101 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.

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).

What are the top winter attractions?

The London Eye at sunset reflected on the river Thames
Discover plenty of attractions along the river Thames © Shutterstock. Image courtesy of Shutterstock / Photos.london.
  1. Make memories at London’s top attractions: Many host special wintry events and activities throughout the season.
  2. 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 Big City Saver.
  3. Go on a bus tour or river tour: Discover London in its wintry coat.
  4. On a clear winter's day, marvel at views of the city from one of its many viewpoints: The View from The Shard, Emirates Air Line or the London Eye are perfect for 360-degree shots.
  5. Explore London's historic royal attractions: Celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee year with a visit to the best royal attractions in London.
  6. Take a tour of Shakespeare's Globe: Go behind the scenes at one of most unique and breath-taking theatrical spaces in London.

Find more tips for sightseeing in London.

What's on in London theatre during winter 2022?

Actors perform the london musical The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe © Brinkhoff-Moegenburg. Image courtesy of SEE Tickets.
  1. See a spectacular theatre show in London's West End: Add some sparkle to the winter days.
  2. Get in the Christmas spirit with It's a Wonderful Life: Enjoy an operatic adaptation of this heartwarming festive film. 
  3. Follow the adventures of Buddy in Elf The Musical: See the stage adaption of this cult festive movie brought to life at the Dominion Theatre.
  4. Lose your head at Six the Musical: Discover the untold story of six Tudor wives and their infamous ex, Henry VIII.
  5. Go on a magical adventure at The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe: Step through the wardrobe and into the mesmerising land of Narnia this winter. 
  6. Travel back in time at the Back to the Future the Musical: Join Doc Brown and Marty Mcfly in 1955 as they work to save their own existence.
  7. Be swept off your feet by a performance of Pretty Woman: Enjoy Hollywood's iconic romantic comedy.
  8. Groove along to reggae favourites at Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical: Transport yourself to sunnier climes this winter.
  9. Or be a dancing queen at Mamma Mia!: Enjoy the high energy musical packed with Abba songs, romance and feel-good fun.
  10. See this Shakespearean classic come to life like never before at & Juliet the Musical: Hear your favourite pop-hits as Juliet reveals a life without Romeo. 
  11. Watch The Book of Mormon: Laugh out loud at the award-winning comedy musical. 
  12. Witness tragedy unfold at the operatic performance of Carmen at the London Coliseum: Meet one of opera's most well-known characters. 
  13. Don't miss the award-winning WickedBe captivated by sparkling costumes and electrifying performances. 
  14. Be wowed by the Matilda The Musical: Watch as one little girl and her epic super powers take on the terrifying Miss Trunchball.
See more London theatre shows or laugh your head off at a comedy show.

Make memories with the kids this winter

A family of four looking up at the festive features of Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.
Discover all the magical things happening in London this Christmas, including Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. © David Parry. Image courtesy of Fever PR.
  1. Treat the kids to London’s top family attractions: And follow these 101 FOMO-inducing tips for teenagers.
  2. For wizardry winter magic, head to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter: Experience Hogwarts in the Snow (until 15 Jan) where you'll see the famous movie sets dressed for winter.
  3. Grab a Butterbeer at The Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition: See fascinating behind-the-scenes images taken during the making of the iconic film series.
  4. Or see magical Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace Theatre: Watch the world's most famous wizard on stage.
  5. Sing along to family favourite musicals: Chase away those winter blues with family favourites The Lion King and Mary Poppins.
  6. Make the most of the February half-term holiday: Make memories with fun activities. 13-17 Feb
  7. Explore ZSL London Zoo: Warm up this winter with a visit to the Rainforest and the Tropical Butterfly Paradise enclosures.
  8. Go ice skating: Skate in the shadow of some of London’s most famous landmarks at an open-air ice rink. 
  9. Glide around on light skates at Canary Wharf's ice rink: Brighten dark nights and capture dazzling images with multicoloured LEDs attached to your skates. TBC
  10. Give curling your best shot at Club Curling at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross: Team up with family members as you test your skills playing the classic winter game. TBC
  11. Take the kids to the annual Imagine children’s festival at the Southbank Centre: Enjoy more than 10 days of culture for kids aged 11 and under. TBC
  12. Celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Rabbit in 2023: Enjoy a host of family activities and show stopping performances across the city. TBC
  13. Take one of London's best walking tours: From movie locations to royal history, discover the city's most interesting spots on foot. 
  14. Experience one of London’s best outdoor and drive-in cinemas: Plan a family film-fest!

Find more family activities.

What are the best things to do in London at Christmas?

Angel-shaped white and yellow lights hang above Regent Street at night.
Regent Street Christmas lights © Shutterstock
  1. See an exclusive Christmas show: Enjoy festive performances such as Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Piccadilly Christmas Show.
  2. Hop on a Christmas Lights London by Night bus tour: Admire London's landmarks illuminated on a special tour of the city. 26 Nov-2 Jan 
  3. Buy tickets for Christmas at Kew: Be mesmerised by a spectacular lights show as Kew Gardens is transformed over the festive period. 16 Nov- 8 Jan
  4. Enjoy a festive Illuminations of London Christmas Eve tour: See the city sparkle as Christmas Day approaches. TBC
  5. Treat yourself to a Christmas Day river cruise and guided city tour: Sip on bubbly and feast on a traditional Christmas lunch in London. TBC
  6. Or go on a Christmas day hop-on hop-off bus tour: See sparkling Christmas lights and plenty of iconic sights. TBC
  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. Attend a special Christmas carol service or concert: Celebrate the festive season and sing along to your favourite carols. 
  11. Be captivated by the award-winning Lightopia festival of light: Featuring multi-sensory lights and lanterns. 19 Nov-2 Jan
  12. Don't miss Winterfest in Wembley Park: See London's tallest LED Christmas tree. TBC
  13. Enter an enchanting winter wonderland at Kenwood House: Follow a sparkling trail of lights in the tranquil surrounds of this London gem. 2 Dec-1 Jan

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

What are the best free things to do 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.

What are the top London winter events?

Ladies walking in line presenting clothes during a fashion show.
Watch shows from top designers at London Fashion Week. Credits: Burberry FOH LFW AW20 (Getty, British Fashion Council).
  1. Head to London's Square Mile that has been transformed into immersive outdoor theatre event, Destination CitySee creative street performances from actors and artists and enjoy a maze of family-friendly adventures and games. 15 Oct
  2. Catch a show at the London International Mime FestivalBe left speechless by mime performances. TBC
  3. Watch something new at the London Short Film Festival: Catch short films from emerging filmmakers. TBC
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Take a front row seat at London Fashion WeekEmbrace your inner fashionista with catwalk shows at this unmissable event. TBC
  8. Keep an eye out for talks, walks and more during LGBT+ History Month: The annual event celebrates equality and diversity every February.

Find more world-class London events in winter months

What are the best museums and art exhibitions in London this winter?

  1. Visit the Crown and Conflict: Portraits of a Queen in Wartime exhibition at the Imperial War Museum London: See a collection of over fifty photographs, discovering how The Queen played her part in WWII. Until 8 Jan
  2. Explore the London Transport Museum after dark: Enjoy themed activities and talks from expert speakers. 
  3. Don't miss the Hallyu! The Korean Wave exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum: Explore the global impact of South Korea's pop-culture, from music and cinema to beauty and fashion. From 24 Sep
  4. See The EY Exhibition Cezanne at the Tate Modern: Featuring paintings shown for the first time in the UK, see the ambitious artist's works up close. 5 Oct-12 Mar
  5. Experience culture after dark at a late-night London museum opening and lates events: Enjoy immersive experiences, DJ sets and more. 
  6. Get tickets to Making Modernism at the Royal Academy of Arts: Meet the women hidden from history as their works finally take centre stage. 12 Nov-12 Feb

  7. Be moved by Candice Breitz: Love Story at Tate Modern: Hear the stories of six refugees forced to flee their home countries, re-performed by globally renowned celebrities. 11 Jul-14 May
  8. 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.   
  9. Be enchanted by Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature at the Victoria and Albert Museum: See original water colours and drawings of the author's much-loved characters such as Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny. 12 Feb-8 Jan

  10. Experience cultures from across the world at the British Museum: Discover millions of years of the history and mystery of mankind.

  11. Discover The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and Sea exhibition at Queen’s House: A collection of captivating paintings depicting the changing moods of the ocean and maritime life. From 23 Feb

See more museum and gallery exhibitions in London.

What are the top places to explore this 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 to go for winter food and drink

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. Get a winter pick-me-up with an afternoon teaIndulge in a traditional afternoon tea or opt for a quirky afternoon tea.
  3. Defrost in front of a roaring fire at a snug London pub: Enjoy a mug of mulled wine.
  4. Scale the heights to a heated rooftop bar: Soak up sunset views across London and enjoy winter pop-up activities and music.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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!
  7. Bite into tasty pastry from London’s top pie shops: Celebrate National Pie Day on 23 January.
  8. Banish the winter blues at London’s top bars: Winter and cocktails go hand-in-hand.
  9. Visit healthy eateries across the city: Stick to those New Year’s resolutions. 
  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.

Where is the best place for winter shopping?

Exterior shot of Selfridges on Oxford Street.
Selfridges on Oxford Street. Image courtesy of Andrew Meredith/Selfridges.
  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.

How can I celebrate New Year in London?

A marching band dressed in yellow and blue walk through confetti at London's New Year's Day Parade.
Watch marching bands at the New Year's Day Parade. Image courtesy of LNYDP.
  1. Celebrate the end of the year with New Year's Eve events: Welcome the new year with these fun New Year's Eve activities.
  2. Celebrate the end of 2022 and welcome in the new year with London’s New Year’s Day Parade: Enjoy performances from popular artists and cultural groups.

Plan your New Year’s Eve in London.

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.