Experience the magic of London at Christmas in December. Enjoy cheaper accommodation, discounted tickets and restaurant offers in January and February; and make the most of London’s top winter events.
Don't forget to pack some extra layers to keep you warm, as temperatures average between 2 and 10°C (35 and 50°F) during winter in London.
Things to Do in London in Winter
Go Sightseeing in London
See London landmarks twinkle for Christmas in London, or visit after the festive season to explore the city without the crowds.
Catch the traditional Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace and be dazzled by the stunning crown jewels at the Tower of London, before checking out some of London’s other top attractions.
Marvel at panoramic views of the city from heights of 244 metres (800 feet) at The View from The Shard, or with a ride on the Coca-Cola London Eye. Note that the Coca-Cola London Eye closes for annual maintenance for a short period in January.
If you’re mad about Harry Potter, head to Hogwarts in the Snow to see the famous movie sets festively dressed during winter in London. And if you’re caught in a spell of bad weather, a visit to a top museum or gallery exhibition is the perfect way to while away a rainy afternoon.
Winter Walks in London
Work off those extra Christmas calories with a walk on a crisp winter's day in London’s parks and gardens:
- Wrap up warm before heading to Richmond Park to look out for more than 600 wild deer.
- Wander past botanical blooms at Kew Gardens, and marvel at the annual Orchids Festival.
- Amble around the beautiful 350-acre (142-hectare) Hyde Park, which is home to the magical Winter Wonderland over Christmas.
- Venture over to Greenwich Park for magnificent views across London in winter.
Comfort Food and Budget Restaurants
The winter chill is also the perfect excuse to tuck into warming dishes at a British restaurant, where you’ll find plenty of traditional fare on offer including meat-packed pies and hearty Sunday roasts.
If you’re in need of a winter pick-me-up, treat yourself to a traditional afternoon tea (or try an extra-special festive afternoon tea). You can also splash the cash at a Michelin-starred restaurant in London.
Cosy Winter Nights in London
During winter in London darkness can fall over the city as early as 4pm in December, but that doesn’t mean that the fun stops at sunset:
- Defrost in front of a roaring fire at a snug London pub with a mug of mulled wine or try a heated rooftop bar instead, where you can soak up sunset views across London.
- Hop aboard a magical dinner cruise on the Thames to see the capital sparkle while floating along the river – it’s the perfect treat for Valentine’s Day in London.
- Experience some culture after dark at a late-night London museum opening, which take place at the Science Museum, National Gallery, British Museum and more.
- Head over to London’s West End to catch a spectacular theatre show, such as the smash-hit Mamma Mia!, Aladdin or The Phantom of the Opera.
Winter Shopping in London
Bag yourself a bargain during the London winter sales at one of Oxford Street’s top department stores or browse cool Carnaby’s independent boutiques for discount deals. Treat yourself after Christmas at one of London’s luxurious shopping destinations, and browse the stalls at a London market with a steaming hot chocolate in hand.
If you’re visiting ahead of the January sales, there are plenty of places to pick up your Christmas shopping in London. From top Christmas shopping spots to alternative shopping areas, you’ll be spoilt for choice while looking for the perfect gift.
Winter Events in London
Join in the celebrations during Chinese New Year in London, as the capital welcomes a host of free activities including a vibrant parade across the city, live performances in Trafalgar Square and a spectacular fireworks show. The Magical Lantern Festival also returns to Chiswick House and Gardens to mark the start of the New Year.
Book a London winter break during February for the ultimate Valentine’s Day treat, where you can enjoy an intimate meal at one of London’s most romantic restaurants or take a loved-up stroll along the beautiful South Bank.
There are plenty of other exciting things to do in London in the winter:
- Celebrate Christmas with these 101 things to do over the festive season, and end the new year in style during New Year’s Eve in London.
- Enjoy all things Scottish during Burns Night in January, which celebrates the birth of Scotland's national icon, Robert Burns.
- Embrace your inner fashionista at catwalk shows and expert talks during London Fashion Week Festival.
- Browse more than 125 galleries and high-end works at the London Art Fair.
- Visit The London Classic Car Show to get up close to an impressive array of vintage vehicles.
- Discover more special events in winter in London with our events calendar.
Find more things to do in London each month with our month-by-month guide to what's on in London.