London really is a city for all seasons. Despite the shorter days and cooler temperatures there are plenty of fun and unique things to do in London in winter. So embrace the dark evenings and wintry views: from shopping in historic arcades to ice skating at a palace, candle lit suppers or cocktails by an open fire, we’ve something for everyone in this insider’s guide to low-season London. Updated 2023
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I’ve lived in London all my adult life and my children have grown up here too. We’ve spent plenty of winters in London and know this can be a fantastic time of year to explore the city. Don’t let worries about the weather put you off! There are lots of unique and fun things to do in London in wintertime.
When is winter in London?
London’s winter season spans the three months of December, January and February. These are the coldest months of the year, but in central London temperatures will only occasionally drop below freezing. Grey clouds and rain are another characteristic of London winters but we do have blue skies too. And sometimes it snows!
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Weather in winter in London
There are many misconceptions about winter weather in London. Snow is actually quite rare here, despite what the movies say! Similarly the temperatures generally stay above freezing especially in the city centre.
December 2022 was unusually cold with temperatures dropping below freezing on several days. But normally January and February are the coldest months averaging 5C/ 42F in Jan 2023 and 7C/44F in Feb 2023. If you visit London during winter you’ll most likely experience cold weather, cloudy days and some rain. But it’s unlikely to rain for an entire day at a time! If you’re unlucky and the weather is literally freezing then pavements can become icy and slippery. But again, in the centre of town, they are salted and cleared quickly. This weather chart gives you a very detailed guide to daily weather in London in previous years.
The Pluses of London in Winter
- One of the big advantages of visiting London in winter is that you’ll find fewer crowds than in the summertime. You’ll be able to walk into many major attractions without long queues and have more space to enjoy them too.
- During January and February accommodation prices are lower than in peak season and you’ll also find special offers and discounts in restaurants.
- There’s lots of indoor entertainment in London, so your enjoyment of the city isn’t dependent on weather or daylight.
- And you can experience all the unique things about London in winter that you’ll miss at other times of the year. Think of:
- snuggling round a log fire in a cosy pub
- dining with a view of the city at night
- sipping wine by candlelight
- evenings in neon-lit Theatreland
- ice skating at a palace
- staying in a romantic Dickensian boutique hotel
- striding out through a park on a crisp, cold day
- cruising down the Thames as lights twinkle on the bridges
- And of course, there’s Christmas! Streets lit with strings of decorations, shop windows glowing with festive themes, mulled wine and hot chestnuts on pavement stalls. The festive air in the city is irresistible, no matter how Scrooge-like you may be feeling.
Trade offs of a London winter
- Conversely the down side of London in winter is that the lead up to Christmas gets super-busy. Mid to late December is high season for restaurants and pubs with corporate nights out and festive celebrations. Theatres are booked up and shopping streets are crowded.
- Prices go up around Christmas too. December is not a cheap month for booking a hotel.
- Couple this with a distinct lack of daylight! As we approach the shortest day on December 21, the darkness sets in at 3.30pm in the afternoon. Our winter days are only half the length of summer ones which can be restricting if you’re hoping to do a lot of outdoor sightseeing.
- The famous London weather might be an issue too. Rain and chilliness is one thing, we cope with that with boots, down-filled coats and umbrellas. But problems can ensue with occasional ice and snow which makes pavements slippery and may disrupt public transport.
Planning a last minute trip to London in winter?
Book your accommodation and tours in advance to be sure of availability!
These top London tours get great reviews :
📍London Christmas Lights Tour in a Black Cab Visiting in December? See the best light displays across the city from the comfort of an iconic London black cab. On this private tour your licensed London taxi driver is also a registered tourist guide. Check reviews, availability and book
📍London Thames Sunset Speedboat Experience Take a Thames Rocket through the heart of London to see the illuminated skyline. It’s a thrilling way to see the city lights Check reviews, availability and book
📍Great British Food Tour Classic British dishes are warming and tasty, wrap up well and stroll along Bankside with your guide, popping into characterful pubs and exploring undercover Borough Market Check reviews, availability and book
Lovely hotels for London in the Winter
These two fab hotels really come into their own when nights draw in!
Hazlitt’s On Frith Street, in the heart of Soho, is the former lodging of renowned 18th century man of letters, William Hazlitt. He wouldn’t recognise the flat screen TVs or REN bath products but the carved oak beds, panelled walls and rich swags of fabric would make him feel right at home. This boutique hotel is a real insider’s secret. Snuggle up by the fire in the library with a first edition from the extensive library, or order in bagels, smoked salmon and Bucks Fizz for breakfast in bed.
Sea Container’s London This contemporary luxury hotel with a riverside setting and a 1920’s cruise liner vibe is perfect for an indulgent winter stay. It’s handy for cultural outings along the South Bank or popping over the river to Covent Garden for retail treats. If the weather closes in you can take refuge in the rooftop 12th Knot bar with its expansive views of the Thames. Or unwind in the Agua Spa then catch a movie in the hotel’s 56 seat cinema.
Fun and unique things to do in London in Winter
1. Go Shopping in Piccadilly
Piccadilly is a wonderful place to shop in winter time. A thoroughfare between upmarket Mayfair, St James and bustling Piccadilly Circus, its heritage stores and boutiques are perfect for Christmas gifts and London souvenirs. Piccadilly is also home to four historic shopping arcades. These glamorous reminders of a former golden age will keep you warm and dry in inclement weather.
Fortnum and Mason Up-market grocers since the 1700s, their eponymous wicker hamper will be your treasured kitchen holdall or picnic standby for years to come. Fortnum’s is a department store of luxurious food, gifts and homeware. Dive in here for afternoon tea if the rain clouds gather then pick up pretty tins of leaf tea to take home. 181 Piccadilly
Hatchards bookshop Piccadilly booksellers since Georgian times (Jane Austen shopped here) Hatchards holds royal warrants too. Ascend the country house style staircase then follow the sign ‘Through to Crime’. Here you’ll find the perfect Agatha Christie sofa with a view of Piccadilly’s Christmas lights. So that’s the rainy afternoon sorted. 187 Piccadilly
Paxton and Whitfield Sniff out cheesy gifts to adorn a friend’s Christmas table or your own at the original Jermyn Street shop. “A gentleman buys his hats at Locks …. and his cheese at Paxton and Whitfield,” said Winston Churchill, another fan of shopping in Piccadilly. 93 Jermyn Street.
Visit Piccadilly’s glamorous Shopping Arcades
It’s the ideal time of year to re-discover London’s first shopping malls, architecturally appealing and packed with luxe. In Regency times they were a genteel environment for London’s ladies to go shopping, protected from the mud and pickpockets of Piccadilly. Now jewellery, cashmere, scents and sunglasses glitter alluringly behind the pretty Georgian and Victorian shopfronts. And the arcades dress up to the nines for the Christmas season.
The Burlington Arcade is the best known of Piccadilly’s historic covered galleries. Uniformed beadles patrol it in a tradition established in Regency times. This didn’t deter the masked thieves in 1964 who drove into the arcade in a large Jaguar, raided a jewellers and made off with a stash worth £35,000. They were never caught. Bollards now stand at the entrances of the arcade to prevent any such repeat.
Across the road lies the Piccadilly Arcade, an Edwardian addition, along with the Art Deco-styled Princes Arcade. While the ladies were keeping their feet dry within, gentlemen of distinction were procuring their necessities in nearby Jermyn Street. Running parallel to Piccadilly it’s home to the south-side entrances to both arcades. It’s been famous for centuries for all things refined in the way of menswear.
Finally, the pretty Royal Arcade lies just north of Piccadilly between Bond Street and Albemarle Street. This is a Victorian confection, painted in peach and home amongst others to the be-ribboned chocolate boxes of Charbonnel et Walker.
2. Watch Sunrise and Sunset during Winter in London
Since sunrise is at the respectable time of 8 am and sunset happens in the afternoon, you can factor them both into a London winter itinerary. Although they’re rather weather dependent, London has some spectacular winter sunrises and sunsets so you may be in luck!
Sunrise views in London winters
London’s winter sunrises occur between the relatively civilised hours of 7 and 8 am. So find a place for an early breakfast and with luck you’ll see the sky turn peachy too.
The Duck and Waffle, open 24/7 on the 40th floor of a city skyscraper, is a classic London spot for a sunrise breakfast. It isn’t cheap but its floor to ceiling windows give you cloud high views. Salesforce Tower, 110 Bishopsgate.
Millennium Bridge For a takeaway option, grab a coffee then loiter on the Millennium bridge which spans the Thames between Tate Modern and St Paul’s Cathedral. Even hurrying commuters pause to take in the early morning vistas.
London winter sunsets
The London Eye is a great place to watch the sun go down, the city lights flicker to life and the sky turn a deep blue. Time your flight carefully and book ahead. But know that you’ll probably still have to queue for a pod, even in London in winter! Check here for reviews, availability and to book The London Eye Experience, standard or fast track.
The Sky Garden is another high rise option for a London winter sunset. It’s has free to access views at level 35 of the Walkie Talkie building. You may even be able to get a walk-in ticket at this time of year. But to be on the safe side, tickets can be booked up to 3 weeks in advance. The viewing terrace overlooks the Thames whilst bars and a brasserie serve food and drinks all day. 1 Sky Garden Walk, EC3M
The South Bank The sun sinking behind the Houses of Parliament is an iconic London view and the South Bank is a great place to see it. Take a stroll beside the river from Bankside towards Westminster Bridge.
3. Winter is the best time to visit London’s free museums
January and February are the best time of year to explore London’s magnificent free museums and galleries. Without the crowds, especially on weekdays, you can take your time to see amazing works of art and artifacts up close. London has no less than 25 free museums! Here are 12 of my favourites:
- The British Museum – 2 million years of history worldwide, in one site. Bloomsbury WC1B
- Victoria and Albert Museum – one of Kensington’s big 3, with peerless book-ahead exhibitions of fashion, art and design. Cromwell Road, SW7
- Natural History Museum – from dinosaurs to daddy-long-legs, showcased in the soaringly grand Hintze Hall. Cromwell Road, SW7
- Science Museum thought-provoking whatever your age or interests. Exhibition Road, SW7
- National Gallery the story of European art in 2000 paintings. For free drop-in taster tours, see website. Trafalgar Square WC2N
- National Portrait Gallery the largest collection of portraits in the world. Free highlights tours and artist-led drawing workshops. Round the corner from the National Gallery in St Martin’s Place, WC2H.
- Royal Academy of Arts see highlights of this world class art collection for free in the Collections gallery. Piccadilly W1
- The Wallace Collection a stunning private collection gathered across generations, with Old Masters, furniture, armour, porcelain, all displayed in a London townhouse in Marylebone W1U.
- Tate Britain 500 years of British art in a beautiful building overlooking the Thames at Westminster SW1P. From here you can catch a boat up the river to……
- Tate Modern the modern and contemporary Tate by the river on Bankside SE1.
- Museum of London Docklands telling stories of London’s history as a port. West India Quay E14.
- Imperial War Museum modern warfare and its impact examined in detail. It sounds grim but this is a fascinating, engaging collection. Southwark SE1
Check the links to decide which to add to your London itinerary. You’ll find some amazing special exhibitions too: like Chanel at the V&A or Van Gogh at the National Gallery. These aren’t free but are very much worth seeing, although you often need to book months in advance.
4. Cosy up in a Pub by a roaring fire
Winter is the perfect time of year to discover London’s most cosy pubs and bars. Pull up a chair by a warm fireplace and sample a craft beer, seasonal cocktail or sophisticated new non-alcoholic spirit. You’ll spot welcoming outdoor terraces too, with heaters and comfy blankets.
Here are some characterful London pubs with a great atmosphere in the winter months.
- The Grazing Goat Country pub vibes at this upmarket Marylebone hostelry with rooms, a stone’s throw from Oxford Street.
- The Scarsdale Tavern A ‘proper’ historic neighbourhood pub near Kensington High Street. Lovely real fire too.
- The Holy Tavern Cosy quirky pub in Clerkenwell that looks like it dates from the 1700s. It doesn’t! But the re-creation is impressive.
- The Dove The real deal in terms of age, this much-loved little Hammersmith pub is steeped in history. Go there for the river views, low beams (duck!) and open fire.
- Scarfes Bar Not a pub, this one, it’s more a sophisticated drawing room with a clubby vibe and live jazz. And a roaring fire. Rosewood London, Holborn WC1V
5. Eat Out in London in the Winter
This is a great time of year to explore London’s global food scene. Forgot all the jokes about British food being bad. Here in London we have a fantastic range of restaurants with cuisines from all over the world and price points from takeaway to Michelin star. And don’t forget Britain’s own classic dishes and traditional snacks : it’s great tasting comfort food for chilly days.
Fish and chips
We have very strong opinions about our fish and chips in Britain. Some will say you need to go to the seaside to get the best. But these two central London locations get consistently good reviews: Rock & Sole Plaice in Covent Garden, Golden Union Fish Bar in Soho just off Oxford Street.
The great British food fest that is the Sunday Roast is a perfect occupation for a chilly winter’s day, especially before or after the statutory walk in a park. Lots of pubs and restaurants offer some version of this. It’s traditionally a meaty extravaganza, but nowadays usually has vegetarian alternatives too. Some of the best include:
The Quality Chop House in Clerkenwell, a historic venue with a modern British menu.
The Blacklock restaurants in Shoreditch, Soho and Covent Garden. Great reviews for these central London steakhouses which keep prices reasonable and pull out the stops for Sunday lunches.
Dine with a view of London at night
Make the most of early twilights and book a table for supper with a classic view of the city at night. Some of the most sought-after venues also offer set menus or pre or post-theatre options. Try:
Hutong Yes you are clearly paying a premium for the view at this northern Chinese restaurant on level 33 of The Shard. But what a view it is at night, enhanced by Hutong’s signature red lanterns.
Gaucho Tower Bridge Argentinian steaks and a view of Tower Bridge with all its lights on. That’s a great combination for a winter evening in London.
Aviary Rooftop Restaurant and bar Book an igloo under the stars for luxe dining 10 floors up in Finsbury Square.
If you’re looking for a classic Thames dinner cruise, this one comes with a live jazz band: check here for reviews, availability and to book River Thames dinner cruise with live jazz
No longer restricted to ski slopes, mulled wine is a festive tipple that can really hit the spot after a bracing walk in a London park (or round the shops). Steamy, aromatic, and not too alcoholic it’ll warm your fingers too.
The capital’s pop up Christmas markets can usually supply a cheering cup of mulled wine, but also try: Mr Fogg’s Tavern, Covent Garden or The Waterway, Little Venice which has ski chalet vibes and an outdoor terrace looking over the Grand Union Canal.
Whether you’ve been ice skating at Somerset House, shopping the Christmas themed windows in the West End or cycling through Regent’s Park, you deserve a hot chocolate! Pick one up at any of the kiosks in the London parks or a Christmas market stall. But for the richest, most luxurious versions try one of these specialist purveyors:
ChinChin Labs Soho and Camden: hot chocolate topped with a heap of fluffy torched marshmallow.
Knoops branches: hot chocs in 20 different percentages with tasting notes for each.
6. Enjoy London in December
London is worth a December visit just for its seasonal decorations! In fact the city gets into the Christmas spirit from mid November when the lights are turned on in Oxford Street. You can spend all evening wandering from street to street: every neighbourhood makes a special effort.
In order not to miss out on the best, take a walking tour like this well-reviewed one which takes in markets, lights and stories about local Christmases past London: Christmas Lights and Markets Tour.
I make a point of popping into central London for an hour or two on Christmas Day. It’s a once a year opportunity to see the capital without the traffic or the crowds! Here’s a treat if you’re spending Christmas Day in London: a tour by coach of the Sights and Sounds of London on Christmas Day with a professional guide providing the commentary.
Visit a London Christmas Market
Since dusk falls around 4pm it’s cheering to come across brightly lit Christmas markets as you walk through town.
The Winter Market at the Southbank Centre, beside the river Thames on Queen’s Walk, is always a favourite. Lights twinkle and the air is filled with delicious scents from little wooden chalets selling winter-warming favourites like raclette.
Winter by the River, the London Bridge Christmas Market is probably the prettiest with wonderful views of the river and Tower Bridge.
And close by is the Southbank Christmas Market with more stalls, ‘snow globe’ dining by the river and a lovely free outdoor light display.
Leicester Square hosts gift stalls, snacks, a Santa’s grotto and a selection of shows in a traditional 1920s spiegeltent.
Sloane Square and Duke of York’s Square on the Kings Road always have pretty lights. It’s one of my favourite places to sit outside with a warm and spicy cup of mulled wine and catch up with a friend.
The Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is London’s major Christmas fun fair, with an ice rink, beer tents, an observation wheel, plenty of rides and roller coasters, circus and ice shows and a comedy club. You may love it – you may not! Click here for more info.
Book a light trail walk in a London park
Illuminated trails have become a must-do Christmas outing for lots of Londoners. The original and arguably best of our Christmas light trails is the magnificent Christmas at Kew . Here spectacular lights and lasers play on the gorgeous Victorian glass houses while installations twinkle among the ancient trees in the botanic garden. Walkers are tempted with frothy hot chocolates, toasted marshmallows and street food treats. And everyone loves the vintage fairground rides.
Plan a museum visit with ice-skating too
A nice warm museum or gallery is a tempting plan on a chilly day. Some of London’s finest become even more attractive in the run up to Christmas because they add an ice rink on the side, for festive fun with your culture fix.
Note: The much-loved seasonal ice rink at the Natural History Museum, above, has closed. But on a positive note the gardens will be transformed into an urban wildlife hub.
There are plenty more museums and galleries with seasonal ice rinks in London winter 2023:
Hampton Court Palace and ice rink The 16th century home of Henry VIII at Hampton Court is a stunning backdrop for a session of winter skating. Especially so in the evening when it’s bathed in coloured lights. The ice rink opens from November 17 until January 7, 2024, excluding Christmas Day.
Skate at Somerset House, home of the Courtauld Gallery, is sponsored by Switzerland Tourism this year. Expect a 40 ft Christmas tree, Swiss themed cuisine and Skate Lates with DJ sets. Lessons are available too. From 15 Nov to 14 Jan 2024 except Christmas Day.
The beautiful Queen’s House Greenwich ice rink, in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site, has gorgeous views of the historic maritime buildings and the Canary Wharf skyline beyond. Open 23 Nov to 7 Jan 2024 except Christmas Day.
The Ice at Kensington Palace rink is a new addition to London’s pop-up skating portfolio. It promises a huge covered rink in the Palace grounds with festive food, drink and shopping too.
7. Take a Winter Day Trip from London
Enjoy the Cotswolds in Winter
Explore four of the most beautiful Cotswolds villages out of season when they are at their most peaceful. Stop for a lovely lunch, included in the ticket price, at The Swan hotel at Bibury. Your knowledgeable guide will give you lots of background info on the villages you visit with suggestions on things to do and places to see as well as leading short walks at some of the stops. Later in the afternoon you could choose to have a cream tea in a characterful cafe in Stow-on-the-Wold.
I took this tour in November and can thoroughly recommend it! It’s a wonderful chance to see the most iconic of Cotswolds sights like Arlington Row in low season and generally speaking without crowds. Check reviews, availability and book Full Day Cotswold Tour with Lunch.
A visit to Windsor is a great day out from London whatever the time of year, and again you can benefit from fewer crowds out of season. The castle is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and occasionally other times so do check ahead. The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place on Tues, Thurs and Sat though again is subject to change and weather. You can see the Guards march through town for free but you’ll need a Castle entrance ticket to see the ceremony itself. Windsor and Eton are pretty towns to explore and have a pub lunch. And of course Windsor Castle’s Long Walk is beautiful in every season.
See Hogwarts in the Snow
The Hogwarts in the snow feature at the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio runs from 11 Nov 2023 to 14 Jan 2024 and it gets booked up very quickly each year! The Studio is in Leavesden, Watford, about 20 miles north of London and you can reach it by bus, train or taxi. Most organised tours use buses but the speed of the journey is very dependent on traffic and can take 1 hr 30 mins. On the other hand the train only takes 20 mins from Euston to Watford Junction. From here a shuttle service takes you to the Studios.
If you’re concerned about navigating the trains, this Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour & Transfers offers you escorted train travel from Euston to the Studios for a timed entrance. The guide will then leave you to spend as long as you like exploring the Harry Potter Studios before you return to London in your own time on your open train ticket.
8. Explore London’s small historic houses
London is home to many grand and famous historic buildings. But it’s worth seeking out the smaller ones that offer a more intimate slice of life from the past. Winter is a great time to visit them when days are shorter and outdoor exploring is limited. Check their websites for themed events. Here are some of my favourites.
The Charles Dickens Museum
Some say Dickens ‘invented’ Christmas Day in his novella, A Christmas Carol. Certainly the story did a lot to popularise the date as a day of family togetherness and feasting. So a visit to Dickens’ own home, dressed for Christmas, is a perfect London winter treat. These are the rooms where the famous Victorian wrote some of his most enduring tales. During December you can book to watch a live performance of a Dickens tale, or to pay a special Christmas Eve visit. Charles Dickens Museum , 48 Doughty Street, King’s Cross.
Dennis Severs’ House
Take an evocative winter evening tour of this magical 18th century home whose inhabitants seem to have just stepped out for a moment. Take in the ticking clocks, crackling fires, flickering candlelight and the scent of woodsmoke and oranges in the air. It’s a ‘still life drama’ recreating the Spitalfields home of a family of Huguenot silk weavers. Dennis Severs’ house is at 18 Folgate Street, Spitalfields.
Strawberry Hill House
With its whitewashed turrets and towers Strawberry Hill in Twickenham looks just like a castle from a childhood fable. And that’s exactly what its owner intended.
Horace Walpole, prime minister’s son, bought a small house by the Thames in 1747. Inspired by his passion for architecture and history he spent years improving and developing it. His home was later to star in his bestselling novel, The Castle of Otranto the first of the whole genre of Gothic fiction. Experts now celebrate the house as a Gothic Revival masterpiece.
Allow time for cake and coffee in the excellent cafe too! Strawberry Hill House and Garden, 268 Waldegrave Road, Twickenham.
Just along the river from Strawberry Hill, Britain’s greatest landscape painter, JMW Turner, of The Fighting Temeraire fame was also attracted to the Thames side location. In 1807 he designed a small villa for himself and his father a retired wigmaker. Today, Sandycombe Lodge has been restored as near as possible to the home that Turner built.
It’s a fascinating glimpse of Georgian life and the restoration includes some clever tricks to capture the visitor’s imagination. The shadow of Old William, Turner’s father, sits beside the stove in the kitchen and you can hear some of his stories there. In 2023 Turner’s House was closed in Dec and Jan, re-opening in Feb. Turner’s House, 40 Sandycoombe Road, Twickenham.
Victorian intellectual Thomas Carlyle was a literary star in his lifetime. His home was visited by Tennyson and Dickens – and some of his upper class female fans too! His long-suffering wife Jane wrote amusingly about their daily life and you can read extracts from her letters as you move from room to room in their old home. They lived for 40 years in this terraced house in Chelsea, now a National Trust property. Carlyle’s House, 24 Cheyne Row, Chelsea
9. Spend a London winter night at the theatre
Going to a West End show just seems more special on a dark winter’s evening! Maybe it’s the glittering neon signs, black cabs pulling up to the kerb, the buzz from nearby restaurants, or the chat of friends meeting and greeting in the foyer. All year round, central London is the place to catch big name musicals like the The Lion King, Wicked or Les Misérables. These special occasion treats are worth booking well in advance.
But December brings a new roll call of pantomimes, ballets, and Christmas shows, wonderful performances that only appear on stage for the Christmas season. It’s yet another reason to plan a visit to London in winter.
Check out the theatres in London’s suburbs
The outskirts of London offer lots of smaller venues too. They showcase great productions at very affordable prices. And you might even catch a play before it transfers to the West End.
We spent a cosy evening in the plush splendour of Richmond’s beautiful little Victorian theatre. As a classic 1930s whodunnit unfolded on stage we noticed famous faces in the cast from TV’s Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey. It was a fun evening that had been easy to book without too much planning.
Faulty Towers immersive dining experience
Remember the legendary BBC comedy Fawlty Towers? Now imagine being a real-life guest! That’s the set up for the tribute show: Faulty Towers The Dining Experience.
Guests gather in a hotel suite by Russell Square in Bloomsbury for a three course set meal (though don’t expect to spend much time savouring it!) Your supper is secondary to the theatre that’s happening all around you. It’s slapstick fun as Basil, Sybil and Manuel greet and seat guests, clear plates and interact with the audience.
Part scripted, part improvised, as the evening progresses you literally don’t know what will happen next. It’s good clean fun with a helping of 1970s innuendo and more than a dash of nostalgia for classic British comedy. Great for birthdays and anniversary celebrations – which can even get a mention during the show!
I attended the show with a complimentary ticket, all opinions are my own.
10. Wrap up for a winter walk in London
It’s hard to beat a riverside walk on a crisp winter day. Here are some of my favourites:
Tower Bridge and Bankside
Don hats, scarves and gloves then set off to explore the Thames walks near Tower Bridge. You could pop into the Bridge itself for its fascinating exhibition and lovely views of London.
Afterwards head to a cosy and historic pub for fish and chips or sausage and mash. Try The George Inn, Southwark. It’s owned by the National Trust and is the only galleried coaching inn left in London. Shakespeare may have been a regular and Dickens mentions it in Little Dorrit. 75 -77 Borough High Street, SE1
Hammersmith to Chiswick
Alternatively head to west London to stroll along the footpath north of the Thames river. There’s a lovely walk from Hammersmith to Chiswick with river views and handsome listed houses. The Dove, Hammersmith is a great pub to start or finish a riverside ramble. Charles II and Nell Gwynne ate there and you can too.
Guided walks in winter London
Harry Potter fans will enjoy exploring his London haunts from the books and films. This 3 hr private guided walking tour (kids go free) takes in all the major locations, starting with a photo opp at Platform 9 3/4. It gets excellent reviews Check the Harry Potter in London Private Tour for reviews, availability and to book.
Notting Hill It’s the perfect time of year for a classic London romcom so try this Notting Hill guided tour which takes in Portobello Road market, film locations and celebrity haunts.
FAQs for Winter in London
Yes you can do many things in London as easily in winter as in summer but without the crowds. Prices tend to be lower in January and February too. And you have the bonus of Christmas decorations and festivities if you visit in December.
London’s many parks have an austere beauty in winter when leaves have fallen revealing bare branches and formal planting designs. After dark the city skyline twinkles and looks especially beautiful from the riverside and bridges. And in December the whole town lights up with wonderful Christmas decorations.
Pack layers for a winter trip to London. You’ll need warm clothes for the streets and parks that you can peel off easily in shops and restaurants. Londoners love light, cosy puffer jackets and coats and add scarves, knitted hats and gloves. Pack an umbrella as well as rainproof comfortable flat shoes or boots – plus socks! – for easy sightseeing.
Please note that all visitor information here is for guidance only. Please check the relevant websites for the most up to date information on tickets, entrance requirements, opening times etc.
What to Read Next
Visiting London in November or December? Don’t miss the spectacular light trail at Kew Gardens
Winter is a great time for to enjoy London’s cultural sights. Russell Square is a leafy enclave close to the British museum with lovely historic hotels.
To experience London like a Londoner: find out Best Non-Touristy Things to do in London
For a checklist of London souvenirs: 101 of the Best London Gifts for Family
For more fun food souvenirs to bring home from London: 101 Best British Snacks that make Great Souvenirs
To plan an itinerary for history lovers: 40+ Historical Places in London and why you’ll want to see them.
Looking for a drink or meal in Kensington? Here’s a guide to the best pubs near the Royal Albert Hall.
Planning a trip to Windsor? The Long Walk by the castle is a stunning landmark that’s free to enjoy.
After your walk take a break at one of Windsor’s historic old pubs.
About the author Nancy Roberts is a former women’s magazine editor and writer. She lives in London and is mum to two 20-something boys. In Map&Family she shares info and inspiration for curious travellers: singles and couples as well as families travelling with teens and young adults.
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