Things to do in London in winter: a month-by-month guide
Venture out during your trip to the capital and explore the city with our helpful guide and discover the top 22 things to do in London in winter.
Top things to do in London in winter
London is amazing whatever time of the year. Spot the first signs of spring, enjoy rooftop bars in the summer, take in the beautiful shades of autumn orange and be dazzled by Christmas lights in the winter. There is always something great to do in this vibrant city!
We believe it’s a little extra special during winter. The city is beautifully decorated, it tends to be less crowded and there is a chance of snow. There are plenty of things to do in London in winter, both indoors and outdoors. So what are you waiting for? Start packing today!
How cold does it get in London in the Winter?
London can get chilly in the winter but that doesn’t make it any less fun, Here’s a little pointer on what to expect when you visit during winter. The weather is typically mild, with occasional snowfall and temperatures generally hover between 5° to 9°. The coldest month is usually January, when temperatures can get as low as 1°.
All you need is the right clothing! Don’t forget to pack a warm jacket, an umbrella in case of rain and gloves if you want to explore London in winter. Check out our seasonal guide about what to wear in London for more ideas.
Things to do in London in December
1- Ice rinks
The Natural History Museum is perfect for a skate and mate date. In this magical place surrounded by frosted trees, you can drink mulled wine, eat toasted marshmallows, and warm up in the Cafe Bar. Entry from £12.65 for adults, £8.80 for children and £39.60 for families.
2- Christmas markets
Wanting to join in the festive spirit? We recommend visiting a winter market. They bring together everything you could wish for during the festive season: mulled wine, mince pies,decorations and arts and craft, fairground ride... You could even find that last-minute gift there!
3- Christmas displays
London is transformed by the beautiful Christmas Lights and the city really lights up and sparkles in winter. Discovering the festive street lights has to be an activity on everyone's list this Christmas. Is there any better way to get into the Christmas spirit?
4- Christmas at Kew
Once more, Kew Gardens lights up after dark this Christmas. The magical winter trail taking you around the park will delight the whole family and make you rediscover the botanical garden during the winter months. Tickets can be bought online from £18, and it's advised to book in advance as it is likely to sell out.
5- Christmas shopping
Hit the high streets, seek out unique gifts and make time to break for delicious food and hot drinks. Covent Garden, Hamleys and Oxford Street are a must-do for a successful session of Christmas shopping.
6- Meet Santa
Are the little ones dreaming of meeting Father Christmas? Make their dream come true and take them to Leicester Square where he will be spreading the festive cheer. Santa's Grotto will be easy to find, just follow the music! Tickets from £11.50.
7- Help our elf keep an eye on the city for Santa
Santa has sent the elves to London to make sure everything is in tip top shape before Christmas and they need your help! Jump on the Elf Express for a 45 minute pre-Christmas treat for the whole family and see London sparkle in all its glory.
8- New Year’s Eve fireworks
Celebrate the New Year in style and admire the impressive Thameside firework display in central London. Over 12,000 magnificent fireworks will be ignited into the sky on 31st December so prepare to be amazed.
9- Winter pop ups
London is famous for its seasonal pop-ups, whether it's during summer or winter. This Christmas, discover a world of warm and toasty pop ups. Our favourite is the Winter Bar Bus, where you can cosy up under warm blankets whilst sipping some mulled wine. Boozy and quirky!
Things to do in London in January and February
10- New Year’s Day Parade
On 1st January, the New Year’s Day Parade takes to the city’s historic streets once again. Over 8,500 performers take part in this great celebration of diversity, creativity and inspiration that surround the city of London. Arrive early to secure a good viewing spot.
11- London Short Film Festival
The London Short Film Festival is a vital moment in the UK film calendar and returns this January for its 17th edition. From 10th January, discover eclectic and creative short films from all over the world.
12- Winter Lights festival
The free lights festival is returning to the Canary Wharf area from 16th January, and it's free! It's the perfect treat for dark January nights with its luminous trees, glowing angel wings, psychedelic prisms and rainbow benches.
13- London Art Fair
The London Art Fair is coming back to the Business Design Centre from 22-26 January. You can feast your eyes on carefully selected pieces from galleries from all around the world. The London Art Fair hosts the highest quality art and is great for discovering exceptional modern and contemporary artists.
14- Chinese New Year
Did you know that the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia takes place is London? As we say goodbye to the Year of the Pig, we welcome the Year of the Rat with festivities including colourful parades, dazzling performances and mouth-watering food! The Chinese New Year parade will take place on 25th January, don't miss it.
15- Valentine’s day
You might be celebrating many years together, enjoying the single life of trying to impress on a first date. Whatever you dating situation is, you’ll no doubt be looking for Valentine’s ideas in London for 2020. London is full of romantic places and you will easily find things to do to treat your partner on Valentine's Day.
Things to do in London all winter
17- Warm up in a pub
There are plenty of pubs in London, but where is the best place to take a break from exploring the city and sink a delicious pint? Venture in to one of the city’s oldest pubs and discover that London has a plethora of historic pubs. And they all have a story to tell!
18- Treat yourself with some comfort food
The cold weather makes the wintry season the best time to tuck-in to delicious treats and hearty meals. Indulge in Christmas dinner, afternoon tea, delicious mince pies or a tasty Sunday roast during your days out in London.
19- Go on a winter walk
Parks are lovely all year round. They are particularly beautiful in winter, with all those crunchy leaves, frosty trees and misty views. And if it does happen to sprinkle a bit of the white stuff, then there's not many better places to enjoy it.
20- Get a culture fix
In London, you’re never far from a museum. And what’s best, is that most of them are free to enter! Head to the V&A, British Museum, Tate Modern, Tate Britain or National Gallery to see the crème de la crème of London’s museums.
21- Live events and shows
You're not feeling like braving the cold tonight? Perfect, you can simply stay indoors and attend a traditional British theatre experience. Between pantomimes, ballets or West End shows, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
22- Hogwarts in the snow
Winter has also arrived in the wizarding world and Hogwarts has gone through a fantastic festive makeover. For all the Harry Potter fans out there, visiting the Warner Brothers Studio Tour is even more magical at this time of the year.
There is so much to see and do in London in winter! It's really the most wonderful time of the year. If you need more inspiration and insider's tips, keep an eye on our blog or follow us on social media.