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Top Things to Do in London this Winter

Head to London in winter for dazzling Christmas activities; magnificent Chinese New Year celebrations; huge January sales and relaxed evenings in cosy pubs.

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.

You can also go ice skating in the shadow of some of London’s most famous landmarks at an open-air ice rink, and drop by the dazzling Winter Festival at Southbank Centre.

🎡

A photo posted by Sara (@sjayx2) on

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:

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.

Stick to those New Year’s resolutions during your trip at a healthy restaurant in London, or opt for a wallet-friendly meal by dining at a cheap London restaurant or with a pre-theatre set menu.

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:

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.

Well this is life in color ✨ #london #carnabystreet #color #vacation

A photo posted by Cora (@coradlg) on

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.

#magiclanternfestival

A photo posted by Michael (@mchan3634) on

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:

Find more things to do in London each month with our month-by-month guide to what's on in London.