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82 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. 

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).

Top London winter activities

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.

See the sights

Winter Wonderland's rides and attractions are lit up at night.
An aerial view of Winter Wonderland. Image courtesy of Winter Wonderland.
  1. Make sure to visit London’s top attractions, many of which 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, opt for a London Explorer Pass to use in a 60-day period, or visit some of London’s most popular family attractions with a Merlin attractions pass.
  3. Discover London in its wintry coat from the comfort of a bus tour or river tour.
  4. On a clear winter's day, marvel at views of the city from one of its many viewpoints. The View from The Shard, Sky Garden, Emirates Air Line or the London Eye are perfect for 360-degree shots.
  5. Go on new adventures in neighbourhoods outside central London, including Lewisham which is the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture in 2022.

Find more tips for sightseeing in London.

Family fun 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. Go ice skating in the shadow of some of London’s most famous landmarks at an open-air ice rink. 
  3. If you’re mad about Harry Potter, head to Hogwarts in the Snow to see the famous movie sets festively dressed for winter in London.
  4. Enjoy more than 10 days of culture for kids aged 11 and under during the annual Imagine children’s festival at the Southbank Centre. 
  5. Make memories with fun activities during the February half-term holiday.

Find more family activities.

Winter walks in London

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 © Reid.
  1. Work off those extra Christmas calories with a walk on a crisp winter's day in London’s parks and gardens.
  2. Go all botanical this winter with a stroll through Kew Gardens. A Woodland Walk and Log Trail await.
  3. Find the deer in Richmond Park  the largest Royal Park in London.
  4. Spot the pelicans and parakeets at St James's Park near Buckingham Palace.
  5. Walk the Regent's Canal from Camden Lock to King's Cross.
  6. Discover the memorials and cycle beside the Serpentine in Hyde Park.
  7. Delve into secret spots, historic tales, street art and more on one of London’s best walking tours.
  8. Spot some outdoor art on your daily stroll, including the Illuminated River.
  9. Find your favourite flowers and brighten up your home with bits and bobs from Chiswick Flower Market.
  10. Walk The Line running from Queen Elizabeth Park to The O2 and spot street art and sculptures along the way.

Find more outdoor winter activities in London.

Unmissable experiences

A photo of a person putting olive oil on a dish during cooking demonstrations at Taste of London.
Cooking demonstrations at Taste of London. Credits: Andy Hughes. Image courtesy of W Communications.
  1. Hit up your feed at one of London’s quirky bars this winter, many of which serve seasonal tipples.
  2. Hatch a plan at one of London’s top escape rooms, or go on a quest for crystals at the Crystal Maze LIVE Experience.
  3. Take a boat trip and see the Illuminated River light installation at some of London’s Thames bridges.

Fuel up on comfort food

  1. Get a winter pick-me-up with an afternoon tea. Indulge in a traditional afternoon tea, go quirky with an unusual tea, celebrate with bubbles, or enjoy the treat for less with cheaper options.
  2. The winter chill is the perfect excuse to tuck into warming Sunday roasts
  3. Raclette, toasties, fondue… Whatever your cheesy craving, London’s best cheese hotspots are oozing with delicious bites.
  4. It’s National Pie Day on 23 Jan (who knew that was a thing?). Bite into tasty pastry from London’s top pie shops.
  5. Try street food from Borough Market, or cook new recipes with Borough Market’s online sessions on IGTV.

Munch on more foodie treats.

Find a new you

  1. Stick to those New Year’s resolutions by visiting healthy eateries across the city. 
  2. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or just dabbling, Veganuary is the perfect excuse to enjoy vegan and vegetarian delights this January.
  3. Get on your bike! Hire a Santander Cycle for endless exploring, all from £2 a day. Visit parks, ride along the Thames or explore Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.. 
  4. Seek out these outdoor spots for exercising for a healthy and active winter.

Budget London ideas

Small groups of people mill around inside the Great Court, which has a rounded white central gallery with a blue glass roof.
The Great Court at the British Museum © Trustees of the British Museum. Image courtesy of the British Museum.
  1. Strapped for cash after Christmas and New Year? Check out these 101 free ideas to explore.
  2. Explore London's many free museums and galleries, which are full of world-class objects and artworks.
  3. Seek out the capital's top free attractions, perfect for an action-packed day out on the cheap.
  4. Make use of top offers on shows, restaurants and more.
  5. See shows for less by picking up cheap theatre tickets.
  6. Refuel at the city’s best budget lunch spots or cheap restaurants.
  7. You don't need to splash out to have a fun evening in the capital, check out these tips for a cheap night out.

Save more with these tips on budget London activities.

Enjoy cosy London winter evenings

  1. Defrost in front of a roaring fire at a snug London pub with a mug of mulled wine.
  2. Scale the heights to a heated rooftop bar, where you can soak up sunset views across London and enjoy winter pop-up activities and music.
  3. Find one of London's best spots for alfresco dining in winter.
  4. Experience culture after dark with immersive experiences, DJ sets and more at a late-night London museum opening.
  5. Head to London’s West End to catch a spectacular theatre show.
  6. Plan a night out at one of London’s best outdoor and drive-in cinemas.
  7. Pick a film and cosy up in one of London's unusual and unique cinemas.

Fun London November events

  1. Enjoy London Christmas lights switch-on events featuring music, festive activities and in-store offers. TBC
  2. Listen to world-class and emerging musicians and bands as the EFG London Jazz Festival returns with gigs across the capital.
  3. Discover plenty of pangeantry at The Lord Mayor's Show, which features a grand parade to welcome the new Lord Mayor of London.
  4. Pay your respects to those lost in conflict at the annual Remembrance Day parade and services in London.
  5. Find classic and vintage cars, as the Regent Street Motor Show takes over a traffic-free Regent Street.
  6. Be mesmerised by a spectacular lights show as Kew Gardens is transformed for the annual Christmas at Kew event.
  7. Head to Winter Wonderland for fairground rides, markets, seasonal food, shows and more as part of a wintry extravaganza.
Learn what else is on in November.

Magical London December events

  1. Shop for festive gifts, enjoy food and drink plus much more at London's pop-up winter markets, including Christmas by the River and Winter at Southbank Centre.
  2. Watch the brave swimmers taking part in the annual Peter Pan Cup race in Hyde Park on Christmas Day.

Check out more December ideas.

Top London January events

A compere in a red tailcoat, gold waistcoat, bow tie and top hat at Moulin Rouge
The compere extraordinaire at Moulin Rouge © Story House PR. Image courtesy of Story House PR
  1. Be left speechless by mime performances online at the annual London International Mime Festival.
  2. Catch short films from emerging filmmakers at the London Short Film Festival.
  3. Gaze in wonder at the Connected by Light festival, which creates a trail of Insta-worthy installations at Canary Wharf.
  4. Start or add to your art collection at the online London Art Fair, which brings contemporary artists and buyers together with displays, talks and screenings.
  5. Enjoy all things Scottish during Burns Night in January, celebrating the birth of Scotland's national icon, Robert Burns – whisky bars are good starting points.

Find more things to do in January.

London February events for your diary

  1. Keep an eye out for talks, walks and more as part of LGBT History Month, which celebrates equality and diversity every February.
  2. Mark the arrival of the Year of the Tiger with London’s Chinese New Year celebrations which fall around 1 February this year. Look out for special menus in Chinatown restaurants.
  3. Book a London winter break during February for the ultimate Valentine’s Day treat – check out the top tips for ramping up the romance in London.
  4. Embrace your inner fashionista with catwalk shows and expert talks during London Fashion Week.
  5. Join one of London’s many Pancake Day races or simply eat your way through a mound of the scrumptious treats.

Discover more February activities.

What's new this winter?

Have your finger on the pulse with new shows and exhibitions this winter. Check back nearer the time for the latest openings.

Experience Christmas in London

London takes on a magical feel over Christmas, with lights, markets, trees and lots of fun events across the capital. Shop till you drop or enjoy festive food and drink.

Enchanting Christmas activities

Angel-shaped white and yellow lights hang above Regent Street at night.
Regent Street Christmas lights © Shutterstock
  1. See London illuminated on a special Christmas Lights London by Night bus tour.
  2. Watch London’s best Christmas trees sparkle, as they pop up in every corner of the city.
  3. Marvel at the capital’s famous twinkling Christmas lights and decorations in shopping areas such as Carnaby, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and South Molton Street.
  4. Join a special Christmas carol service or concert.

Find more festive ideas with these 101 Christmas activities.

Feast on festive 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. Munch on seasonal sarnies and sweet treats with a festive take on afternoon tea.
  2. Christmas and cocktails go hand-in-hand, so keep an eye out for festive creations at London’s top bars.
  3. Book ahead for Christmas Day lunch or dinner to make use of special Christmas dining offers.

Pick up gifts and bargains

Covet Garden Piazza at night, with a crowd of people and an illuminated Christmas tree.
Covent Garden Piazza by Brendan Bell. Image courtesy of MIssion Communications
  1. Keep an eye out for special tickets and offers during Black Friday. 25 Nov
  2. Explore Camden Market with stalls selling everything from quirky fashion to delicious street food.
  3. Bag yourself a bargain during the London winter sales
  4. Find gifts for all the special people in your life 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. 
  5. Walk around historic Greenwich Market and look for gifts from British designer-makers.
  6. Browse the stalls overflowing with handmade goods and quirky knick-knacks at London’s Christmas markets.
  7. Check out London’s coolest department stores, full of trendy threads and quirky homewares.
  8. 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.

Spend 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. Stay tuned for details of London's New Year's Eve fireworks in 2021.
  2. Celebrate the end of 2021 and welcome in the new year by enjoying performances from popular artists and cultural groups with London’s New Year’s Day Parade.

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, guide to what's on in London and pick of what's on every weekend.