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London in May: tips and recommendations to make your trip unforgettable

May is one of the favorite months to make a trip to London. Temperatures are very pleasant and it is an ideal time for outdoor activities.

María Cano

María Cano

10 min read

London in May: tips and recommendations to make your trip unforgettable

Westminster, London | ©Ming Jun Tan

Whoever you ask, there will be no doubt: May is one of the best months, if not the best, to travel to the wonderful city of London. Temperatures are much more pleasant than in other months of the year, there is not as much tourism as in summer or on key dates of the calendar and you can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities such as cycling, enjoy a cruise or visit the main parks of the city.

In addition, as if that were not enough, some special events such as the Chelsea Flower Show or the IWA Canalway Cavalcade are held during this month, so don't hesitate! If you can make your vacation coincide with the month of May, you won't regret it!

In the post what to see and do in London you will have the best ideas for your trip, but if you are looking for specific information for the month of May, read on, because, below, I indicate 10 unbeatable proposals.

1. Experience the full splendor of spring at the Chelsea Flower Show

At the Chelsea Flower Show| ©Herry Lawford
At the Chelsea Flower Show| ©Herry Lawford

In the last days of May, the traditional Chelsea Flower Show takes place, which has more than a century of history and welcomes every year the visit of more than 200,000 lovers of gardening and landscaping. The festival is organized at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, where various exhibitions and really original floral works are organized. I recommend that if you want to attend buy tickets in advance because they are usually sold out.

And whether you get your ticket or not, I also recommend you to walk around Chelsea, as Chelsea in Bloom is celebrated and various restaurants, cafes and stores decorate their windows, facades and entrances with a variety of flowers and plants. In addition, various gastronomic menus are organized with the theme of the exhibition and there are themed proposals for the five o'clock tea.

Book a bike tour in London's parks

2. From London to Venice with IWA Canalway Cavalcade

At the IWA Canalway Cavalcade| ©Anne Lilliman
At the IWA Canalway Cavalcade| ©Anne Lilliman

At the beginning of May, coinciding with the first Monday in May, which is a holiday known as the Early May Bank Holiday, the IWA Canalway Cavalcade is held, an annual event organized by the Inland Waterways Association in which more than a hundred boats gather in Little Venice. A festival where you will find craft stalls, food and beer stands, live music and activities for the youngest members of the family along the canals and waterways. Fun is guaranteed!

  • When... First weekend in May.

Book a secret tour of central London

3. Celebrate spring on Spring Bank Holiday day

Trafalgar Square| ©a.canvas.of.light
Trafalgar Square| ©a.canvas.of.light

The last Monday in May is Spring Bank Holiday, a day when various outdoor events and parties are organized. Like Early May Bank Holiday, the first Monday in May is a festive day when everyone goes out and enjoys a spring day with friends and family. The events held in Trafalgar Square are very popular. However, keep in mind that as it is a public holiday, transport services have reduced hours and some stores may be closed.

  • When... Last Monday in May.

4. Feel like a fan at the FA Cup in London

Football Association Cup| ©ZapTravel
Football Association Cup| ©ZapTravel

Since the 1871 - 1872 season, the Football Association Cup has been held in London, the soccer competition with the longest history in the world and a key date in the English sporting calendar. Nowadays, hundreds of British clubs from the Premier League, Football League and youth teams participate in this knockout tournament, the final of which takes place in May at Wembley Stadium. It is very difficult to get tickets, but if you like soccer you will live a unique moment.

  • When... In May

5. Immerse yourself in open-air theater in Regent's Park

Theater at Regent's Park| ©TomJAnderson
Theater at Regent's Park| ©TomJAnderson

May is also a very special month because it is the beginning of the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre season, one of the most popular activities of the London spring. London's Regent's Park Open Air Theatre began in 1932 and since then offers a full program welcoming every year the attendance of thousands of spectators. There are some fixed titles that are repeated every year as is the case of Shakespeare's main plays.

Tickets are available online and the theater is located south of Regent's Park Theatre.

  • When... From May.

6. Enjoy culture with First Thursdays

Visiting the Galleries at First Thursdays| ©whitechapelgallery.org
Visiting the Galleries at First Thursdays| ©whitechapelgallery.org

If you want to enjoy art beyond the usual hours, you will love this proposal. On the first Thursday of each month, more than a hundred galleries and museums are open until 9 p.m. offering talks and exhibitions beyond the usual hours with free admission. In addition, there are guided bus and walking tours organized by artists, exhibition curators, writers... Yes, just as you read! Join this plan on the first Thursday of May, a day when the weather will also be with you.

This initiative is sponsored by Whitechapel Gallery and you can find more details about the whole program on their website.

  • When... First Thursday of May

7. Sail on the Thames with a cruise

Thames River Cruise| ©Hellotickets
Thames River Cruise| ©Hellotickets

An ideal plan if you travel from May is to enjoy a cruise on the Thames. And the fact is that, from this month, London registers more pleasant temperatures, perfect for this leisure proposal. There is a very varied offer, from the simplest tours to more special ones that include dinner, as well as live shows. My favorite option is a one-day cruise with free stops.

This way, you can use your ticket flexibly and throughout the day, hopping on and off as many times as you want. This cruise has a total of 12 stops. In addition, during the tour you will be able to listen to audio commentaries that will provide you with information about the different points of interest along the way.

  • When... The whole month of May.

Book a Thames cruise

8. Take the best pictures from London Eye

Sunset and the London Eye| ©Peter Toporowski
Sunset and the London Eye| ©Peter Toporowski

Another original and perfect proposal for the pleasant weather in May is to go up to the London Eye, the highest Ferris wheel in Europe. From this observatory, which offers a 360º panoramic view of the city, you can take some dream photos and see some of the most emblematic monuments of the city such as St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, among others. Do not hesitate to read views from the London Eye and tickets for the London Eye to know all the details.

If you dare to go up to the London Eye take into account that the schedule in May is from 11 am to 18 pm. However, there are certain days since April that the attraction remains open until 8:30 pm and you will have the opportunity to enjoy the views of the city of London illuminated. In the post London Eye at night you have all the details of this proposal.

In addition, you also have the possibility to enjoy a combined experience: London Eye and cruise on the Thames and London Eye and Madame Tussauds Museum, so that the day will be as complete as possible. And if after your visit you need to recharge your batteries, find out about the best places to eat near the London Eye.

  • When... The whole month of May.

Buy tickets for the London Eye

9. Visit Royal Botanic Kew Gardens

Exterior of the Royal Botanic Kew Garden| ©Diliff
Exterior of the Royal Botanic Kew Garden| ©Diliff

One of the most spectacular places to visit in May is Royal Botanic Kew Gardens. Located southwest of London, about 30 minutes from downtown, this impressive botanical garden amazes everyone who visits it. It has 500 acres of forest and more than 50,000 living plants.

Royal Botanic Kew Gardens has a total of five greenhouses:

  • Palm House: This space is home to palm trees, as well as exotic plants.
  • Princess of Wales Conservatory: It stands out for its tropical plants.
  • The Bonsai House: As its name suggests, it houses numerous bonsais, some of them with more than a century and a half of history.
  • Temperate House: It has an area of 5,000 square meters and houses plants from temperate climates. Among the various specimens is a 16 meter high Chilean palm.
  • Alpine House: It houses alpine plants that are characterized by the fact that they only grow at high altitudes.

But, in addition to these greenhouses, in your visit you can not miss Treetop Walkaway, an elevated walkway of approximately 200 meters that offers unique views of the site over the treetops; The Hive, a 17-meter high reproduction of the operation and structure of a bee hive and, of course, Kew Palace, a small palace dating from the second half of the seventeenth century and only open from March until September.

And if you go with the little ones of the house will be delighted with the visit, as Royal Botanic Kew Gardens has a playground of over 1,000 square meters with educational games, climbing structures and slides. Do not hesitate to check the map before your visit and you will know all the attractions of Kew Gardens.

  • When... The whole month of May.

Book tickets for Kew Gardens

10. Feel the onset of spring with a picnic in one of London's best parks.

Picnic in St James's Park| ©Wellington Roger
Picnic in St James's Park| ©Wellington Roger

And, undoubtedly, the plan that can not miss on your trip to London in May, is to have a picnic in one of the parks of the city. And you have several options for this, as London has dozens of parks where you can disconnect, walk, play sports, spend the day with friends and family and, of course, enjoy nature. Here are some suggestions:

  • St John's Lodge Gardens: Located in Regent's Park, they are known as "Jewel in the Crown" and are open every day until sunset. It is one of the quietest green spaces in the city.
  • Hyde Park: Located in the heart of London is a perfect choice if you are looking for outdoor activities such as cycling or yoga. In addition, you have the possibility of renting sun loungers.
  • Richmond Park: With almost a thousand hectares, it is the largest nature reserve in London. In addition, it has inhabitants that do not go unnoticed by anyone who visits the park, the hundreds of deer.
  • St. James's Park: It is located next to Buckingham Palace and its origins date back to the sixteenth century, making it one of the most historic parks in the city.
  • Victoria Park: East of London is one of the most famous parks in the United Kingdom. Ideal to visit with the youngest of the house, as it has several playgrounds and swimming pools. In addition, first class music festivals are held here.

If you are looking for other options, be sure to read the 10 best parks in London.

London temperatures in May

An afternoon in London| ©Robert Bye
An afternoon in London| ©Robert Bye

London in the month of May records much warmer and more pleasant temperatures than at other times of the year, with the minimum temperature being 11ºC and the maximum 19ºC. However, keep in mind that in London you can always be surprised by rain, as the weather is totally unpredictable.

London's May tourist crowds

Enjoying the Weather in London| ©Dmitry Djouce
Enjoying the Weather in London| ©Dmitry Djouce

The tourist influx in London in the month of May is high, but not as high as at other times, as it does not coincide with any official vacation dates such as summer, Christmas, Easter, Easter ... Even so, London is a city where there is always tourism and even more so in the month of May, as the weather is ideal for the visit. Therefore, it is always advisable to book hotels and flights in advance, so you can benefit from cheaper prices.

London prices in May

Paying for purchases| ©David Dvořáček
Paying for purchases| ©David Dvořáček

London prices in May are cheaper than at other times of the year, especially for flights and accommodation. Even so, I recommend that you book your flights and hotels as soon as possible so you can benefit from greater discounts, especially if it coincides with special dates such as Chelsea Flower Show or FA Cup in London.

What to pack if you travel to London in May

Preparing your luggage| ©Vlada Karpovich
Preparing your luggage| ©Vlada Karpovich

If your trip to London coincides with the month of May... you are in luck, as temperatures will be very pleasant and even warm. Even so, it is always advisable to bring a couple of sweaters and sweatshirts because except in the central hours of the day the weather is very cool. Also, do not forget to bring a raincoat and do not leave behind a pair of waterproof shoes. Don't forget: it always rains in London.

Holidays in London during the month of May

Exterior of Kensington Palace| ©Steve Cadman
Exterior of Kensington Palace| ©Steve Cadman

In the month of May there are two national holiday: Early May Bank Holiday, which coincides with the first Monday in May and Spring Bank Holiday, which takes place on the last Monday in May. Please note that these two days both the museums and the main attractions of the city may have a special schedule. I recommend that you visit their website before your visit so that you don't have any unforeseen problems. In addition, transportation services may also have a reduced schedule.