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Discover London

Get set for a taste of both the historic and the modern with flights and holidays in London. Take a history lesson while you tour the Tower of London, or get the lay of the land with a ride on the Coca-Cola London Eye. With so much to see and do, there’s plenty for everyone in London.

Home to well known landmarks, designer shopping, and a vibrant arts and theatre community, it’s no wonder so many choose to spend their holidays in London. And with flights from British Airways, you’ll arrive in England in style. With regular flights to London from the world over, the city’s never out of reach.

Guard at the Tower of London
London festivals calling.

London festivals calling…

Britain’s capital has so many festivals it can be difficult to choose one that will suit your tastes. As eclectic and diverse as London itself, there is something for everyone. This summer Lovebox is the festival with the big names. Head over to Victoria Park on the 17 and 18 July to see Snoop Dogg, Hot Chip and Mark Ronson do their thing. Alternatively, for the more dance-inclined, South West Four at Clapham Common will provide all the beats you can think of. Legendary DJs Basement Jaxx and Faithless vie for your attention, amongst many more over the bank holiday 29 and 30 August.

Find our cheapest flights to London here

Find out what's on in London this July

Culture vultures will be spoilt with London’s offerings this month, which includes Shakespearian tragedy at the Globe and Mexican ballet at the London Coliseum. Buckingham Palace and the National Portrait Gallery have exclusive exhibitions, while summer festival fever sees a trio of major music and arts events in the capital.

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LON WIRELESS FESTIVAL.

1-7 July

One of the most photographed stars of all time, Audrey Hepburn, will be the subject of a stunning new photographic exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 2 July to 18 October. ‘Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon’ will feature more than 60 rare and classic images of the actress and style icon captured by some of the 20th century’s leading photographers.

Then David Guetta, Drake, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J are among the top names lined up to perform at this year’s Wireless Festival, from 3 to  5 July. Veteran acts including Mary J Blige and Grandmaster Flash will also feature on the Finsbury Park festival bill.

collapsedshow8-14 July
LON Richard II.

8-14 July

Take your seat (or stand) for Shakespeare’s powerful exploration of the meaning of kingship, Richard II, at the iconic Globe Theatre from 11 July to 18 October. Downton Abbey star Charles Edwards will take the titular role in this sure-to-be-superb production.

Or combine taking in London’s renowned sights with cheering on the competitors of the Vitality British 10K London Run, on 12 July. Many of the capital’s most iconic landmarks feature on the race route, with this year’s set to be particularly special, in celebration of the Run’s 15th anniversary.

collapsedshow15-21 July
LON citadel.

15-21 July

Grab tickets for East London’s coolest arts event, the Citadel Festival, at Victoria Park on 19 July. Alongside music from Ben Howard, Bombay Bicycle Club, Anna Calvi and more, will be current affair-inspired talks from guest speakers and lip-smacking snacks for sale from London’s most sought-after street vendors.

Then calling all film fans… Europe’s largest Asian film festival comes to the capital from 16 to 23 July. The London Indian Film Festival showcases the finest independent film-imports from India at venues across London, as well as featuring talks from prestigious actors and film-makers.

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LON Ballet Folklorico De Mexico.

22-31 July

Don’t miss the internationally-acclaimed Ballet Folklórico De México at the stunning London Coliseum from 22 to 25 July. This mesmerising spectacle by Mexico’s national dance company sees over 40 dancers and 16 musicians present a feast of music and dance themed around the country’s fascinating history.

Or experience the breathtaking splendour of an official visit to Buckingham Palace, when the Royal Family’s London residence opens its doors for ‘A Royal Welcome’. From 25 July to 27 September, get a thrilling behind-the-scenes peek into the preparations for State Banquets, Garden Parties and other royal occasions.

Find out what's on in London this August

With summer in full swing London adds a delightful medley of outdoor events to the mix, which range from sporting events to urban festivals. As the city’s parks come alive with impromptu picnickers, outdoor film screenings form the perfect ending to a British summer’s day.

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Holi.

1-7 August

Experience a colourful day of music, dance and performance art at Holi One on 8 August at Wembley Park. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of this vibrant event and enjoy getting messy as you shower yourself (and others) in a kaleidoscope of environmentally-friendly paints.

To celebrate the buzz that cycling brought to the capital during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Prudential RideLondon will retrace some of the famous courses on 1 and 2 August. Starting in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, cyclists will follow a 100-mile route through London and into Surrey – tackling some infamous leg-testing climbs along the way – before finishing on The Mall.

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Beer Festival.

8-14 August

On 8 and 9 August London welcomes over 13,000 triathletes and around 30,000 spectators, for the London Triathlon 2015. The largest event of its kind, which caters to triathletes of all levels, come along and cheer them on as they embark on a variety of challenges - Super Sprint, Sprint, Olympic, Olympic Plus & Team Relay.

Between 11 and 15 August, the Great British Beer Festival will bring more than 500 real ales, ciders, perries and foreign beers to Olympia exhibition centre. Traditional pub games, live music and hearty pub grub also add to the atmosphere – the ideal distraction when taking a break between pints.

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Summer Screen.

15-21 August

From 6 to 19 August London’s favourite open-air film festival Film4 Summer Screen returns to Somerset House. Watch your favourite movie under the stars in a stunning courtyard setting. Choose from a variety of films, all showing on a state-of-the-art screen with full surround sound.

Get your culture fix at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, which ends 16 August. This prestigious gathering of artworks showcases a variety of creations - which range from painting and printmaking to photography and film. Admire the chosen work, handpicked from 12,000 entries, at this vibrant summer event.

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Big Festival.

22-28 August

The annual Film4 FrightFest returns to the Vue West End in Leicester Square from 27 to 31 August. Join the 15th anniversary celebrations of this popular event and prepare to be scared by the impressive line-up of premieres, previews and special screenings that celebrate the horror genre.

Enjoy a unique weekend of music, food and family fun at The Big Feastival, coming to the The Cotwolds on 28 to 30 August. Set on Blur bassist Alex James’ idyllic farm, he and TV chef Jamie Oliver have created an exciting fusion of live music, boutique bars, artisan food stalls and lifestyle markets.

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Camden Fringe.

29-31 August

Don’t miss the excitement of the Notting Hill Carnival, which takes place over the Bank Holiday weekend on 30 and 31 August. The overwhelming sights, sounds and smells are at the very heart of this colourful celebration - with two days of festivities including live music, traditional cuisine and a flamboyant parade that is not to be missed.

Catch the last week of the London Camden Fringe, which runs until 30 August. A talent showcase that boasts extraordinary variety, this performing arts festival takes place in small venues across the borough of Camden. Last year’s shows included new writing, opera, musicals, stand-up, sketch comedy, dance, cabaret and poetry.

Find out what's on in London this September

After the heat of the summer has cooled, if only a small amount, September is festival time in London. From film, music and theatre, to arts and even harvests, there will be something to keep you entertained. Don’t miss the Totally Thames festival, throughout the month.

collapsedshow1-6 September
Carston Höller: Decision.

1-6 September

It is the last chance to see the Full of Spice exhibit at the wonderful Kew Gardens which ends 6 September. This brilliant exhibition traces the history, the botanical origins and the way we use spices. These plants and seeds colour, flavour and preserve our food, and it is cause for celebration.

The Carston Höller: Decision retrospective at the Hayward Gallery on the Southbank is also a last chance. Finishing on the 6 September, the highlight of the show is perhaps the 15-metre Isomeric Slides, popular at the Tate’s Turbine Hall in 2006. Designed to question your perception and decision making, expect mirrored walls, disorientating installations and a chance to lose control.

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Sensational Butterflies.

7-13 September

The Sensational Butterflies exhibition ends its run at the Natural History Museum on the 13 September. A must-see for budding lepidopterists, of all ages - this show guides you through the fascinating process.

Guaranteed to be brilliant, BBC’s Proms is back for another run over the summer months. Ending on the 12 September in spectacular style, both the Proms and the Proms in the Park offer the chance to see and hear some of the finest classical music in the world. You can get tickets to either the Royal Albert Hall or Hyde Park, so take your pick.

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Portobello Film Festival.

14 -20 September

Beginning in 1996, the Portobello Film Festival was a reaction to the worn state of the British film industry. Now, it is clearing the way for up-and-coming filmmakers of the future. From indie features to avant garde masterpieces, there will be something for everyone between 3 and 20 September.

The River Thames comes to life throughout September in the 2nd annual Totally Thames festival, celebrating London’s famous river. Stemming from the success of the Thames Festival and last years’ debut, this year brings a month-long collection of arts, music and river-related fun. All spread across 42-miles of river, meandering through the capital.

collapsedshow21 -27 September
Pearly Kings and Queens.

21 -27 September

Taking place from 19 to 27 September, The London Design Festival brings some of the world’s best designers and illustrators to the capital. The festival aims to promote British design and its pioneering educational facilities. Start at the Victoria and Albert Museum and venture out toward over 300 events all over the city.

A strange but charming tradition starting in the late 19th century, the Pearly Kings and Queens have an annual harvest festival. This year, the festival is on the Sunday 27 September in Guildhall, it is a great display of community spirit in action, as all the proceeds go to local charities.

collapsedshow28 - 30 September
Jane Eyre.

28 - 30 September

The classic Brontë novel Jane Eyre has been dramatized many times and the National Theatre Company have done an excellent job with this adaptation. From 17 September to 25 October audiences at the Lyttelton Theatre find Jane growing up, falling for, and ultimately finding freedom with Byronic hero Lord Rochester.

And finally, the iTunes Festival will be coming back to The Roundhouse for the whole of September, though actual dates and line-up are yet to be confirmed. Past acts have included Lady Gaga, Robert Plant and Calvin Harris. This is free festival and promises to be a lot of fun.

London areas

St Pancras train station

Bloomsbury & St Pancras

Bloomsbury has attracted writers and liberal thinkers for centuries. Home to the British Museum, British Library and the Charles Dickens’ Museum. St. Pancras is the transport hub for Eurostar, and provides fantastic transport links to London areas and Europe.

Selfridge's on Oxford Street

Marble Arch & Oxford Street

London’s shopping institutions, such as Selfridges and Liberty, mix with fantastic high street shops and premium designer brands. Take a break from the shops and visit Baker Street, home to fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.

The Mall leading to Buckingham Palace

Victoria & Westminster

At the heart of London’s monarchy, politics and iconic landmarks. Visit Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s official residence, and Westminster Abbey, the chosen wedding venue of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Colourful houses in London

Paddington & Notting Hill

Known as the leafy neighbourhoods of London, Paddington is bordered by Hyde Park and fashionable Notting Hill is characterised by its green squares. A haven for antiques, second hand books, and the weekly, Portobello Road Market.

The Natural History Museum

Kensington & Earls Court

One of the most beautiful areas of London and great for history and the arts. Surrounded by stunning Georgian and Edwardian architecture. Visit the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum while you’re here.

Sounds of summer

YouTube vlogger Jimmy Hill took a musical tour of London and then jumped on a ferry to explore the Isle of Wight Festival. See how he got on in the video below.

London weather

Prepare for the weather before your holiday

Average seasonal temperatures°C/°F
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • 10°Mar
  • 13°Apr
  • 17°May
  • 20°Jun
  • 22°Jul
  • 21°Aug
  • 19°Sep
  • 14°Oct
  • 10°Nov
  • Dec
Average monthly rainfall (mm)
  • 54
  • 40
  • 37
  • 37
  • 46
  • 45
  • 57
  • 59
  • 49
  • 57
  • 64
  • 48
Average daily sunshine (hours)
  • 1
  • 2
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1

London: An insiders guide

Saska portrait.

London: An insiders guide

Author and resident Saska Graville unearths off-the-radar places to eat, sleep and shop.

Read the full article here

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