Winter in London: A Local’s Guide to Frosty Season

Winter in London: A Local’s Guide to Frosty Season

Winter in London is a magical time of year, with Christmas around the corner, frosty views, and lots of popup events – there’s no better place to be. As the temperature drops, London gets out its hot drinks, its warm mittens, and festive atmosphere. Come with us as we guide you through how to enjoy the most of this time of year in our wonderful city!

Table of Contents:

7 Best Winter Activities in London

Skating at Somerset House for Christmas in London

Winter is an excellent time to visit London as the city is bursting with fun and unique things to do. Whether you’re on a solo trip, coming for a day trip with a family, or looking to spend a romantic weekend – we’ve got the recommendations for you.

  • Ice Skating Ice skating in London is best done in the winter. In the lead up to Christmas, central London gains a whole host of ice rinks that aren’t here for the rest of the year. 
  • Winter Walks – London is a city built for walking and the winter weather doesn’t deter us Londoners. In fact, winter can be one of the best times to explore as the landscape in places like the Royal Parks is so different. 
  • Light Festivals – The dark evenings give the city the perfect opportunity to display some light artworks. Travel down to Battersea Light Festival to take in the mesmerising displays, or those in East London can head over to Canary Wharf Winter Lights for a similar experience.
  • Burns Night – A Scotsman visiting London on the 25th January? Don’t worry – the city offers plenty of Burns Night celebrations so you won’t miss out on your haggis!
  • Pancake Day – We might be a little biased but pancake day in London is one of our favourites! Our personal favourite pancake spot is Where the Pancakes are who have locations in Fitzrovia and Battersea.
  • Indoor Museums – Managed to visit a wintery London on a rainy day? No worries, London has the best free museums (most of which are all indoors) for you to enjoy some local culture without getting soaked!
  • Valentine’s Day – February 14th is nearing the end of winter in London, but it shouldn’t be forgotten. Make sure you check out the best things to do for Valentine’s in London with your partner or best friends. For a cosy evening, London has some gorgeous Valentine’s restaurants.

Winter Treats to Indulge In

Dark sugars milk hot chocolate with shards

With winter in London comes some of the tastiest dishes we are treated to all year! Here are some of our favourites:

  • Mulled Wine – The festive tipple of choice in London is mulled wine. With all of the markets, and most pubs offering this tasty drink – make sure you grab a glass on your visit. Personally we love the mulled wine served at the George Pub near London Bridge.
  • Hot Chocolate – For a less alcoholic choice, London has incredible hot chocolate that’s not to be missed. The trip over to East London is certainly worth it if you treat yourself to a hot chocolate from Dark Sugars on Brick Lane (make sure you get the chocolate shards for ultra indulgence).
  • Christmas Food – We’ve got a sweet tooth over here and Christmas is the season that brings all the sugar with it. Check out our favourite Christmas sweet food guide to find out where you need to go! We love the cute Christmas cupcakes from Biscuiteers!

Celebrate Christmas in London

Christmas is a stunning period of winter in London. In the past, New York may have won the Christmas crown, but we’re pretty sure London is the hottest destination for festivities now:

  • Christmas Lights – We know how to decorate in the Big Smoke. London’s Christmas lights aren’t to be outdone, from the stars on Oxford Street, to Bond Street’s shops, make sure you don’t miss any!
  • Christmas Installations – For cute festive photos, we recommend checking out London’s Christmas Installations. Belgravia tends to be the area that does these best (and it is normally a lot quieter than other areas of Central).
  • Christmas Markets – A festive trip to London wouldn’t be complete without visiting our Christmas markets. From the glowing lights of the South Bank, to the shadows of Trafalgar Square – pick up some gifts and food here.
  • Winter Wonderland – Every year Hyde Park welcomes Winter Wonderland – a fair that has rides, games, food, and drink – all in the name of the season!
  • Christmas Trees  – The purest and simplest of decorations, London’s Christmas trees are around every corner. From hidden courtyards, to those gifted by Norway – make sure you get a festive photo in front of these.

Celebrate a Wintery New Years in London

celebrate 2022's new year's eve in London

London is the country’s centrepoint for New Years Eve and we know how to celebrate. 

  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks – Located on the South Bank, London celebrates big with fireworks every year. To see these up close you will need to buy a ticket. But there are plenty of viewpoints further away to take in the evening without the crowds or price tag.
  • New Year’s Day Parade – On the 1st January every year the Mayor of London holds a parade which sees performers from all over the UK and the World come together to celebrate the fresh start. From American cheerleaders to British donkeys – we recommend heading down to see this even if only for an hour. 
  • Chinese New Year – Chinese New Year also tends to fall in Winter in London and Chinatown hosts the celebrations. From parades to special dishes, make sure you check it out.

What’s the London Weather like in Winter?

Winter in London tends to bring cooler temperatures, typically between 2°C and 8° (although more recent years have seen warmer temperatures). There will be some rainy days and very rarely some snow. We recommend checking the weather forecast before you arrive.

Does London Get Snow?

London does sometimes get snow but it is not very common. When it does snow the warmer climate of the city means it doesn’t tend to settle unless it’s a very heavy falling.

8 Things to Pack on a Winter Trip to London 

  1. Waterproof Coat – It will probably rain whilst you’re visiting London in winter so make sure to bring a waterproof coat.
  2. Thermal Tops – If you’re visiting in the colder part of winter make sure you’ve brought some thermal tops to layer with jumpers to keep you warm.
  3. Jeans – Jeans are a great everyday trouser to wear around London and to keep you warm in the colder temperatures.
  4. Scarves & Gloves – Warm accessories are essential in winter in London. Whilst it might be cold outside, it’s warm in the shops and on the tube – this is an easy way to transition between the two temperatures.
  5. Umbrella – For unexpected showers – although do be warned our rain often comes with wind which isn’t always brolly friendly!
  6. Comfy Footwear – Winter or not – London calls to be walked around and that requires comfy shoes that you can be in all day!
  7. Daybag – Carrying a water bottle, any maps you may pick up, an oyster card and stacks requires a daybag.
  8. Reusable Shopping Bag – Shops in the UK are required to charge for most shopping bags. We recommend you bring a reusable tote bag if you plan on making purchases to save yourself some money.

About The London Eats List

Now you’re ready to take on winter in London, why not prepare yourself for the other seasons. Autumn in the big smoke is a cosy time of year, whilst spring in London brings gorgeous blooms you shouldn’t miss. We’re here to help inspire all of your trips to our wonderful city.