As summer comes to an end and school semesters resume across the United Kingdom, cooler temperatures arrive in London along with a host of fall events, perfect for tourists to enjoy the sights and culture of England's capital city without all the usual crowds. Stroll past Big Ben, the Tower of London, and the London Eye or stop by races, festivals, and conventions happening this month. Fortunately, while the temperatures have dropped some in September, the weather is usually comfortable as long as you pack a sweater or extra layer to wear in the early mornings and late evenings.
London Weather in September
Temperatures constantly fall throughout September, but the overall average temperature in London for the month is a pleasant 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius). Daytime highs start to slip into the lower 60s F (below 20 C) by late September, and nighttime lows often fall to the mid-40s F (below 10 C) by the end of the month. Still, you may encounter a day or two of temperatures reaching above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).
- Average high: 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius)
- Average low: 51 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius)
You can expect that about half the month, you will experience a light rain shower and a fair amount of cloudy days, with only about five hours of daylight per day, on average. Fortunately, these rainstorms pass quickly, so they shouldn't affect your travel plans too much.
What to Pack
As September kicks off fall, it is fitting to bring your fall attire on a trip to London. That's not to say that you can or shouldn't bring your T-shirts and shorts. You might get a day or two to wear summery clothes, so pack a couple of items for warmer weather as well. The rule of thumb for when you are on the cusp of warm and cool temperatures is to bring clothes that can layer well. Pack a light jacket and toss your umbrella in your suitcase; if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing, bring sensible shoes for walking around the city.
September Events in London
While the big free concert and movie series of summer may have come to a close by the time September rolls around, there are still plenty of free and ticketed events happening in London this month. From Open House London—which gives visitors full access to more than 800 of the city's most decadent buildings—to the International London Tattoo Convention, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the culture of London in September.
- Open House London: On the third weekend of September, more than 800 of London's finest buildings open their doors to visitors as part of this annual celebration of architecture and design. All admissions are free, but you'll need to pre-book to enter some of the most famous buildings.
- Totally Thames: This month-long festival brings the River Thames to life through a series of cultural events, including regattas, river races, art exhibitions, and music performances.
- Angel Canal Festival: Held along Regents Canal in Islington, this family-friendly event offers craft activities, live music, and local food stalls in early September each year.
- BBC Proms in the Park: Britain's largest open-air classical music event, BBC Promenade Concerts in the Park is an event series that takes place from mid-July to mid-September each year.
- London Fashion Week: This biannual event returns in mid-September each year for the presentation of the next season's biggest fashion designers, editors, buyers, and bloggers. Snag some tickets for the London-wide twice-yearly trade show early because they usually sell out fast.
- London Design Festival: Featuring a full calendar of talks, exhibitions, and creative projects in mid-September, this annual event is a celebration of all things design in London.
- Great River Race: This 21.6-mile boat race along the River Thames attracts more than 300 crews from around the world to compete each year in early September.
- Horseman's Sunday: The third Sunday in September is also known as Horseman's Sunday in London and features a parade of more than 100 horses through Hyde Park led by the vicar of St John's Church.
- Great Gorilla Run: This charity run takes place to raise money and awareness for the Gorilla Organization. Watch runners in gorilla suits follow an 8-kilometer route (approximately 5 miles) through London.
- Heritage Open Days: This yearly celebration of history, architecture, and culture across England feature many free events at heritage attractions in London like Big Ben, the London Eye, and Westminister Abbey.
- International London Tattoo Convention: This annual convention attracts more than 300 of the world's most prestigious tattoo artists to the city each year in early September.
- BP Portrait Awards: From mid-June through mid-September, browse the recipients of this year's BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The BP Portrait Award is the most prestigious portrait painting competition in the world and represents the very best in contemporary portrait painting. The award is aimed at encouraging artists to focus upon and develop portraiture in their work.
September Travel Tips
- September is one of only two months of the year that the Queen of England welcomes visitors to view the staterooms of her royal home at Buckingham Palace. However, don't expect to see the Queen during your trip; she goes to one of her country residences when the palace is open to the public.
- Get a London Pass, and you’ll be able to get into more than 60 London attractions, with transportation included, for a heavily discounted price.
- In London, tipping is not mandatory, but it will be appreciated if you want to do so. However, if you don't do it, the service personnel will not be bothered by it. At some places, you might get a 10 percent service charge on your bill, and most good servers will make you aware of the service charge.
- If you are planning to go to London in September, buy your tickets at least three months before you go since international ticket prices are best during this time frame.
- Early September is still considered the high season of tourism in London, so airfare and accommodations might be a little pricier than if you wait to book for the later part of the month. Mid-September begins the "shoulder season," which is the happy midway point between peak season and the low season.