Welcome to springtime in London! March is a great time in London (and not just because it’s my birthday at the end of the month!)
The days get noticeably longer, the temperature starts to rise, and the city regains some colour. The fun of the festive season might be over, but London still has plenty to offer in spring.
Having lived in London for most of my life and explored its every nook and cranny, I’m excited to share with you why March is such a special time to visit. So, pack your bags (and an umbrella, just in case) and get ready to explore London.
Why Visit London in March?
1. Start of spring:
March in London marks the transition from the brisk, often grey winter months into the more vibrant spring. While the early part of the month can still be chilly, by the end you’ll start to see the city’s famous parks and gardens begin to bloom.
The daffodils and early cherry blossoms are a sight to behold, offering a refreshing change of scenery and the perfect backdrop for leisurely walks and outdoor activities.
2. Fewer Crowds and Better Deals:
As March is somewhat of a shoulder season in London, it’s a prime time for travellers seeking to avoid the heavy tourist crowds that descend upon the city in the summer months.
You’ll find that popular attractions such as the Tower of London, the British Museum, and the London Eye are less crowded, allowing for a more relaxed and intimate experience.
This also translates to potentially better deals on accommodations and flights, as well as shorter queues at various attractions and dining spots.
3. Annual Events:
London’s cultural calendar in March is brimming with events, offering something for every taste. From the eclectic and vibrant St Patrick’s Day celebrations to various art and film festivals, the city buzzes with creativity and expression.
For theatre enthusiasts, London’s West End shows are in full swing, presenting an opportunity to catch world-class performances. Additionally, many galleries and museums launch new exhibitions in March, making it a perfect time for those interested in art and history.
Weather in London in March
March in London is a time of transition, where the city begins to shake off the winter cold and welcomes the first hints of spring. The weather can be quite variable, so it’s wise to be prepared for a mix of conditions.
Typically, temperatures in March range from a low of around 5°C (41°F) in the early mornings and nights to 11°C (52°F) during the day. While these temperatures are milder compared to the winter months, it’s important to dress in layers to accommodate the fluctuating weather throughout the day.
London in March experiences its fair share of rainfall. On average, you can expect around 35 mm of rain in total over 8 days this month. There is a lot of different information about rainfall in March online, so I’m sticking with the Met Office’s data – the official UK meteorological service.
While it’s less rainy compared to the winter months, having an umbrella or a waterproof jacket is advisable when exploring the city.
The good news is that the days start getting longer in March, offering more daylight to enjoy the city. The increase in daylight hours is noticeable and appreciated, especially towards the end of the month when the clocks change to British Summer Time.
Tip: be careful with the clocks changing at the end of the month – you don’t want to be rushing to the airport because your devices didn’t update.
Top Activities to Enjoy in London in March
1. Explore London’s Museums and Galleries:
March, with its quieter streets, is an ideal time to visit London’s world-renowned museums and galleries. The British Museum, Tate Modern, and the National Gallery are less crowded, allowing for a more leisurely experience.
Special exhibitions are often launched in March, offering new and exciting displays. Don’t miss the Victoria and Albert Museum for its exquisite collection of decorative arts.
It’s also a good time to catch outdoor attractions. If you want to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace it’ll be easier to find a spot to watch than in the height of summer.
2. Discover Gardens and Royal Parks:
As the city awakens to spring, London’s gardens and parks become a must-visit.
The Royal Botanic Gardens (also known as Kew Gardens) begin to showcase their spring blossoms. The Orchid Festival will also still be running at Kew in early March.
Regent’s Park starts to regain some colour as flowers bloom, although the rose garden doesn’t reach its peak until summer.
If you are travelling with children, March starts to make London’s many playgrounds more accessible in terms of weather. The Diana Princess of Wales playground in Kensington Gardens is a great one to try, but most of London’s parks have play areas.
3. Experience London’s Theatre Scene:
London’s West End is bustling with activity in March. This is a fantastic time to catch some of the world’s best theatre productions. Although the days are getting longer at this point in the year, the sun still sets relatively early, especially before the clocks change at the end of the month.
Spending an evening at one of London’s many theatres after a day of sightseeing is the perfect way to make the most of your time.
From long-running musicals to new dramatic plays, there’s something for every taste. Booking in advance is recommended, as some shows sell out quickly. If you are more flexible about what you want to see, you can generally get same-day tickets for something, but it won’t necessarily be the big shows.
4. Take A Tour:
With fewer crowds, March is a good time of year to join tours. There are lots of historical group tours around central London to help you explore the city with a guide.
If you are staying in London for several days, coach trips are a good choice to get somewhere further afield like Stonehenge or Stratford-Upon-Avon.
These are places that you can visit in a day from London but might not be worth staying there overnight. Public transport also means you can visit various other places by train on a day trip.
Book your day trip to Stonehenge and Bath here!
5. Attend Special Events and Festivals:
London Coffee Festival
A personal favourite, you can find me at the Truman Brewery at this event in March. If you are a coffee enthusiast, this is your place. With barista demonstrations, coffee roaster samples, snacks, gifts, coffee equipment and more, there is plenty to try.
St Patrick’s Day
St Patrick’s Day is 17th March, but the annual parade is held on a Sunday which may not be the same day. In 2024 the days do coincide, so on Sunday 17th March 2024 you’ll find around 50,000 people celebrating the parade between Hyde Park Corner and Trafalgar Square.
You’ll also find lots of pub crawls and special events all over the city, outside of this official London parade.
The Boat Race
There are many boat races in the UK, but when people say THE Boat Race, they usually mean the annual competition between the Oxford and Cambridge University Rowing teams on the River Thames.
This annual event takes place every March, and has been going for more than 190 years. Cambridge University currently has the highest number of wins in both the men’s and women’s races.
Affordable Art Fair
Battersea Park hosts this annual event with thousands of works of art, starting at around £50, for people to view and buy. For anyone interested in buying art without spending a huge amount of money, this is one to check out.
Practical Travel Tips for March in London
1. Clocks Change
The UK switches to British Summer Time at the end of March. This means that the sun sets later in the evening. Just be careful to make sure you account for the time change for any booked tickets or travel plans. You don’t want to be caught out and miss something.
2. Packing Essentials:
March weather in London can be unpredictable. Pack a variety of clothes that you can layer – light sweaters, long sleeve shirts, and a warm jacket. Always include a waterproof jacket or a sturdy umbrella, as rain showers are still common.
Comfortable walking shoes are a must for exploring the city on foot. Don’t forget to pack a portable charger for your devices, as you’ll likely be out and about for most of the day.
3. Transportation Savvy:
London’s public transport system is efficient and the best way to get around the city. Consider purchasing an Oyster card or using a contactless payment card for hassle-free travel on buses, the Tube, and trams.
Remember that March is still off-peak tourist season, so take advantage of shorter queues and less crowded public transport.
4. Budgeting and Expenses:
While London can be expensive, March offers the chance for some savings. Look for off-season discounts on accommodations and flights. Many of London’s museums and galleries are free, making them great budget-friendly options.
For dining, explore local markets or dine in gastropubs for an authentic and more affordable experience compared to high-end restaurants.
5. Health and Safety:
London is generally safe, but like any major city, it’s wise to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Keep your belongings secure, especially in crowded areas.
In case of a medical emergency, know that pharmacists can offer advice for minor ailments, and there are walk-in clinics for more urgent care. Remember that the UK’s emergency phone number is 999.
Where To Stay
This hotel is very central and reasonably priced. That does mean that the rooms are not very big, but as you’ll be exploring the city you don’t need more than a comfortable place to stay in a great location.
March is a great time of year for visiting London in all its dynamic glory. From the early signs of spring in its parks and gardens to the vibrant cultural and culinary scenes, the city offers a diverse range of experiences.
Whether you’re soaking up history in museums, enjoying world-class theatre, or simply relishing the quieter streets, London in March has something special for everyone. With these insights and practical tips, you’re now ready to explore and enjoy London like a true local.