95 Brilliant Things To Do in London in Winter

People walking across the London Millennium Bridge in the snow against the backdrop of St Paul's Cathedral.
The London Millennium Bridge in winter. Photo: Shutterstock.
Put on your trendiest bobble hat and take your pick from these top London winter activities.
Written by Kirstine Spicer Edited by Visit London Editors 01 March 2024
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The mercury might be lower but London gets the temperature rising with all sorts of wintry treats to keep you coming back throughout the season. 

From mid-November through December, January and into February, it’s a true winter wonderland in London. So get out and explore with a walk over frosty leaves or snuggle up in a cosy pub in front of a crackling fire. 

Experience the magic of ChristmasNew Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year, which are just some of the many must-see winter events in London.

Don't forget to put on some extra layers to keep you warm, as London winter temperatures average between 2C and 10C (35F and 50F).

Is London worth visiting in the winter?

Winter is one of the most exciting times to visit London with its many winter pop-ups, festive events and many other fun places to visit in London. If you're lucky, you may even see its many beautiful parks and winter attractions under a blanket of snow! 

As the days get shorter long summer nights are swapped for evenings by the fire at a cosy London pub, outdoor cinema experiences are replaced by enchanting ice skating rinks and London's rooftop bars get a festive makeover with heat lamps and blankets to keep you toasty.

You're also guaranteed a memorable Christmas in the capital as London becomes a winter wonderland during the festive period. Christmas celebrations in London start around early November with pretty light displays and festive decorations adorning its streets, Christmas markets lining the riverbanks and the West End taken over with fun Christmas shows and pantomimes

Picking from many exciting winter day trips, venture out of London to discover several other delightful destinations. From exploring Christmas markets in the historic city of York and Bath to the royal town of Windsor with Windsor Castle dressed to impress at Christmas.

Check out the many winter activities you can enjoy in London below.

Top London winter events

Dancers dressed in bright red costumes dancing with chinese dragons on chinese new year in london.
Chinese New Year parade in London. © Shutterstock
  1. Find the best Christmas events and see what's happening during Twixmas in London: Celebrate the festive period with markets, ice skating, Christmas shows and more.
  2. Enjoy all things Scottish during Burns Night in January: Celebrate the birth of Scotland's national icon, Robert Burns – whisky bars are good starting points. 25 Jan
  3. Celebrate the Year of the Dragon on Chinese New Year: Join the colourful parade, watch free stage performances and dine on delicious Chinese food. TBC
  4. Book a London winter break during February for the ultimate Valentine’s Day treat: Check out top tips for ramping up the romance in London. 14 Feb
  5. Pull out your frying pan for Pancake Day: Join one of London’s many races or simply eat your way through a mound of the scrumptious treats at pancake restaurants in LondonOn and around 16 Feb
  6. Watch a show at the London International Mime FestivalBe left speechless by mime performances. TBC
  7. Catch your favourite bands at live music and gigs in London: See top acts from around the world at London's best venues.
  8. See artists unleash new creative concepts at the Purcell Sessions at the Southbank Centre: Be inspired by audio-visual installations, music, dance and visual art.
  9. Keep an eye out for talks, walks and more during LGBTQ+ History Month: The annual event celebrates equality and diversity every February.
  10. Experience culture after dark at a late-night London museum opening and lates events: Enjoy immersive experiences, DJ sets and more.

Find more world-class London events in winter months

Best winter attractions in London

A child looks through a round ice sculpture.
Journey along the ice trail at Kingdom of Winter. Image courtesy of Mance Communications.
  1. Make memories at London’s top attractions: Many host special wintry events and activities throughout the season.
  2. Enter the wizarding world at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter: Catch the snitch, cast and spell, and discover the beast lurking beneath Gringotts Bank... 
  3. Pick up a London Pass for access to more than 80 attractions and fast-track entry: Alternatively, opt for a Go City London Explorer Pass to use in a 60-day period or visit some of London’s most popular family attractions with the Merlin London Attractions Pass.
  4. Tick off multiple sights in one day on a bus tour or river tour: Discover London in its wintry coat.
  5. On a clear winter's day, marvel at views of the city from one of its many viewpoints: The View from The Shard, the IFS Cloud Cable Car or the London Eye are perfect for 360-degree shots.
  6. Explore London's historic royal attractions: Get an insight into royal life in London throughout the ages at sights such as Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London.
  7. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, St Paul's Cathedral is a must-see: Join a service to hear The Cathedral Choir and Chorus perform wonderful carols.
  8. Spend a day at the London Transport Museum: Enjoy interactive galleries and have a go on the Tube driving simulator.
  9. Or step aboard the HMS Belfast to see what life was like living on a warship: From dealing with the freezing conditions or the Arctic Circle, to playing its part on D-Day. 
  10. Discover the fascinating history behind London's mail systems at The Postal Museum: Ride the Mail Rail, try your hand as a postal officer in the sorting office, discover Victorian valentine cards to wartime letters home, and more.
  11. Learn all about the creatures of our oceans at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium:Take a trip to the Seahorse Kingdom, or meet the penguins at Polar Adventure.

  12. Meet your favourite ogre and his friends at Shrek's Adventure! London: Go on a quest to save Pinocchio on this fantastical tour with a 4D ride, a magic mirror maze, and more.

  13. Mix with the world's best superheroes for the day at Madame Tussauds: Meet Earth's mightiest heroes at the Marvel Universe 4D experience. 

Find more tips for sightseeing in London.

What's on in London theatre during winter?

A troup of dancers wearing white tuttus are performing a choregraphy on the stage of the London Coliseum where a large tree stands in the background.
Watch the English National Ballet with the Nutcracker at the London Coliseum this Christmas. Image courtesy of The English National Ballet/ © Laurent Liotardo
  1. Catch one of London's top shows for kids: Take on Ms. Trunchbull at Matilda The Musical and see the beloved Disney classic, The Lion King.
  2. See an award-winning musical: Sing along to Mamma Mia! and tick off  the world-famous Wicked
  3. Or laugh your head off at a comedy show: See the hilarious classic Book of Mormon or see hit show The Play That Goes Wrong.
  4. Don't miss the sell-out show The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum, an enchanting ballet that will wow the whole family.
  5. Watch the stage adaptation of the hit film The Devil Wears Prada that features an original score by music legend Elton John. 
  6. Discover one of the world's greatest romantic ballets with Giselle, a haunting tale of innocence and betrayal, at the London Coliseum.

Check back nearer the time for more London theatre shows this winter and discover the city's top Christmas shows.

Fun winter activities and experiences in London

A horse guard stands with his horse as tourists watch from behind a screen.
Get up close with the Horse Guards. Image courtesy of the Household Cavalry Museum.
  1. Explore London's more unusual museums: Visit one of England's oldest medieval prisons at the Clink Prison Museum, or go behind the scenes at The Household Cavalry Museum
  2. Hop on a luxury coach for an exciting day trip from London: Explore iconic cities such as Oxford and Bath, or uncover the mysteries surrounding Stonehenge.
  3. Take a tour of the city's world-famous stadiumsAn unmissable experience in the capital for sporting fans. 
  4. Head to a top London activity bar: Try your hand at Axe Throwing, take on your pals at a game of ping pong at Bounce and aim for a bullseye at Flight Club.
  5. Step into a new adventure and discover London's best immersive experiences: Try everything from escape rooms to immersive theatre.
  6. See the city from new heights at Lift 109 at Battersea Power Station: Discover the sparkling London skyline at night this winter.
  7. Play detective at Sherlock: The Official Live Game: Travel through the iconic sets from the show and solve the crime before toasting to your success in the secret speakeasy.
  8. Go ice skating at London's best ice rinks:  Go for a spin at Ice Rink Canary Wharf, or test your skills on the ice at Alexandra Palace.
  9. Discover a new sporting skill at indoor activity barsGet together with pals and try thrilling new activities from electric shuffleboard to axe throwing.

Discover more fun things to do in London

Enjoy a London New Year's Eve cruise

See the city's spectacular firework display!

Book now

Best things to do in London at Christmas

Regent Street is dazzling with its traditional Christmas decorations and the iconic angles.
See the famous angels of light and other Christmas decorations on Oxford Street- © Shutterstock
  1. Hop on a Christmas Lights London by Night bus tour: Admire London's landmarks illuminated on a special tour of the city. From 18 Nov
  2. Celebrate Christmas Eve with Dinner and Midnight Mass: Enjoy a panoramic Christmas lights tour followed by a three-course meal and Midnight Mass at St Martins Fields. 24 Dec
  3. Or be enchanted on an Illuminations of London tour on Christmas Eve: See the city's most striking landmarks lit up with Christmas lights. 24 Dec
  4. Enjoy a Christmas Day Sights and Sounds of London tour: Enjoy the festive ambience of London whilst your guide brings London's history to life. 25 Dec
  5. See London without the crowds with a Hop on Hop Off Christmas Day Tour: Take your time exploring the sights on this leisurely trip around London. 25 Dec
  6. Attend a special Christmas carol service or concertCelebrate the festive season and sing along to your favourite carols at services such as Christmas with Kings College Choir
  7. Join the festive fun at London's Christmas lights switch-on eventsEnjoy live music, activities and in-store offers.
  8. Watch London’s best Christmas trees sparkle: Spot as many as you can, as they pop up in every corner of the city.
  9. Marvel at the capital’s famous twinkling Christmas lights and decorations: Head to shopping areas such as Carnaby, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and South Molton Street.
  10. Raise a glass to London's sparkling skyline at the London Eye Champagne Experience: Relax and enjoy fantastic views of the city whilst enjoying chilled Pommery Brut Royal Champagne.

Check back in closer to Christmas for more unique experiences or see other festive ideas with these 101 Christmas activities.

Best winter day trips from London

Christmas tree in sumptuous surroundings at Windsor Castle
Christmas tree at Windsor Castle. Image courtesy of Royal Collection Trust.
  1. Choose between two historic cities on a Christmas market day trip: Pick up some unique festive gifts at the Christmas markets in York or Bath.
  2. Explore Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Cotswolds and Warwick Castle in one day: The ideal family day out from London this winter.
  3. Tick off three popular destinations on a Stonehenge, Windsor and Salisbury guided tour: See the mystical stones, explore the royal town of Windsor and marvel at Salisbury Cathedral.
  4. Spend Christmas Day exploring Canterbury, Dover and Greenwich: See the majestic Canterbury Cathedral, see the White Cliffs of Dover and visit maritime Greenwich.
  5. Journey to Leeds Castle, Canterbury, Dover and Greenwich: Once you're done exploring historic spots and beautiful English scenery you'll enjoy a boat ride on the river Thames.
  6. Combine a historic city and quaint countryside on an Oxford, Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon tour: Enjoy the incredible architecture of Oxford before venturing to the scenic market town of the Cotswolds. 

Check out more day trips from London.

Best winter restaurants and bars in London

A three-tiered cake stand full of cakes and sandwiches, surrounded by plates, cups and saucers, on a table with a white table cloth, in front of a lit fire in an open fireplace.
Afternoon tea at Brown's Hotel. Photo credit: @Lateef. Image courtesy of Rocco Forte Hotels.
  1. Book a cocktail masterclass* or gin experience*: Make your own winter warmers. 
  2. Delight in a spellbinding Arcane Afternoon Tea at Wands and Wizard Exploratorium*: Select your magic, cast a spell to reveal the ingredients and build your afternoon tea.
  3. Defrost in front of a roaring fire at a snug London pub: Enjoy a mug of mulled wine.
  4. Get a winter pick-me-up with an afternoon teaIndulge in a traditional afternoon tea or opt for a quirky afternoon tea.
  5. Scale the heights to a heated rooftop bar: Soak up sunset views across London and enjoy winter pop-up activities and music.
  6. The winter chill is the perfect excuse to tuck into warming Sunday roasts: Find the best places in London to treat yourself to this British classic. 
  7. Seek out London’s best cheese hotspots oozing with delicious bites: Raclette, toasties, fondue… Whatever your cheesy craving, you'll find a place for it in London!
  8. Bite into tasty pastry from London’s top pie shops: Celebrate National Pie Day on 23 January.
  9. Banish the winter blues at London’s top bars: Winter and cocktails go hand-in-hand.
  10. Enjoy vegan and vegetarian delights this January: Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or just dabbling, make the most of Veganuary.

Find more food and drink inspiration.

Best exhibitions in London this winter

Two people are walking in a room at Frameless where a painting is projected on all four walls.
Find yourself immersed within breathtaking paintings at Frameless, an art exhibition in London. Image courtesy of Golden Tours.
  1. Immerse yourself in spectacular works of art at Frameless: See the paintings of Klimt, Van Gogh, Salvador Dali and many more come to life before your very eyes.
  2. Encounter the Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts: See artwork by the three titans of the Italian Renaissance. 9 Nov-16 Feb
  3. Wonder at the works of Zanele Muholi at Tate Modern: Explore how the acclaimed photographer celebrates the lives of South Africa's black, lesbian, gay, trans, queer and intersex communities. 6 Jun-26 Jan
  4. Look back at the colourful career of Michael Craig-Martin at the Royal Academy of Arts: See the the work of this key figure in British conceptual art. 21 Sep-10 Dec
  5. See the current exhibition at The Queen's GalleryCheck out the latest art installation at this beautiful gallery space. TBC
  6. Discover the latest winners of the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum: Be amazed by the wonders of the natural world.   
  7. Be impressed at Astronomy Photographer of the Year at the National Maritime Museum: See the world's greatest space photography, from mesmerising images of the Milky Way to painting-like captures of the surface of the sun.

Check back nearer the time for more winter exhibitions or discover other museum and gallery exhibitions in London.

Free things to do in London in winter

A whale skeleton exhibit hanging at the Natural History Museum. Credits: visitlondon.com/Jon Reid.
Visit the Natural History Museum which is full of natural wonders. Credits: visitlondon.com/Jon Reid.
  1. Explore London's many free museums and galleries: They are full of world-class objects and artworks.
  2. Seek out the capital's top free attractionsPerfect for an action-packed day out on the cheap.
  3. Make use of top offersFind great deals for shows, restaurants and more.
  4. Pick up cheap theatre tickets: See top shows for less.
  5. Refuel at the city’s best budget lunch spots: Also check London's best cheap food hubs.
  6. Check out these tips for a cheap night out: You don't need to splash out to have a fun evening in the capital.

Save more with these tips on budget London activities and find more free events in London.

Top places to visit in London in winter

A deer with a fine set of antlers calls on a misty morning, with the mist and mature trees in the background.
Spot deer in Richmond Park © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid.
  1. Go all botanical this winter with a stroll through Kew Gardens: Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site's glass houses and stunning open spaces.
  2. Wander around London’s parks and gardens: Work off those extra Christmas calories with a walk on a crisp winter's day.
  3. Find the deer in Richmond Park: It's the largest Royal Park in London.
  4. Spot the pelicans and parakeets at St James's Park near Buckingham Palace: With royal, political and literary associations, St James's Park is a gem at the heart of London.
  5. Walk the Regent's Canal: Explore on foot from Camden Lock to King's Cross.
  6. Make your way to beautiful Hyde Park: Discover the memorials and cycle beside the Serpentine.
  7. Book one of London’s best walking tours: Delve into secret spots, historic tales, street art and more.
  8. Explore Hidden London with the London Transport Museum: Step back in time and discover secret forgotten stations with a fascinating tour of London's tube network.
  9. Admire London's statues and fountains: Journey through history as you discover London's iconic and much-loved monuments.
  10. Spot some outdoor art on your daily stroll: Highlights include the Illuminated River.
  11. Or get on your bike, as you hire a Santander Cycle for endless exploring, all from £2 a day: Visit parks, ride along the Thames or explore Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
  12. Seek out these outdoor spots for exercising: Perfect for a healthy and active winter.
  13. Go on new adventures in neighbourhoods outside central London: Make sure to check out Croydon, the Mayor's London Borough of Culture 2023.

Find more outdoor winter activities in London.

Where is the best place for winter shopping?

Harrods department store lit up at night
  1. Enjoy some retail therapy at London’s top shopping hotspots: From high-street brands on Oxford Street to upscale boutiques in Bond Street and St James’s, or beauty and fashion at Covent Garden, Carnaby and Belgravia. 
  2. Bag yourself a bargain during the London winter sales: Don't miss out on more special offers during this time of year
  3. Explore London’s coolest department stores: Find plenty of trendy threads and quirky homewares.
  4. Discover London's sustainable shopping scene: Save money and help the environment by visiting the best sustainable shops across the city. 
  5. Work your way through the 101 best shops in London: The perfect excuse to keep coming back on regular shopping sprees.

Delve into more London shopping inspiration.

Check out our events calendar for more special events in winter in London. Plan your winter break in London with our pick of things to do in London each month.