Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean there’s plenty of things to do in London this Winter! Check out our guide below!
Wrap up warm in your coat and scarf, and explore some of London’s finest winter activities and seasonal events. Stroll through festive markets and admire the decorations and lights that transform London over the winter season. If you’re looking for ideas, here’s a short guide of things to do in London this winter. Brought to you by the team at London Explorer Pass.
Image via Winter Wonderland
If you’re visiting London this winter, whether you have kids or not, Winter Wonderland is a must-visit. For the 11th year running, Hyde Park will be transformed into a glorious land of ice and sparkle. With food and market stalls brimming with toys and sweets, it’s perfect for last minute gifts and snacks. Visit in the evening, and take a seat on the Giant Observation Wheel to see stunning night-views of London’s skyline. Too slow for you? Don’t worry, the park is full of fairground rides, an ice rink and many more exciting activities.
What’s Christmas without the tree? Head over to Trafalgar Square to admire the biggest Christmas tree in the UK, donated yearly by the city of Oslo. Get lost in the streets of central London and enjoy the festive atmosphere around Regent Street, Oxford Street and Carnaby Street.
Let there be light
For more light displays, look to Canary Wharf. Not only do the iconic towers display their own winter lights, but the whole area is famous for 30 dazzling artworks, installations and interactive experiences. Check out the largest outdoor ice rink in London at Canary Wharf’s; ‘LuminoCity’, named for the 8000 LED lights beneath the ice. Skate around on a mass of colour and feel the festive breeze blowing. If you and ice just simply don’t get on, have no fear – there is a bar serving seasonal drinks and a heated outdoor terrace where you can sit and observe the skaters from a safe position.
Want to venture outside the inner city? Head over to Kew Gardens to see the arboretum’s beautiful trees lit up in a totally different way. Magical walkways let you stroll through the garden’s spectacular installations and there are stalls serving your favourite festive drinks and treats along the way, including mulled wine to warm your tum.
Fun for everyone
If the children are getting restless and tired of walking, there’s no better place than Hamleys. The oldest toy shop in the world is situated on Regent Street, with seven floors’ worth of toys and gadgets for all ages. And with loads of friendly staff around to demonstrate the products (i.e. play with the toys), it’s a fun experience for all the family.
If you’re not after toys, there are loads of great Christmas markets that pop up throughout London over the winter season. The Riverside Festival at the Southbank Centre offers performances and shows along with a traditional market. The London Bridge City Christmas market is back again this winter with heaps of homemade gifts and delicious food sold from German-style chalets. With a combination of Christmas cocktails, mulled wine, hot cider and a selection of craft beers, there’s a pop up stall for everyone.
Little bit of history?
Head over to the Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch to discover how Christmas used to be celebrated, with their ‘Christmas Past’ exhibition. You can also enjoy the workshops and experiences on offer. If you’re heading south this winter, why not visit Hampton Court Palace, the former royal residence of King Henry VIII? Wrap up warm if you’re going to try the famous maze or explore the palace’s beautiful gardens. And if you’re still full of energy, end the day with a skate around the open air ice rink.
Winter is also the best time in London to go and see a pantomime. This is a ‘play’ of sorts, with plenty of jokes, slapstick comedy and lively music. So, if you’re in the mood for a bit of ‘He’s behind you!’, this Christmas theatres all over London are playing a range of classics such as Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and (everyone’s favourite) Dick Whittington. Make sure you get your panto tickets early.
For an altogether different and very atmospheric experience, why not check out one of ‘The Winter Selection’ plays at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in Shakespeare’s Globe? A candlelit indoor theatre on the Globe site, here you can be transported to a singing chocolate factory, the inner sanctum of Elizabeth I’s court, the dangerous world of All’s Well That Ends Well, the palaces of India, the emotional depths of Vivaldi, or the tender chaos of Meow Meow’s Christmas. How to choose?
London has heaps of activities and fun festive things to do in winter, with something for all the family. Wishing you a good trip!