87 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.
Content contains affiliate links, marked with asterisks (*). If you click through and make a purchase, Visit London receives a commission – every purchase supports London’s jobs and economy.

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?

A couple laugh as they explore London with Tower Bridge in the background.
Explore the best of London. Copyright: Shutterstock. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
  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. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Let the kids take over at the immersive indoor city of KidZania: Enter this unique city where the children are in charge.

  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?

Edward and Vivian embrace centre stage in front of neon signs with the Pretty Woman cast raising their arms up to them.
Pretty Woman: The Musical at the Savoy Theatre. Photo: Morris Mac Matzen. Image courtesy of Raw PR.
  1. Catch one of London's top shows for kids, or see an award-winning musical
  2. Or laugh your head off at a comedy show.

Check back nearer the time for more London theatre shows this winter.

What activities and experiences can I enjoy in London this winter?

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. Or explore London on foot with a guided walking tourWalk in the footsteps of the Gangsters of Soho* or go off the tourist trail on a Secret London Walking Tour.
  5. Step into a new adventure and discover London's best immersive experiences: Try everything from escape rooms to immersive theatre.
  6. For an entertaining night out combine Vintage Cinema with Cocktails at TT Liquor*: A cosy cinema in Shoreditch where you can enjoy a cult classic with a bespoke beverage. 
  7. Follow the white rabbit down the rabbit hole at the Alice in Wonderland VR Escape*: Unriddle the chaos of a Mad Hatter tea party, encounter the Cheshire Cat and take on the Queen of Hearts.
  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

What are the 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. Catch your favourite bands at live music and gigs in London: See top acts from around the world at London's best venues.
  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. 10 Feb
  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. See artists unleash new creative concepts at the Purcell Sessions at the Southbank Centre: Be inspired by audio-visual installations, music, dance and visual ar
  8. Keep an eye out for talks, walks and more during LGBT+ History Month: The annual event celebrates equality and diversity every February.
  9. Experience culture after dark at a late-night London museum opening and lates events: Enjoy immersive experiences, DJ sets and more.
  10. Take a front row seat at London Fashion WeekEmbrace your inner fashionista with catwalk shows at this unmissable event. TBC

Find more world-class London events in winter months

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

Christmas lights above Regent Street.
Christmas lights above Regent Street. Image courtesy of 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. Take a day trip to another iconic UK destination this Christmas: Discover beautiful places such as the royal Windsor to the quaint city of Canterbury with its pretty Christmas market.
  7. 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
  8. Join the festive fun at London's Christmas lights switch-on eventsEnjoy live music, activities and in-store offers.
  9. Watch London’s best Christmas trees sparkle: Spot as many as you can, as they pop up in every corner of the city.
  10. 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.

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

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. 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. Swap tea for cocktails at a Silviu's Immersive Cocktail Masterclass at The Rubens at the Palace*: Become a master mixologist under the guidance of Silviu Stan. 
  4. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a Chocolate Making Class*: Learn all there is to know from a professional chocolatier in this fun and interactive class.
  5. Defrost in front of a roaring fire at a snug London pub: Enjoy a mug of mulled wine.
  6. Get a winter pick-me-up with an afternoon teaIndulge in a traditional afternoon tea or opt for a quirky afternoon tea.
  7. Scale the heights to a heated rooftop bar: Soak up sunset views across London and enjoy winter pop-up activities and music.
  8. 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. 
  9. 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!
  10. Bite into tasty pastry from London’s top pie shops: Celebrate National Pie Day on 23 January.
  11. Banish the winter blues at London’s top bars: Winter and cocktails go hand-in-hand.
  12. Visit healthy eateries across the city: Stick to those New Year’s resolutions. 
  13. 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.

What are the best exhibitions in London this winter?

The Milky Way illuminates the landscape  almost reflecting the illuminated National Highway 219, with mountains on the background.
The Starry Sky Over the World’s Highest National Highway © Yang Sutie/ National Maritime Museum
  1. Don't miss the Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum: Explore the work of one of the world's most iconic designers. From 16 Sep
  2. Wonder at the works of Sarah Lucas at Tate Britain: Explore how this British artist interprets what it is to be human. 28 Sep-14 Jan
  3. See Capturing the Moment at the Tate Modern: Journey through 100 years of painting and photography from around the world. 12 Jun-28 Jan
  4. Get tickets to Impressionists on Paper: Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec at the Royal Academy of Arts: See the radical works of Degas, Van Gogh, Renoir and more. From 25 Nov
  5. 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.   
  6. 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.

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 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 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.