May Weather and Events in London

Chelsea Flower Show 2007, Great Pavilion, Tulips
••• Chelsea Flower Show. Claire Takacs / Getty Images

London is somewhat notorious for its fickle weather, but the month of May is actually pretty consistent. Days are longer and the sun is inching its way toward warm. It's a great time to visit and you'll find plenty to do in relative peace and quiet because sightseeing crowds won't begin descending on the area for another month or so. Here are a few tips to help you plan your trip.

May Weather

  • Average High: 62°F (17°C)
  • Average Low: 46°F (8°C)
  • Average wet days: 8.5 days
  • Average daily sunshine increases to more than six hours

What to Wear

  • Be prepared for change. 
  • Keep a lightweight waterproof jacket with you for days out. It rarely snows in London at this time of year, but you'll need it in the event of rain.

Highlights

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is where florists and breeders debut their new plants each year on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. RHS stands for the Royal Horticultural Society, and the Great Pavilion showcases more than 100 nurseries. There's plenty available for purchase at a variety of Trade stands selling products and accessories.

Annual Events

  • Football's FA Cup Final takes place on a Saturday in mid-May each year. Remember that "football" means soccer in the United Kingdom. Brits love American football, too, but they consider it a different game altogether and you'll have a hard time finding a Londoner who calls this game soccer. The FA Cup Final showcases the best in English football.
  • The PJF (the Punch and Judy Fellowship) hosts the Punch and Judy Festival at Covent Garden in mid-May. It's a three-day event that typically includes over 60 Punch performances along the main High Street and a beach in City Square that's specially built for the festival.
  • The Kensington Dollshouse Festival also takes place in mid-May each year, and it's been happening since 1985. The Festival hosts over 170 artists from all over the globe memorializing every literally tiny aspect of life in miniature. Materials and tools are available for purchase if you're tempted to take up the craft yourself.

    Public Holidays

    London calls its public holidays "bank holidays" because banks and many other businesses shut their doors for the day, although shops and attractions often remain open. Bank holidays are conveniently spread throughout the year and schools are typically closed on these days as well. You'll find lots of locals enjoying various events on their days off, so expect more than the usual May crowds. Two bank holidays take place in May.

    • Londoners celebrate May Day on the first Monday in May.
    • The last Monday in May is Spring Bank Holiday or Whitsun, the British name for Pentecost, a Christian festival celebrated 49 days after Easter.