Things to Do in London in Winter
Don’t let the cold weather stop you from enjoying everything London has to offer. There are plenty of things to do in London in winter! From parks, dining, art and history – you will never get bored in this famous capital. Grab your winter hat and try one of the activities below this winter.
Go to an ice-skating rink
You can head over to several popular attractions to go ice-skating this winter. Lace up your skates and twirl around! The skating rinks are open in the months of December and January. Many of these venues are beautifully decorated with lights to create a magical experience. They are also close to popular museums and attractions to give you a place to explore after.
Here are the best venues to go ice-skating in London:
Enjoy a warming afternoon tea
Warm up with a cup of afternoon tea at some of the nicest hotels and restaurants in London. This might cost you a little bit (around £50) but this truly traditional experience cannot be missed! You can often find vouchers online that make it much more affordable. The Ritz or Claridges are the top places to go!
Here is a list of the best places to get afternoon tea in London:
- The Ritz: For the most traditional experience. From £50 per person
- Claridges: Great for a celebration. From £50 per person
- City Cruises River Thames Tea: Perfect for a day trip. Prices from £25 per person.
- Ichi Sushi & Sashimi Bar: A Japan-inspired alternative to afternoon tea. From £25 per person.
- Sanctum Soho Hotel: Best for men to have tea. From £50 per person.
- The Fan Museum: For a cheap day out. Prices from £6 per person.
- The Tea Rooms: For a homely atmosphere. Prices from £15 per person.
- Ting Restuarant, Shangri-La at the Shard: For the best view across London. Prices from £49.
Have a crisp walk in a London Park
This is one of my favourite things to do. This activity is free, relaxing and refreshing in the winter air! London parks are beautiful in the winter and there are endless walks for you to do.
A few ideas for walks:
- If you head to the top of Primrose Hill, the cold clear air gives you a fantastic view of the London skyline. If you go at night, you can see the buildings lit up in the distance.
- Or take a walk in Hampstead Heath and have a roast lunch after at one of the nearby pubs (you might want to try The Garden Gate, The Spaniards Inn or The Bull and Last)
- If you are after some wildlife, then head over to Richmond Park to spot herds of deer.
- Go for a stroll through Hyde Park and warm up in a popular museum, palace or gallery after (like Kensington Palace, the V&A, Serpentine Gallery, National History Museum or Science Museum)
Wear your mittens and invite a friend. A cup of hot cocoa is also highly recommended during you walk! You can find more information about walking around London here.
Looking for an easier way to see the city? You can check out some great London bus tours here
Warm up in a cosy pub
Fancy some ale, cider or mulled wine? Or maybe you are just after a swift pint. One of the best things to do in London in winter is to enjoy the cosiness and warmth of a London pub.
Stay away from the city centre if you are looking for an authentic pub experience. Instead, look for the best pubs in neighbourhoods just outside of Central London. In these pubs, you can spot some true London characters. You will also experience the history and eccentricity that London pubs have to offer.
You may want to try one of the following pubs (known as some of the top pubs):
- The Mayflower: The pilgrims set sail in the Mayflower from a nearby mooring in 1620. Get a view of the Thames if you sit upstairs! 117 Rotherhithe Street SE16
- Zeitgeist London: Gastropub with German beers and food. 49-51 Black Prince Road SE11
- Princess Louise: Best for a feel of Victorian London with lamps and wooden panels. Find affordable beer prices here! 208-209 High Holborn WC1
- 06 Chad’s Place: A Victorian warehouse transformed into a beautiful space. 6 St Chad’s Place WC1
- The Viaduct Tavern: London’s last surviving gin palace. The beer cellar is supposedly the former cells of Newgate Prison! 126 Newgate Street; EC1A 7AA
- You might also enjoy my list of the best 5 pubs in Camden Town for more inspiration.
Go to a museum (for free!)
London’s museums are beautiful places full of history and interesting exhibits. Just merely walking through these buildings becomes a peaceful and fascinating experience. I personally love the ceiling at the British Museum and the architecture of the Natural History Museum. Not to mention the treasures hidden within these places. And the absolute best part about visiting these museums is that entry to most of them is completely free!
Find more information here on these popular museums:
- The British Museum: Works from prehistoric to modern times from around the world. Some exhibitions require tickets.
- The National History Museum: Dinosaur exhibition, animal exhibits and a beautiful building. Some exhibitions require tickets.
- The Victoria & Albert Museum: Celebrates art and design with 3,000 years’ worth of artefacts from around the globe. Some exhibitions require tickets.
- The Design Museum: Leading museum dedicated to contemporary design.
- Imperial Warm Museum: Stories from the First World War to present day. Entry is free.
- London Transport Museum: Exhibitions connecting transport with London’s social and cultural history.
- Museum of London: The world’s largest urban museum with historical artefacts and exhibitions telling the story of London. Free entry.
- Royal Museums Greenwich: Visit the National Maritime Museum, known as the world’s largest maritime museum. Also, the Queen’s House, Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory Greenwich and Cutty Sark. Some exhibits are free and some charges may apply.
- The Science Museum: Explores the great scientific advances of the past 300 years. Some exhibitions require tickets.
Watch a play at the theatre
Whether you love musicals or looking for a kids’ theatre show, there are performances taking place all the time. Tickets are also pretty affordable if you book in advance. So kick back and enjoy the show!
Check the listings at these popular theatre venues:
- National Theatre, South Bank SE1 9PX
- Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street W1D 3NE
- The Young Vic Theatre, 66 The Cut SE1 8LZ
- The Old Vic, The Cut SE1 8NB
- Gielgud Theatre, Shaftsbury Avenue W1D 6AR
- London Palladium, Argyll Street W1F 7TF
- Globe Theatre, 21 New Globe Walk SE1 9DT
Looking to book your next show? You can find affordable London play tickets here
Admire artwork at a gallery (for free!)
Whatever your taste, there is something for everyone. From old paintings to modern art, there is every kind of art gallery in London. The Tate Britain is known for British art while the Tate Modern features contemporary work. The National Portrait gallery plays host to some of the best photography collections.
Here is a list of well-known art galleries around London:
- Somerset House: Here you can find London’s Courtauld and Embankment Galleries. Also a collection of Old Masters, Impressionist and Post-impressionist work.
- Tate Britain: Largest collection of British art in the world. Free entry
- Tate Modern: Known as Britain’s museum of modern and contemporary art. Some exhibitions require tickets
- Hayward Gallery: Works of modern masters and contemporary art. Located in Southbank Centre.
- Barbican Art Gallery: Features work of prominent artists, architects, designers & photographers.
- National Gallery: Find Western European paintings (13th to 19th cent). Located in Trafalgar Square. Some exhibitions require tickets.
- National Portrait Gallery: Largest collection of portraits of people dating from Shakespeare to modern day. Located off Trafalgar Sqaure. Free entry.
- Royal Academy of Arts: Always changing exhibitions. Find Queen Victoria’s paintbox and one of Michelangelo’s sculptures. Located right off Piccadilly.
- Serpentine Gallery: Modern and contemporary art from around the globe. Situated in a beautiful location in Hyde Park. Free entry.
- Saatchi Gallery: Contemporary art. Free entry
- Whitechapel Gallery: Contemporary art. Free entry