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
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.
Enjoy winter-themed activities along the river at Southbank Centre's annual Wintertime Festival. And 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.
- Venture over to Greenwich Park for magnificent views across London in winter.
- Amble around the beautiful 350-acre (142-hectare) Hyde Park, which is home to the magical Winter Wonderland over Christmas.
- See Kew Gardens lit up with more than one million sparkling Christmas lights at Christmas at Kew.
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. Or ditch your resolutions and follow your nose to one of London’s best cheese hotspots.
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, or visit a cosy winter terrace, such as the enchanting Dalloway Terrace.
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; these take place at the Science Museum, National Gallery, British Museum and other venues.
- Head over to London’s West End to catch a spectacular theatre show, such as the smash-hit The Lion King, Wicked or The Book of Mormon, or discover a new show in London.
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 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
- Celebrate Christmas with these 101 things to do over the festive season.
- End the year in style with fireworks, parties, cruises and festive feasts on New Year’s Eve in London.
- See a giant menorah light up Trafalgar Square for Chanukah.
London January events
- 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.
- Be dazzled by the interactive light displays at the Winter Lights festival at Canary Wharf.
- Catch short films from emerging filmmakers at the London Short Film Festival.
London February and March events
- Join in the Chinese New Year celebrations in London, as the capital welcomes a vibrant parade, live performances in Trafalgar Square and a spectacular pyrotechnics display.
- 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.
- Embrace your inner fashionista with catwalk shows and expert talks during London Fashion Week Festival.
- Visit The London Classic Car Show to get up close to an impressive array of vintage vehicles.
- Find a raft of family-friendly things to do in London during the February half-term holiday.
Join in the lively Irish celebrations with St Patrick’s Day events in London in March.
Taste the latest beers and ciders from London’s microbrewers at the Craft Beer Rising festival or get your flat-white fix at the London Coffee Festival