Top things to do in London this winter

Head to London in winter for dazzling Christmas activities, the UK's largest light festival, colourful Chinese New Year celebrations, 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 2C and 10C (35F and 50F) during winter in London.

Things to do in London in winter

Go sightseeing in London

Discover London over the festive season, as Christmas markets, Santa's grottos and Christmas trees pop up in every corner of the city, and the capital sparkles with twinkling lights and decorations.

Or visit after Christmas to explore the city without the crowds. It's a great time to catch the traditional Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace and see the stunning crown jewels at the Tower of London, before checking out some of London’s other top attractions.

On a clear winter's day, marvel at panoramic views of the city from heights of 244m (800 ft) 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 two weeks 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; the temporary ice rink in Canary Wharf is one of the few to stay open well after Christmas, usually until February.

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, or enjoy winter-themed activities along the river at Southbank Centre's annual Wintertime Festival.

 

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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.
  • See Kew Gardens lit up with more than one million sparkling Christmas lights at Christmas at Kew.
  • 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. 

Stick to those New Year’s resolutions during your trip at a healthy eatery, vegan or vegetarian 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

 

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

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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 top 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 Christmas markets, you’ll be spoilt for choice while looking for the perfect gift.

Winter events in London

London December events

London January events

  • See London transformed into a dazzling nocturnal art exhibition for Lumiere London, the UK's largest light festival, which returns to the capital in 2018.
  • Enjoy all things Scottish during Burns Night in January, which celebrates the birth of Scotland's national icon, Robert Burns.
  • Browse more than 125 galleries and high-end works at the London Art Fair.

London February and March events

Discover more special events in winter in London with our events calendar, and find more things to do in London each month with our month-by-month guide to what's on in London.