiness and rainfall. It is well known that London is rainy and sunny days are rare. But in March the trend changes, the probability of rain decreases and the number of clear days and hours of sunshine increases.
If you are cold do not forget to pack coats and thicker clothes in your suitcase. But don't forget the short sleeves either. London is special even for the weather and in the same day you can experience the 4 seasons.
Sightseeing in London in March
The peak tourist season in London is between spring and summer mainly because of the weather. The problem is the sheer volume of people visiting the city in those months. March is a month of transition between the cold and the arrival of the heat. Tourists begin to arrive in greater numbers in the third month of the year but far from the overcrowding of the summer.
Since it is not high season, prices are not so high and it is easier to find good deals. The downside is perhaps the unpredictability of the weather. In March you can experience winter cold and spring temperatures in a few days. So you have to pack your suitcase with warm clothes and at the same time with more spring clothes.
For me, March is a month with a good balance between the amount of people visiting the city and quite bearable temperatures. A good time to visit London.