May is one of the most popular months for a trip to London. The temperatures are very pleasant and it is the ideal time for outdoor activities.
Westminster, London| ©Ming Jun Tan
Whoever you ask, there is no doubt that May is one of the best months, if not the best, to travel to the wonderful city of London. The temperatures are much more pleasant than in the other months of the year, there is not as much tourism as in summer or on important dates in the calendar, and you can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities such as cycling, a cruise or a visit to the main parks of the city.
And if that’s not enough, there are some special events like the Chelsea Flower Show or the IWA Canalway Cavalcade, so don’t delay! If you can combine your vacation with the month of May, you won’t regret it!
In the post What to see and do in London you will find the best ideas for your trip, but if you are looking for specific information for the month of May, keep reading, because below I give you 10 unbeatable suggestions.
1. Experience all the splendor of spring at the Chelsea Flower Show
The traditional Chelsea Flower Show, held in the last days of May, has a history of more than a century and welcomes more than 200,000 gardening and landscaping fans each year. The festival takes place at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, where a variety of exhibitions and truly original floral works are organized. I recommend buying your tickets in advance as they often sell out.
Whether you have a ticket or not, I highly recommend a stroll through Chelsea, as it becomes “Chelsea in Bloom” and numerous restaurants, cafes and stores decorate their windows, facades and entrances with a wide variety of flowers and plants. In addition, there are various gastronomic menus on the theme of the exhibition and themed suggestions for the five o’clock tea.
2. From London to Venice with the IWA Canalway Cavalcade
In early May, coinciding with the first Monday in May, the Early May Bank Holiday, the IWA Canalway Cavalcade, an annual event organized by the Inland Waterways Association, brings together more than a hundred boats in Little Venice, with craft booths, food and beer stands, live music, and activities for kids along the canals and waterways. A festival of craft stalls, food and beer stands, live music and activities for the little ones along the canals and waterways – fun is guaranteed!
3. Celebrate spring on Spring Bank Holiday Day
The last Monday in May is the Spring Bank Holiday, a day of outdoor events and parties. Like the Early May Bank Holiday, the first Monday in May is a festive day for those who like to get outside and enjoy a spring day with friends and family. Events in Trafalgar Square are very popular. As it is a public holiday, transport companies have limited opening hours and some stores may be closed.
4. Feel like a fan at the FA Cup in London
The Football Association Cup has been held in London since the 1871-1872 season. It is the longest running soccer competition in the world and a key date in the English sporting calendar. Today hundreds of British clubs from the Premier League, Football League and youth teams participate in this K.o.-Tournament, the final of which is held at Wembley Stadium in May. Tickets are hard to come by, but if you love soccer, you’ll be glad you did.
5. Immerse yourself in the open air theater in Regent’s Park
May is also a very special month because it marks the start of the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre season, one of London’s most popular springtime activities. London’s Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre opened in 1932 and has since offered an extensive program of performances, attracting thousands of spectators each year. There are some fixed titles that are repeated every year, such as the most important Shakespeare plays.
Tickets are available online. The theater is located just south of Regent’s Park Theatre.
6. Enjoying Culture with First Thursdays
If you want to enjoy art outside of the usual opening hours, you’ll love this suggestion. On the first Thursday of every month, more than a hundred galleries and museums are open until 9 p.m., offering free lectures and exhibitions outside of normal opening hours. In addition, there are guided bus and walking tours, led by artists, exhibition curators, writers. Yes, just as you read! Join this schedule on the first Thursday in May, a day when the weather will also cooperate.
This initiative is sponsored by the Whitechapel Gallery, on whose website you can find more details about the entire program.
7. Sail on the River Thames on a Thames Cruise
An ideal plan if you’re traveling from May onwards is a cruise on the River Thames. As of this month, London is experiencing more pleasant temperatures, which are perfect for this leisure activity. The offer is wide and ranges from simple tours to special tours that include dinner and live shows. My favorite option is a day cruise with free stops at.
This way, you can use your ticket flexibly and all day, getting on and off as often as you like. This cruise has a total of 12 stops. You can also listen to audio commentaries along the way, which will inform you about the different points of interest along the way.
8. Take the best photos of the London Eye
Another original and perfect suggestion for the beautiful weather in May is a ride on the London Eye, the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe. From this observatory, which offers a 360º panoramic view of the city, you can take fantastic photos and see some of the city’s most important landmarks, such as. B. the St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. Do not hesitate and read views of the London Eye and tickets for the London Eye to know all the details.
If you want to ride the London Eye, please note that the opening hours in May are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, on certain days in April, the attraction remains open until 20.Open at 30 o’clock, and you will have the opportunity to enjoy the view of the illuminated London skyline. Check out the post London Eye at night for all the details on this suggestion.
You also have the opportunity to enjoy a combined experience: London Eye and Thames cruise and London Eye and Madame Tussauds Museum, making your day as complete as possible. And if you want to recharge your batteries after your visit, check out the best restaurants near the London Eye.
9. Visit Royal Botanic Kew Gardens
One of the most spectacular places to visit in May is the Royal Botanic Kew Gardens. This stunning botanical garden is located in southwest London, about 30 minutes from the city center, and delights everyone who visits it. It has 500 hectares 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 and exotic plants.
- Princess of Wales Conservatory: it is famous for its tropical plants.
- The Bonsai House: as the name suggests, it houses numerous bonsais, some of which have a history that goes back more than a century and a half.
- Temperate House: In an area of 5.000 square meters, plants from temperate climates can be seen here. Among the various specimens is a 16-meter tall Chilean palm tree.
- Alpine House: it houses alpine plants, characterized by the fact that they grow only at high altitudes.
In addition to these greenhouses, don’t miss the Treetop Walkaway during your visit, an elevated walkway about 200 meters long that offers a unique view of the grounds over the treetops; The Hive, a 17-meter-high replica of the workings and structure of a beehive; and, of course, Kew Palace, a small palace dating back to the second half of the 17. The garden is open from March to September only.
And if you’re coming with your little ones, they’ll love the visit, because the Royal Botanic Kew Gardens have a more than 1.000 square meters of playground with educational games, climbing frames and slides. Do not hesitate to look at the map before your visit so that you know all the attractions of Kew Gardens.
10. Experience the beginning of spring with a picnic in one of the most beautiful parks in London.
What is not to be missed during a visit to London in May is a picnic in one of the city’s parks. And there are several options for this, because London has dozens of parks where you can switch off, walk, play sports, spend the day with friends and family and, of course, enjoy nature. Here are a few suggestions:
- St John’s Lodge Gardens: Located in Regent’s Park, the garden is known as the “Jewel in the Crown” Known and open every day until sunset. It is one of the quietest green spaces in the city.
- Hyde Park: located in the heart of London, Hyde Park is the perfect choice if you’re looking for outdoor activities like cycling or yoga. You can also rent deck chairs.
- Richmond Park: with almost a thousand acres, it is the largest nature reserve in London. In addition, the park has some residents that any visitor will not miss, namely hundreds of deer.
- St. James’s Park: It is located next to Buckingham Palace and its origins date back to the 16th century. The park dates back to the nineteenth century, making it one of the most historic parks in the city.
- Victoria Park: East London is one of the most famous parks in the United Kingdom. It is ideal for visiting with the youngest members of the family, as there are several playgrounds and swimming pools. It also hosts some of the best music festivals in the world.
If you’re looking for other things to do, check out these 10 best parks in London.
London temperatures in May
In May, London is much warmer and more pleasant than at other times of the year, with a minimum temperature of 11ºC and a maximum of 19ºC. However, remember that you can always be surprised by rain in London, as the weather is completely unpredictable.
London’s tourist crowds in May
The number of tourists in London is high in May, but not as high as at other times, since it does not coincide with official holidays such as summer, Christmas, Easter, Easter. coincides. Therefore, it is always advisable to book hotels and flights in advance to take advantage of cheaper prices.
London prices in May
Prices in London are cheaper in May than at other times of the year, especially when it comes to flights and accommodation. That said, I recommend booking your flights and hotels as early as possible to take advantage of bigger discounts, especially if they coincide with special dates like the Chelsea Flower Show or the FA Cup in London.
What to pack when you travel to London in May
If your trip to London falls in the month of May, you are in luck, because then the temperatures are very pleasant and even warm. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to pack a few sweaters and sweatshirts, because except for midday, the weather is very cool. Also, don’t forget to bring a raincoat and a pair of waterproof shoes. Don’t forget: it always rains in London.
London’s national holiday in May
There are two national holiday in May: the Early May Bank Holiday, which falls on the first Monday in May, and the Spring Bank Holiday, which falls on the last Monday in May. Please note that on these two days the museums and the main attractions of the city may have special opening hours. I recommend you check their website before you visit so you don’t run into any unforeseen problems. In addition, transport services may also have a reduced schedule.