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Indulge in Ice Skating

Ultimate Guide to Winter in London: Top Experiences & Events (2024)

London is truly a magical place, and winter here is an enchanting experience unlike any other. While summer sees its fair share of tourists, London has an undeniable charm to the colder months. From the bustling energy of Christmas markets to the warmth of festive lights, there’s something this city makes magic with. As the crisp air carries a sense of anticipation, people head towards London’s street despite the chilly winters.

Winters in London unravel a wonderland of freshly baked treats, melodious carolers, glittering Christmas lights, and ice adventures. But it’s not just about the outdoor delights; indoor activities thrive as well. London has something for us all, from those captivating art exhibitions (season specials) to the graceful ice skating opportunities.

Best Winter Experiences in London

Join us as we list down the Best Things To Do In London During Winter. Have a look:

1. Indulge in Ice Skating

Immersing yourself in the winter magic of London wouldn’t be memorable without a delightful ice skating adventure. For the best ice skating experience in London, head to the Natural History Museum or Somerset House, two truly iconic spots. Even if you’re not exactly an ice skating pro, these places will still cater for you.

During winters Natural History Museum or Somerset House is adorned with enchanting decorations, bathed in a soft, almost fairytale-like glow. Being here is like stepping into a storybook and gliding into a magical moment. As skaters of all ages and levels glide with joy, the air fills with excitement. Besides that, the flickering lights create a festive and dreamy ambience altogether.

2. Put Your Baking Skills to the Test

Why not put your baking skills to the ultimate test during the winter season in London? At The Big Bake in Tooting and Haggerston, you have the perfect opportunity to do just that. Both landmarks host year-round competitions with these special festive editions. Being here is about flourishing with creativity while embracing the holiday spirit. They feature everything from delectable mince pies to gingerbread houses and more.

The experience is like stepping into a world of baking magic, where culinary creativity knows no bounds. Amidst the sweet and warm aroma, you will also find yourself surrounded by twinkling lights and festive ambience. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned baker, The Big Bake offers a chance to challenge yourself.

3. Checkout Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus

When in London during the winter, exploring Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus is a must. Both these vibrant areas attract people for their iconic attractions and bustling atmosphere.

Piccadilly Circus is all about where lights, energy, and life converge. It is an iconic landmark in London known for its dynamic atmosphere and captivating digital billboards. It’s like a mesmerizing crossroads where the city’s pulse beats the strongest. At Piccadilly Cirus, individuals can step into shops, theatres and restaurants. This event operates throughout the year, remaining a magnet for both locals and tourists alike.

Whereas Oxford Circus is a paradise for shopping and style are your passions. It isn’t truly a Circus but a neighbourhood known for its fashion-forward trends and high-street shopping. The area boasts everything from brands, boutiques and flagship stores. It is nothing less than a fashion catwalk coming to life. The festive season sees Oxford Circus light up even more with dazzling decorations and cheerful spirit.

Whether you’re wandering around, shopping, or simply people-watching both these areas will leave an indelible impression on your London experience.

4. Checkout London’s Museums for the WINTER SPECIFIC Exhibitions

London is home to countless museums and a diverse range of exhibitions. But do you know some of these exhibitions are winter-specific? Yes, and we have some examples of winter-themed exhibitions that you might find interesting:

  1. Winter Wonderland at The Natural History Museum have exhibitions related to the natural wonders of winter. From the science behind snowflakes to artic animal display, they have a scientific perspective to explore winters and snow.
  2. The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) incorporate festive elements into its exhibits during the holiday season. From special winter installations to intricate holiday decorations, they capture the magic of winter like none other. And you might find exhibits that transport you to a winter wonderland.
  3. Christmas Past at the Geffrye Museum used to host an annual Christmas Past exhibition. It was all about how English homes were decorated and how celebrations used to be during the holiday season over the centuries. The exhibition no longer happens but may in the near future.
  4. Some venues in London might host ice sculpture exhibitions or ice-themed displays, especially around the holiday season.

Please check the museums/ landmarks for exhibitions before heading for them.

5. Visit Christmas Markets in London

London is known for its charming and festive Christmas markets that pop up during the holiday season. Christmas markets are all about decorations, unique gifts, seasonal treats, warm beverages and a variety of other goods.

Here are some popular Christmas markets in London

  1. One of London’s largest and most popular Christmas markets is the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. It features fairground rides, a circus, an ice staking rink, numerous stalls, shopping and eating opportunities, and much more.
  2. The Southbank Centre Winter Market is set along the Thames River and offers a mix of artisanal crafts, food stalls serving international cuisine, and festive drinks. What adds charm to this place is the backdrop of the London Eye.
  3. Another popular Christmas Market in London is the Greenwich Christmas Market. It features crafts, festive food and handmade gifts. The marketplace is known for its picturesque setting and traditional Christmas vibe. While taking into the beauty of Greenwich, visitors can also enjoy the ice skating rink.
  4. During winter, Leicester Square transforms into a cozy Christmas market with a European flair. It is a must-visit for seasonal treats, crafts and gifts.
  5. Christmas by the River lines the Thames with wooden cabins offering gifts, crafts, and delicious food and drinks is memorable. The backdrop of Tower Bridge and the Tower of London makes it a particularly scenic market.
  6. The Columbia Road Flower Market takes on a festive twist during December. On Wednesdays, the market stays open in the evening, offering Christmas trees, wreaths, seasonal plants, and unique gifts.

Checkout the official websites for schedule

6. Checkout the Snow-covered Views of London

Experiencing snow-covered views of London can be truly magical. When in the city during the snow season, visit these vantage points to enjoy the picturesque snowy scenes. However, do check the weather forecast before heading for the same.

  1. Primrose Hill: Primrose Hill offers one of London’s most iconic and panoramic views. Being an elevated spot, it offers enchanting views of the entire London skyline.
  2. Greenwich Park: While it isn’t elevated, Greenwich Park offers a picturesque view of the historic Royal Observatory and the River Thames. The snow-dusted trees and the stunning architecture create a postcard-worthy scene.
  3. Hampstead Heath: Hampstead Heath’s expansive green spaces, ponds, and woodlands offer a serene winter landscape. The Parliament Hill area provides a particularly scenic view of London’s skyline with a snowy touch.
  4. Alexandra Palace: From Alexandra Palace, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city that extend to its skyline. Being elevated, it offers London snow-blanketed views.
  5. Richmond Park: Richmond Park’s vast open spaces and deer-filled landscapes create a unique winter experience.
  6. The Shard: Consider visiting The Shard’s observation deck for a more urban view. While not an outdoor spot, the high vantage point offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city with a wintery charm.
  7. Sky Garden: Sky Garden, aka Walkie Talkie, located at 20 Fenchurch Street, offers a lush indoor garden with spectacular views of the city.

Remember a bad weathered bad can also ruin your experience.

7. When in London, do not miss the Winter Festivities and Events

Last Winter’s must-to-do is attending seasonal festivities and events in London. Here are some notable winter festivals you can enjoy in the city:

  1. Christmas Markets: London is dotted with charming Christmas markets that spring up across the city. Explore markets like Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, Southbank Centre Winter Market, and Greenwich Christmas Market.
  2. New Year’s Eve Celebrations: Reach the heart of London and enjoy the New Year’s Eve fireworks display along the Thames, one of its most iconic celebrations. Though be ready for a crowd of thousands of locals and tourists.
  3. Winter Lights Festival: Taking place in Canary Wharf, the Winter Lights Festival transforms the business district into an illuminated wonderland. The artistic displays and interactive light installations add magic to this place.
  4. The London International Mime Festival: Celebrating the art of mime and physical theatre brings acclaimed international artists and enthusiasts into one place.
  5. Imagine Children’s Festival: For families, the Imagine Children’s Festival at Southbank Centre offers a range of activities, performances, and workshops for kids of all ages during the February half-term break.
  6. London Remixed Festival: The event gathers live bands, DJs, and remixes along with music enthusiasts from different parts of England.
  7. Burns Night: Celebrate the life and poetry of Scottish poet Robert Burns on January 25th with traditional Burns Night suppers, complete with haggis, whisky, and poetry recitations.
  8. Chinese New Year: London’s Chinatown comes alive with vibrant colours, lion dances, and parades to celebrate Chinese New Year. Join in the festivities as the city welcomes the Year of the Rat.
  9. Valentine’s Day Events: London’s theatres, restaurants, and venues offer special events for Valentine’s Day, including romantic dinners, performances, and immersive experiences.
  10. London Fashion Week: Held in February, London Fashion Week showcases the latest trends in fashion and design. While some events are industry-specific, there are often public events and exhibitions related to fashion during this time.

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