12 Best Things to Do in London in Winter

Considering a London trip this winter? You’re in for a treat. I’ve put up a list of the very best things to do in London in winter to help you make the most of your visit.

If you think London is just alive in the summer, think again.

Summer may be the season of festivals, picnics, and pub gardens, but the winter season also offers plenty of activities to keep you busy when the weather becomes cooler and the days get shorter.

12 Best Things To Do in London in Winter

London in Winter — Weather

The winter season is from December to February, with January and February typically being the coldest.

Temperatures in the winter range from 5 to 10°F. The coldest month of the year is January, with an average temperature of 6.7°C.

London in Winter — Travel Tips

• A good moisturizer should keep your skin smooth and supple since the cold makes the skin dry.

• Pack a sturdy waterproof jacket to keep you warm and protected from the elements.

• A good pair of slip-proof boots should come in handy as you explore the best places to visit in London in winter.

Best Things to Do in London During Winter

If you’re planning a trip to London during the winter, make sure you don’t miss these fantastic activities, which range from exploring a winter wonderland to going on a haunted pub tour. Read on.

1. Explore the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park - 12 Best Things To Do in London in Winter
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
© Cristian Bortes | Wikimedia Commons

The winter fest in Hyde Park is the biggest yearly winter celebration in London. Partaking in it is among the best activities in London in winter. There are Christmas markets, a circus, and mulled wine all within walking distance of one another.

If you are planning to visit here soon, make sure you reserve your tickets in advance.

2. Take a stroll across Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square - 12 Best Things To Do in London in Winter
Trafalgar Square
© Diliff |  Wikimedia Commons

Every winter, the most popular public area in London hosts the largest Christmas tree — a gift from the Norwegian people.

Depending on the date, you may be able to catch one of the many Christmas carol services that take place in the area.

For art lovers, the famed National Gallery is also located in the area and is another must-see historic attraction that shouldn’t be missed.

3. Marvel at the Christmas lights of Regent Street

Regent Street - 12 Best Things To Do in London in Winter
Regent Street

As the first central London street to feature Christmas lights in 1954, Regent Street has long been known for its stunning light show during the holiday season. It is one of the best attractions in London in winter.

In this neighborhood, the Christmas lights in the John Nash curve are themed every year, highlighting the glamor and elegance of the season. Regent Street, known as the “Mile of Style,” is where you’ll also find the most luxurious gifts for your loved ones.

4. Visit Hogwarts at Christmas

Technically, you’ll have to board a short train ride to Watford outside of London to visit the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios. However, you can still enjoy a bit of magic by visiting some notable film locations in London.

Make like you are about to board the Hogwarts Express in St. Pancras, or enter the Ministry of Magic in Scotland Place.

You can also enjoy a walk through Diagon Alley (Leadenhall or Borough Markets), but first, you must get a few galleons from Gringotts (Australia House)!

Set aside a day with a tour of the Harry Potter filming locations with the help of our guide. This is truly one of the best attractions in London in winter – and all year round!

5. Go ice skating at Somerset House

The holiday season in London does not officially begin until the world-famous ice rink at Somerset House opens its doors for skaters to enjoy.

The rink is put on in collaboration with Fortnum and Mason. In addition to providing ice skating in picturesque surroundings, it also hosts club nights on the weekends with notable DJs spinning party music while skaters attempt to maintain their balance.

Ice skating at Somerset House is truly one of the best things to do in London in winter.

6. Spend an afternoon at the museums

In London, you’re likely to find a museum of every kind you can think of.i

If you’re in London for the winter, we recommend visiting these places that make you feel warm and happy during the holidays:

• Museum of the Home (Geffrye Museum)

If you’re curious about how Christmas was celebrated in London centuries ago, the Museum of the Home — formerly the Geffrye Museum — in Shoreditch, London, is an excellent resource. Take a look at 400-year-old living spaces that have been meticulously preserved.

• Young V&A (The V&A Museum of Childhood)

The Young V&A, formerly the V&A Museum of Childhood, in the East End of London, is an excellent site to visit over the holidays to remember the gifts you received as a child (where you’d wish you had retained some of the original boxes). This exhibit also has a different theme each year.

7. Welcome the New Year

Will you be in London for the New Year? Here are some fun events to enjoy while you’re in the city:

• New Year’s Eve fireworks

Every New Year’s Eve, London’s night sky is illuminated with a spectacular fireworks show.

Tickets to the South Bank are available on the UK government’s website because of an increase in demand for a good view. The display may still be seen from a wide range of locations in London, however.

• New Year’s Parade

The annual 2.2-mile parade features thousands of artists from 20 countries.

The Ritz Hotel serves as the starting point for the parade, which will travel through Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, and Big Ben before coming to an end.

Tickets for raised grandstands are available for the best views if you prefer not to stand.

8. Enjoy afternoon tea

If you’re in London during the winter months, don’t miss the opportunity to engage in an iconic British tradition: afternoon tea.

Some of the city’s best restaurants, hotels, and teahouses provide afternoon tea with hot brews and trays of savory and sweet finger snacks.

You can enjoy London’s afternoon tea services any time of the year, but the idea of filling yourself with warm and crumbly scones while sipping on vats of tea sounds like the perfect way to spend a winter afternoon.

High tea at London classics like The Ritz, The Dorchester, or Claridges is always a good idea. Or you may opt for themed afternoon teas, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Biscuiteers’ Festive Afternoon Tea in One Aldwych.

9. Indulge in a rooftop party at Queen of Hoxton

There’s always a different look for the Queen of Hoxton’s rooftop each holiday season.

There was a Wizard of Oz-themed Emerald City pop-up and a Moroccan pop-up inspired by the Jardin Majorelle, or the famous Yves Saint Laurent garden, in the past.

The past winter’s theme was “strange and amazing,” so surprise yourself and include this in the list of your things to do in London in winter.

10. Take a walk around Kew after dusk

Kew Gardens transform into a nocturnal wonderland for visitors during the cold season.

Head this way after dinner and enjoy the art, structures, and trees in a new light. There are also roasted chestnuts and other delectable snacks along the way to keep you from getting lost.

I recommend booking your visit ahead of time to secure a spot to Kew Gardens, which is among the best places to visit in London in winter.

11. Join a haunted pub tour

London is home to more than its fair share of haunted places. Winter is a great time of year to enjoy an atmospheric walking tour of London that includes stops at some haunted pubs, such as The Prospect of Whitby on the banks of the Thames River at Wapping.

This tour will take you through some of London’s most haunted taverns while regaling you with spine-tingling tales of gruesome murders that have taken place there.

Set aside one night for this tour, which is definitely one of the most exciting activities in London in winter. Wrap up and walk on.

12. Browse the markets

Borough Market - 12 Best Things To Do in London in Winter
Borough Market

Set aside a few hours to visit some of London’s most popular markets when you visit in the winter. In no time at all, your luggage will be overflowing with souvenirs and delectable treats!

• The Greenwich Market

The Royal Greenwich Market offers a diverse selection of handcrafted goods from local artisans. You can even see Father Christmas working a weekend shift at Greenwich Market in December.

• Borough Market

At Christmas, Borough Market comes into its own as London’s top food market, because you can taste before you purchase. This region of London, just south of the London Bridge, is true foodie heaven.

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