Planning a visit to London in winter? You’ve chosen a truly enchanting time to experience the capital city as it transforms into a winter wonderland. London in winter is a magical spectacle, with festive lights, cozy vibes, and a range of seasonal activities.
Whether visiting London in December, January or February, we will explore the weather conditions in London during the winter months, provide essential tips on what to wear, suggest exciting things to do, highlight the top places to explore, recommend winter activities, showcase the best exhibitions and events, highlight the top theatre shows, and offer guidance on getting around the city.
This is one of the best times to visit London, so get ready to embrace the magic and make the most of your winter trip to London!
Weather in London in Winter Months
Winter in London brings cold temperatures and occasional frost, creating a picturesque atmosphere. From December to February, the average daytime temperatures range from 6°C (43°F) to 9°C (48°F), with colder evenings.
Be prepared for rain showers and the possibility of snowfall, adding an extra touch of winter magic. For additional details for each month of winter in London see our guide on visiting London in January or the guide on February in London. Along as you have a beautiful hotel with a jacuzzi bath waiting for your at the hotel, the rain isn’t so bad. For more tips on where to stay in London see our guide also find tips for areas to stay in London for families.
What to Wear in London in Winter
When packing for London in winter, it’s important to dress warmly and be prepared for varying weather conditions. We have covered in more detail what to wear in London in winter as well as the best shoes for London in winter but here are some key items to include in your packing list:
- Winter Coat: Bring a warm, insulated coat that provides protection against the cold temperatures. Opt for a waterproof or water-resistant option to stay dry during rainy days.
- Sweaters and Thermal Layers: Pack cozy sweaters and thermal tops to layer underneath your coat. Choose materials like wool or cashmere for added warmth and comfort.
- Trousers and Jeans: Opt for trousers or jeans made from thicker fabrics like denim or corduroy. These will provide insulation and protection against the cold.
- Hats, Scarves, and Gloves: Don’t forget to pack winter accessories to keep you warm. Bring a hat that covers your ears, a scarf to protect your neck, and gloves to keep your hands cozy.
- Warm Footwear: Choose sturdy and waterproof boots that provide traction and keep your feet warm and dry. Look for boots with good insulation to withstand the winter chill.
Things to Do in London in Winter
- Winter Markets and Festive Shopping: Explore the vibrant winter markets, such as Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and Southbank Centre Winter Market. Enjoy the festive atmosphere, shop for unique gifts, and indulge in seasonal treats.
- Ice Skating: Glide across the ice at one of London’s many outdoor ice skating rinks. Skate against the backdrop of iconic landmarks such as the Natural History Museum, Somerset House, or the Tower of London.
- Visit Winter Gardens and Conservatories: Seek refuge from the cold by exploring the winter gardens and conservatories in London. Discover the tropical wonders of the Barbican Conservatory or the exotic plants at Kew Gardens’ Palm House.
- Enjoy Traditional Afternoon Tea: Warm up with a traditional afternoon tea experience in one of London’s elegant tea rooms or luxury hotels. Savor a selection of sandwiches, scones, and delectable pastries.
- Attend Winter Performances: Immerse yourself in the world of theatre, ballet, or opera by attending performances at renowned venues like the Royal Opera House or the West End theatres. Experience the magic of seasonal productions and holiday-themed shows.
- For additional things to do in December, January and February, see out linked guides above.
Top Places to Explore in Winter
- Covent Garden: Discover the enchanting atmosphere of Covent Garden during the winter months. Admire the festive decorations, browse the boutique shops, and enjoy street performances in the market square.
- Tower Bridge and the Thames: Take a stroll along the Thames River and admire the iconic Tower Bridge illuminated against the winter night sky. Capture stunning photos and enjoy the serene ambiance.
- Greenwich: Visit Greenwich and explore its historic charm during the winter season. Take a walk through Greenwich Park, visit the Royal Observatory, and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
- The British Museum: Step inside the British Museum and marvel at its vast collection of art and artifacts. Explore the exhibits at your own pace and discover ancient treasures from around the world. We have shared a cool guide on the best and free museums and galleries in London.
- Tate Modern: Experience modern and contemporary art at the Tate Modern. Wander through its galleries and be inspired by thought-provoking installations and exhibitions.
Top Winter Activities in London
- Christmas Lights Tour: Embark on a magical journey through the dazzling Christmas lights of London. From the iconic displays on Oxford Street to the festive illuminations in Covent Garden, experience the city’s enchanting transformation.
- Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park: Immerse yourself in the festive spirit at Winter Wonderland, a spectacular event in Hyde Park. Enjoy thrilling rides, ice skating, Christmas markets, and captivating shows.
- Christmas Markets: Among fun things to do in London during Christmas is to explore the charming Christmas markets scattered throughout the city. Indulge in seasonal food, browse unique crafts and gifts, and soak up the festive atmosphere.
- Winter Walks in Parks: Take leisurely walks in London’s parks, such as Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, or Richmond Park. Admire the winter landscapes, spot wildlife, and enjoy peaceful moments amidst nature.
- Festive Dining: Treat yourself to a memorable dining experience at one of London’s renowned restaurants. Indulge in festive menus, traditional roasts, and delectable winter desserts.
Best Exhibitions in London
- National Gallery: Explore the National Gallery’s impressive collection of European masterpieces. Admire iconic works by artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, and Botticelli.
- Tate Britain: Visit Tate Britain to discover British art from the 16th century to the present day. Explore the gallery’s vast collection of paintings, sculptures, and installations.
- Victoria and Albert Museum: Immerse yourself in the world of design and culture at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Discover exhibitions on fashion, architecture, photography, and decorative arts.
- Natural History Museum: Delve into the wonders of the natural world at the Natural History Museum. Explore fascinating exhibitions on dinosaurs, human evolution, and Earth’s biodiversity.
- Science Museum: Engage with science and technology at the Science Museum. Discover interactive exhibits, learn about scientific advancements, and explore space exploration displays.
London Events in Winter
- New Year’s Eve Fireworks: Join the spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks display along the River Thames. Watch the night sky light up as London welcomes the new year with a dazzling show. Be sure to read our guide on the best hotels for NYE fireworks in London as well as our guide to the best places to see the New Year’s Eve fireworks in London.
- Chinese New Year: Celebrate the Chinese New Year in London’s Chinatown and Trafalgar Square. Experience vibrant parades, dragon dances, cultural performances, and delicious food.
- London Fashion Week: Immerse yourself in the world of fashion at London Fashion Week. Witness runway shows, discover emerging designers, and explore the latest trends in the industry.
- Winter Concerts and Shows: Attend seasonal concerts and shows held in renowned venues across the city. From classical concerts to festive musical performances, there’s something for every music lover.
- Festive Theatre Productions: Enjoy holiday-themed theatre productions and pantomimes in London’s theatres. Immerse yourself in the joy and laughter of traditional festive shows.
Best London Theatre Shows in Winter
- West End Musicals: Experience the magic of world-class musicals in London’s West End. From long-running favorites to new productions, enjoy captivating performances and unforgettable songs. See our guide on the best Westend shows in London.
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Discover the works of Shakespeare performed by the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company. Experience the timeless stories brought to life on stage.
- National Theatre: Explore the diverse range of productions at the National Theatre. From thought-provoking dramas to innovative contemporary performances, there’s a show for every taste.
- Off-West End Productions: Don’t overlook the vibrant Off-West End theatre scene. Discover cutting-edge performances and emerging talent in intimate venues across the city.
- Ballet and Dance Performances: Witness the grace and artistry of ballet and dance companies performing at renowned venues like the Royal Opera House and Sadler’s Wells.
Getting Around London
London offers a comprehensive transportation network that makes getting around the city convenient. Here are some popular modes of transportation:
- London Underground (Tube): The Underground is the fastest way to travel within London. With its extensive network of lines and stations, it provides easy access to various parts of the city.
- Buses: London buses cover a vast network, offering a convenient mode of transport. Consider using a contactless payment method or an Oyster card for seamless travel.
- Cycling: London has dedicated cycling lanes and bike-sharing schemes available. Rent a bike and enjoy cycling around the city, taking advantage of the bike-friendly routes.
- Black Cabs: London’s black taxis are a traditional and reliable mode of transportation. Hail a cab on the street or find one at designated taxi ranks.
- Walking: Many of London’s attractions are within walking distance of each other. Enjoy the festive ambiance and explore the city’s streets and parks on foot.
- Getting from the airports: Read our guide on the best way to travel into central London from the airports.
London in winter is a captivating destination that invites you to embrace the magic and festive spirit. With this guide, you’re now equipped with essential information to make the most of your visit. So bundle up, plan your itinerary, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in the capital’s winter wonderland!
London in winter is a magical experience, with festive lights, seasonal activities, and a captivating ambiance. From exploring the city’s top attractions and enjoying winter markets to attending theatre shows and immersing yourself in exhibitions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
With this comprehensive guide, you’re well-prepared to embrace the magic of London in winter. So pack your warm clothing, plan your adventures, and get ready to experience the capital’s festive season like never before!
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Is winter a good time to visit London?
Yes, winter is a great time to visit London, especially if you enjoy festive activities, winter markets, and seasonal events.
- What should I pack for London in winter?
Pack warm clothing, including a winter coat, sweaters, thermal layers, trousers or jeans, hats, scarves, gloves, and waterproof boots.
- What are some popular winter activities in London?
Popular winter activities include visiting winter markets, ice skating, exploring winter gardens and conservatories, enjoying traditional afternoon tea, and attending winter theatre shows.
- What are some must-visit places in London in winter?
Top places to explore in winter include Covent Garden, Tower Bridge, Greenwich, the British Museum, and Tate Modern.
- How do I get around London during winter?
London offers a comprehensive transportation system, including the Underground (Tube), buses, cycling options, black cabs, and walking.
Read All London Seasonal Guides:
London Monthly Guide: