September is the last chance to make the most of summer in London, and it’s a great time to get out and about in the city to visit great festivals and quirky events. There’s a lot going on in September, and a lot of it’s outside with the likes of Proms in the Park entertaining crowds with great music, while the traditional Great River Race plays out along the Thames.
In September, you’ll also have the last chance to tour around Buckingham Palace before the royal residence is closed to the public until next summer, while across London you’ll find film events, comedy festivals, and design and fashion weeks being held in wonderful locations.
This is one of the best months of the year to travel to the capital. To help you plan your trip, here’s our complete guide to visiting London in September.
- 1 The Weather in London in September
- 2 Festivals and Events in London during September
- 3 Things to See and Do in London in September
The Weather in London in September
September is the last real month of summer in London. After this, you can expect temperatures to begin to drop drastically, as the seasons turn to autumn and then into winter. At the beginning of the month, it’s still going to be shorts and t-shirt weather, as temperatures can hit mid-20s Celsius, while the skies are clear and the sun is shining.
Towards the end of September though, things can begin to get a little cooler, as the temperatures begin to drop. Throughout the month, expect chillier evenings, so be prepared with jumpers. Being England, the weather is also very unpredictable, particularly in September, when the seasons are beginning to transition. Check the forecast before you head out into the city, as you might want to be prepared with raincoats and umbrellas.
Festivals and Events in London during September
September is a great month for festival lovers, as you can catch the end of the summer season for many big events, while others make use of the last of the summer sun to entertain Londoners. Enjoy a celebration of the River Thames, watch boat races and immerse yourself in London Fashion Week or at the London Design Festival. There’s a lot going on in September. Here are our favourite festivals and events to visit in the capital.
BBC Proms in the Park
The Proms is an iconic British music event that takes place from July through September, as classical music lovers in the capital enjoy some sterling performances from some of the best orchestras in the world.
As the summer season draws to an end in the middle of September, the epic finale of the Proms is played out in Hyde Park, as crowds in the thousands enjoy listening to the ending of this huge musical event. You can expect fireworks, unbelievable classical performances and plenty of rousing music to be played late into the night. Get tickets as soon as they are released, because this is a popular event. If you miss out though, then the BBC always televises it.
The River Thames is one of the most important natural landmarks in the city, as London grew and developed through the centuries along the banks of the waterway that divides it. The river is many things to Londoners; it’s a historic part of the city, a way to travel around and an enduring sight. Totally Thames is a month-long festival that celebrates what the river means to Londoners.
Along the Thames throughout the entirety of September, you’ll find different events happening, many of which are free and open to everyone. There are small music festivals, art installations and riverboat racing too. You can join boat cruises along the river, learn more about the history of London and its relationship with the Thames, and find plenty of great pubs offering fantastic deals overlooking the water.
Classic Boat Festival
Another great event that’s found on the Thames is the Classic Boat Festival. Held at St Katherine Docks over one weekend in the middle of September, this is one of the best components of Totally Thames. The event collects together some of the best classic boats in the country, from tall sailing ships to vintage motorboats.
It’s a colourful and lively spectacle, as the array of boats is lined up along the docks. There are some great talks, you can board the boats and even cruise out along the Thames too.
Southbank is one of the cultural hubs of London, and through summer the area hosts the huge Underbelly Festival, which quite literally entertains visitors for weeks on end. The festival sees different events being played over summer, with the final few weeks being in September. Underbelly Festival is a unique event, featuring alternative artists, musicians and performers from around the world.
There are comedy shows, burlesque shows, cabaret and family-friendly circus acts too. There’s a little something for everyone at the Underbelly, so check September’s schedule and catch the last performances at the Southbank.
Greenwich Comedy Festival
Another entertaining event to visit in London during September is the ever-popular Greenwich Comedy Festival. Over several days in the month, Greenwich hosts some of the country’s best comedy acts, as they perform in the grounds of the National Maritime Museum.
There are different tents, with both emerging acts and well-established acts on stage. Tickets are surprisingly cheap given the great location and the quality of the comedians, and the Greenwich Comedy Festival is often cited as the best comedy festival in London. You won’t want to miss out if you are looking for a few laughs in September, so grab your tickets early to avoid disappointment.
London Design Festival
The London Design Festival is a nine-day event that’s been taking place in London every September since 2003. The modern festival celebrates London’s influence as a design capital of the world, and you’ll find hundreds of events and thousands of visitors across the city.
The festival has a broad focus, with design encompassing everything from architecture to product packaging, but the consistent focus is on innovation and creativity within the sphere. There are talks, lectures, seminars, displays, exhibitions and art installations to explore during the London Design Festival.
While there are many different venues across London, the iconic Victoria and Albert Museum – which focuses on art and design – acts as the central location for the festival, hosting big events and exhibitions, and offering unique tours and displays to visitors.
London Fashion Week
London Fashion Week is another citywide event that takes place in September. This popular festival of fashion actually takes place twice a year, so if you missed the first round early on in February, then in September you have a second chance to attend and to learn more about the city’s relationship with fashion.
This is not just one of the largest fashion events in the country, but in the world. For one week, you can expect the streets to be filled with fashionistas from all over the globe, as they arrive in the city looking to jump on the latest trends. There are many events held during the weeklong festival, with the most impressive being the fashion walk shows put on by the big designers.
Open House London
Open House is one of the most intriguing and fascinating citywide festivals held in London during the year. Towards the end of September, hundreds of different properties and buildings across the capital open their doors to the public, allowing visitors to explore some of the most interesting, and usually closed off, parts of London.
Open House London is an architectural festival. The driving idea behind it is to allow the public free access into private buildings. It’s a wonderful project, and the schedule of events and open buildings is ever growing and different each year. This is an opportunity to explore the London skyline in a way that’s normally impossible and you’ll be able to visit iconic skyscrapers and historic houses throughout the festival.
Open House London releases the list of buildings and tours nearer the time, so check in with them in August to find out more about the schedule of events happening during September.
The Great River Race
The Great River Race is a must-see event if you are in London in September. Another part of the lengthy Totally Thames river celebrations held through the month, the Great River Race is more of a marathon than a race, as the course stretches for just over 20 miles.
Small, traditional boats powered by oars compete against each other to cross the finish line first. Hundreds of crews will be competing and thousands will be lining the riverbanks to cheer them on. It’s always a fun-filled day, with fancy dress and plenty of cold drinks to go around.
Things to See and Do in London in September
As well as a huge array of great festivals and events to attend in London during September, there are also lots of great things to see and do. Explore the classic sights and attractions of London, as you would any month of the year, but make sure you call into Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, because they have a few special tours and events planned.
Enjoy London in the last of the summer sunshine by taking a walking tour of the capital. It’s a great way to get out and about, to take in the fresh air, and get a little bit of exercise as you walk from one destination to the next.
There are walking tours that cater to all interests. You can take history-focused tours that guide you through iconic locations, you can join Harry Potter-themed tours that show where the films were shot, or you can take budget-friendly, tips-based walking tours where you only ever pay what you feel it was worth.
You can visit Buckingham Palace and see the iconic Changing of the Guard Ceremony throughout the year, but September is the last opportunity for visitors to actually walk through the gates and explore the inside of the palace.
Throughout the summer months, Buckingham Palace is open to the public, although you can only see a small section of the vast number of its rooms and corridors. You’ll have the chance to see the lavish furnishings and extensive art collections within the rooms, so for anyone with even a passing interest in British history or the Royal Family, it’s a must do in September, because the doors won’t be opening again until the following summer.
The Tower of London
The Tower of London is one of the city’s most iconic and recognisable sights, and you can tour through the castle, the keeps and the dungeons with the Beefeaters, who are the ceremonial guards as well as guides within the tower.
In September though, you also have the chance to visit the Tower of London’s food festival, which is held – hopefully in the sun! – in the moat surrounding the castle. You can try some delicious food and watch demonstrations from celebrated chefs, all in an unbeatable and historic location.
Luna Cinema is one of the country’s best-loved outdoor cinema providers. They set up their screenings in some of the most unique venues across the United Kingdom, from castles to palaces.
The company sets up huge projections in fantastic locations, providing outdoor seating under the stars and putting on a range of food and drink to enjoy while you watch a classic movie. September is the last chance to catch a screening, as, after this, the summer evenings disappear and open-air cinemas become a risky affair in the deteriorating English weather.
Enjoy London’s great parks during September before autumn begins to appear. See the last of the vibrant greenery before trees begin to shed their leaves in preparation for winter, and enjoy the wildlife, deer and birds before they begin to hibernate through the colder months.
If you’re planning to visit London this September, check out Premium Tour’s great range of London tours. We’ll show you a different side to the city.