By Alison Fox
July 21, 2019

While there are great places to get afternoon tea here in the U.S., the quintessentially British tradition is best observed where it was invented. If a trip to London is on your horizon (and with so many great neighborhoods to discover, it should be), experts say you should consider booking during the shoulder season.

Best Times to Go to London

“In general, September just tends to be one of the best months to travel to Europe overall. It’s really when prices start to come down from the peak summer,” Liana Corwin, a consumer travel expert at Hopper, told Travel + Leisure, adding that the absolute cheapest time to go is colder months, including January.

If you’re thinking of heading across the Atlantic, you’re not alone. Searches for flights to London increased 28 percent this year compared to last year, according to Hopper.

Notting Hill, London
Credit: Getty Images

Prices for flights to London from the U.S. are down about 24 percent this year, compared to 2018. And while prices for flights to Europe are down in general, London is seeing an additional 5 percent drop compared to the rest of the continent.

The average lowest price you’ll find to London in February or October is $474, according to Hopper.

The Cheapest Airports to Fly Out Of

When leaving, the cheapest airport to fly out of is Orlando, with an average low price of $554 for July through September. Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport is second with an average low price of $563, followed by Boston and Chicago’s Midway International Airport, which are tied at $565. New York’s JFK airport is only slightly higher, with an average low price of $589 for those months.

The cheapest airport to fly to tends to be Heathrow for flights from the U.S., while Gatwick airport tends to get better prices for inter-Europe flights, Corwin said.

When to Book Your Flight

The question of when should you book, however, is slightly more complicated.

“Everybody wants a golden rule. Unfortunately, every single route is going to be different,” Corwin said. “We know the best way to get a good deal is to start keeping track of your destinations early.”

So no matter if you’re going to Kensington Palace to try to get a glimpse of Kate Middleton and her adorable royal brood, taking in famous sites like Big Ben, or looking to soak up some history in a historic pub, there’s always a reason to plan a trip across the pond — and a way to do it cheaper.